Posts Tagged ‘Television’
Aliza Vellani is no stranger within the Canadian entertainment industry.Particularly, the actress is well known for her role as the teenaged character of Layla Siddiqui on CBC’S hit sitcom,Little Mosque on the Prairie.
With Little Mosque having been off the air for nearly 2 years and Aliza continuing to explore pursuits within the Canadian entertainment industry , I thought it’s a great time to connect with the delightful actress.
Particularly we discuss Little Mosque’s impact, her reflections on portraying the character of Layla as well as the series finale and much more! We also discuss the actress’ role on CTV’S Motive in the show’s upcoming second season which is scheduled to debut in summer 2014.
Read through the complete interview with Aliza Vellani below and share your thoughts on it in the comments section.
Abbas Karimjee:How do you think both Little Mosque and specifically the character of Layla will be remembered as?
Aliza Vellani:I think Layla will be remembered as a loveable Muslim teenager. A young girl, who simply goes through the everyday struggles of discovering her own identity. Layla had the added challenge of finding a balance between her family values and the values of the community at large. I think this is something all teenagers can relate to and it makes Layla a charming character to remember.
AK: Little Mosque on the Prairie aimed to dispel stereotypes about Muslims and help bring light to the way in which we are all similar regardless of our cultural or religious differences. To what extent do you think the show was successful in achieving this goal and essentially how do you think it changed how the mainstream society perceives Muslims?
AV:Little Mosque on the Prairie was remarkable as it served to educate its audiences on Islamic culture and practices in a humourous and family friendly setting. In doing so it tried to dispel those stereotypes by using them as a source of laughter. In a wonderful ‘laugh at yourself’ style.
AK:Little Mosque was the first of its kind, in terms of a show which used comedy to showcase Muslims in a positive light. How do you think the fact that CBC dared to feature the show, reflects Canadian culture?
AV:I think it reflects Canadian culture in a very positive light. CBC tackled sensitive and potentially controversial issues in a great way. It demonstrated multiculturalism and acceptance as a work in progress not just in Canada but around the world.
AK:When we last saw Layla in the series finale, she informed her father, Baber [Manoj Sood] that she had decided to pursue acting instead of going to medical school. Although the show is no longer on the air, what was your reaction to Layla’s decision and how do you envision her future?
AV:In many ways, I saw a big part of myself in Layla. It made the ending so special to me because it reflected my own pursuit in life. I like to imagine that Layla still manages to drive her Dad crazy with her choices in life and yet give him memories to cherish. I believe the healthy tug of war between Baber and Layla continues in every loving household as young girls explore their options in life with Daddy on guard.
AK:How has working on Little Mosque impacted both your career and your personal life?
AV:Being on Little Mosque on the Prairie was the most amazing experience. The best training one can get is through experience. I was so lucky that Little Mosque presented itself to me at such a young age. I was also very lucky to be able to work with several seasoned performers. They remain my mentors and I consider them part of my family. I really grew up on that show and it felt like a wonderful chapter in my life ended with the series. Little Mosque on the Prairie gave me more than I ever could have hoped and I will always be grateful for that.
Let us discuss your role on CTV’S Motive.
AK: What character do you portray and how many episodes do you appear in?
AV:I play a doctor named Dr. Gita Ambreen in the eighth episode of Motive’s second season.
AK:Lets discuss how you were appointed to the role of Dr.Ambreen. Were you contacted or did you audition? Could you please walk us through this initial process?
AV:My agent, Emilio Salituro from Muse Artist Management, had contacted me with the audition a couple of days before the taping. Luckily, I was able to audition between classes at SFU.
AK: What can you tell us about Dr.Gita Ambreen? Could you please describe her personality and perhaps how it differs from Layla’s?
AV:Layla was a teenager in the series while Dr. Gita Ambreen is both an adult and a doctor. Dr. Ambreen is a naturally professional character. She follows protocol. On the other hand Layla, was a charming but rebellious teenager.
AK:Portraying a role in a crime series can have a more serious and darker tone than a comedy series such as Little Mosque on the Prairie. What challenges were involved in adjusting to working on a darker, more serious show? Which type of genre do you prefer working in?
AV:A comedy is very light hearted while a crime series is quite serious reflecting high stakes. I loved working in comedy, but being part of a crime genre was new and extremely exciting. It is definitely a genre that I would love to do more of.
AK:Did you have to do research to portray the role of a doctor? If so, could you please walk us through this process?
AV:Much of the dialogue in the scenes was fairly straightforward so there wasn’t much I had to research. Of course an important part in preparing for a scene is making sure you know exactly what you are talking about. I had to make sure I truly understood what I was saying, and knew how Dr. Gita Ambreen contributed to the events that occurred.
AK:Motive is a series where investigators try to look at who committed a murder by looking at what the motive of the crime is and based on that, who may have committed the crime. Without giving too much away, how does your character support the storyline of the episode in which you appear?
AV:Dr. Ambreen plays a small role in furthering the investigation when Detectives Vega and Flynn follow a lead in the case.
AK:Though you only worked on Motive for one episode, are there any favourite memories either onscreen or off screen which you would like to share with viewers?
AV:Working on Motive was a wonderful experience. It was great getting to know the other cast and crew on the show between takes on set. My favourite moments on set seem to occur when the unexpected happens. As I was playing a doctor, I was given a pager to attach to my belt during the scene. As we began to run the scene, my pager goes off in the middle of the scene. It was an unexpected surprise.
Lets discuss your career in general.
AK:You recently completed studying Theatre at the Simon Fraser University. Congratulations! How does it feel and what aspirations do you have for your acting career at this point?
AV:Thanks Abbas! It is such a relief to have completed my university degree but also very scary as I enter yet another new and unknown chapter in my life. As an actor, you are constantly in training to strengthen your skills but this will be the first time I will be pursuing acting without being a fulltime student. I think at this point in my career, anything is possible. I am very excited to put all of my efforts into being an actor and working hard to achieve that goal.
AK: You have led a distinguished career, having developed a fair bit of prominence within the Canadian entertainment industry. What advice do you have for youth who are interested in pursuing a career in acting or in the arts, in general?
AV:Thank you again. That is so kind of you to say Abbas. Hopefully this is just the beginning. It takes so much to pursue your passion and it is something I think everyone should do no matter what the obstacles. In pursuing acting as a career, I think my advice for youth would be to always try and have fun. The reason you pursue your passion is because you want enjoy what you do every day. If you lose that, what’s the point? Never forget to enjoy yourself, even when auditioning. In my mind, auditioning is just as much a part of the job description.
AK:Do you have a message for fans who have been following your career?
AV:I would like to say thank you for all the support I have been given so far, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the work I do in the future. It has been an amazing journey so far and I cannot wait for what lies ahead.
Indeed, the season 3 premiere date for the third season of Mr. D is quickly approaching! Be sure to tune in on February,24 @ 9:00pm eastern standard time on CBC.
As such, CBC has released a promotional snapshot of Gerry Dee in an upcoming episode.The photo below shows Gerry Dee in his new role as a substitute teacher for Gym!
What is your response to the photo? Do you think Gerry”s teaching style and professionalism will differ from his approach to educating students in the subject of Social Studies which is unqualified to teach?If so, how?Share your response in the comments section.
Indeed, the season premiere of Mr. D is quickly approaching its debut date of February 24 @ 9:00pm eastern standard time.As such, CBC has released a new sneak peak of a scene from the impending third season which shows Gerry Dee encountering a mishap just before he is about to take up a lesson.
Take a look at the clip directly below and share your response to it in the comments section.
Bette MacDonald has been leading a distinguished and successful career within the Canadian entertainment industry on TV, radio and on stage performances for over 20 years.
Bette’s active involvement within the industry is evident from notable tasks which she has undertaken such as appearing at the Canadian Winnipeg Comedy festival as well as working alongside Symphony Nova Scotia. The latter of the two performances was such a success that she was brought back for an unexpected yet highly appreciated two night encore presentation.
For the past five years, Bette and her husband, Maynard Morrision have been working on a holiday special known as “Tis The Season ” with it having been critically acclaimed and it has been selling out major halls since its inauguration.The production was in-fact such a success that it has consistently received standing ovations.
More recently, the actress has been starring as the tough yet kind-hearted secretary, Trudy Walsh in CBC’S hit sitcom Mr.D. With the show having been renewed for a third season and the actress being kind enough to participate in an interview with me we extensively discuss her involvement with the show. Particularly, we discuss aspects of how she has related to her character, how thew character of Trudy interacts with other characters on the show as well as what is in store for the third season of Mr. D. The delightful actress also reflects on the success of Mr. D as well as the other projects which she has been working on.
Read through the complete interview below.
Abbas Karimjee:Lets start by discussing your appointment to the role of Trudy. Were you contacted or did you audition? Could you please walk us through this initial process?
Bette MacDonald:Sure Abbas. I was contacted by producer, Mike Volpe who told me about the show idea and the character. He said that both he and Gerry thought that I would be right for the part, so they asked me to read for it. I’m so glad it worked out.
AK:How have you related to the character of Trudy?
BM:Well, I love playing this character. Love it. Trudy doesn’t suffer fools, she speaks her mind and she has a great sense of style (thank you Martha Curry for the best wardrobe ever!) I believe that when she’s not working, Trudy is living a fabulous life that her colleagues may never learn about. Maybe she’ll be George Clooney’s new girlfriend!
AK:What challenges have you had to overcome to portray the character of Trudy?
BM:I don’t find the character challenging. I understand her and I probably shouldn’t say this but I think Trudy and I are similar in some ways. Oh Dear.
AK:Trudy takes great pleasure in competing with and tormenting Robert as evidenced in various ways such as when they were competing for a gift to buy Callaghan. How do you think Trudy feels about Robert and how would you describe the two’s working relationship?
BM: It’s very likely that Trudy has been at the school a lot longer than Robert. He probably came to the school with a big attitude and big plans which, needless to say, would not sit well with Trudy. In her heart of hearts, I believe she cares for Robert. There are moments when she feels sorry for him. Poor Robert. Such a knob. The fact that Robert is played by the freakishly talented and darling Jonathan Torrens makes those scenes a joy to perform. I just love working with him.
AK:Trudy does not tolerate Gerry’s incompetence as seen from how she reminds of him of his responsibility to perform basic tasks, such as completing attendance and handing in forms. How would you describe the two’s working relationship and how do you think Trudy’s no nonsense attitude with Gerry speaks to her personality?
BM:Trudy will not tolerate any kind of disruption of her perfect system. She is the type of gal who, by night is probably the life of the party but by day runs a well oiled machine of her making. She probably has a system that has been working perfectly for years and here comes Gerry who will have to learn the hard way, that forms must be filled in and returned immediately! Poor Gerry has to learn everything the hard way, doesn’t he.
AK:Trudy often gets irritated when she feels as though she is being undervalued as the mere secretary at Xavier academy such as when Lisa put on a show on secretary appreciation day which suggested that her main role was as the coffee lady for the principal. How do you feel Trudy generally feels she is viewed by her colleagues , in terms of how she contributes to the overall operation of Xavier academy. How do you feel that the way she views the treatment she receives from others impacts her relationships with the staff members, in general?
BM:It was so hard to play angry while those sweet, lovely kids were doing their little play. I had a hard time not cracking up. Poor Lisa, her intentions are so good. It’s in the execution that she has some trouble. Trudy runs a tight ship. She’s aware of everything that goes on at the school. I’ve heard that every school has someone, usually a secretary, who has the keys to all the locks, who knows where the bodies are buried, who must not be crossed….. at Xavier, that person is Trudy. I believe her colleagues learn that Trudy is not to be messed with.
AK:This past season we have seen Trudy and Lisa develop a friendship of sorts as seen by how they spent time after work. Why do you think they have connected together and grow would you like to see this develop?
BM:Trudy feels sorry for Lisa. She’s a sweet girl who tries too hard. Trudy first started going out for the odd drink with Lisa because she likes drinks so much but eventually she began to like her. Trudy is kind, I think but one should never mistake kindness for weakness. Especially not in the case of Trudy Walsh.
AK:What are you able to tell us about what might be in store for the coming season of Mr D, both for the show in general as well as specifically for the character of Trudy?
BM:This season, we laughed more, had a harder time getting through scenes without cracking up. This season is the funniest of the three. The characters have developed even further, their relationships are more intricate and the writing, which has always been wonderful, continues to get stronger. I laugh out loud when I read these scripts. The character Gerry is revealing some very interesting layers while continuing to be hilarious. The real Gerry is hilarious and knows exactly what he wants this show to be. He has maintained from the beginning that he wants the show to be real and as funny as it can be. He has been very successful. Right on Gerry!
AK:What are some of your favourite memories from working on the show thus far , either onscreen or offscreen?
BM:There are many. I love working with these people. It begins with Gerry who is an extraordinarily funny and kind man. The cast is a group of talented actors and comedians who love to work. They will do whatever it takes to serve the scene. The best memories so far involve doing scenes that are so funny that you spend your entire work day laughing. In this season I was in a scene that is the funniest thing I’ve ever been a part of. I can’t say what it is but when you see it, you’ll know what I mean. It’s the actor I share the scene with who makes it so funny. The kids in this cast are very talented and mature, far more mature than many of the “adult” actors. We have so much fun with them. And without them, we sometimes meet in a local pub after a day of shooting. Love those nights and hope to have many more.
AK:Mr D has achieved record-breaking ratings on CBC since the debut of CBC’S hit sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie with the series premiere earning a 1.3 million rating. Why do you think the show resonates with such a large audiences?
BM:Everyone can relate to this show. We’ve all had the school experience. There is a big teacher following, of course. It’s a liberating thing to be able to laugh at some of the absurdity that the educational atmosphere can create and to know that you are not the only one who sees it and understands it. More importantly, perhaps, is that the show is so funny and smart. This show doesn’t talk down to the audience. Everything is not spelled out, we know our audience is bright and is along for the ride. There is an old theatre expression, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage,” so we cannot overstate the importance of the writing team. They are some of the best in the business.
AK:What message do you have for fans of the show, with MR.D approaching its third season?
BM:Well, first of all, I want to thank them for tuning in week after week. I can say, without reservation, that season 3 is the funniest yet. We are extremely fortunate to be able to work in this business and we don’t take that for granted. We know how valuable the audience is and we can’t wait for them to see what’s coming!
AK:Are you working on other acting projects which you would like to share with readers?
BM:Yes! I am currently writing our holiday show that we tour in December. It began as a one nighter and we are now going into our seventh tour. I’m also writing and preparing for a show that I’ll be doing in March with Symphony Nova Scotia. This will be my third show with them. I love working with them. They are superb musicians and lovely people. We take a very interactive approach. It’s challenging and horrifying in many ways but I love it!
Thank you for asking me these questions. I love talking about Mr. D.!
When Gerry comes across a down and out Daniel Negreanu (poker player), he orchestrates a staff poker night in order to get Daniel back on his feet[CBC]
CBC has released a preview of this week’s episode of Mr D, The Date. Take a look at the preview directly below and share your predictions in the comments section. Be sure to tune in for the episode on Wednesday @ 8;00pm eastern standard time on CBC.
Gerry and Jean’s date is interrupted, Leung’s makes an online video and Trudy regrets a decision.[TV Rage]
What is Leung’s video about and how is it received?What decision does Trudy make and why does she end up regretting it?
Abbas Karimjee’s Weblog launches coverage of CBC’S hit sitcom, Mr. D
CBC’ s newest hit sitcom,Mr D follows under qualified middle school teacher, Gerry Dee as he attempts to handle educating students in social studies despite only be qualified to teach Gym. The show revolves around the comical mishaps associated with Gerry’s incompetence as he interacts with the students and fellow staff at Xavier middle school. Interestingly, actor Gerry D has over 9 years of experience teaching at a private school.
Indeed from rating his own teaching performance on rate my teachers to organizing overnight class field trips in order to see a sports game, Mr, D will definitely bring about a few enjoyable laughs!
For further details on Mr. D, including the cast and crew as well as information on past episodes please visit the official website @ www.cbc.ca/mrd.
Season 2 of Mr. D airs every Wednesday at 8:00pm eastern standard time on CBC . Stay tuned for promotional information regarding this week’s episode.
Will you be following our coverage of the show?Drop us a line in the comments section.
Episode Synopsis: The staffers pair up as faux couples to score a Valentine’s Day discount at a mall. Elsewhere, Erin tells Pete that she’ll break up with Andy when he returns, yet Pete has his doubts. Also: Jim and Pam socialize with the documentary’s soundman. Original Air Date: Feb 7, 2013[TV Guide]
Will the staff be successful in posing as false couples to achieve discounts?Are there any restrictions on the quantity or types of products which can be purchased for the discount to be eligible and how would this create conflict between the pretend couples? Will Erin actually break up with Andy?How would Andy respond to Erin’s decision? Why does Pete have his reservations about Erin’s ability to carry out the plan? Share your responses, thoughts and predictions in the comments section.
Episode Synopsis: Jay and Gloria plan a surprise party for Manny’s 14th birthday; Haley’s interest in an older man is a concern for her parents; Cameron worries that Lily is closer to Mitchell. Original Air Date: Jan 16[TV Guide]
How will the surprise party work out? Where did Haley meet her new boyfriend and why has she taken a sudden interest in much older men?What exact response will her parents take?
It would be reasonable to assume that Cameron has been feeling as though Lilly is developing a closer relationship with Mitchell since he has started working. However, what exactly will he do to maintain a sense of closeness with Lily and will his attempts to do so backfire on Lilly’s relationship with Mitchell or his own relationship with Mitchell?Will Gloria’s baby be a male or a female?
Share your thoughts , speculations and predictions in the comments section.
Jake Lacy has been leading an emerging career within the North American entertainment industry through his work as an actor .Having graduated from the North Carolina school of the arts in 2008 Lacy went in production with the Hartford Stage’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Summer Dream”.
In addition to performing in other theatre productions, Jake Lacy later starred in several episodes of the popular series Better With You in which he stared as the character of Cassey and also later appearing as Jimmy Goodwin the Goodwin Games.
However, more recently he has been in the current ninth and final season of NBC’S hit sitcom, The Office as the new customer service representative ,Pete. With the character being new to the show and The Office quickly progressing through its final season on the air, all thought it was a time to touch base with the actor for an interview. Particularly, we discuss the initial process and experience involved in being appointed to the role of Pete, his perspective on having been a long-time fan of the show and actually working on it as well as other aspects related to how he portrays the character of Pete.
The actor also talks about his reaction to the show ending this year, the mood and atmosphere on the set. He also delves into some of his insights on the ninth season by discussing his storyline this season in terms of his developing relationship with the character of Erin as well as the challenges which his character faces being one of the new employees at the Scranton branch.
Read through the complete interview below.
Abbas Karimjee.Lets discuss your initial appointment to the role of Pete.Were you contacted for the role or did you audition? Could you please walk us through this initial process?
Jake Lacy:I auditioned for the role in NY and then flew to LA to test for it. I was out-of-town when I first heard about a new role on The Office.I came back later in the week and auditioned with the casting folks in NY and the people in LA liked it so they flew me out the following week. Then I flew back east and waited. I got the call that Friday night. I packed my bag, flew to LA that Sunday and started filming Monday morning! It was crazy.
AK:Given that you have been a fan of the show, could you please share your reaction when you discovered that you landed the role?
JL:Oh, I was ecstatic! The show had been a favorite of mine from the very beginning and getting the opportunity to be a part of it was a dream come true.I’m just a big, big fan of the show and can’t believe I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of it!
AK:How has being a fan of The Office, influenced your day to day experience of working on the show?
JL: I think being such a fan of the show was helpful. As a viewer I understood what makes this show unique and the challenge has been figuring out what that means as an actor. The tone of this show is very specific and it took a few weeks for me to find that balance being doing too much and doing too little.
AK :What was your reaction when you discovered that this would be the final season of The Office, both from your perspective as an actor on the show as well as a long-time fan of the show?
JL: The cast found out pretty early on in filming that this would be the last season. I was still riding the high of being on the show so it really didn’t affect me. Maybe as a fan I’m sad to see The Office come to an end. It still seems so far away. Those decisions are so far out of my control that I try not to get bent out of shape about them. I’m just grateful to have this incredible job for a year.
AK:With many of the cast and crew having worked on the show through out entire nine season run, what is the atmosphere on the set like considering that the show is now in its final season?
JL:Everyone has been very welcoming. The cast has been very warm and kind to a complete stranger setting up shop for a year. We still have another half dozen episodes to shoot so people are still focused on work. I think in the final few weeks emotions may start to run high but right now everyone is very focused on this week’s episode.
AK:How have you related to Pete?
JL:I’m not sure how to answer this question.All I can say is, bottom line, I’m rooting for Pete.
AK:The character of Pete has been quite similar to the character of Jim, in terms of his personality, his life goals as well as in his desire to win the affection of The Office’s receptionist! Given these circumstances, to what extent has John Kraininski’s portrayal of Jim Halpert influenced the way in which you portray the character of Pete? Also,are there any ways in which you think the two are notably different?.
JL:Well, there’s no denying that their circumstances are similar. I think Pete is a little bit of an underdog. Not only is receptionist dating the boss but Pete’s also the new guy at work. There’s an added element of learning the ropes and not wanting to rustle any feathers. I think the similarities and differences may become clearer as the season progresses.
AK:Pete expresses a romantic interest towards the receptionist at the Scranton Branch ,Erin as seen from how he has been flirting with her at the reception and through other comments. What are your thoughts on the suitability of the two as a couple? What do you think is drawing Pete to Erin?
JL:I don’t know if Pete and Erin are right for each other. I just know they have a good time together. Could they become something? Absolutely. Could they wind up really good friends? Definitely. I wish I knew where they were headed but the writers keep things pretty secretive. We don’t find out until we read the script for that week. As far as what draw Pete to Erin: she’s awesome! She’s goofy and pretty and charming. I think Pete’s working at a new job, doesn’t know anybody and finds some kind of connection with Erin.
AK:Although Pete has a romantic interest toward Erin, she is currently involved in a relationship with Andy, who is regional manager.Given these circumstances, what are you able to tell us about the types challenges lay in store for Pete ?Do you have any other thoughts on this storyline?
JL:Andy is off on the family yacht to save the Bernard’s from complete financial collapse. That buys Pete a little time to figure out how he feels about Erin and what he’s going to do. The one thing I can say about Pete is that he’s always interested in trying to doing the right thing. He would rather wait until the time is right than push something. Now, I don’t know how the Pete/Erin story unfolds but I hope the character stays true to those characteristics. That’s one of my favorite aspects of Pete. He’s a stand up guy. I think that counts for something.
AK:What is your favorite episode of the current season? Why?
JL:Selfishly, I would say the episode when we built the tower out of complaint cards. That was the first episode where I got to drive a story. It was awesome! Shooting “Work Bus” was a blast, though.It was a crazy week and many of my best memories of the year were shooting that episode.That was the first time I felt like a real part of the cast. Yeah, let’s go with Work Bus. For the good times.
AK: Is there anything else you would you like to say about what might be in store for Pete in his role as a customer service representative?
JL:Pete and Clark buy a horse-breeding company from Clark’s dying uncle and move to Kentucky for an episode. That was fun to shoot. No, that story’s not true. I think I’ll just let people tune in and see what happens.
AK:What advice do you have for today’s youth who are aspiring to pursue a career in acting?
JL:Be real gentle with your dream. Stick with people who believe in you. Learn how to be honest with yourself. Do what your gut tells you. Work really hard. I needed, and still need, people to tell me those things and show me how to do them. Those things are important.
AK:Are there any favorite memories from your work experiences so far which you would like to share, either on screen or off screen?
JL:I got one small improvised moment into an episode. That was huge. The writer’s are so talented and work so hard that it’s rare for an imporov-ed line to make it to air.I was excited by that.
AK:What message do you have for fans of The Office as the show draws to a close this season?
JL:I’m a fan, too.I know what you’re going through.Please keep watching. Hold my hand and we’ll get through this together.