Category - Interviews

Bernard White: Are You ‘Kidding’?

Bernard White has a recurring role on Showtime’s new series Kidding. His role deals with homosexuality. White talks with ATM more about his role and the subject matter the show puts out.

Interviewer: Gabrielle Alexandra Smith

ATM: Talk more about how your role comes into play on this how.

BW: My character is Scott Perera. I am married to Deirdre who is Catherine Keener. Her brother is Jim Carrey. They are all in this Mr. Roger’s world. My wife is a puppet maker. We have an 8-year-old daughter named Maddy. I work at a travel agency. I have some secrets and they start to come out as the series goes on. I have been having this relationship with a man. This series follows us coming into terms with this and if our family will survive this. Our daughter witnesses our sexual public act in our driveway. She did not understand what it was and goes to tell the mother. The mother has to deal with what if my husband is gay.

ATM: How do children view or handle this type of situation vs an adult? Are they calmer with it? How do children view sexuality at a young age based on your onscreen daughter’s response?

BW: Oh my god. It is completely inappropriate, confusing, and traumatizing. She does not understand it in the show. The mom tries to protect her from it. She says it is dad’s secret handshake from his neighbor. It is the tip of the iceberg for this young girl to discover that her parents have secret lives. These are secrets lives she does not know about. It is a lot about the betrayal of children. And about how parents who are not mature and solid enough betray their kids. Jim Carrey’s character who is like this Mr. Roger’s person there to protect the innocence. He is also not wanting to protect them from the realities of life. This has to do with the death of his son. What do we hide from children? What is the cause of what we hide from children? When is it appropriate to have adult conversations about this? My character’s point of view is that “I am a troubled guy whose sexuality is hidden from everyone like his family.” He is trying to come to terms with it. It is very messy, and we are not handling it well.

ATM: What makes a mature parent in a world where parents are not perfect?

BW: Not lying, being who you are, and knowing yourself. Someone who does not use their kids for their validation. Our whole culture is so screwed up. Kids are having kids. The trauma of their childhood is moved on. It is like endless dominoes of unhealth. Our culture promotes all of this unhealth. Mr. Roger represented this decent and kind man. He was not addicted. We are in an addictive culture. We are addicted to alcohol, sex, drugs, and television. This is a lot of crazy stuff. It shows up in how we raise and neglect our children. It’s someone who is living a life that is true in every way. We all sell out.

We do things that we do not love. We deal with the difficulties of the world. I just saw Michael’s Moore amazing movie Fahrenheit 11/9. You look at Flint Michigan’s water situation. Talk about the betrayal of children. A government that lies to its people about the help and its water. Especially the pain put on people of color. We live in a screwed-up world. This is a lot of what the show is about. I hope it is successful in conveying what about the goodness that is neither Republican or Democrat. It is just human. I am in a particular mood today about the horrors of the world.

ATM: How should a parent have these conversations with children about adults’ things when kids have childish minds, which is not wrong?

BW: Jim Carrey’s character believes that you do not lie to children or do not assume. He is dealing with the death of his child. His father is trying to say do not talk to the children about this. They do not want to hear it. There is a child psychologist who talks about our culture. Kids are much smarter than we think. They can deal with things. We are only as sick as our secrets. You have a culture that hides death and does not talk about it. Our whole culture is set up like this. When people die we do not have ways of grieving death properly. This is like a huge mystery of life. We dress up the body and embalm it whether the casket is closed or not. Death is a serious thing we do not talk about. Other cultures, like tribal cultures, have rituals about these things.

An example is after 9/11. The government’s response was let’s go back to normal. Let’s go shopping and do all the things that we normally do. Then, let’s go to war in revenge. As supposed to let’s pause. This is horrible about what is going on and what has happened. Let’s grieve. The Ground Zero Memorial in New York is stunningly beautiful. I am very proud of what New York did to remember this. How do you talk to kids about this? We put them in front of video games that are horribly violent. Death becomes something that is unreal because it is in the video game. There is fake blood. I am part of an industry that has a lot of blood on their hands with not telling people the truth. I believe our show is looking at this. My character lives in the Midwest in Columbus, Ohio. There is something absolutely wrong with you if you are gay. There is everything from conversion therapy to hiding it. As the season ends, we do not know where he is. Is this some confusion or is he actually a gay man? We never find this out in the first season.

ATM: When you say the word death people look at you like it is a sort of taboo. America or our society treats it as a taboo. People think you are a dark person when talking about death. People want to talk about life. You cannot have life without death. Why does it have to be considered a dark topic? As you said, other cultures and countries have week long rituals for the dead. It is swept under the rug after a week. We only remember it on its anniversary and by having 2-hour television celebrations. Then it is like going back to work. We do not know how to celebrate the dead. It is not in our culture. It is sad how somethings are swept under the rug. People are starting to come out more about their sexuality. Kidding shows people are not comfortable with it.

ATM: Why is your character portraying someone who never came to terms about his sexuality with himself?

BW: Because we live in a horribly bigoted society where gay men are considered less than human. We have a corrupt and strange view of Christianity that makes it a crime to be gay. It is against God’s love they say. People are killed and lynched. This can be the bullying that happens in grade school or tying someone to a bumper to drag them through the streets because they came out. It is the masculine gone crazy. It is our President who thinks in this John Wayne image of what a man is: a man is supposed to be someone who carries a gun and can hurt people through his power. It is everywhere. It is about what is happening in the Supreme Court right now.

My character hides because he is scared. We do not learn about his parents yet in the series. People have huge shame about who they are. The whole show is about this idea of how to fit people into a box. Carrey plays this man who is a national treasure that wears a certain attire like Mr. Rogers. He wears a suit and a tie. People see him as one thing. He is more than one thing. His father is old school and wants him to stay in this box. They make money off of him. They are afraid if he speaks the truth, then he might lose his job. The family would lose their dynasty and this television show. He has to stay in this box. The box is becoming claustrophobic and he is going crazy inside this box. The show is mostly about Jim Carrey’s character Mr. Pickles. All of us are reflecting his story. My reflection of his story is about the box I am put in is a heterosexual man who hates his job. I see my wife going out doing what she does. She is sort of a local celebrity. I have a job, but I am sort of like the stay at home mother. My hope is that they continue this, and we get to know this guy better. It was, in fact, a little negligent on the creator’s part to not develop this character. I am one of the several actors of color on the show and possibly of the few gay characters on the show. My wife and I really love each other, and we have been together for maybe 12 years. I hope we see them work it out and stay together.

ATM: How do you believe our society would be if being gay was natural from the beginning of time rather than heterosexuality?

BW: Oh, this is a big question. What if history were different?

ATM: Yes.

BW: I do not even know how to answer this question. For me, the question is what if love were the norm? What if kindness, tolerance, gentleness, and people embracing their human divine nature of caring for one another were the norm? As supposed to war and competition. It is not about sexuality being the norm, but it is . . .

ATM: About loving who you want.

BW: Yes, and embracing cultural differences. A world where white is not superior to black. You ever seen a movie called 2001: A Space Odyssey?

ATM: Yes.

BW: There is a scene where the Neanderthal apes are fighting over this dry dusky seasonal pool of water. This struck me. This is how Kubick depicts it as being the beginning of violence. They put up a bone. They choose the pain of sticks against sticks. As supposed to figure out how to share their resources. This is my tribe and that is your tribe. The only way we are going to survive is if we kill them. An animal’s instinct is survival. Human beings are not just animals, but we also have a divine nature. There are a lot of spiritual features including Jesus Christ, Moses, and Muhammad who taught some deeper things that have been exploited. Wars take place in these religion names. To me, the lack of acceptance for people’s sexuality is just a metaphor for our lack of acceptance for an idea of us being normal. We have to do this. You have to not kneel for the national anthem because we all stand.

ATM: Right. It is like if you go against our societal norms in America people look at you differently. Why can we not be different? Why was it so bad for Colin Kaepernick to kneel on the floor? Why couldn’t he respect the flag in a different way?

BW: There are people whose fathers have died in the wars. They fought for that flag. They find it to be disrespectful. Everything is set up to be “I am right, and you are wrong.” People should try to understand that Colin Kaepernick is not disrespecting the flag in any way. We have a President who stokes this nonsense. People get worked up. Same thing about homosexuality. You have these creatures in the pulpits talking about how wrong it is and that it is a destruction of our sexuality. Meanwhile, they are having sex with little boys. They want to order raping women and want them to be on the Supreme Court because “boys will be boys.” It is the fear of the feminine.

ATM: It is sad when you really sit back to take in what is happening in the world. It makes you say wow.

BW: It makes you want to holler sometimes and throw up both of your hands.

ATM: The reason is that we have television, music, and films to distract us in a good way from all things happening in this world.

BW: Our show Kidding is a part of this. They are talking about things that really matter. This goes back to us talking about how to treat children. Do you put a video game in front of them? Or take them in to nature to show and talk to them about the corpse of a dead squirrel? Or talk to them about what life and death are instead of all this fake stuff? Right now, this is why people do not mature because people check out with Facebook, pornography, television, and Budweiser to numb themselves from the pain. What if we did not try to distract people but tried to nurture them? Like Aretha Franklin did like Steve Wonder does, and like Prince did. This is where artists come in. We live in a country and a culture that does not care about their artists. We want movie stars. We want big box offices. People have stopped going to serious theater.

I pray for the serenity and the clarity for what God wants me to do with my life.

ATM: I seriously hope you find it. 

Nicholas James: Definition Of A Man

Sexual preference. Validity. Homosexuality. Secrecy. These are all the traits Nicholas James’ character Officer Justin deals with on Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots. James explores masculinity in softer settings.

ATM: Explain the progression of your character Justin.

NM: It is interesting to play this guy. I instantly got him when receiving the script. I do not know anyone like him in my life. It was so obvious the way Tyler Perry wrote this guy. I have to sometimes pick up signs. I do not know what to make of this guy sometimes. I read it once. I did not need any more information on this guy the way Tyler wrote it.

People hit me on Facebook. They say, “I know a guy like this or I am sort of like him. This has helped me with my life or friend’s life.” This is the most rewarding part of my role.

He does not know how to bring it out. I worked in a gay bar for a really long time. I became really close friends with the guys who worked there. I am completely fine with my sexuality. I would ask questions about when they found out they were gay. When did you know? They all said when they were young.

I came from a small town where no one knew if anyone was gay. There was no one in my town who was gay or out. It is not okay to be gay in a small town. It is fine in a big city like Los Angeles. It is similar to talking about the woman you like. I get to see how people feel about gay people and how they are treated coming from a small town. Your mother, father, and entire family will disown you. I see both sides of this. I was interested to know about both sides. I am straight. I see how I am completely accepted by my parents. My parents would not care if I was gay. All my friends back home are straight. However, I know for a fact if they were gay, then their parents would completely disown them. I have seen this with people at the bar telling me what happened with their parents. I am frustrated with this. My cousin came out as a gay. It screws someone up.

ATM: It screws them up to make them feel they are not wanted because of their sexual preferences. Your character is obsessed with Jeffrey. He risked his marriage to go for his true and ideal sexual preference. It has ruined Jeffrey’s and his wife’s life.

NM: Exactly. Look what happens with interracial couples. Again, God bless my parents. I personally think black women are completely drop dead gorgeous. There is something about them. There is something about them that I see that is so beautiful. I am not trying to say anything is wrong with white women. I think all women are gorgeous. There is something about black women that I am gravitated towards. This was not socially accepted 50 years ago.

ATM: No. Tyler Perry would have never been able to write this script. It would have never even been a conscious thought or idea. There is still a movement on this. It shows with your character. Your character represents homophobia and how families can turn on you. They turn on you if your sexuality does not line up with their beliefs. Your character job is male-dominated. You take on what is considered feminine traits. You get jealous when anyone is talking to or likes Jeffrey. You are a macho man and work in a male atmospheric environment. Society does not let you write a heart on a paper about another male. They are going to say you are such a girl.

NM: Your validity as a man is completely comprised of the squad. If Office Justin has an opinion about anything, then it is completely washed out because of who he likes. I am completely attracted to back females as a white male. If this was still the case, then my validity would be comprised. My opinion would not matter because am dating a black woman. This is so mind blowing. Anyone could be a genius or the next Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All the sudden this would not matter because they like the same sex or a different race. It is disgusting that this is a thing. People try to find dirt on people if you like the same sex. Therefore, noting that you do matters.

ATM: This makes you draw the ideology about what makes a man a man.

NM: Yes. You and I share this same frustration. Out of this frustration comes Officer Justin. His mother will hate him if he comes out. This is where the frustration lies. It is a catch 22. My character does like the same sex. If I come out, then all that we just talked about will come out. All my opinions will go to waste because of sexual preferences. You have to stay in the closet to have any sort of validity in anything. You cannot come out. Your home and who brought you up is a foundation. If all the sudden my parents were not fine with interracial couples, then my entire foundation would be pulled out from under me. I have been blessed with the best parents.

I am going to tell you a little story. I had a scene where a dad was a jerk. He had to beat me. This was a scene in class. I had to talk to him in a hospital. The acting coach said I was not quite getting it. They asked If I were using my real dad. I said, “I cannot use my real dad.” My real dad is like my friend and would never lay a hand on me. I called my dad to say, “I was nervous to play this really gay role.” He said, “Nick you are an actor. Go in there and do this job the best you can.” This gave me goosebumps. He is such a great guy. My acting coach said, “Imagine this guy is the dad you lay down to at night and wish this was the guy you had. This was the actually guy who beats you up.” This made me think. I have the best, but what if I was the little boy who did not. It made my heart go out to every child who has an abusive or disrespectful father. They are not loved how my father loves me.

ATM: How did this make you feel because of not taking this avenue personally? How did this make you feel knowing you have not empathized with this in real life?

NM: Oh my god! It instantly made me break down in this scene. You have to hold it together. You have to be strong. If your dad is not cool with whomever you are, then it creates a caucus. You cannot break down and cry because you will look like a mess every time. You put on an armor of toughness. Office Justin’s mother is not okay with same sex marriages and she is racist. This is a lot. You are going to see all this pain. You are suppressing who you are because of not coming out. It will make you explore in some destructive way. I have seen people who you question if they are homosexual or bisexual. They act like they like women. You see them going downhill. You cannot keep this mask on your entire life. It will start to eat your soul. This is similar to Jim Carrey. He put on the mask to become a person or better version of himself. It started to ruin him, and crazy things happened. It is bad for people to put on masks of masculinity to cover up shame.

ATM: What is your definition of being a man?

NM: I am so happy you asked me this. It has been something am discovering. It has been a beautiful discovery. I wish that every man will hear this to go out to discover what this means. To look back on life during my 20s. I had this touch guy pseudo. I was putting a lot of stuff on top of this. I was going to the gym to get bigger. It was like why are you getting big. Well if someone tried to fight me. This is where it always goes to this macho side. This is how small towns are formed. A man means now a man who can admit hurt, wrongdoings, fault, and admit things we never want to say. These things are the feeling of being hurt or having trouble, and insecurities. Most men put on a mask to say this does not hurt.

ATM: We do not get to see or witness male sensitivity.

NM: People asked how I felt when having a girl. I was relieved. I wanted a boy prior to my fiance being pregnant. Every guy wants a boy. I sat down at the doctor’s office to think about this relief. I was afraid of not being man enough for my boy. I could not teach him to be a man. My father is a man’s man. My father has rebuilt our house and a truck. He fixes everything around the house. He has a soft side, but also a stern side. My father has a humorous and serious side. I see him as a superhero. I could never be this. You start to realize you have all these qualities. It is normal for every guy to second guess these things. If you ask the proper questions about second guessing, then you find out beautiful things about yourself.

ATM: There is something within your gender that shapes who you are. Women should explore their femininity. This helps them become mothers.

NM: This is a great point. Even women finding out what it means to be a woman. This is about the discovery of knowing how it is to be a mother or a father. You are digging deeper to find these answers. People do not think deep from where I am from. This is the excuse for everything. There is a lot of simplicity. I want the most out of everything in this world. I want to know more about characters and people. The love of people helps me learn about characters. Our jobs as actors are to never judge our character. My character and I would be fighting on camera. His voice wants to be heard because I would think of him as a jerk. I have to let him speak through me. This is a real guy who is going through things.

ATM: People have perceptions of actors just reading the script and then going onto a set.

NM: There is a lot more. Some actors who are close to me will have an entire script marked up. This is how they work. I work best if learning the lines 20-30 minutes before. I am better. My acting coach is fantastic. It has taken me 15 years to find the right coach. This is when my character started to go off. You feel like you should be doing this and that based on how other actors work. No actor works the same way. I found out am a thinker. A thinker screws thing up when given time to think.

 

 

Wendy Davis On Acting and ADHD

Living with ADHD can make a person feel not normal. Actress Wendy Davis talks about how it is living with ADHD and provides advice on coping mechanisms. Also, she speaks on her role in OWN’s Love Is___ and her company Acting Pros.

ATM: How does Love Is___ drive the narrative for relationships?

WD: This show illustrates how love comes in all shapes and sizes. We have this idea that love has to be a certain way. Women believe a man rides in on a white horse. If a man does not have a white horse, then we do not recognize him as the love of our lives. This show displays that love can come in different ways and be unexpected. Nuri meets the love of her life while minding her own business. She discovers he is the love of her life a year later. It can happen at any moment and you might not like the way you expect it to look.

ATM: People often go for the guys with the money.

WD: Absolutely.

ATM: Nuri does the opposite. She likes him even though he has no money. Nuri wants them to live out each other’s dreams.

WD: Right. She is looking for substance. Men who have already built their kingdom are not looking for a woman who is a builder. They are looking for a woman who is content with a man making their decisions. Some women might not be as fulfilled. Especially if you are the type of woman who is a builder or a creator.

ATM: Are you a builder and a creator?

WD: Yes, I am. I have struggled with the trophy syndrome all my life. I am not a trophy. It does not work well when people try to put me in this category.

ATM: Explain the downfall or alternative for a couple who does not make it through the cocoon stage.

WD: This is one love story in which this couple goes through the cocoon phase. There needs to be a point where you drink and eat the other person. It has to be a sense of this. This could be the cocoon stage. I would be careful of turning this into a step by step process. Every love story is different, and this is fine. You must embrace the individual’s love journey.

ATM: These days people already assume “the end” result when first getting into a relationship. Most people believe they are with their wife or husband as soon as they get with them. This preconceived notion messes up the presentation of the relationship. Some break up in less than two to six months and some people end up being right. They do not allow the love to flow or take its own course.

WD: Is this what they do now? I am more informed about the last generation.

ATM: Or they copy off how love is portrayed on TV and in films.

WD: This is so interesting. I do feel like love has changed with technology. We did not have all this internet stuff while I was courting. The internet stuff makes men and women more accessible. There were a few dozen men in the orbit that I needed to meet. The people you knew were friends of friends. This was how you met. There was a commonality. If they were within your sphere, then you had a commonality with each other. You also had people to vouch for them. Now, there is so much to choose from. How can you pick one? There is nothing perfect in relationships. There are always challenges. When you have a thousand other women waiting on your man’s phone every time you have a challenge, what is the incentive of him working through this challenge unless you’ve gotten to the stage of who you are to each other? I agree with you about people do not get to the stage of commitment. They only make it through the Honeymoon stage. When they do not like it they go through it again with someone else.

ATM: It can also have to do with the relationships people grow up around, which influences their own relationships. They could grow up around the model of relationships that did not like good.

WD: This is very sure. In our society, not a lot of people have witnessed a successful marriage or long-term relationship. This does quite a bit of damage in terms of how people behave in a relationship. Some people do not know how to stay.

ATM: Most people grow up with their mommies or daddies telling them to go to their room.  None of these children see how to bounce back from an argument. This causes them to leave in their own relationship once they reach adulthood.

What was it like for you being indecisive at a young age?

WD: Oh lord. This is why am glad there was no social media or YouTube. The people who came before this was very fortunate. These things were not documented and left on YouTube for the rest of your life. If you know what I mean.

ATM: Why do you think conversations about ADHD are not really discussed, but only speculated in Hollywood?

WD: I do not think it is just in Hollywood. People perceive it as a negative. Who wants to claim this about themselves? No one wants to own it because ADHD is perceived as a negative. I say it is not negative. ADHD makes you different and defective.

ATM: How does it feel to live with ADHD on and off medicine?

WD: I was diagnosed well into my 30s. I had learned how to manage it most of my life. This is what most people do. I’ll give you an example. Before I was diagnosed, I would have scenes that had a lot of moving parts. There were a lot of people, extras, shining objects, and things going on in the scene. It would be challenging to stay focus on a scene to the point I would forget my lines. It was so frustrating. I studied diligently to compensate for getting easily distracted. I became a person who studied hard and long. The challenging thing about the ADHD on these occasions was that it did not matter how many times I studied. If someone walked by and it caught my attention, then I would just forget the lines. It would be almost like a short. It would just be gone. When an entire crew is waiting for you to get the lines right and you cannot. These times were heartbreaking to me. It was devastating.

ATM: Were you embarrassed?

WD: Of course. People did not understand what was going on. Why doesn’t she have this? Even though I studied all night. This was before being diagnosed. After I was diagnosed, I looked around for a medication that worked for me. I do not believe in using medicine as a crunch. I would take the medicine for moments on set as described. It would help me stay focus. This was a game changer. It was nothing I could do if getting distracted. It was not often but it was occasionally. It would be 150 people on set and it felt like a sensory overload.

ATM: I feel sometimes ADHD medicine takes away from the creativity of the person with it.

WD: Totally. Albert Einstein had all the classic characteristics of ADHD. The one meticulous thing about the ADHD brain is the offshoots. You can think of one thing and think of something else the next moment. It sparks your interest in another direction. They say the ADHD mind is actually that brain that has helped us discover new things. This is how the ADHD contributes to society. We do not think in a straight line. It is the ability to ask “what about this?”

I dated a guy once. We were renovating a house. The plans were all done. I had asked, “what about this?” It was almost like magic just happened. The way his brain worked, he could not think beyond these plans. He was incapable of envisioning something different from the plan that had been set before him. It was a brilliant idea. We ended up changing our ideas around based on this plan. This was the ADHD mind. This was a smart individual. The difference in us is that he could not go past a straight narrow. His brain did not go this way. I am just remembering him looking at me as if I had done some type of magic trick.

ATM: But in your mind, it was just a simple idea.

WD: Right. Our minds work like this all the time and 24/7. The idea is to harness this creativity rather than to let it run your life. You have to harness the abundance of creativity and imagination. If you research who has ADHD, then you find that some of the most famous people in the world have it. Will Smith is clearly ADHD. There is this great poster out there with famous people with ADHD. It has John Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Magic Johnson, Albert Einstein, and many others. Once you see ADHD is something that can be harnessed and not something to be ashamed of, then I think this is the first step in creating your life. When people get labeled with the negative stereotype it becomes their identity. They think it is them. They are broken. They are not smart. This is the classic belief. It is not that they are not smart, it is that their mind does not do good in that type of learning environment.

ATM: Why did you feel ADHD made you feel stupid in college as stated in an interview via podcast?

WD: ADHD was not a thing when I was growing up. It was not something that was diagnosed. Either you fit into the mold or you did not. If you did not, then something was wrong with you. I assumed I was stupid because I did not fit in this mold. I had this secret in college where I thought I was not so smart. My friend said to me that I was just different. This was a lightning moment for me. I feel she was ADHD too. She was a creative person. She also did not fit into the mold. This was the beginning of seeing it in a different way. Most students with ADHD struggle with low self-esteem. It is this belief that makes them not create their lives powerfully. It is the belief of them thinking they are stupid. I am still different and struggle with organization. Now I do not see it as being stupid. I notice it as a difference. There is a lot of things I can do that those people who do not have ADHD cannot do. This is in the area of imagination. It is a trade-off. Red and blue are not better than the other because they are just different.

ATM: Talk about your company Acting Pros.

WD: I have always loved helping other actors. They are my favorite people. We are like a clan. You know one when you see one. There is a connection. There is a very specific type of acting that is required for film and television. There is the core foundation of acting and then there is the physical expression of that acting. This is different from musical theatre. I learned how to adjust my performance to film and television when first moving to LA from a young T.V/film director. This changed my life. If I had not taken his class, then I would have sucked for a lot longer. He taught me how to condense my performance for film and television. I am from South Carolina. The SE in South Carolina now is a huge market for T.V and acting. The local actors who are doing theatre struggle to book film and T.V jobs. I was down there and told myself to help them. I would teach a class once a week in a lot. Many have gone on to work professionally. I see them on T.V. This is how Acting Pros started. You get the information you need from someone who has been there already.

ATM: What are their preconceived notions about acting and their challenges?

WD: Their biggest challenge is how to modify their performance in front of a camera, which is in film and television. This is different than theatre. If you are accustomed to performing in the house with 2,000 people, then how do you modify this in front of a camera? This is more of an intimate setting. The frame is a close-up. What feels natural is something that has developed on stage. It is the same internal experience, but a different external expression.

Davis enjoys riding Quarter horses. These are the horses used at horse races. Quarter horses are calm, relaxing, and strong. “I like to stay alive when I ride. So, I choose the Quarter horse.” Additionally, her most popular roles have been on Army Wives and a regular on OWN’s Love Is___. This show has been renewed for a second season.

The Will Of The ‘Tiger’

How do you decide between your passion and your religion? Prem Singh and Michael Pugliese wrote and starred in the film Tiger where a Sikh Boxer named Pardeep Singh Nagra has to pick both in order to stay true to himself.

ATM: How can people who are indifferent make their authenticity seen?

Michael: It comes down to being yourself and not being afraid to show who you really are. In regards, to the film Tiger, Pardeep Singh Nagra struggles to love himself before he can show others who he is. This is important especially during a time when there are social media platforms. We often get misguided on how we are supposed to look. No matter how you look and feel you have to love yourself. No matter who you are, what you look like, or what you believe in, you have to love what you see back. You will see who you were destined to be.

Prem: You have to love yourself. A lot of people have a tough time with themselves, asking “How should I love myself?” “What does this entail?” When you do follow the story, he comes to move forward for self-acceptance and finding himself.

ATM: How should a first-time boxer watch this film?

Michael: Boxing is a combat support. You have to be aware of who is in the ring. Boxing is the undertone to the film. It is a coming of age story about a boy coming into being a man. It is about standing up for one’s belief.

ATM: What would you all do if you were stuck with a decision between your religious and your passion?                                                                                     

Prem: It is not easy. It comes back to knowing what you want and how far you willing to do get what you want. Some people will give into their beliefs. Some people will go get it at any cost. You have to find this for yourself. This is what Pardeep Singh Nagra struggles with. To others, what he believes is easy and simple. To him, it is a struggle. You cannot choose. It depends what is more important to you in terms of what you believe in or what you stand for. Pardeep Singh Nagra cannot pick, so it fights for both. Why can’t he have both? Why can’t you have what you believe in and have what you want?

ATM: What is something you can never go a day without doing?

Michael: Talking to Prem. I have to talk to him once a day. It is really about what truly makes you happy. Working in film, with Prem, and inspiring others to do something great is something I cannot go a day without doing. This gives us fulfillment.

Prem: This is like our fix. We are just so a passion for films. We talk to each other every day. It is something we do on a daily basis.

ATM: When did this early passion for film start?

Michael: At a young age. I was always trying to entertain people. I was always trying to get in front of the camera in past family home videos. I would also grab the camera. I started to do drama and it evolved into doing a few plays. I got myself an agent in Toronto. I met Prem in acting class. We had the same goals and desire. I love to make beautiful art for the audience to enjoy.

Prem: I used to watch R-rated movies as a kid. I was not supposed to. I always thought what the action guys were doing was cool. I thought it was the coolest job in the world. My mother explained to me that these guys are actors, and this is what they did for a living. I knew this was actually what I wanted to do. I continued to grow up and watch how cinema captivated an audience. This is the moment I knew this was what I wanted to do. I went through drama class.

ATM: Why do you feel this film should have been a film narrative and not a documentary? How would this film get perceived as a documentary?

Michael: This is a good question. Prem and I are really into feature films, acting, and performing. We wanted to try creating our own project and work. We wanted to find roles that inspired a beautiful story. Doing a documentary was never a thought.

Prem: It would not have gotten a lot of exposure similar to films. Tiger’s message could get spread more in a feature film.

ATM: How does this mirror the controversies seen in society today?

Michael: You have to turn on the T.V and listen to the news. There are a lot of domestic and negative things in the news. Tiger shines a light on religion. You see a lot of hate crimes and

discrimination on the Sikh religion. It is really sacred to them to grow their beards and wear a turban. We are trying to educate people about this. We want to inspire people to stand up for their own beliefs such as skin color, race, sexuality, or a job. Look at Kaepernick. He risked it all for kneeling for his beliefs. At one time, he felt like the world was against him and his back was against the wall. Look at him now. He is the face of Nike and has like 3 teams wanting him. You have to stand up for what you believe in no matter want happens.

ATM: The word tiger is a metaphor for the character, meaning fearless. Where do you see the tiger in you?

Prem: Our whole journey. We had to have the tiger in us for the film’s journey. We were actors struggling to get something off the ground and producers to read our script. We were told no. We have struggled with this in our lives and what we wanted to become. The tiger has been with us since the beginning.

Michael: And you have a tail {haha}. We had to be aggressive and fight for what we wanted. We have a production banner called The Running Tiger Film. There is no stopping a tiger when it is running. This shines a light on the film. Pardeep Singh Nagra is a tiger in the boxing ring and also in the things he believes in. We are hungry for good content and trying to make an impact. This is where the tiger is ignited in us.

 

 

‘The Last Ship’ Actor Kevin Michael Martin

Kevin Michael Martin, originally signed on to do just two episodes has become a regular lead on TNT’s The Last Ship. These five seasons continue to change his perspective on what to expect as an actor. He believes anything is possible, especially in the field of acting.

ATM: What values do you feel your character brings to the show?

KMM: I am very lucky to be the youngest lead on the show. You have seen me grow as an individual spiritually and emotionally on and off camera. This plays a role in acting. I was able to progress as a soldier going into this war and the plague. You see a transition in his mid-20s to 30s. You see how he becomes a callous soldier who is ready and prepared for anything.

ATM: What are some related themes that appear in this show?

KMM: There is a lot of representation of how impactful the U.S. Navy in terms of the survival and protection of this country. We are able to work military veterans, commanders from years back, and ex-Navy Seals. The biggest impact is working with people who have been in battle and have seen things. I do not need to ever see these things because they are protecting my freedom and everyone else’s in this country.

ATM: Did you have prior knowledge of the Navy prior to joining the show?

KMM: Vaguely. My cousin was in the military and my uncle flew in the Vietnam War.  Not aside from these.

ATM: How did you visualize yourself as an adult actor while a younger actor?

KMM: I took a drastic turn. I was in musical theater and wanted to attend Julliard. I had done so much theatre in Chicago. I was not aware of how to support my voice. I blew out my vocal cords at a very young age. They stuck something down my nose and into my vocal cords. They told me I’ll lose my voice three times faster than the normal person. They told me to rethink working in musical theatre. I tried to reassess where I wanted to go. I decided to do T.V. work. I moved to Los Angeles and attend UCLA’s theater school. I broke into T.V. in my junior year. I am primarily a comedic actor. Somehow, I ended up being a big muscular soldier toward season four.

ATM: The best way is not knowing what to expect.

KMM: It’s funny. I had an interview about a year ago about season four. I was asked about my dream role. This was the first time I did not answer this question. My dream role will likely be the role I do not expect.

ATM: So, you said you are a comedic actor?

KMM: Yes. Hands down.

ATM: Say something funny.

KMM: Oh my God. The overall feel of the set. There is little Seal team of all these actors. I was the youngest one. These were actors who were ten times muscular, older, and ten times better looking surround me. I felt I was walking around with a bunch of GQ models. It was just my goofy looking face walking around trying to save the world. I still have no damn idea how I landed on this show and became one of these models. People think am a stud because of this show. If I walked down the street, then you would think that dude was a fucking weirdo.

ATM: How does this show describe brotherhood and how men look out for one another?

KMM: The main characters are like my brothers in real life. I have received a lot of mentor-ship from these men. They are all 5-8 years older than me. I have gotten to learn things from them as a performer and a human being. These relationships are valuable to me. Brotherhood is a cruel way of life whether in the army or not.

ATM: How has being a regular on this show changed your social life?

KMM: Oh, that is a good question. It is good and bad. I do not get recognized a lot in Los Angeles. I prefer it this way. It has given me a lot of time to become an investor. I invest in art, stocks, and now in angel investing (private companies who are not in the stock market yet). I give a lot of my personal time to this. I am spotted a little bit more in New York. It feels good. I walked into a watch store and the owner stopped working with his customers. He could not believe an actor was in his store. Some people will stare at me while at the airport. They cannot figure where I’ve appeared at. This is kind of awkward. Life is pretty much the same. Living a normal lifestyle is now preferred as I am getting older.

Little Women’s Melanie Stone

Family plays a vital role in how a person grows into their adulthood. Sometimes living in a household can influence who you are as a person. Melanie Stone stars in Little Women as Meg and discusses the importance of family.

ATM: How do you value family in terms of its representation in this film?

MS: Family is one of the most important things. It is your support system. I grew up in a family with nine siblings, including myself. We are all very different. You grow up to be different things in life.

ATM: What is the reality of trying to accept change with a mentality of already being adapted to elsewhere?

MS: This is so tough. It is hard when you have a set mindset. How do you tell someone, “Hey wake up, this is how it is.” This person can only wake up to see how it really is. They have to really face their fear or pride. They have to make the decision whether to accept this. Anyone can say they will accept a hardship.

ATM: How can the structure of learning influence someone’s life?

MS: These are deep questions. I love this. We all have different ways of learning. Our first experience of learning things starts in the family. This varies from person to person. What are your parents’ teaching you? What are they helping you learn? It starts with the parents. Whatever they are giving you will ultimately impact the person you grow up to be. This influences the learning tools you give your children and the people around you.

ATM: The March Sisters’ household has their own set of rules and social norms. This is outside of the normal society that greets them at the door. This leads to any household being looked at as a society. Society actually means family. How would you describe their society?

MS: Right. It is so true. I loved how you put the word society in it. It feels like home-school. The March home has their own little world when you step inside. Especially up in the attic. They each have their own corner to built their castle. They build their own dreams. Their mother encourages them to find individuality and go after the things that love. This is an environment that lets you explore what you want to be. You have Jo who wants to be a writer. She wants to do all these things. Amy is the artist. Beth is content to be with her family. This is an ideal environment. It would be fun if everything had an ideal family with support and love.

ATM: When did you get the thought and time to captivate your dreams?

MS: I was very fortunate. I grew up in a household where we were encouraged to be ourselves. I was always in the backyard making an adventure. I was digging holes, making mud pies, and building forts. I had immediately immersed myself in a storytelling world. I did not realize this as a child. I just loved and was obsesses with stories. I thought about how to make a career out of storytelling. This is where my passion laid. I was very resistant in my younger years. I was trying to find a normal job. I thought about what normal job would make me happy. I tried different types of jobs and it just did not work.

ATM: Was it because you were succumbing to what society told you to do?

MS: Absolutely. I definitely felt the pressure. I remember feeling embarrassed telling people I wanted to be an actress or a director. I got this look of “oh really and you want to be a star.” I just wanted to tell stories. I also would get the look of “oh good luck with that honey.” There was a time I tried to conform. I kept it to myself. This is interesting. Beth tries to conform and realizes it is not making her happy. Like why is she doing this? This was the same realization I had. It was like I hit a brick wall. I was not happy. I was not making anyone else happy. I am going to do what I think makes me happy.

ATM: I feel the most daring and daunting question that is asked to young adults is, what are you doing to do after you graduate? Or what do you want to do with your life? These are the years where you just do not know. People should feel comfortable with admitting they do not know. This world puts so much pressure on us and people within this age bracket. How many people at 40 are working their same career they said at 21? Some are not. In your 20s you do not know. 

MS: I 100% agree with this.

ATM: The title of Little Women is a sort of contradiction. The word “little” implies something to be small. Whereas, the word “women” implies females who are older than little girls. What do you think about this parallel?

MS: This is a good question. Like you said the word “little” implies small. Do not underestimate or judge a woman by their cover. Do not make assumptions. This is how it is. You think these girls are one thing and then they grow to be something else. They start off with the notion of little women and grow into larger successful women. You had very great and introspective questions. No one has asked me the questions you have asked me before. I really enjoyed this conversation.

Facebook Watch: Jayna Sweet

Young kids walk into high school more curious than ever and walk out wanting to explore more about their identity. During these years, an individual might question their gender and sexuality. These labels can help influence how a person turns out in their adult life. Jayna Sweet stars in Facebook’s TURNT, a show that addresses the modern-day realities of American high school culture and speaks to ATM on this issue with her role.

ATM: How does high school categorize people in a way that can later affect them in life?

JS: We know high school is full of labels, cliques, and categories. It affects people in different ways. It can affect people in a good way. Maybe the label you were called in high school helps you shred your skin and find out who you are. I was always called a drama nerd or geek. This made me feel bad, but it made me own who I wanted to be or who I am. It can affect someone negatively because people get weighed down by labels. They get concerned about what others think of them. This can damage your self-image.

ATM: What were you actually holding on to?

JS: I was holding onto these ideas that “yeah I am an artist.” This is what I wanted to do in my life. This was not an everyday thing. Any label would make a person feel bad. I thought people saw me in a way that I also saw myself. It was reaffirming to how I saw myself. In middle school, it was a different story. I felt cool being called a drama nerd. I went to an art school for high school. Everyone was an artist of some kind. It helped me to continue down the path I started.

ATM: Do you feel being misguided is a term that describes a person who decides to be different?

JS: This is an interesting point. It depends on who is saying the word misguided. My definition is less about someone being different and more about someone not knowing who they are. They are searching for their place in the world. They might not fit in the status quo. Some people did not fit inside the box you created for them.

ATM: Is the high school culture a description of how people are in society? Popular vs the losers? Better looking vs people not so better looking? More expensive clothes mean you are more like? Meaning does this sort of thinking just stop in high school or is it carried on to how we live?

JS: Unfortunately, I do not think it stops in high school. Sometimes you hear middle-aged parents getting into fights or drama and they are like “ It feels like high school.”  It is disgusting that it carries on. It is hard in this social media culture. Everything is focused on an outlook and appearance that we create of ourselves. It does not stop when we grow up.

ATM: What do you feel America’s or society’s high school culture is like?

JS: I always think of Mean Girls when she walks through the cafeteria and compares it to the jungle of Africa. The girls are jumping and roaring like lions. This is a good example of what it feels like. Underneath the surface, it is a big group of people who are given more independence and are trying to figure out who they are. People are trying to figure where they fit in.

ATM: What was the process of sticking the topics of gender and sexuality into this show as we are going through these topics today?

JS: It just fits into the story about the coming of age years. People are coming out and struggling with the way society is seeing them. People are trying to figure it out. It is relevant to this age. They are questioning their gender identity. We have a character like Jess who is gender nonconforming. Gabe is a character just discovering he is gay. I like showing the spectrum of young people who already see and view the world around them. Also, a person who is not comfortable with it. My character is not struggling with gender identity, but she is struggling with not being comfortable in her skin.

ATM: Do you feel there should be gender and sexuality education put in elementary and middle schools?

JS: This is interesting. The more people understand what gender and sexual identity are about, the more people would have empathy for it. In a perfect world, I would love to have it. I hope my future children have it to learn about. Learning about what other people are whether they identify as anything other than they were born into is always good.

 

 

David Sarukai on Coping With Adversity

The recent film Unbroken: Path to Redemption shows us the serious influence PTSD has on World War veterans. Actor David Sakurai expresses his role in the film and talks more about his different backgrounds while growing up in Denmark.

ATM: How does this film explore the reality of what veterans experience mentally when coming back home?

DS: We grew up watching a lot of World War movies. This one deals with the aftermath. It is an emotional battle. It is interesting to see and follow this story. You kind of take the story with you. This was an interesting focus. It was inspiring to see how he finds his ways out of internal battles. PTSD was not something talked about during this time.

ATM: Why do you feel this?

DS: No one just wanted to talk or care about it. It is something we can all relate to it. We are all at some point held captive. This is the same for me in certain situations in my life. It really shows fighting your inner demons. It is not bad to ask for help. People did not want to ask for help during this period. You just dealt with it the best way you could. This film shows something else. It is a very inspiring and beautiful movie.

ATM: How does a person try to move on when their past constantly haunts them? How did the lines of the script help you to understand this question?

DS: He has to go through this in his own mind in order to escape. You cannot deal with it any longer. It is the love of his family that helps him. He had to get help with this. It is about questionable faith. It is relatable throughout the world. People deal with difficult matters all the time. You see you can deal with problems from seeing someone like in the movie deal with theirs.

ATM: Do you ever question your faith?

DS: We all question ourselves. This is a healthy thing for us to progress. Growing up we all questioned ourselves a lot more. I definitely had to question myself coming from my background. It is a natural and constant thing. We are always evolving. Do I question myself? Yes, all the time.

ATM: How do you carry coming from a Danish and Japanese background, where do not see a lot of people like you?

DS: It is also about questioning one’s self. I did this for years. I thought about where I belonged. My father is Japanese, and my mother is Danish. I grew up in Europe. There was a huge Asian community around me. I looked very Asian while growing up. I had to figure out where I was from. It was hard for me. I left Denmark very early on after high school. I had to figure out what my Japanese heritage was all about and getting close to my Japanese family. I took a long time to understand life. I came back to Europe to work on acting. I was on a quest to portray different characters.

I did not see people like me. It has been a constant battle moving forward. It was refreshing to see over in the States while growing up in Europe. It got snippets of inspirations, which led me to pursue my dreams. I saw different actors of unique heritage. They looked different like how I looked different. This prompted me to actually move over here. Things have changed a lot. The platform is not as big where I am from. I can see the move more over here. I am still dealing with it. I take it as a blessing now. I feel I belong in a third place. I am proud of this and take this with great pride. This is a way to build bridges.

 

 

Twin Actors Take on A Simple Favor

Mystery lies in the lifestyle of Emily (Blake Lively). Curiosity is what drives Stephanie (Anna Kendrick). Both mothers live different lives but might share a common thing called secrets. One might have more. Twin actors Lauren and Nicole Peters discuss their involvement and lessons learned from the film.

ATM: What are the themes in this movie that can help you in life?

Lauren: There are various themes in this move that teaches you great things about life. One, you cannot judge a book by its cover. Blake Lively’s character comes off as this beautiful woman with a perfect life. Her life is quite the opposite. You cannot always escape your past. Emily’s past is a lot of why she does what she does. Stephanie seems like a very conservative character. You should trust your instinct. Anna Kendrick’s character Stephanie had an instinct that something was wrong the minute Emily goes missing. None of the other characters thought it was nothing of the ordinary. Trust your intuition.

Nicole: She might have stolen some of mine. You should be careful what you do with stuff. The past sometimes predicts the future.

ATM: What does this film express about motherhood?

Nicole: There are many different ways of mothering styles for sure. There are contrasts between Blake and Anna’s character. They are completely different mothers. They both love their children. Emily does things that are questionable. Her son is the first priority.

Lauren: You can be more than just a mother. They both adore their children. Emily is this huge PR person. She has a really cool job. Stephanie is a mommy vlogger and leads this mission to find Emily. This film shows you can do other things besides be a mother.

ATM: Explain some similarities between you and these two characters.

Lauren: Mine is not really a personality trait. Emily’s character is in fashion. Blake’s character always dresses to the nines and is really into fashion and I am also really into fashion. I relate to Emily’s character in this way.

Nicole: Both characters are super determined to accomplish what they want in the movie. I am very determined to things as well. I set my mind to do things and go after it. I put a 100% into it. I want to achieve all of my goals. I would stick with determination.

Lauren: I agree with this as well.

ATM: How do you all distinguish your acting performance? How you allow people to not see yall as one but instead as two separate actors? How do you allow them to see your strengths as two different things?

Lauren: Nicole and I are very similar. We look very identical and have many similarities in a lot of other aspects. Our acting coaches have said in the past that there are a lot of distinguishing things about the way we act. We both have our different niches. In this film, my role is more of the rebellious and alpha person. I use the rebellious role a bit more than Nicole. This works perfectly. Her role in this movie is rebellious but is a little of a lighter character.

Nicole: This is definitely a good question. We love acting together. It is a lot of fun. We push each other even more to do better. We are both super strong when not together. This is a great dynamic. When apart we brainstorm different aspects. We zone in on our acting. We make different choices for roles. Some people relate more to one of our choices. No, that one is bad, but one was good for that sort of project.

ATM: How would you distinguish Toronto’s film scene to the United States?

Nicole: This is hard. We have done most of our acting in Toronto. They both are awesome. The main difference is more things are shooting in the United States. We have gotten the Hollywood experience and can still do it from Toronto. We are both eager to head down LA to give it a try within a year or so.

Lauren: They definitely have different projects. A lot of American films are shooting in Toronto. We are really getting a chance to work on them. Our position in Toronto is good. We are getting experience in both industries.

 

Nickelodeon Star Nicole Alyse Nelson

Ever had to adapt to a new environment? Nicole Alyse Nelson portrays Dayton on Nickelodeon’s I am Frankie. Dayton is Frankie’s best friend who teaches her how to maneuver through life as a nonhuman. Nelson shares more about her role and internal passion for science fiction.

ATM: How does your character deal with a friend who has to fit into a different environment?

NAN: She has to definitely have patience. She is still learning new things every day throughout season two. Frankie learns what not to say out loud and how to blend in with others. My character is teaching Frankie about the world and about other people at school. Dayton is learning also from Frankie about how to be a really good friend, have patience, and loyalty.

ATM: Explain how a friend in your position in the real world deals with having a friend who does not come from the same background or culture.

NAN: You have to always be there for someone whether it is to listen or share an experience. I had maybe one scene out of 20 episodes that was not with Frankie in season one. We are always together. You have to accept them for who they are. You have to love the weird things about them. It is great to be supportive and help with things.

ATM: Have you ever been in Frankie’s position? Have you had moments in your life where adapting was key?

NAN: I was not the cool kid throughout my middle or high school years. I never had a lot of friends. Dayton did not have a best friend before Frankie came into her life. She was lacking that female companionship or any companionship. Dayton feels like a loner, but Frankie is also a loner. I have always felt like a loner in my life. I went to two different high schools. The experience was so uncomfortable. People were not friendly, and I was trying to fit in. I felt like this so many times growing up. I feel good being in this position again, but this time I am doing it with justice. You can gravitate toward real people who will show love and support. Kids need to hear more about this.

ATM: Why do you believe this show is important enough to be on aired on television?

NAN: The rise of social media. People are more insecure than before. This is plastered all throughout Instagram. It is important for children to understand they do not need to look or act a certain way to fit in. This show helps to capture this in a very fun sci-fi way. It is an elaborate and fun way of tackling this common topic.

ATM: Were you attracted to the science fiction as a genre prior to this show?

NAN: Yes, I really love sci-fi. My favorite books and things to watch were always in this genre. I love seeing Frankie project something from her eye and see it go onto a wall. Things will happen that are not physically there. There were green screens and stunts this season.

ATM: What books and films in this genre gravitate your interest?

NAN: I loved reading Harry Potter and The Lightning Thief while growing up. These books were great. I really like space movies. I recently watched Lost in Space on Netflix. I like anything that is visually beautiful similar to the movie Avatar. I can imagine creating and making a world out of nothing.

ATM: Would you agree that sci-fic helps broaden an individual’s imagination to think more outside the box?

NAN: Completely. I think that watching and immersing yourself in a different world is really fun.

ATM: How does sci-fic allow you to think outside the box?

NAN: It opens your mind up to things never thought of before. Kids just sit in front of the computer because of today’s technology. Creative things take your mind to different places. You think about space travel. Where can we as a society end up in 100 years? What are the types of advantages to knowing how many places we will see?