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Celebrating Diversity in the Entertainment Industry

SUMMER EDITION

®

monsta x

world tour [WE ARE HERE]

MAriah CArey returns to caesars palace

MICHAEL COLYAR from jester to addict to king

STING IMAGINE DRAGONS MARTIN BANDIER

HONORED AT BMI’S 67th ANNUAL POP AWARDS

HITHA Independent


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Welcome readers to our Special Edition of the International Hollywood Weekly Magazine. Our Cover STAR is the multitalented teen sensation, Singer/Musician HITHA. If there was ever a real need to share an International message to our global audience, it is now. Hitha is an artist with a beautiful vision for our world, where compassion, self-respect, cultural tolerance and an unabashed love for Nature are commonplace. She is a musical child prodigy, like Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys – except we, all of us, are “discovering” Hitha together. We are on the precipice of witnessing the global rise of a new Superstar in the entertainment industry. We are so honored to have the amazing Hitha on our Cover. But this Issue of Hollywood Weekly Magazine has our favorites all the wary around. Mariah Carey! Sal Velez from Netflix’s “Black Summer!” Jenna Elfman! We hope you enjoy this very special issue of Hollywood Weekly Magazine. As always, we thank YOU, our readers; we are who we are because of your love and support. We wish you all Happiness & Peace! Anthony Ewart, Associate Editor Celebrating Diversity in the Entertainment Industry

SUMMER EDITION

®

monsta x world tour [we are Here]

MAriah CArey returns to caesars palace

MICHAEL COLYAR from jester to addict to king

HITHA

STING Independent IMAGINE DRAGONS MARTIN BANDIER HONORED AT BMI’S 67 ANNUAL POP AWARDS tH

CALL US AT (424) 371 9900

On The Cover HITHA

For more information contact: Raghu Yelluru - Executive Producer (925) 963-8490 Michael Robert Phillips - Producer (510) 468-1300

Website: www.hitha.me

EMAIL hollywoodweekly@gmail.com

PUBLISHER/EDITOR IN CHIEF Prather Jackson VICE PRESIDENT Bernice Harris Michael D. Coxson SENIOR BOOK CURATOR Jane Ubell-Meyer ASSOCIATE EDITOR Anthony Ewart DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES & ASST TO THE PUBLISHER Jordan O'Quinn-Campbell MARKETING & SALES Launy Rhem CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Allison Kugel Victor Migalchan Alex A. Kecskes ART DIRECTOR Damian Aragon GRAPHIC DESIGNER Evgeny K CHINA OPERATIONS Victor Migalchan victor@hollywoodweeklymagazine.com (213) 220-3052 (424) 371-9900 INDIA OPERATION Ike Sinha Country Director Art4Peace Awards Hollywood Weekly Magazine B1/1565 Vasantkunj New Delhi-110 070 Mobile +919599068592 ASIA OPERATION Joyce Penas Pilarsky HWM Asia Ambassador Email: info@joycepilarsky.com Bench Bello HWM Asia Operations hollywoodmagazineusa@gmail.com Mobile +639273895559 DISTRIBUTORS CoMag MADER NEWS NEWS INFLIGHT, INC


S U M M E R

E D I T I O N - 2 0 1 9

MONSTA X

HITHA A Shining

Light Catalyzing Positivism for Her

4

Generation

Micheal Colyar From Jester to Addict to King

WORLD TOUR [WE ARE HERE]

24 Katerina Eichenberger

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BMI’S 67th

Annual Pop Awards

12

Jenna Elfman

Fearless in "Fear The Walking Dead"

20

On the teen suicide drama

26

Sal Velez Jr On Netflix's new Apocalyptic series

34

James Ingram

The Man with the Golden Voice

40


A Shining Light Catalyzing Positivism for Her Generation

S

BY BARBARA BURKE he’s absolutely charming. She’s talented. She’s a breath of fresh air. Fourteen-year-old singing sensation HITHA has something many young singers have not yet had the wisdom to aspire to, yet alone to successfully achieve – hers is an enviable, admirable, magical mixture of grace, of gravitas, of positivity and of vision, combined with a keen intellect, innate musicality, a soothing yet sultry voice, and a magnificent, engaging, sweet personality. Let’s face it. If you think it’s not easy being green, as the song says, try being a teenager in America, or indeed, anywhere in the world in 2019 – it’s not easy going. Doubts. 4 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

Demands. Despair. Dealing with daunting expectations, all the while experiencing hormonal fluctuations. It’s an incredibly stressful world for teenagers. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming. While adults are telling you, “All the World’s your oyster,” they’re also saying “Don’t be too boisterous – Conform! Perform! Participate! You have to do well in your classes, so get perfect grades! You have to be involved in extra-curriculars! Keep going, and going and going, don’t be late!” Teens live their lives hearing the world in stereo. On one side, adults are admonishing and insisting they adhere to academic standards and play by rules that rely on cultural and societal norms that teens

can’t relate to. On the other side, a teen’s peers are astonishing in their cruelty, their shallowness, and their dogged demands that one conform to the latest trends and perhaps try some dangerous things. Just to fit in because to fit in is to win. Sometimes, it can be too much and one can feel out of touch. Often, music is an outlet, an escape, a solace. Sometimes, it’s an answer to the stress, a salve for alleviating that incessant, anxious angst. HITHA’s beautiful, timely songs greatly succeed in identifying with emotions and challenges that all teens experience, and hence teens identify with her and her positive message that excellently exudes her light of love, laughter, positivism and beauty. That’s not to say that HITHA doesn’t experience the stress that every teen feels. Au Contraire, it’s always on her mind. Her debut song “Standing Up With Pride,” is a sensational single that addresses head-on how teenagers perceive the overwhelming demands that challenge them. Stress them out. Worry them. “Teenagers right now go through so much,” HITHA told Hollywood Weekly. “There are lots of kids with depression and a lot of kids who think about committing suicide. So, I try to write music to bring them hope, to shine a new light and glow and to inspire them to keep going . . . . we’ve all got to keep going. All of that is so important because we will be the next generation and we will be there soon . . . we need to share love to everyone and to do what’s right and it’s important for music to inspire everyone to keep going, to care for one another, we ARE the


next generation and our world will be full of new technologies, of new types of jobs and a new set of challenges and successes.” HITHA lives to write, to sing and to perform. “My motive in writing and in performing is to help teens make sure that positive messages are heard.” She said. Sometimes, she herself struggles to be heard, impeded by the stresses of a teenager’s life. “Standing Up With Pride, my debut song, is my own story,” HITHA told Hollywood Weekly. “I was getting stressed out with too many activities and external pressures and due to my negative thinking, I could not focus on my passion for singing.” Her solution? “One day, I decided to just let go of everything, to just be positive and to only pursue my passion,” She said. “That decision changed my life. I believe this positivity is going to help many people.” Take a listen and enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=lDx_dLqTixQ. Teens who listen to the song just know that HITHA’s got it. She understands their overwhelming insecurities, their dreams, their fears, their aspirations. Like many teens, she searched for inspiration and in that quest, she found music, creating and performing music – she has found a way to navigate the troubled waters of adolescence while staying true to her true essence, keeping fast to her Northern Star and to the meaning of her Hindu name, which is “She who wants good for everyone . . . Lovable.” How apropos! In her music, HITHA lets her love flow. Hollywood Weekly Magazine dug deeper, asking her when she began loving music. “My Grandmother taught me classical Indian music when I was only four,” She

“Be Strong, Be You and Be Independent.” said. “Soon, she realized it was my gift and so, she took me to classes where I learned how to keep pitch, to follow the beat and soon, I was exploring many different styles of music.” Unfortunately, HITHA’s grandmother has now passed, but through her music, HITHA keeps to the beat of her grandmother’s life’s rhythm, her wisdom, her guidance, her cadence . . . her radiance, all

with the loving support of HITHA’s parents. “My parents support me so much and I’m so grateful for everything they do for me,” HITHA said. “My sister is only twenty months younger than me and she dances and we connect through all types of arts – music, acting, art and dance . . . I am so grateful that I have my parents and my sister.” HITHA’s released second single

HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 5


“SPECIAL” is about the special person in a person’s life. “I sang this song for my grandmother. She was very important to me,” HITHA said. “A lot of times, pop songs are focused on romantic relationships and overlook all the other possible relationships. However, my song SPECIAL is about any person that you care about.” For a great listen, go here: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=0M4zbLWx3Q4. “Music is my passion and my life,” HITHA said. “I hope that I become known as the positive girl who loves to write and perform. When people hear my music, I want them to know that they can always count on themselves to figure out what their true passion is, and then

put in the hard work and practice alongside their talent to get the achievement they’re looking for. There’s always a positive ending if you try hard and don’t give up.” What’s unique about SPECIAL is how HITHA – perhaps with her grandmother’s wise eternal oversight and instruction - fused elements from Indian classical music into this song. Indeed, the Vedic sages recognized that each of us exists as an interdependent being linked to the universe through our ancestry – they understood that honoring the ancestors keeps those living in a harmony, both with her forbearers, but also with all of humanity and the universe. Clearly, SPECIAL is in tune with the universe and sends a universal

message - Listen to the song carefully again and do enjoy the flute. Many others thoroughly enjoyed it as well – it has garnered more than a million views on Facebook. Fans can enjoy HITHA’s new accomplishments by following her this Summer. “We are planning on few performances this summer,” HITHA said. “When I perform in front of my fans, I feel connected to them on a different level. I feel proud and thrilled to be performing in front of my fans and I want them to know that if they are going through hard times, they can listen to my music to make themselves feel better. I want them to feel inspired and keep going. Everyone has potential and they need to focus and go after their passion.” “Continuing to pursue her passions, HITHA has just released another single, INDEPENDENT. The song immediately surged and is currently ranked at #71 in Mediabase activator chart Top 100. It’s just beautiful and it’s meaningful.” Listen here: https://youtu.be/bWbCPqs6HKw. “When you are going through rough times or having negative thoughts, the best person to help you is your ‘Inner Self’,” HITHA said, discussing the central thesis of INDEPENDENT. “Be Strong, Be You and Be “Independent.” Words of wisdom from HITHA who - true to her name - wants to use her many musical talents to foster good for everyone and who is, indeed, so lovable. Website: www.hitha.me For more information contact: Raghu Yelluru - Executive Producer (925) 963-8490 Michael Robert Phillips - Producer (510) 468-1300


HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 7


Michael Colyar would unfold into a nationally recognized Comedic Star and Actor. But it wasn’t easy.

Michael Colyar and Roscoe from 103rd and Grape

Michael Colyar : From Jester to Addict to King By Michael Colyar & Anthony Ewart

Michael Colyar is a prism of comedy. He can convey compassion, love and drama through this comedy. His love is so intense and focused it can pierce through cultural walls and nationalistic shields. Nothing can prevent Michael’s human connection. And who or what would want to? Because Michael Colyar is fabulous. Michael is a Citizen of the World. He digs everybody. He uses his comedy like a light saber, slashing and carving his way into your heart. He believes that humor is healing and he gets a kick out of healing the world.

8 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

Actor, Comedian, Humanitarian, Motivational Speaker and Author, but let’s start at the beginning. Michael came from The Robert Taylor Homes on the South Side of Chicago. His family was so poor they couldn’t afford the “or”. They were just “Po”. Michael loved to make his Mama laugh. It was his way of getting her attention. What started out as a connection with his mother turned into a career, a path and a passion. From the projects Michael and his family moved to Morgan Park, where he attended Morgan Park High School and there he found his love for theatre. Over the course of the next 30 years

Along the way he embarked on a 23 year crack addiction, but through the love and power of his Mother and Father God Michael has successfully made it to the other side. And as of March 1st Michael is Celebrating 8 years of pure sobriety. In fact, he has a podcast where he interviews celebrities and they talk about Celebrating the Gifts of sobriety. The show, called “The Happy Pod,” which you can reach by going to The Happy Pod.com, kicked off its first season with an interview by Academy Awardwinning, acting legend Louis Gosset Jr. Michael didn’t just start hanging out with the stars. No, he put in the work. On Venice Beach, California from 1986 to 1995, every Saturday and Sunday, without fail, Michael would do 5 one hour shows. Tickling folks, changing lives and making his money. FIVE ONE HOUR SHOWS... 40 minutes of comedy and 20 minutes of getting his money. While on Venice Beach everybody and they Mama came to see Michael Colyar. Arsenio Hall came. Rick James came, and he was a regular and he brought Eddie Murphy. Snoop Doggy-Snoop Doggy-Snoop Doggy Dog came, so did TuPac. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle and Laurence Fishburn, they were all regulars. Robin Williams even dropped by once and said to Michael he was brilliant. After that


you couldn’t tell Michael “S@#t”. Then to add icing to the cake the city of Venice Beach, CA. put Michaels handprints, footprints and signature in concrete and placed it in the middle of Venice to commemorate Michael Colyar as the King of Venice Beach. During this time word got out and Hollywood came a’calling. Robert Townsend saw Michael out there and put him in his film “Hollywood Shuffle.” Michael didn’t have but one line but he was in a Hollywood movie. Then he landed the film “Johnny B. Good” with Anthony Michael Hall, a young Robert Downey Jr., and Uma Thurman who was 17 at the time and spoke 7 languages. Through the help of Michael’s

friend, Bernie Mac, Michael was invited to be on the first season of Def Comedy Jam and did so good he was invited back for the next 5 seasons. Then Michael co-created BET’s Comic View and over the years has been instrumental in helping hundreds of young comedians find their way through their comedic path. And more and more film and television roles came. But Mr. Colyar understands it’s not just about the doing, it’s also about the giving. Michael believes if you ever want to have anything you’ve got to learn to give it away. If you give all to all you will have so much stuff you won’t have any place to put it. One of the ways Mr. Colyar has exhibited this idea

of giving is through his project called “Comics Go To Jail.” Michael’s Queen and best friend, Kellie McCann produces that prison show and loves him to life. For the last 14 years almost every month Michael has taken 3 to 4 comedians to the Terminal Island Federal Correctional Facility where they perform a free hour and a half concert for the inmates. Also in his quest to give Michael has always been a champion of the homeless. While working his magic on Venice Beach he would regularly buy 10 breakfasts for the homeless. Cheap breakfasts. 99 cents breakfasts. And distribute them to the first 10 homeless people he met on his way to the boardwalk. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 9


and helping others along the way. Michael the author is killing the game with two books out, “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the White House, I Knocked on the Door and a Brother Answered,” (about his favorite President, Barack Obama), and “Ms. Innocent goes to Kool Skool and other Silly Stuff,” (a poetry book for Adult Children), and a third book arriving at the end of the year called “Michael Goes Motivational.” Michael loves to tell his story. The greatest way that Michael is currently telling his story is in his One Man Play “Michael Colyar’s Momma.”

The crown jewel of giving came in 1990 when Michael won $100,000 from Star Search and promptly gave $50,000 to the homeless. Soon after that Chris Albrecht from HBO came out to Venice to see this cat that everybody was talking about. That resulted in Michael getting his first 30 minute HBO Comedy Special shot live 10 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

on Venice Beach. Mr. Colyar is returning this summer to shoot his first One Hour Comedy Special smack dab in the middle of Venice called “The King of Venice Beach.” Is he a Saint? Hell naw! Did y’all forget about the crack? He’s just a regular guy trying to figure life out

Michael Colyar holding his book “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the White House: I Knocked on the Door and a Brother Answered.”


The two-act dramatic comedy which follows Michael’s trials, successes, failures, addiction, recovery and discovery that everything is about family and God is set to do a 100 city tour and landing on Broadway. Michael is determined to get his Tony Award as he tickles, informs, enlightens and lifts the World...... and that ain’t no joke. He says, “The more I face God the happier and healthier my life gets.” He feels he can conquer the World and actualize all of his dreams because he stands with God. He says, “One with God is a Majority.” Finally ending this funfilled and revealing interview by reminding me that once we get God and Family down everything else takes care of itself. His Motto: Life is a Garden...if you dig it. To keep up with Michael’s antics and see where he’s performing his magic next follow him on Instagram @Michael_Colyar or even better check out his funny, sexy web page therealmichaelcolyar.com.

Michael Colyar with the Love of his Life, his Beautiful Queen and fiancee, Kellie McCann

“The King of Venice Beach” HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 11


Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for

Sting (Pho to

by Lester

Cohen/G etty Imag es

for BMI)

for BMI)

for BMI)

(L-R) Dan iel and Danie Platzman, Dan Re ynolds, Be l Wayne Se n McKee (Photo by rm Michael Ko on of Imagine D rago vac/Getty Images fo ns r BMI)

(Photo by Michael Ko vac/Getty Images

Steve Tyre ll (Photo by Micha el Kovac/ Getty Im ages

Bebe Rexh a

BMI)


STING, IMAGINE DRAGONS AND MARTIN BANDIER HONORED AT BMI’S 67TH ANNUAL POP AWARDS The Evening Also Celebrated the Top Pop Songwriters and Music Publishers in Beverly Hills BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) paid tribute to the best in songwriting at its 67th Annual BMI Pop Awards held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. World-renowned singer/songwriter and musician Sting was celebrated for “Every Breath You Take” becoming the Most Performed Song in BMI’s repertoire of over 14 million musical works, GRAMMY Award-winning band Imagine Dragons received the BMI President’s Award and legendary music publishing executive Martin Bandier was named a BMI Icon. The private event, hosted by BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill and Vice President, Worldwide Creative Barbara Cane, also saluted the songwriters and publishers of the past year’s most-performed Pop songs in the United States from BMI’s extensive catalog. The night’s first honor went to Sting for penning the timeless hit “Every Breath You Take,” which is now BMI’s most performed song with nearly 15 million radio plays. O’Neill commemorated Sting’s milestone, noting that “the enduring success of ‘Every Breath You Take’ is truly a spectacular achievement that now has a singular place in songwriting history.” Upon receiving the honor, Sting commented, “I am so deeply proud to be a member of this community of songwriters. There’s a rare nobility in this profession that is more than just mere entertainment, and I believe it has something to do with the form of a song.” The rock icon went on to give an intimate acoustic performance of his signature single, which first became a hit in 1983 with The Police before its 1995 resurgence with “I’ll Be Missing You” by P. Diddy, Faith Evans and 112. Imagine Dragons received the BMI President’s Award in honor of their incredible creative accomplishments and commitment to philanthropic efforts that bring awareness to social injustice. In receiving this award, the group joins an illustrious group of previous recipients including Luis Fonsi, P!nk, Adam Levine, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney and Ludacris, among others. In addition to the BMI President’s Award, two of their singles, “Thunder,” which recently reached a milestone of more than one billion streams, and “Whatever It Takes” from the group’s third album Evolve, were recognized among the evening’s top-performed songs of the past year. Imagine Dragons took to the stage after receiving their awards for an acoustic version of some of their biggest hits including “It’s Time,” “Believer” and “Radioactive.” Marking the first time a music publisher has been named a BMI Icon, Martin Bandier received the honor in recognition of his many contributions to the industry at large including his tireless work to advocate for songwriters’ rights. Under his leadership, Sony/ATV became the largest music publisher in the world and home to some of the biggest names in music including BMI songwriters Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, P!nk, Carole King, Sting and Taylor Swift. Bandier accepted the honor with “humble gratitude” commenting, “Just as BMI backed me and believed in me at the start of my career, I hope that I have offered the same support and mentorship to those with whom I’ve worked with along the way.” Singer/songwriter Steve Tyrell graced the stage to honor Bandier with a dedicated performance of “Stand By Me.” BMI’s 50 best-performing songs were also named throughout the evening, leading up to the announcement of the BMI Pop Song of the Year, which went to Bebe Rexha, Joshua Miller and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard for their massive hit, “Meant to Be.” It was a four-way tie for the prestigious Songwriter of the Year award, with Adam “Frank Dukes” Feeney, Taylor Swift, Ali Tamposi and Andrew Watt each writing four of the year’s most-performed songs, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing scored the esteemed BMI Pop Publisher of the Year crystal with 28 of the year’s most-performed songs. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 13


HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 15


t h g tli our

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of y s e isod today's p e t ates mas on l e h th TV dra ght c t a C ite otli r p o S v fa

TV | THE CODE

“Don and Doff” - Abe and Harper’s investigation into the accidental overdose of a Marine takes a turn when they can’t find any fingerprints - even the deceased’s - on the pill bottle, leading them to believe he was murdered. Also, Abe receives a warning about testifying in a lawsuit against the Corps, and Maya is concerned that her brother does not have his mental illness under control, on THE CODE, on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R) Anna Wood as Capt. Maya Dobbins and Aaron Tveit as Matt Dobbins Photo: Jeff Neira/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

16 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY


Spotlight

TV | INSTINCT “Finders Keepers” -- Lizzie and Dylan work a case that provokes deep emotions for them when a 9-year-old boy goes missing on the eve of a judge’s decision in a bitter custody battle. Also, with Dylan’s help, Lizzie confronts some of her past childhood demons, and a major advancement presents itself in Dylan and Andy’s adoption search, on INSTINCT, on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R) Alan Cumming as Dr. Dylan Reinhart, Michael B. Silver as Det. Kanter Harris and Bojana Novakovic as Det. Lizzie Needham Photo: Francisco Roman/CBS©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

TV | BLOOD & TREASURE “The Wages of Vengeance” - After nearly capturing Farouk in a sting operation, Danny and Lexi enlist Hardwick to tap into his underworld contacts in hopes of cornering Farouk before he disappears again. Also, Gwen, fed up with Danny and Lexi’s tactics, arrests Father Chuck for aiding them, on BLOOD & TREASURE, on the CBS Television Network. Pictured Sofia Pernas as Lexi Vaziri Photo: Philippe Bossé/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 17


Spotlight

TV | ELEMENTARY “Miss Understood” - Holmes and Watson search for an ulterior motive when Cassie Lenue (Allie Ioannides), a brilliant young criminal they helped put in prison, seeks their help in solving a murder, on ELEMENTARY, on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (L-R) Lucy Liu as Joan Watson and Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes Photo Best Possible Screen Grab/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

TV | LIFE IN PIECES “Cabana Hero Island Son”--When Matt helps Grandpa Mort (Paul Dooley) efficiently book a family trip to the Bahamas, the family is super impressed, so Greg reserves a cabana at the pool to outdo Matt. Also, Tim saves the life of fellow hotel guest Stuart (Richard Kind); Matt and Colleen take an excursion to a private island; and John learns some astonishing news about his father, on LIFE IN PIECES, on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Zoe Lister-Jones as Jen Short and Dianne Wiest as Joan Short Photo: John P. Filo/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved 18 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY


Spotlight

TV | LOVE ISLAND

American viewers will get their own LOVE ISLAND this summer. The U.S. version of the international reality sensation filled with romance and relationships will premiere on the CBS Television Network. New episodes will air every weeknight (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) through Wednesday, August 7.

TV | UNDERCOVER BOSS: CELEBRITY EDITION “Ashley Graham” - Ashley Graham, accomplished model and body activist, poses as an aspiring model while seeking out like-minded curvy models and meeting a trailblazing young ballerina with a massive social media following, on UNDERCOVER BOSS: CELEBRITY EDITION, on the CBS Television Network. While undercover as “Morgan,” a raven-haired, face-pierced aspiring model, Graham is turned away at a model agency’s open call, wants to slither away when forced to pose with a snake at a photoshoot with a curvy model, and spins into high gear in a dance studio while working with a gifted ballerina who defies the conventional body-type for talented dancers. Pictured: Helei, Ashley Graham Photo: Best Screen Grab Available/Studio Lambert ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 19


JENNAELFMAN Fearless in “Fear the Walking Dead” Jenna Elfman Fearless in “Fear the Walking Dead” By Alex A. Kecskes

L

oved as the free-spirited yoga instructor in the late '90s sitcom “Dharma & Greg” and more recently as a PR exec with a ghostlike mentor in the sitcom “Imaginary Mary,” Jenna Elfman has an extensive body of work that includes both features and television. A native of Los Angeles, Elfman began her career in commercials. After studying with the renowned Milton Katselas, she appeared in a number of TV series, including “Dharma & Greg,” for which she won a Golden Globe. Elfman has also appeared in such TV hits like “Growing Up Fisher,” “1600 Penn,” “Damages,” “Matumbo Goldberg,” “Accidentally on Purpose” and “Courting Alex.“ Her first feature role was in “Krippendorf's Tribe.” She has since appeared in several other features, including “Big Stone Gap” and “Friends with Benefits.” Elfman surprised her fans when she joined the cast of “Fear the Walking Dead,” a hardcore spinoff of the popular “The Walking Dead” franchise. A series regular as June and alternatively as Naomi, her complex character harbors a dark past. (Naomi killed everyone she blamed for her daughter’s death in a FEMA center, which brings lots of emotional baggage to the role.) Thank you for taking the time for this interview. “Fear the Walking Dead” is a departure from your light comedic fare. What drew you to the role of June/Naomi? Jenna Elfman: As an artist, I was really craving to go into 20 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY


another genre, a new chapter, and to keep challenging myself. I wanted to reinvent myself, to dig into the human condition and explore it. So I looked for a role that would let me do that. When I sorted that out for myself, 10 days later, they offered me this role. What did you find most challenging about being in this series? Elfman: When you first start a new job in any occupation, there’s a learning curve. For me, it was the genre, this particular universe, the fandom, my co-stars, and the characters. When I was hired, I watched every season of both shows. This is a big universe and I wanted to know what I’m part of because I was very happy to be part of it. I wanted to fully own my experience. I’ve enjoyed the process of going through the learning curve, of developing a character. In comedy, you have your character and you just keep telling funny stories with that character; but in a drama like this, your character goes through such a dynamic change. So that was a fun journey. I’ve just been very stimulated going through this whole process. I love all the stunt work and learning new things in the stunt realm. I really feel fulfilled in doing this job.

Will the show unravel more of June’s background? Will she finally find her core or center? Elfman: She was a trauma nurse, she’s a helper and she cares about people. She’s a mother and we recently found out how she lost her child. And how the downfall of the FEMA shelter was kind of on her shoulders. She’s experienced a lot of trauma and guilt. But having someone like John Dorie, who is so benevolent and loving, has been a very healing thing for her. So I don’t think there’s some dark backstory to June. I think we’ve found out what it was and how it was eating and traumatizing her. She’s been recovering from that and learning. She’s a helper and any time she’s helping others, it heals her. And that’s her journey, to keep helping people because that’s who she is. I don’t think you’re a trauma nurse if you don’t like people. So it’s been a journey of rehabilitation and healing for her. What was it like, your first days on the set? What surprised you about the role? Elfman: My first day may have been at the baseball diamond, after the oil scene, where I return to the stadium. It was a big transitional year for everyone. I was just trying to observe and do the best with the information I had. I’d spent the weekend before my first day really digging into my character and what she’s been through. I didn’t know the full trajectory of what their plan was for my character’s future. I didn’t know how much of the love story would be a thing. I hadn’t shot the Laura episode yet. I was very honored HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 21


pop up. And then there’s the magic of editing it all together. I was a trained professional dancer most of my life, so I had the acumen in the use of my body. But I’m like a tomboy in that I enjoy doing my own stunts.

and happy to be there. It was really what I’d wanted to do so I felt very grateful. It’s a very talented crew and what struck me the most was the competence level of every department. That was inspiring. I was just trying to learn. You’re telling the story of humanity so you watch people. This is an emotionally and mentally demanding role. What did you draw from to convey June’s guilt and loss of a child? Elfman: Artists have an imagination, for one. And I’m a mother, so I know what it is to love your children. I can imagine how terrible such a loss would be. I did some research on parents who lost their children. I watched interviews with people talking about it to try and find a common denominator of what it is for them. How rough the healing process is. The guilt that occurs when you feel that it’s your fault. So watching these interviews of people who’d lost their children in a normal world was one thing. It takes years and they never fully recover. But June lost her child in an apocalyptic environment with no loved ones around, lots of guilt, and a very harsh environment. So that’s enough to really do you in. Ok, last season, you fell through a roof holding a pistol. Did you land without injury? How physically demanding is this show? Elfman: Oh, it’s very physically demanding. I had a lot of bruises. On that particular stunt, our stuntman was about three feet down with a giant fluffy pad. And when we’re in the oil tank, it’s a separate thing where a stunt double actually fell down into the oil; then they had me start under the oil and 22 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

You once mentioned that people in crisis start cracking jokes. With June being more relaxed this season, will we see a bit of your comedic talent emerge? Elfman: Yeah, there are a few moments, though I wouldn’t say comedic. But there’s some levity and charming stuff with John, here and there. You’ll see some smiles and jovial-ness. But June has some things she wants to accomplish so she’ll be focused. Bonnie Hunt was an oncology nurse who used humor to lighten things up for her and her patients. Do you think June’s need for a bit of humor will help her lighten things up in dealing with her tragedies and everything that’s going on around her? Elfman: I know with “Dharma and Gregg,” I had fans come up to me and thank me for helping them through a hard time—they were going through dialysis, dealing with cancer, or a family member who was ill. They said ‘you just kept me laughing through that’ and how helpful and therapeutic it was. It was really heartfelt gratitude.


MONSTA X world tour [ we are here ]


K-POP SUPERGROUP, MONSTA X CONTINUE WORLDWIDE DOMINATION INK DEAL WITH EPIC RECORDS MONSTA X WORLD TOUR

New York, NY - May 28, 2019 - Continuing a banner year marked by sold out arena shows, tens of millions of streams, and widespread critical acclaim, K-pop supergroup and worldwide phenomenon, Monsta X, sign to Epic Records for their English language recordings and worldwide distribution ex Korea.

July 3

Amsterdam, NL

AFAS Live

July 6

Paris, FR

La Seine Musicale

July 9

London, UK

The SSE Arena Wembley

July 13

Berlin, DE

Mercedes-Benz Arena (O2 World Berlin)

July 19

São Paulo, BR

Espaco das Americas

July 21

Mexico City, MX

Teatro Metropolitan

July 25

Dallas, TX

Verizon Theatre

July 27

Houston, TX

July 30

Atlanta, GA

“We are thrilled to join the Epic Family alongside some of the artists we admire the most. This is like a dream come true and we still can’t believe that Smart this is happening to us. We can’t thank our monbebe Financial Centre enough for their endless support and for making everything possible,” said Monsta X. Fox Theatre

August 3

New York, NY

Hulu Theater

August 6

Chicago, IL

August 10

Los Angeles, CA

(Heineken Music Hall)

“K-pop has indelibly impacted the global conversation and influenced culture everywhere. At the top of that conversation, you’ll find Monsta X. They’re ushering the genre into the future with an original style befitting of their experience, passion, and diverse influences. We’re honored to welcome them to the Epic Records family,” said Epic Records Chairman and C.E.O. Sylvia Rhone.

Currently on the cusp of their seventeen-date “we are here” would tour, Monsta X will only catapult further in the U.S. market with this prestigious partnership. Rosemont Kicking off on June 1st in Bangkok, the tour will Theatre weave through places such as Sydney, London, Staples Center Mexico City, closing out with a bang in 6 cities throughout the U.S.

THE BAND’S LATEST ALBUM, TAKE.2 ‘WE ARE HERE,’ DEBUTED AT #5 ON BILLBOARD’S WORLD ALBUMS CHART FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 2, 2019; AND HAS BEEN CAUSING AN UNSTOPPABLE WAVE OF INTEREST WITH NOTABLE MENTIONS IN COMPLEX, IDOLATOR, BILLBOARD, COSMOPOLITAN, AND NME STATING THAT THE ALBUM “FEATURES SOME GIANT LEAPS FORWARD FOR THE BAND.” ON TOP OF THAT, THE BAND IS CURRENTLY SET TO PERFORM AS THE FIRST K-POP GROUP AT THE IHEARTRADIO MUSIC FESTIVAL OUT IN LAS VEGAS ON SEPTEMBER 21ST, 2019.


On the teen suicide drama, “Just Say Goodbye”

By Alex A. Kecskes

Katerina Eichenberger

26 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

A native New Englander, Katerina Eichenberger studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, the Atlantic Acting School, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and Stonestreet Studios. She has appeared in a number of independent films, including the drama “Brief Candle.” She was also in the family drama “Through Your Eyes.” And she co-starred in the musical drama “Star.” In “Just Say Goodbye,” Eichenberger is Sarah Morin, a young woman who cuts her summer vacation short when she discovers that her best friend plans to end his life. Thanks for taking the time for this interview. “Just Say Goodbye” underscores the tragedy of teen suicide. What attracted you to the role of Sarah? katerina eichenberger:

I just noticed all the teen suicides occurring throughout the US, which is particularly disturbing. I saw a lot of myself in Sarah when I read the sides for the role. I was immediately taken by the film’s focus on friendship and the reality of these two teens rather than just dramatizing suicide. So that drew me to the role.


Did you audition for the role? If so, what was that like? katerina:

I was finishing my degree at NYU, trying to get an agent and submitting myself to work on projects. I responded to an audition posted on Backstage, which is an online site for artists who want to audition for projects or for people to upload their projects. So I submitted myself, waited to be confirmed, and finally auditioned for the role of Sarah. A month after that, I got the part. What did you draw from internally to bring Sarah to life? katerina:

I felt that the relationship between Sarah and Jesse (Max MacKenzie) was not only one of ‘best friends’ but familiar to me. There was a moment when Jesse said something to me and I broke down. That hit me hard, viscerally as if my little brother—who’s three years younger— had said those words. That solidified it because my brother is one of the few men in my life who I care deeply about. I would do anything for him. If he ever told me he wanted to commit suicide because he was dealing with all these horrible things, it would absolutely destroy me. So I had that moment that reminded me of my brother, someone I would do anything for. I also drew from being in school, growing up around ‘special ed’ kids who were bullied or left alone at the cafeteria table. I felt so much sadness and frustration towards these kids who don’t get the same opportunities or experiences for any reason other than some classmates being mean. So I would take the time to sit with them or do what I could to just make them feel like people cared. Being isolated is one of the most ostracizing feelings in the world. Isolation can be hurtful, especially with today’s social media. katerina:

It’s truly awful. If you just have one person in your life, it’s much better than feeling completely alone. When kids feel completely alone, they’re unable to find a reason to keep going or enjoy life. What did you find most challenging about being in this film? katerina:

I was traveling back and forth from New York City to Massachusetts, which was exhausting. I’d work during the week and drive to Massachusetts to film for three-and-a-half hours during the weekend. I did that for HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 27


about two months. On top of that, “Just Say Goodbye” is a very emotionally driven film. Like when you cry, you not only feel a sense of cathartic release, but it’s also very exhausting. And then when you do three more scenes right after that till 2 a.m., you’re absolutely drained and just trying to muster the strength to feel awake. I remember doing one scene at night where Max just keeps messing up a line, so we just broke down and started laughing. What was your favorite scene? katerina:

It was when Jesse and I were sitting on the bed and we had that intimate moment where I try to sleep with him to try and change his mind. That was our second scene in the entire film and we barely knew each other. As an actor, you have to strip away your ego and just work with the person in front of you—whether you know them or not. It’s being able to fully commit to that relationship and having that moment where you’re able to show that relationship without having one in your personal life. The film speaks to bullying and parental abuse. What do you see as the film’s core message? katerina:

That it’s better to say something even if it feels like you’re betraying the trust of a friend—especially when it comes to their life. It also reminds us that you can get past so much, even if you only have one friend. So take those relationships, use them, foster them, and make them more important than anything else. What did you learn about teen suicide that you didn’t know before being in this film? katerina:

How quickly people can make their minds up about committing suicide. I thought it would be this long process. Sometimes people are very sure about their decision. I found it heartbreaking that someone could be so committed to ending his or her life. But I think within that commitment, there’s that ability to change their mind. People need to be more proactive and just say something. How are you like Sarah and how are you different? katerina: I think we’re both willing to stand up for what we

believe and unwilling to take crap from anyone. I may not be as upfront as Sarah is and I don’t know if I’d punch 28 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY


anyone in the face. I’ve been lucky enough not to have to deal with anything to that extent. But that passion, that go-getter quality is something she and I share. I also have that dedication to those I love. I think Sarah is structured but she’s also pretty free. She doesn’t really care about certain things. She’s smart and will probably do her homework but be late about something else. She doesn’t seem that anxious and I think I’m a little bit more of a worrywart. I like to get to places on time and do things on time. What advice would you give young actors just starting out? katerina:

Make sure this is what you want to commit your entire life to because it’s a never-ending process. And remember that any step you take, even if it’s small and seemingly insignificant is actually huge. You should celebrate those small successes because it’s a really difficult industry. You just never know what will happen with something that you do. I couldn’t have guessed that “Just Say Goodbye” would get to this point. I did it because I love the work and wanted to do it. I didn’t do it for money or fame. I hear that a lot from actors: celebrate the small successes. katerina:

If you get an audition for something, that to me is a small success—even if you just get a callback or don’t get the part. Some people don’t even get auditions Getting a stage reading for something is also a success. It’s the things that people don’t think about when they talk about everything they’re working on. The things they don’t mention tend to be the small successes. They’re the things that make us better actors. What’s next for you? katerina: I’m in a play right now with a movement-based

experimental theater company. The play is called “Spirits to Enforce,” which is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It actually takes place 400 years after the events of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It’s a fun, smart witty play.


BOOKS TO DEVOUR

by Jane Ubell-Meyer, Senior Book Curator, Founder Bedside Reading ®

GRAB YOUR TOTE AND STOCK UP! This summer as you gather your new must read beach books, you will reconnect with authors you have loved, and of course, discover new ones. Summer is a great time to spend with young readers. CBS’s Julie Chen and illustrator Diane Goode provide the perfect bedtime or anytime book to read to your child. Julie gives us a glimpse as to how this book came about. When I Grow Up by Julie Chen, Illustrated by Diane Goode Q: Why write a children’s book? A: I was approached by Simon & Schuster soon after becoming a mom to my son Charlie, asking would I be interested. At first I thought about doing a Chinese New Year book to teach my son the traditions and why we celebrate the way we do. But then I thought I would love to let him know that no matter what he chooses in life, I’ve got his back. I will support him and believe in him. Q: Tell us about the storyline and the beautiful illustrations by Diane Goode. A: The story follows a young boy and his mom during the child’s nightly wash up routine. As he is getting ready to go to sleep he tells his mom all the things he dreams of becoming when he’s a grown up. Diane Goode captures my son’s big personality and lets the boy be the star of the show while finding clever ways to incorporate the mother on each page. Sometimes she’s right there as herself. Other times she’s drawn as a rocket ship, or her face is the center of a flower or a hot air balloon. Its subtle message is that the boy’s mom will always be there for him. I love telling new readers to look for the mom on each page. It becomes a game for kids, with the reward of knowing they’re never alone. Q: Your son Charlie is nine years old, how did he help with the writing process? A: My son has such a creative mind. He dreams big and has an incredible imagination. Just watching his aspirations and ideas constantly grow and change guided me tremendously in writing this book.

2019 SUMMER BEACH BOOKS Paranoid by Lisa Jackson. With having written over 95 novels, this #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist, Lisa Jackson, is back. The Skinny: Twenty years ago, Rachel Gaston played a childish teenage game which turned deadly. Now with a reunion looming, there are people back in her hometown who believe Rachel got away with murder. Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert - Bestselling author, Emily Liebert is back and Pretty Revenge does not disappoint! This psychological thriller is thoroughly engrossing. Liebert goes deep into the idea of revenge. Being wronged is a powerful motivator.


JANE RECOMMENDS:

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Cut: A Medical Murder Mystery by Amy S. Peele, Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane, Border Son by Samuel Parker, Whisper Network by Chandler Baker, Heels of Steel by Barbara Kavovit, Cape May by Chip Cheek, No Traveller Returns by Louis L’Amour and Beau L’Amour, Peach Truck Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes for All Things Peach by Jessica N. Rose and Stephen K. Rose, Deep Within A Blueberry Sky by Jeffrey J Antonucci, Nine Tana Leaves by James Noble, The Nine by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg The Fruit Salad Friend Recipe for A True Friend by Maria Dismondy, illustrated by Kathryn Selbert, Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse by K J Kruk.

HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 31


BOOKS TO FILL YOUR SOUL Being Here…Too | Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment by Ariel & Shya Kane I devoured this book. Real, everyday stories that will touch your heart and transform your life. When you are Being Here in the current moment…magic happens. Years of resentments dissolve, true love blossoms where it’s least expected, and ordinary moments become extraordinary. Award-winning authors Ariel and Shya Kane, along with their international community, share inspiring true stories about life, death and everything in between. These heartwarming personal tales will allow you to enjoy the magic! Signs of Life, Love and Other Miracles by Stephanie Ager-Kirz Two years ago my best friend, Noreen Fraser passed. It’s been a difficult greiving process. I am hoping that we as a culture can learn from other cultures on death and how we can heal. Signs of Life, Love and Other Miracles by Stephanie Ager-Kirz is an inspiring and joyful must read for anyone who has experienced loss. The Color Teil by Duncan Teil. I am a painter and as soon as I picked up Duncan’s book the vibrant colors spoke directly to my heart. This magnificent book of 300+ full-color images will delight all of your senses. Whether you are a writer or painter everyone’s journey is unique. Duncan is brave enough to share hers. The Book of Affirmations Self Love by Tonya TKO Q: Why are bedtime rituals important? A: Bedtime rituals are important because they set the tone for your quality of sleep, and your quality of sleep sets the tone for your quality of life. 30 minutes before sleep and 30 minutes after you wake your subconscious mind is supple and malleable. What you do during this time literally creates your life. You’ll notice the last thing on your mind and night, and the first thing on your mind in the morning is your life. Q: What inspired you to create your book? A: I was living in my car in Hollywood and at the lowest point in my life, and spiraling further downward. I knew if I didn’t do something, I would continue down the trajectory into a frightening space; a space from where, I feared, I would never find my way back. I slowly began to take control. I created a safe space inside my car and began a bedtime ritual of projecting myself into the life I wanted. Soon I began repeating affirming words as I drifted into sleep. Once I started the affirmations, shifts began to happen, first inside of me, and then outwardly. I signed up for school to become a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist I used my newfound knowledge to reword my affirmations for maximum benefit and effect. Things began to shift quickly! When I propelled from poverty to prosperity. The affirmations will touch the lives of everyone who needs them. Bedside Reading is an exclusive amenity at high-end luxury hotels. 32 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

Contact: jane@BedsideReading.com BedsideReading.com


Speaking Above The Stars (The Voice of Reasoning).”

Fear Built from within by Darwin Heard better known as Doc Heard July 1, 2019 Today, I bid you Welcome to all my Stars, Celebrities and VIPs as I explore the topic of “Fear Built from Within”. This topic has a surreal place in my life because it’s been nothing but fear from the start to this very moment; but before I get started, I just want to make it clear that your are aware of where I truly stand. I have been writing this column in the Hollywood Weekly Magazine since January of 2010 and I was featured back in July of 2009. I always say that “I have a firm belief that everyone is a VIP“ and I take a firm stand on this belief. The fear built from within is what I called an obstacle that we place in our minds that hinders us from stepping into the challenge at hand. That kind of fear that has you standing in one position and you can’t even move. Your gears are locked. In one Of my past writings in this very publication I stated what I refer to as another one of “ Darwin’s Creative Strategies “ in which there are two types of obstacles; the obstacle that’s before you and the obstacles that you place in front of you. Now I can understand the challenge that comes with the first type of obstacle which is

before you as it has its own unique challenges,but, that other obstacle that you placed before you is my biggest concern. The kind of obstacle that you created all by yourself. It was you that placed that obstacle in your path creating a bigger struggle and it’s holding you down. Throughout my 57 years of life I’ve experienced many individuals conjuring up their own obstacles - including myself. One of the most familiar obstacles that I can think of is that word cannot or contraction can’t in which many of us have used. I can’t or cannot do it. It can’t or it cannot be done. Using these types of words can interrupt the process and can continue the struggle of that fear that’s built from within. The truth be told, fear is our worst enemy and can stop all of us in our tracks. Fear can place your mind and body in park mode. The fear that comes from within can cancel all the amazing thoughts and visions that comes to your mind. In fact, fear can place you on a brain freeze leaving you frozen and stuck in the same position for years to come wondering why you are in the exact position in which you started. Asking yourself “How did I get here or what did I do wrong”? Well it’s time to challenge that fear by stepping up and facing fear head on. The only person or thing that is stopping you from conquering that fear that has developed from within is (believe it or not is), you yourself. As a matter of fact your break through to accomplish your goals and overcoming fear is dependent on you challenging your fears and believing that yes you can do it. Let no one tell you it can’t be done because I know you can do it. I personally believe that God doesn’t place visions on one’s mind to let them go to waste. Those visions must be captured like a screen shot and recorded for use. If you can conceive a vision or an idea believe it and you will achieve it. Stay positive and accept no negative thoughts. Just stick with the vision and you will succeed! Challenge your fears by telling yourself that the vision you have is real and relevant. Be like in the definition of the word of resilient and spring back in your fight against fear and you will conquer that fear that has been

built from within. You will find that the more you challenge fear the less you will experience having to deal with fear. Be aggressive to the challenge and you will cancel fear in the process. Stay focused and stick to the process as fear fades away. You must believe in your visions by rejecting fear and be true to your conceptions. I am a firm believer that the mind is a terrible thing to waste. The mind is powerful, awesome and creative in its own right so challenge fear with a vengeance. Write your vision down on a ledger, and scratch off all your fears because you no longer have any use for them. Fear is your indicator that you are on the right track and you should feel empowered to strike it head on in full force. When you’re experiencing fear just remember that your breakthrough has just begun. So stay true to yourself and believe in your visions and you will thank me later when it’s all said and done. Let’s be fearless and stand firm to all the challenges set before us and remember fear is an obstacle that we can overcome just simply by believing in the possible not the impossible and remember to cancel that fear that comes from within by believing in your visions. Yes, Doc Heard is inviting all of the Stars, Celebrities and VIPs of today’s world, who choose to read and explore the Motivational insertion of wisdom, that he offers up for all who can conceive and believe. I look forward to sharing Motivational word of wisdom with you all so let’s stay connected as we live and learn from the challenges of life. I thank you for taking the time to read this article, and please reach out to me at: heardconsultgroup@yahoo.com Or Mail To: Darwin Heard, CEO Heard Consulting Group Corporation 540 N. Dearborn Street P. O. Box 10629 Chicago,IL 60610 312-933-6635 HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 33


Sal Velez Jr. By Alex A. Kecskes

On Netflix’s new apocalyptic series “Black Summer”

A second-generation Puerto Rican, Chicago born Salvador Velez Jr. auditioned for the infamous Chicago’s “Second City” where he won a three-year scholarship. He studied improv, sketch writing, and musical theater and later joined their Second City Tour Company. His love for performing found him at The Goodman Theater doing everything from Nuyorican Poet Miguel Pinero plays to the Life of Cesar Chavez musicals. Sal is best known for his current portrayal of Big Benny on FX’s series the “Mayans M.C.” He is also known for his role as Leonardo on ABC’s newest drama “10 Days in the Valley” and as Adrian Carrera in “Chicago Justice.” In Netflix’s new zombie apocalypse series, “Black Summer,” Sal is William Velez, one of a handful of survivors in the dark, early days of the apocalypse. Thanks for taking the time for this interview. What attracted you to this apocalyptic series and the role of William? velez:

William is kind of like us, a normal guy. He’s not a hero or person who’s trying to do anything malicious. He’s just a regular guy with a family. When I read the script, I thought, this guy is really normal and I love that. It’s the kind of character that would be willing to die for anybody he fell in love with.

Did you audition for the role? If so, what was that like? velez:

Yeah. I was at my son’s house in San Diego when I got the call and they said, we want you for the role of William. When I first read the script, I noticed that the William role was written for an African American. But when I came to casting, the director said we really loved the way you played William. The scenes were intense, super long, and the process was pretty extreme. The show’s creators John Hyams and Karl Schaefer told everyone they had cast that they would have to go up to Canada for shooting. 34 • HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY


The scenes in the diner called for William to make some difficult life-and-death decisions. What did you draw from to make William’s internal conflict so convincing? velez:

I believe that in normalcy and just being in the moment of life, we go through some of that already. We may not have to make life or death decisions but they are conflicting situations. You make a choice that will either leave you at the bottom or end up hurting someone. One of the things with William is that he was really hurting because he couldn’t get back to his family. He was also hurting before the apocalypse started since he was a father separated from his family. Seeing Sun—a small, beautiful Korean girl who can’t speak English—made William decide that at some point, he would adopt her into his family. He wanted to make sure that even if he didn’t make it, she would. So that was the vibe. When I was with her, I drew a lot from the love I had for my own daughters. To see someone who was exploited, picked on and bullied, I thought, who steps up to defend that person? William was willing to put it all on the line no matter what, just to make sure that Sun got to the end of her journey. “Black Summer” is both physically demanding and emotionally draining. What challenged you the most about being in this series? velez:

We were up in Alberta for three months. It was in the middle of the summer so it was hot. We were shooting Monday through Friday, 12 to 14 hours a day. So I thought, okay, this is what I do. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I ate square meals and tried to rest as much as possible. I also let my body heal after all the stunts, throwing people left and right, shooting and car accidents. After a while, your body feels like it’s been hit by a truck. With all that going on, the people in those Canadian provinces treated us so well. They’re so professional. There are many zombie films and series out there. What do you see as the core message in “Black Summer”? velez: Humanity. We live in a society that is almost apocalyptic. The

wealthy live across the street from poverty. We see that daily. We have third world countries where banks monopolize the lives of the poor. So while it’s not zombies on the streets or missiles flying overhead, it is a society that can only be saved by humanity—our own, inner self that we all should have. Is greed or money really the answer? Or is it really love? “Black Summer” shows us that love is still one of the strongest forces in the universe. How are you like William and how are you different? HOLLYWOOD HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY WEEKLY • 39 • 35


velez:

It’s hard to say that William is not me and I’m not him. I ama father and I would literally die for my children. That’s never been a question. William has a lot of anxiety and built-up tension toward this new society and younger generation, a generation that doesn’t truly understand the history of what we went through to be here today. Things are completely different from when we grew up. You ask yourself, how much easier are things today and what do young people do with that? Is today’s younger generation still respectful, humble and thoughtful? Are they still going to want all the things we had and should have? I believe there’s still a human side in connecting with people—even if it’s just a smile. We live in this social media world, which as an actor and human being took a long time for me to accept. My agents, managers, and publishers were all saying, you need to accept and embrace that, which I finally did. But I did find that while social media is a beautiful thing, some of the people in social media are the most unsocial people I’ve met in my whole life (laughs). Why do you think the basic need to survive sometimes brings out the worst in humanity? velez:

Fear. Fear causes everyone to make mistakes, to misjudge the situation, to be impatient. It’s a human emotion that we underestimate. But fear can also cause you to be heroic at times when being heroic may seem irrational in your mind. What’s next for you? velez:

It’s funny. I woke up this morning and l saw a tweet from Stephen King saying how much he liked “Back Summer.” I can’t say for certain, but it could be that William may come back as Jon Snow did in “Game of Thrones.” I’m shooting a film with Warner Brothers and Ben Affleck called “Torrance.” Our characters have sons who have cancer. We share this bonding relationship that revolves around who loses and who keeps their son. It’s a heart-wrenching tearjerker.


GLOBAL ICON MARIAH CAREY ANNOUNCES RETURN TO THE COLOSSEUM AT CAESARS PALACE IN NOVEMBER 2019 WITH “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” FEBRUARY 2020 DATES ANNOUNCED FOR “THE BUTTERFLY RETURNS” LAS VEGAS – Mariah Carey, the iconic chanteuse and best-selling female artist of all time with over 200 million records sold, has announced that she will return to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace this November with her acclaimed Christmas concert series “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for five dates from Nov. 22 through Nov. 30, 2019. Additionally, Mariah has announced six new dates from Feb. 14 through Feb. 29, 2020 for her headlining Las Vegas residency, “The Butterfly Returns” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Tickets for all performances will go on sale to the public beginning Friday, May 10.

The performances going on sale are: “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Nov 2019: 22, 23, 27, 29, 30

38 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

|

“The Butterfly Returns” Feb 2020: 14, 15, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29


HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 39

Mariah Carey: Return s to Ca

esars

Palace


Hollywood

Icons

The Man with the Golden Voice By Anthony Ewart

T

here will be endless biographies written about Mr. James Edward Ingram. But that’s not how you remember James Ingram. You remember him through the moments you spent with someone while his songs were playing. Almost a musical, mental snapchat moment immortalized in your soul and the soul of the person

40 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

you experienced that beautiful moment with. James Ingram was the most altruistic singer I’ve ever heard. His voice lived for the song. It supported the melody. It gave life and meaning to the lyrics. James Ingram, the man, became the Supporting Actor -- he gave the spotlight to his voice, and made it Lead Actor. What an incredibly giving artist he was. It was all about the song. The story... That’s really what James Ingram was. A great storyteller. He took us

into tales of love and heartbreak that we all connected with. James Ingram could give confidence to a lovesick, junior high school student. He could make a husband married 30 years look at his wife as if he was seeing her for the first time. That was the magic of James Ingram. We believed him and the beautiful lyrics he chose to share with us, many of which he wrote himself. When thinking about the


sincerity and integrity James Ingram brought as an artist, it brings to mind another famous “James” who captured the trust and heart of America. James Maitland Stewart. You may know him better as “Jimmy Stewart.” One of the most loved Stars in Hollywood, Jimmy Stewart always put his art first. He inhabited the characters he played with sincerity and believability. And we believed him. James Ingram sang a variety of

songs in different styles and tempos and rhythms, but for me, and I know many others, his love songs have imprinted themselves in the atoms of my cells. Hearing his song, by chance, on a radio, through sheer synchronicity, is the Universe comforting me with love. All artists want to leave a legacy of their work behind. James Ingram has left a body of work that will be enjoyed by his fans and students of music forever. And I don’t say that word lightly. But the truly

lasting legacy of James Ingram is the ripple effect the beauty of his voice will have on us for the rest of our lives. His tone. The vibrations of his sound. That feeling of love and happiness. That’s what will live on. That is the ripple effect of James Ingram. And what a beautiful ocean of sound he gave us.

HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 41


Books That Make You… Savor Summer By Bree Swider

Let’s celebrate summer! Relaxing barefoot with a cold drink, the fragrance of sunscreen lingering on your skin, sunglasses on the tip of your nose while you’re buried deep in a good book. Nothing is better than summer-time reading. Where is your favorite place to read summer books? These books are great for all summer reading locales — sunbathing on the beach, swinging in a hammock, reading by a campfire, or chilling poolside. Make sure your summer book is as good as your summer reading spot! Here is the Books That Make You Summertime Reading List.

IGHT SPOTLOK BO

The Lonely Hearts Bar Sunny California, the perfect setting for a summertime read. The Lonely Hearts Bar by Konni Granma is set in Hollywood as main character Connie starts her first semester of film school. Follow along as she meets friends, falls in love, and discovers her values and principles. A piece from The Lonely Hearts Bar, “We’re only here and now. And in several minutes, it’ll be now again. And there’ll never be a past and a future. There’s always now, and it’s different for everybody. Don’t leave your now to chance, to an aimless existence. And don’t get trapped in petty fears and hate. You’ve dedicated your lives to cinema, and cinema just might be the only now that’ll last forever. The director might be long gone, but a movie lives on for years after. Cinema will always be your now in this reality.” Author Konni Granma shares, “Los Angeles is a city of constant summer, so to speak. Well, why not, if Woody Allen calls New York a black and white city in the film Hollywood Ending?”

“We’re only here and now. And in several minutes, it’ll be now again. And there’ll never be a past and a future. ” Konni Granma

Love books? Want to win books? Want to join us on a totally bookish adventure? Visit www.BooksThatMakeYou.com to discover more.


A Promise in Autumn

If you’re a sucker for a summer romance novel here it is: A Promise in Autumn by Barbara Morriss. This heart-warming novel is a love story laced with suspense and mystery. Set in the early 1900s, it depicts the challenges of finding true love among the chaos of the First World War and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Dream, wonder and fall in love this summer.

Growing Up Hollywood

Nothing says summer like kids squealing with joy as they skip through sprinklers, ride bikes, and play ball. But sometimes things aren’t always as carefree as they seem, like in the new book Growing Up Hollywood by Tara Botel Doherty. This collection of short stories gives readers a glimpse into the unfiltered and unedited lives of two young sisters growing up on the hostile, dead-end street in the Hollywood hills.

Unique In America

What is it REALLY like immigrating to the United States? Learn of the challenges, sacrifices made, and get a real-life picture of one woman’s journey to become a legal citizen of the United States. Unique In America by Yanique Beliard-Michel shares her personal struggles, disappointments and sorrows as she fights to achieve her lifelong dream.

Last Call – America: Last Call Before Darkness Falls

As we enjoy booming firework displays this 4th of July, let us not forget the freedoms we enjoy and our responsibility to preserve them for future generations. Last Call by Debra Tash forecasts the potentially bleak future we face with a thought-provoking dystopian story set in a devastated post-constitutional America. Citizens are stripped of their basic human rights as they meekly accept their dwindling rations of food. One thing is certain, a revolution is in the air.

The Engine Woman’s Light

Take a ride this summer on a steampunk locomotive. This ride is unlike anything you’ve experienced as the ghosts of the past guide the living to help save the damned. The Engine Woman’s Light by Laurel Anne Hill takes place in an alternate nineteenth-century California where both love and hatred emanate from beyond the grave.

11 Best Ways to Face Life’s Challenges: A Guide to Discovering and Changing the Limiting Beliefs That Block You from Creating the Life You Want

Make this summer the summer of YOU, with 11 Best Ways to Face Life’s Challenges by Dr. Ken Best. Discover and challenge the beliefs you’re holding on to that block you from creating the life you want and deserve. Dr. Ken Best explains in simple terms how you can change your habits and shape your reality. Take the steps you need this summer to change your life for the better.

The Divorce Recovery Ladder: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Successfully Climb Out of Your Divorce

If you or someone you know are in the throes of a divorce this summer, you’ll want to read The Divorce Recovery Ladder by Susan Shofer. Knowing how challenging and complex divorce can be, Susan helps you take control of your divorce and learn which battles are worth the fight – and which are not. The Divorce Recovery Ladder will answer your questions about legal issues, complex emotions, mental and financial well-being, and many other aspects of divorce.

Straight Outta Tombstone

Straight Outta Tombstone is ‘bout to heat this summa up! Top authors put their own twist on classic westerns. These tales ain’t yo grampies Old Westies! Seventeen tales that breathe new life in the Old West with the help of a few soul-sucking ghosts, demons, and wayward aliens. Our pick in this collection is Coyote by Naomi Brett Rourke.

Next Therapist Please

Cruise along with Janie as she reminisces about her past therapists while reinventing her life. In Next Therapist Please by Laurie Finkelstein, Janie is blessed with OCD, depression, and anxiety. Follow along as she hops from one therapist to the next while a light and hilarious romance blossoms. This romantic comedy is the perfect breezy summertime read.

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Welcome readers to our Special Edition of the International Hollywood Weekly Magazine. Our Cover STAR is the multitalented teen sensation, S...

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Welcome readers to our Special Edition of the International Hollywood Weekly Magazine. Our Cover STAR is the multitalented teen sensation, S...

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