Interview: Tommy Bastow on his role in ABC’s ‘The Crossing’

Tommy Bastow Photoshoot 2018

TOMMY BASTOW is perhaps best known for his role in the iconic British comedy ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’. Now a decade later, Tommy has a leading role in one of ABC’s most-highly anticipated flagship ships ‘The Crossing’.

The series follows desperate refugees from a war-torn country who start showing up to seek asylum in an American town – the shocking truth that the country these people are from is actually America and the war they are fleeing is 250 years in the future, starts to devastate the local community. Tommy Bastow stars alongside Steve Zahn and Natalie Martinez. We spoke to him about about the upcoming role.

AC: What role does your character play in the story?

TB: Marshall is a kid whose had a tough upbringing. He lives in a trailer and does what he can to get by. However, as the series continues, you realise he is so much more. I can’t really say much more than that!

Having starred in a few American shows recently, does the production process feel different?

Since graduating, I’ve mainly done American TV so it’s difficult to compare. American networks look after you very well and, in my case, give you a lot of down time to explore the beautiful cities you film in.

Was the show all shot in that one town?

The show was shot all over Vancouver. We even got to go to Vancouver island for the pilot which was a real treat. We used various different locations and, of course, soundstages too.

Would it be fair to say that the location is similar to ‘Broadchurch’, with it being a coastal town?

Yes I guess you could say that. Although, coastal towns in the states and in Britain are pretty different and the people who live there are vastly different too.  

Tommy Bastow Photoshoot 2018

What other TV shows do you think it will be compared with?

It has a ‘Lost’ feel to it for sure.

Who did you really enjoy working with on the cast?

I had a lot of scenes with Rick Gomez. In the show he becomes almost like a dad to Marshall and I think that crossed over into real life a bit too. He would sometimes drive me to set and give me advice and life lessons, which were extremely valuable to hear as a young actor. I also lived with Grant who plays Roy, so we became best mates over the four months of filming.

Do you think there will be scope for a second season?

Definitely, there is a whole world of possibility that opens up at the end of the first season. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved and hope the public engage with it and allow us to continue telling this story.

How would you say that your BA in Acting has prepared you for the roles that you have gone on to do? What did it not prepare you for?

Nothing can really prepare you for when you arrive on set. Drama school for me more than anything gave me a great work ethic and drive to become a better artist. Drama school is still primarily stage training, so when you arrive on set you have to unlearn some things. All in all though, having three years practice puts you in a position where you are freer in your body and voice, so maybe you’re able to relax more. Who knows.

Tommy Bastow Photoshoot 2018

Growing up, was it your ambition to be a musician, actor or both?

As a kid, I wanted to do it all.

Is there less time now to do music because of the acting? Are you looking to try and find more time in the future for music?

Well, here’s the thing. When you’re not working you have a lot of free time. I spend a lot of time making music still. I have a whole catalogue of songs I’ve written with an old friend of mine. It’s a hobby that brings me an immense amount of joy and, who knows, one day maybe we’ll gig them. I’m in no rush to make it in the music business though, just happy to have another creative outlet.

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH TOMMY BASTOW

What’s your number one auditioning tip?

Like a boxer going into a ring, I think it’s important to have hype music. Play something that makes you feel confident before entering an audition room. You’ll be amazed how it changes your state.

Can you describe ‘The Crossing’ in three words?

No one’s safe.

Last movie you watched?

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Best show to binge-watch?

The End of the F*cking World

Favorite band?

It’s got to be The Beatles.

Favorite song?

That’s a really tough one. At the moment ‘Something So Right’ by Paul Simon gives me all the feels. It’s truly a beautiful piece of music.

Every has a cool app idea, what’s yours?

I actually can’t say because one day I may make it.

Advice to your younger self?

Buy some Bitcoin.

Is there one thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future?

It’s a long way off, but having kids one day.

A sport you wish you could play?

I’d love to be able to skateboard again, and be as fearless about it as I was when I was a kid.

What was the last book you read?

Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami. Boy was that a trip. I’m currently geeking out to ready player one.

Would you rather be at a mountain hideaway or a beach house?

Mountain hideaway

What is the farthest you have been from home?

Japan or Vancouver.

Do you have an aim or a target for the year ahead?

Stay happy and stay humble.

‘The Crossing’ starring Tommy Bastow premieres April 2 on ABC 

 PHOTOGRAPHY: JOSEPH SINCLAIR
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

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Interview: Luna Blaise on Music, ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ & ‘American Horror Story’

Luna Blaise Photoshoot 2018
Photography by Dawn Kingston

LUNA BLAISE has been immersed in the acting world for the past decade, having began at the age of just six. Since 2014, Luna has been in a recurring role on ABC’s  ‘Fresh Off The Boat‘ – in which she has recently been given a storyline about her character’s sexuality that created much buzz and conversation. Alongside the long working hours of an actress in a sitcom, Blaise released her debut single ‘Over You’ in 2017. Now over year later, Luna released her second single ‘Camera Roll’ back in February. We catch up with her about her ambitions as an actress, what it’s like working in a recording studio and the show she really wants to guest star on.

AC: You were given the challenge of portraying a character with a storyline and sexuality in ‘Fresh Off The Boat’, how much pressure did you feel and what kind of responses did you get?

LUNA BLAISE: Honestly I didn’t feel any pressure. When the producers explained Nicole’s arc for season four and would I be comfortable with the storyline I didn’t hesitate at all. I was honored that Nanatchka Khan our show-runner and the writers trusted me to bring Nicole’s coming out story to life. I will forever be grateful that they gave me this incredible opportunity. The response was positive and I feel so lucky that I grew up in a home where love has no labels. 

What TV Show would you really like to guest star on?

American Horror Story. I want to work with Ryan Murphy.

Photography by Strange Nature

I really wanted to dive into writing. For me delivering a record has to mean something. 

Which actresses do you look up to?

This is such a tough question, there are so many great actresses in the community. Meryl Streep!

Talk us through a typical day on set, how does the day start?

A typical day usually means an early call time. I always try my best to arrive early then settle in my trailer before heading off to hair and makeup, followed by rehearsals and then we shoot. A typical day for me runs about twelve to fourteen hours. Often it is dark when I leave for set and dark when I get home. I love it! 

Having released your first song almost a year ago and now having just released your second song, has the kind of music you want to make slightly changed?

Yes, I think that I am evolving as a person so organically the sound of the music is transforming with me.

Why has there been a year’s gap?

Honestly I really wanted to dive into writing. For me delivering a record has to mean something. 

Your fans seem to really like ‘Camera Roll’, when did you start working on the song?

I actually wrote the song in like forty-five minutes back in November 2017. 

What’s it like hanging out in a recording studio?

It’s so fun hanging in studio but it’s also for me a working environment as well. 

How many songs have you written?

I have been in so many sessions and I really don’t count. 

What will be the next single and when can we expect to see it?

I am gonna be putting out tons of music this year. I think a new single is just around the corner. 

How much fun is shooting music videos?

For me it’s taking some adjustment because I am so used to being mic’d when we are recording sync. But with music videos typically they are non-sync. 

What are your ambitions for your music?

I want to write chart-smashing hit songs. I also see myself writing for other artists. 

Who would be the dream person to star in one of your music video?

A music video starring Timothée Chalamet.

Do you have any other upcoming projects to tell our readers about? 

I have an indie film that is premiering at Tribeca Film Festival called Surviving Theater 9 – the film follows the aftermath of the mass shooting that took place inside a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora Colorado in 2012. Unfortunately there have been too many innocent lives lost to mass shootings since that fateful night. I also just finished filming a new pilot called “Manifest” for NBC. It’s a one hour mystery thriller episodic with crazy and unexpected twists and turns. People are gonna love it.

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH LUNA BLAISE

 

Last movie you watched?

Fault In Our Stars

Best show to binge-watch?

13 Reasons Why 

What’s the strangest food combo you’ve ever had?

Spaghetti with Chili 

Advice to your younger self?

Be present and don’t forget to look up. 

Is there one thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future?

I am excited to hopefully one day get married and have children.

A sport you wish you could play?

Golf

What was the last book you read?

I have dyslexia, so reading for long periods of time can be challenging, instead I watch tons of films. 

Would you rather be at a mountain hideaway or a beach house?

Beach House…I am a water baby. 

What is the farthest you have been from home?

London, England 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAWN KINGSTON & STRANGE NATURE

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Interview: Disney’s Meg Donnelly talks ‘Zombies’ & ‘American Housewife’

Meg Donnelly Photoshoot 2018MEG DONNELLY is set to be one of the breakout stars in the entertainment industry today. At 17 years of age, Donnelly is quickly becoming known for her impeccable comedic timing on camera, and her refreshing, free spirit she brings to every project she appears in. Since 2016, she has been starring in ABC’s ‘American Housewife’ – centering around a new-to-the-block family – in which Donnelly plays the eldest daughter (Taylor) who is desperate to fit in with her peers. The show has been an absolute ratings hit for the past two seasons, with ABC ordering additional episodes and has given Meg a major platform to stand-out on.

Meg Donnelly is about to be seen as the leading actress in the new Disney Channel Original Movie ‘Zombies’ – the story focuses on cheerleader Addison (Donnelly), who befriends zombie football star Zed (Milo Manheim). With musical numbers and a ton of choreography, ‘Zombies’ promises to be a hit for Disney and Meg, as we talk about her career so far.

AC: When did you know that acting was for you?
As much as I chose acting, it chose me. I saw the sign at Annie’s Playhouse’s window at a time when I was no longer enjoying playing soccer. My parents wanted me to join an activity, but sports were not my thing (although I am a big sports fan). When I walked into Annie’s Playhouse and got on stage, my life was changed forever. From that first day, performing is all I ever wanted to do. Hopefully, I will continue to be blessed and given the opportunities to pursue my dreams.

Meg Donnelly Photoshoot 2018

What similarities do you share with your character Taylor [in ‘American Housewife’]?
Taylor and I are teenagers that love our parents but are trying to find our own independence and individuality as we navigate through our high school years.

Who’s the funniest person on set of ‘American Housewife’?
This is a hard question as everyone on set is funny. We are one big family and we joke around all the time. We are always laughing, which makes working on ‘American Housewife’ so wonderful.

Which other sitcoms actors do you look up to?
I have always looked up to and wanted to be Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Not only are they hilarious, but when I found out they wrote their own material, I was in awe. I aspire to be like my TV parents [in ‘American Housewife’], Katy Mixon and Diedrich Bader. They are both so gracious with their time, advise me in my acting choices and the various ways to approach each scene. But even more impressive is how they treat the cast and crew. They are both so kind and considerate. They make everyone on the set feel important and a part of the show. That is something I try to emulate each day on set.

Is there a show you’d love to make a guest appearance on?
I would love to be a voice on Spongebob Squarepants! One day I would also love to be the Guest Host on SNL! That would be the ultimate.

Meg Donnelly Photoshoot 2018

We’re talking to Milo Manheim soon who starred alongside you in ‘Zombies’, what was he like to work with?
Milo and I became friends during the audition process. We really hit it off as friends. As a result, we were already close friends when the shooting started. Milo is fun loving, kind and talented. It was natural working with him, as we both loved being a part of ‘Zombies’ and working with a new friend. We were both excited for each other and enjoyed being on set with the rest of the cast, dancers and crew.

Do you have any funny set stories from ‘Zombies’?Meg Donnelly 2018
Yes! To prepare for a big dance number on set, the “zombies” and the “Seabrook” cheerleaders would each chant back and forth to each other to get the energy up and create a fun rivalry. We would then all dance together in a big circle before breaking to start the scene. It got everyone pumped and ready to do their very best!

Did you ever wish that you got the green-dyed zombie hair on set?
Yes, I liked watching my friends be transformed into “Zombies” so it would have been cool to be a Zombie for a scene.

How did you find learning the choreography?
At first, I was a little nervous but the choreographers and professional dancers where supportive and took the time to ensure that myself and the other actors were comfortable with all the choreography. We had so much fun!!

SUPER QUICK QUESTIONS WITH MEG DONNELLY

Last movie you watched?
‘Black Panther’

Best show to binge-watch?
‘A Place To Call Home’ and of course ‘American Housewife’ [laughs].

What’s the strangest food combo you’ve ever had?
Avocado and vanilla ice cream – it was pretty good.

What’s on your music playlist at the moment?
A Tribe Called Quest, Bruno Mars, SZA, The B-52s, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Incubus, and Maroon 5 to name a few.

Favorite band?
A Tribe Called Quest

Favorite solo artist?
Bruno Mars

Everyone has a cool app idea, what’s yours?
I have an eccentric taste in music so I would like to invent an app that can organize and create playlists based on my song catalog and make suggestions for music I don’t have.

What is the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to you?
That I am caring and thoughtful friend.

What was the last book you read?
Wonder!

Would you rather be at a mountain hideaway or a beach house?
A beach house.

What is the farthest you have been from home?
Maui, HI from NYC.

Advice to your younger self?
Not to be concerned about doing what my friends are doing, such as wearing similar clothes so that we all look alike.

Is there one thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future?
I am very excited about the premiere of Disney’s “Zombies” on Friday, February 16th. I think the fans are going to love it!!

Do you have an aim or a target for the year ahead?
I don’t have any specific target as I believe that it is about continued growth verses starting or stopping something. I learn from each experience and I hope I become better for it – good or bad. Having said that, I am going to focus more on my guitar playing and songwriting this year. And make sure I stay true to and supportive of my family and friends.

Zombies – a Disney Channel Original Movie starring Meg Donnelly – premieres February 16 on the Disney Channel
 

INTERVIEW WITH ADAM CROOKES

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