Interview: John Magaro on ‘OVERLORD’ & ‘JACK RYAN’

JOHN MAGARO is at the height of his powers. You may recognize John from his roles in critically acclaimed films such as ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Carol’, or for his roles in smash-hit television shows like ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and ‘The Good Wife’.

John’s role in the new JJ Abrams-produced war-horror ‘Overlord’ is getting major box-office buzz. The film follows American soldiers who get stuck behind enemy lines after D-Day and discover secret Nazi experiments.

Alongside this, John Magaro is also starring in Amazon Original Series ‘Jack Ryan’ – supporting John Krasinski who stars in the titular role of a CIA Analyst.

JAIMEE: You’re starring in JJ Abrams’ new film ‘Overlord’ – which looks intense, to say the least. Can you tell us a bit about your character?

JOHN MAGARO: I play Tibbet, who is a hard ass, tough talking New Yorker. He is a good soldier, but is no nonsense and does not trust Boyce, whose up to the job at hand.

What kind of training did you endure for your role?

We were lucky enough to take part in a week long boot camp. Once we arrived in London, we were sent out to the country where we were trained by Sargent Freddie Farnsworth. It was an uncomfortable, alien situation where we had to rise or sink as a team. He did everything he could to whip us into shape as 1940s elite soldiers. My knees still feel the pain of those endless miles of humps up and down hills.

What excited you about the script when you first read it?

Killing Nazis, the ultimate bad guy! I also was drawn to the element of super soldiers.

Some early fans are calling the movie “Inglorious Bastards with Zombies” – how would you describe it?

I think that is a fair way to describe it, but would also throw in Indiana Jones, Alien and Saving Private Ryan into that mix. It’s like a buffet of classics with a little extra spice.

It’s bad enough to be in a war zone, but then to come across some crazy secret experiments would be absolutely unnerving. How would you have reacted if you were thrust into this situation?

Run! Run away fast! Although I will never forget what Sargent told us: that some of the worst soldiers in his unit are actually the ones who rise to the challenge and show extreme courage and bravery – so I hope that would be how I would actually react!

Does it ever take a bit of a toll on your well being dealing with such emotional and at times painful subject matter, as within war zones? If so, how do you keep morale up?

Luckily we are actors so we get to go home at night and sleep in a beautiful hotel and eat amazing food, so I could never even begin to compare myself to a real soldier. Every role takes some sort of toll on you simply because of how much emotion goes into each role. When telling a story about soldiers all I can hope for is that we honor them in an appropriate way.

What was the most challenging part about getting into your role?

The equipment. It’s heavy!

When you were a kid in Ohio, what was one role in a film or play which helped inspire your love of the art form?

Two things, first Brando, Pacino, and Cazale in ‘The Godfather’. That film changed what how I saw acting. And when I was in school in Pittsburgh a production of ‘Top Dog Underdog’. An amazing actor Ray Anthony Thomas blew me away and made me realize how honest and vulnerable and actor can be. I still try and apply those lessons to my work.

You’ve played a wide variety of roles in your career already and starred alongside some of Hollywood’s most renowned, but what’s still on your acting bucket list?

I’d love to direct and produce. I am now starting to dip my toes into that world more. I never talk about who I still want to work with because I worry I will jinx it. I guess I’m just too superstitious.

You also play Victor in ‘Jack Ryan’. How has it been working with John Krasinski and the rest of the cast?

My story was a bit separate from John’s but he was lovely when we did chat. Carlton Cruse, Graham Roland, and Patricia Riggen but together a fantastic group of people and were so committed to telling that in an exciting way. Plus, shooting in Montreal and Morocco was such a thrilling thing.

You play a drone pilot; at this point, is it safe to say you have a bit of a love affair with war stories?

[Laughs] You could say that. I mean it is many little boy’s dreams to play soldiers. We did that as kids in the woods of my neighborhood, Playing war. I think its just a coincidence that currently I am playing a lot of soldiers I never set out to play so many soldiers, but I think a large number of film roles for guys my age just so happen to be soldiers. Ten years ago I only played students and in ten years from now I’ll probably be playing mostly doctors or lawyers. I guess that’s just how this business goes.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your career this year that you would share with up and coming actors?

I always tell young actors to work hard, Read as much as you can and watch as many great films and theater. A smart and well rounded actor is a valuable thing.

Is there one misconception you think people may have of you or actors in general?

I think people tend to think of actors as almost alien, unapproachable, aloof, selfish. But, I have found most (even the biggest of names) to be kind, real, and extremely generous. Actors for the most part are pretty normal folks.

What’s your favourite horror film of all time?

‘Rosemary’s Baby’. B-Film: ‘Killer Klowns from Outter Space’.

What’s one series that’s premiering soon that you can’t wait to see and why?

I just saw the first episode of ‘The Romanoffs’ and now I am hooked. I need to see the rest.

PHOTOGRAPHY: JAMES LEE WALL

INTERVIEW: JAIMEE JAKOBCZAK

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Interview: Graham Bunn – From Basketball Life To Television Life

GRAHAM BUNN is filled with enthusiasm about his new show ‘Real Country’ on USA Networks. The basketball player turned television host spoke to us about his experience as the host of ‘Real Country’, alongside a panel of music giants – Shania Twain, Jake Owen and Travis Tritt.

“Chance favors the prepared mind, and when you out work the competition – good things happen”

AC: What was it like growing up in North Carolina?

GRAHAM: It was incredible growing up in NC. God’s team the UNC Tarheels were right down the road where MJ was winning titles. We have the beach, the mountains, and guys like Eric Church and Luke Combs making everyone’s life better repping our state!

Would you say that basketball is still a big part of your life?

Basketball will always be a massive part of my life, it was my first love, and taught me what happens when you dedicate your self to something. Chance favors the prepared mind, and when you out work the competition – good things happen. That was true in hoops and it damn sure is true in life.

Tell us about your new show ‘Real Country’…

‘Real Country’ is a front row seat to seeing dreams come true. Anytime in life, that you get to witness someone doing something great, consider yourself blessed. Every week, every showcase you will see someone doing something great. I felt and still feel blessed to have been a part of so many wonderful journeys. The talent level on this show is ridiculous. I couldn’t be more proud to stand on that stage with the artist and panelist that make this show unique and special.

I mean, to be in the room with Shania Twain – icon, Travis Tritt – legend, and Jake Owen who is the man, is crazy fun, informative and pure entertainment. Every episode you will feel like you’re hanging out with friends – incredibly talented and entertaining friends – but friends all the same.

“I firmly believe we have found an original and unique way to showcase incredible talent”

What are your three top tips for being a great host on television?

I wouldn’t know, but if you guys get the scoop on that, let me know because I loved hosting ‘Real Country’!

If I was asked what I thought gave me any success hosting – with this being my first hosting job – I would say be yourself, be authentic, genuine and lastly have fun. Life is short and people want to have fun. So have fun with it. What’s better than helping someone achieve their dreams? Don’t you want to hang out with people that encourage you, that care about you, and wanna do whatever they can to help you succeed? That’s what I tried to do in every showcase we held. If that’s called hosting, then it’s official – I’m a damn host!

In the episodes coming up, who should we be looking out for? Which acts really caught your eye?

I can’t say one over another, I’m expecting Christmas gifts from all of them so can’t alienate any [laughs]. The honest truth is their is a downside to caring about these artist so much on a personal level, that you want everyone to win and not everyone can. Every act brings and represents something different in their art and I can’t wait to see what you and everyone else feels about them. Get ready to be torn, because it’s a buffet of amazing talent.

When were you first exposed to country music?

Laying under a thirty-four Ford Truck in my Dad’s garage at age seven as he gave me my first and longest running job in my life – “hold this flashlight son while I change the carburetor outta this truck” while Waylon, Willie and Merle kept us company on the radio. I still hold that damn flashlight every Christmas for something he has to change on that truck. But,I’m the best damn flashlight holder you ever seen!

In what ways does ‘Real Country’ draw from other music competitions?

At the end of the day, these music competitions are all another path and road to helping people achieve their dreams. I firmly believe we have found an original and unique way to showcase incredible talent while providing everyone entertainment they otherwise might never have gotten to hear without this show. I can one-thousand percent say my life was changed through some of the stories, performances, and advice the panelists shared about not only music, but life.

Life is hard and everyone at NBC Universal and Wilshire Studios – all the way through the stage hands and casting department – care about what this show represents to the artist competing and the fans at home watching. And you may be rolling your eyes because I get it – sounds clique and I’m crazy biased – but words don’t do it justice, you gotta tune in. Trust me, it will change you.

How much time to get to interact with the judges behind the scenes?

I got to hang and chop it up with the Panelists a lot, which was crazy because their schedule was bananas. All the Panelists are currently touring and sharing their talents with the world on top of filming this show. I cannot say enough about the dedication to their fans, the new generation of country artist and the genre itself that each one of these incredible artists give. I’m blessed to call each one of them my friend. I mean Travis is like my cool ass uncle but he still my friend. You get it? You get it.

Was it always your plan to move from basketball to television and radio?

This was never a plan for me. I planned on living next door to my parents and coaching a basketball team after retiring from breaking the NBA assist record, but God don’t care about my plans and I thank him everyday for that fact.

I have always loved music with a focus on country because of the storytelling aspect so I’m not shocked I ended up here. I think if you listen to your heart and work in an industry that touches something you care about, no matter what level – the rest will sort itself out. I loved hoop, so I played basketball and had some success with it. Most of which was being able to outshoot Kip Moore for eternity and beyond! I loved country music so I ended up here, with a front row seat to the coolest concert series I could ever imagine.

Did your role as a radio host help prepare you for television?

I think truly loving people and country music prepared me more for this job then any other element or job I’ve ever had in my life. If you care about people, you will care about this show. Being genuinely excited for the artist to perform in front of icons and get advice and encouragement that will allow them to do what they love on a level they dream about is truly special. I loved every second of it. You will also find I’m not your traditional host, I’m that friend that kinda introduces people for the first time at the party, then sits back and watches how much everyone loves one another because you get along so well.

Aside from ‘Real Country’, what’s one thing you’re really excited about for the future?

Marriage and kids – oh wait too serious? We not there yet?  It would be taking Olivia Culpo to a Shania Twain concert. Wait! I’m sorry that was from last years Christmas list, I keep messing this up. I’m most excited to see what music these artist release after the show, and of course season two! I love this show and everyone I work with at NBC Universal.

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH GRAHAM BUNN

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

Eggs and Almond Butter, is that weird? It’s delicious and I don’t care what you say about it [laughs].

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

Miniature deviled eggs. I think that would be the best appetizer ever.

Oh you mean tech app? Let me get back to you on that, I’m still buzzing over the miniature deviled egg idea. I think we’re on to something there…

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

Beach house, no contest.

What is the furthest you’ve been from home?

Played professional basketball in Germany after college. My Dad would probably say ‘the rap phase’ I went through in high school is the furthest I’ve been from home [laughs].

Last book you read?

Either ‘Jesus Is’ or ‘How’s Your Soul’, both by Judah Smith

Advice to your younger self?

Listen to more Waylon Jennings and invent Facebook, I think it has some real potential.

PHOTOGRAPHY: THE RIKER BROTHERS

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

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Interview: Danielle Rose Russell takes center stage on CW’s ‘Legacies’

After being cast last year in the fifth and final season of The CW television series ‘The Originals’, DANIELLE ROSE RUSSELL is continuing in her role as Hope Mikaelson in the highly anticipated spin-off ‘Legacies’.

Danielle was last seen in the critically acclaimed ‘Wonder’ opposite Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay.

AC: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘The Originals’ have both become huge hits. How will ‘Legacies’ link to the two shows?

DANIELLE ROSE RUSSELL: While ‘Legacies’ is definitely rooted in both ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘The Originals’, it honestly is a show all on its own. Everything you need to know about the show is explained in the first couple of episodes. ‘Legacies’ obviously follows characters who have been a part of the universe for quite some time, and there are Easter eggs here and there of that history. But that being said, it’s a show that has the sexy, twisted romance of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and the action-packed plotlines like ‘The Originals’, while bringing humor, teenage angst, and a whole new world of supernatural to the table.

Did your castmates from ‘The Originals’ give you any advice ahead of filming?

A little bit, but when we were filming ‘The Originals’, no one even knew whether or not ‘Legacies’ was going to happen. But I must say, they all created an atmosphere on set that was so professional, fun, and creative. I knew I wanted to carry that on to our set, too.

Are there any funny stories to tell from San Diego Comic Con? Was that your first time there?

It was! It was a bit of whirlwind, but I really enjoyed being there. My friend Jeanine Mason and I were both bonding over how insane it all was when we were at dinner and my sticky rice spilled everywhere. I guess I didn’t notice that it had gotten on one of my heels until we stepped outside and there were people taking pictures everywhere. I looked down and went to clean it up, until I realized that it probably was better to just leave it there. I’m sure someone has a picture somewhere of me and Jeanine trying to get the rice off of my shoe.

Do you have a favorite line of dialogue that your character Hope says in the upcoming season?

“I’m a tribrid…the only one of my kind. No one can represent my interests but me.”

What keeps you excited as an actor?

I could go on and on with that question, but recently, I’m genuinely loving creating a character in the long-term. Before ‘The Originals’, I had primarily focused on doing film in my career. Getting to create a character for a couple of years and go through experiences with her has been so rewarding and exciting.

The show premieres just ahead of Halloween. How do you spend Halloween?

Halloween is my birthday, so naturally I’m going to dress up. I don’t care how old I am, I will never not have an excuse to be a little kid on Halloween. Honestly though, this year I’m most likely going to be working, but don’t think I’m not showing up to work in a full-on costume!

If you could have a supernatural power in real life, what would it be?

I’d want to fly. I love traveling, and if I could fly anywhere I wanted at any time, I’d be the happiest girl on the planet.

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH DANIELLE ROSE RUSSELL

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

Pickles and peanut butter. I know it sounds scary, but it’s a game changer. You’ll thank me.

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

What if I actually invent it though? I don’t want to give my million dollar idea away!

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

I grew up in the mountains, so beach house.

What is the furthest you’ve been from home?

Honestly not that far. I’m away from home a lot, but I think the furthest I’ve been is Hawaii. I grew up on the east coast so that’s still sufficiently far away, I guess.

Last book you read?

‘Bad Feminist’ by Roxane Gay. It’s an extremely powerful compilation of essays that explores the ups and downs of being a feminist in this day and age.

Advice to your younger self?

Know that everything has a purpose in your life and will work itself out. But mostly, relax and embrace every step of the journey for what it is, even the challenging parts.

PHOTOGRAPHY: TINA TURNBOW

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

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Interview: Clifford Samuel on ‘A Guide To The Homesick’ & ‘McMafia’

CLIFFORD SAMUEL is currently starring in ‘A Guide To The Homesick’ alongside Douglas Booth at Trafalgar Studios – a tender and bittersweet play from writer Ken Urban about conscience and connection. Two strangers, consumed by their own secrets, find each other in a hotel room in Amsterdam.

Earlier in the year, Clifford was also seen in BBC crime drama ‘McMafia’, a series which was met with wide acclaim. Since graduating from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Clifford has been part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, making his debut in ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘The Two Gentlemen Of Verona’ in Stratford-upon-Avon before touring the United States with the plays.

Clifford Samuel

AC: What can you tell us about your character in ‘A Guide To The Homesick’?

CLIFFORD SAMUELS: I play the character Teddy, he’s a very self assured, good-humoured person. Born and raised in Harlem, NYC, and works in finance. He is on holiday visiting Amsterdam. He finds himself confined in the small sanctuary of a hotel room on a very cold and rainy night in Amsterdam with a stranger called Jeremy. They slowly discover and reveal to each other their hidden secrets they’ve been harbouring personally and they both delve into the complexities individually.

How is Amsterdam created on stage?

Amsterdam is created via Ken Urban’s writing stating that it’s set in a hotel room, and because the story takes place in January, it rains incessantly. We have to navigate around this cozy and shabby hotel room along with a brilliantly subtle soundscape and lighting shifts portraying the interior of the hotel, other places mentioned in the story and the exterior atmosphere of Amsterdam.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Got to brush my teeth before every performance. Love the taste of minty freshness!

What does Trafalgar Studios bring to the production as a venue?

Trafalgar Studios space has been designed for an audience to immediately feel the intimacy of a production. The venue has been designed and this production is well suited for this venue. It has been staged so authentically, you should feel like you’re in the same setting and experiencing the journey both the characters goes through.

Earlier this year, you starred in BBC One’s ‘McMafia’ – were you surprised by the buzz around the series?

We were hoping viewers would take a keen interest as the story’s subject matter is very current and relatable globally. A very good script doesn’t always transpose the same onto film as imagined. But with ‘McMafia’ the script was so brilliantly constructed so we were all very excited to be filming this thrilling script. We were relieved that all our efforts paid off from the incredible amount of positive responses we received.

Aside from your upcoming stage role, what’s one thing you’re excited about for the future?

I am looking forward to continuing with challenging myself by performing in more intelligently written stories and characters in the near future.

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

Send a Letter to the Editor about this Article

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Interview: Liam Gallagher on his new album ‘As You Were’

Interview: Jess Glynne – The Return Of A Chart-Topping Powerhouse

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Interview: Nothing But Thieves talk about Korean Fans & Touring

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Interview: Gary Numan talks Concept Albums, Religion & Global Warming

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