Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Days Mystery Theatre

Go behind-the-scenes with some of the Days of Our Lives cast to find out: "Where's the baby?"

Interview (Being Erica): Erin Karpluk Continues Righting Past Wrongs

The time-travel dramedy “Being Erica” is back on SOAPnet for its second season beginning tonight, and no one could be happier than the series’ star, Erin Karpluk. “I am over the moon” that SOAPnet picked it up for Season Two, Erin tells me. While “Being Erica” already is a popular show in its native Canada — the show was nominated for seven Geminis (equivalent to our Emmy Awards), with Erin winning the Best Actress Gemini — the show is steadily picking up steam here in America.

For those unfamiliar with the show, “Being Erica” is a quirky and inventive drama (with many comedic moments) where the show’s protagonist, Erica Strange, is going through a unique kind of psychiatric therapy: Each show brings a new situation where Erica gets to travel back in time to one of her past regrets, and she gets to do things differently to try to make things right.

Last season, Erica did a lot of learning and self-evaluating. “This season,” Erin tells me, “Erica uses what she has been learning and applies it in her own life, and also uses it to try to help others. The show is sexier and edgier, and it is more forward-thinking. We are also pushing the boundaries of time travel.”

Part of this boundary-pushing is the introduction of a new character, Kai Booker, whom Erica soon learns is undergoing the same type of time-travel therapy that she is. Hence the idea of Erica using what she is learning to try to help others.

Kai is played by Sebastian Pigott, a top-10 finalist from Season Six’s “Canadian Idol.” Erin was very impressed by her new co-star. “He is so talented, such a great singer and performer. He even sings one of his own songs on the show, ‘Alien.’ You’ll be very impressed.”

Season Two started with a bang: After Dr. Tom dropped Erica for violating his trust at the end of the previous season, this first episode focused on what made Dr. Tom who he is today and why he reacted to Erica in such a severe way. Erin tells me: “Michael (Riley) is a fantastic actor. It was great to see more of Dr. Tom — to see him being vulnerable and adding more layers onto his character. We also answered the questions posed in the cliffhanger, while blasting open even more questions for the rest of the season.”

While Erica is exploring life and love, much will take place at her workplace, River Rock Publishing. This season will see a change in allegiances, as Brent (played by Morgan Kelly) angles for more responsibility and a possible promotion. As this happens, his friendship with Erica becomes threatened.

“As actors, Morgan and I were devastated, because we love working together and sharing the office camaraderie, but we know that there has to be conflict. The writers have to throw in some hooks and mix it up.”

On the flip side, we’ll see the blossoming of Erica’s relationship with her snarky boss, Julianne, played by the wonderful Reagan Pasternak. “Reagan is a riot; she is so great,” Erin reveals. “Erica’s relationship with Julianne continues to grow. We’ll get to see more shades of Julianne’s character without her losing her edge.”

Erin was also excited to explore Erica’s relationship with Ethan, her longtime best friend who became her boyfriend at the end of last season. “Erica learns a lot about herself by being in a relationship with Ethan. She is learning and growing. She is not just the girl filled with regrets.”

Would Erin like to have a “do-over” in her own life, if one were offered to her? Her answer sounds very Dr. Tom-esque: “Sure, there are some things I’d like to do over. But I also feel it is important to make mistakes in life, and learn from them. They make you who you are.”

You can catch “Being Erica” every Wednesday on SOAPnet at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).

Days: Such a Tease!


*Hope accepts the end of her marriage.

*Rafe discovers EJ comforting Sami.

*Arianna fears she will be sent back to jail.

*Vivian (Louise Sorel, pictured) discovers who Carly’s daughter really is!

*Stefano is not thrilled that Sami and EJ are bonding.

Thursday – Melanie makes it very clear that she loves Philip – not Nathan.

Friday – Rafe moves out of Sami’s place.

Interview: Catching Up With Charles Shaughnessy, Part 2

Charles Shaughnessy hasn’t been resting on his laurels since leaving his popular roles on “Days of Our Lives” (as Shane Donovan) and “The Nanny” (as Maxwell Sheffield). He is just as busy as ever, and he took the time to talk with me about his life in show business so far, along with all the surprising journeys and side roads he has taken along the way.

Many of Charles’ fans were thrilled when he popped up in the Season Two finale of AMC’s hit drama “Mad Men” as Saint John Powell (he stuck around for much of Season Three as well). Charles was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on the award-winning show. He tells me: “When I got cast in the second season of ‘Mad Men’ as Saint John Powell, an English businessman who ends up buying the ad agency, it was not a lot of air time for me, but it was a really interesting character.

“The first scene I had was in a restaurant with one of the guys from the agency. Behind the lines, you got a whole sense of who this guy is, this kind of steely predator behind this charming, bon vivant exterior. It was really fun going in and doing very short scenes while painting an interesting character. It was fantastic to act on the very cream of TV drama, working with the most incredible people in the most creative environment.”

And to think, Charles didn’t even start out with the goal of becoming an actor. “My goal when I was a kid in college was to be a lawyer — I was studying law — and I think I probably would have been miserable. So I’m glad I didn’t pursue that goal as hard as I could. Then the goal of acting popped up, and it’s been really good to me. Sure, one can say that one wants to be a big, successful movie star, but if that were the case, I wonder if I’d have the family that I have.”

How does Charles pick his projects? Well, he’s a smart cookie, this one. He explains: “I like to do any sort of work that keeps me engaged. Someone said to me recently, ‘You seem to have had a diverse career and have done a lot of different things.’ And I haven’t really. I’ve done just one thing my entire career, which is to entertain. Doing ‘The Nanny’ was a great job. I really get a kick out of it that to this day people from all over the world loved it. I met a man in New York from New Delhi, India, who told me he and his wife loved the show, and it made them laugh every week. That feels good.”

With all of his different show-biz exploits, Charles doesn’t see himself settling into any single genre — he plans to mix it up a bit. “I’ve had fantastic experiences from the most unlikely of places. Out of the blue, having never been trained in musical-theater comedy, I was doing a triple Tony Award winning Broadway musical called ‘Urinetown: The Musical.’ I had a fantastic experience living in New York for those six months. My family, who were dreading my move to NYC, had the best time. They came out to visit for Thanksgiving and for the holidays, and they still say that was the favorite time of their life so far.

“If you keep yourself open to it, amazing stuff happens. I just got done doing this bizarre show in Northern California for a friend, and it was completely crazy, but I met some great people and got to spend four weeks in Carmel in a beautiful house by the beach. You try to say yes to as much as you can and suck as much experience out of it as you can. I don’t understand anyone saying, ‘I don’t do TV’ or ‘I don’t do theater’ or ‘I don’t do animation.’ I think you have to do as much as you possibly can.”