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Edie Falco has been a fixture on television screens for nearly twenty years, always leaving an indelible impression on viewers with her powerful performances. Here, the four-time Emmy winner gives us an advance look at what we can expect from the sixth season of Showtime’s hit series, Nurse Jackie.
Can you take us from the very end of last season to where Nurse Jackie is now?
The decision—however unconscious—to take that pill at the end of last season, has led [Jackie] into a whole new slew of adventures in drug land this season.
You just want to scream at the TV, “Jackie, stop it!” But yet, we kind of want you to be bad.
It’s interesting. I guess people do a vicarious sort of thing with their character friends on TV. It’s like, let [the characters] do it so [the viewers] don’t have to. So, I am happy to participate in that way, if need be. But I guess I never really thought about that. People enjoy seeing her get screwed up, enjoy seeing her mixed up in the consequences of her actions, I think.
It does seem like there is so much at stake this season. How would you describe what’s going on for Jackie?
Well, what’s going on for Jackie is what goes on a number of years into addiction, where you have the chickens coming home to roost. It’s gonna catch up with you; there really is no alternative. The consequences never disappear. They may be repressed for a short period of time but, it’s gonna catch up to you. And that’s where she finds herself now. As her kids are growing up and growing older, her marriage is over. And things do start to fall apart.
Jackie has some dangerous addictions. But in the non‑dangerous indulgence category, what are your choices?
Popcorn. It’s a real problem. As much of a problem that popcorn can be. I kind of have an insane love for it. I chew a lot of gum. It used to be cigarettes way back and now it’s gum. It’s as maniacal as I get with anything; I can’t do anything in moderation, unfortunately. Which is why there is so little that I actually do. But when I do, I am pretty over the top. So, gum and popcorn—I am a cheap date.
Season six of Nurse Jackie premieres Sunday, April 13 at 9/8c on Showtime (Channel 545).
AMC has been getting a lot of attention for their original dramas, and their next entry is TURN, the story of America’s fist spy ring. The series is based on the book Washigton’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, written by by Alexander Rose. Rose is now serving as a writer for the series, and he took a few minutes to answer a few questions for DIRECTV viewers before the series premiere on Sunday, April 6 at 9/8c on AMC (Channel 254).
How did you become interested in the Culper Ring, the team of secret agents who helped win the Revolutionary War for the rebels? It really was something of a fortunate accident. I’d been reading a biography of Benedict Arnold as background for a completely different project idea and began to wonder whether there was more to his story than the barebones version we’re usually told. A traitor of the darkest dye I of course knew him to be, but I started to see Arnold as a man of shifting and complex loyalties in the twilight world of espionage. From that moment on, I desperately wanted to know more about the role of spying in the War of Independence. Appetite whetted, I now had my general subject, but which spies should I write about? That’s where the trouble started. If you think about it, it’s actually pretty difficult to write a book about spies because they’re not the type of people who keep fatally incriminating documents lying around. But after a long search I finally found my perfect spies: The Culper Ring, whose long and detailed correspondence with George Washington survives almost intact. It’s a virtually unique treasure trove of documents from any historian’s point of view. Then I worked for about a year to bring their incredible story to life as Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring.
You’re an American who was raised in Australia, educated in Britain and lived in Canada before settling in New York. Did those experiences give you a unique perspective on the events and participants of the Revolutionary War?
Though I was born in New York, I do think that growing up outside the U.S. allowed me to approach the War of Independence objectively in the sense that I could avoid the traditional Goodies (Americans) versus Baddies (British) narrative. Put another way, I was very interested in bringing across a variety of perspectives. For instance, Loyalists. These guys, who actually made up a very large proportion of the colonial population, are usually dismissed as losers, creeps, or quasi-traitors—but they weren’t. They too had legitimate ideas and beliefs and convictions, but their side happened to lose. And we all know who history is written by. What was important to me in Washington’s Spies was to illustrate that many, many people in the Colonies had conflicted opinions and tangled loyalties. As in the Civil War—and the Revolution was really something of a civil war—they were torn apart by family tradition, personal beliefs, ambition, religion, fear . . . the list goes on. Everyone had to make the best of a bad situation, make deals with the Devil, and cut a few corners in order to survive. You see this even with the Culper Ring. Some of its members went back and forth on whether they wanted to keep on working, though ultimately they united to serve as Washington’s personal spy ring. What TURN beautifully shows is that these kinds of life-or-death decisions are never easy to make, especially when you’re involved in the shadowy world of spying, where you never know who to trust or who’s watching.
What was the most surprising thing you uncovered while researching your book, Washington’s Spies?
I was most taken aback by seeing just how good George Washington was as a spymaster. I mean, he was a bona fide genius—and genuinely enjoyed spying the daylights out of the British. In an era when intelligence-gathering was both primitive and regarded as superfluous, he was way ahead of his time, a real natural. When Washington was dealing with the “dark arts” of espionage, he was not the stolid, starchy figure we know from the one-dollar bill, but actively involved in running his agents—he called them his “intelligencers”—to make sure they gathered accurate information about the enemy. He was eager to use invisible inks, secret drops, false papers, ciphers, and other innovative tradecraft to get what he wanted. Put together, the Culper Ring and Washington made a formidable team.
What’s it like to watch the events in Washington’s Spies come alive on the screen?
Pretty astounding, in a word. You have to remember, we don’t have any idea of what most of the members of the Culper Ring looked like, so when I was writing the book I composed mental images of them to make them more “real” to me. What is remarkable, I think, is just how closely the actors hew to the pictures I had built of them, not only in how they look but how they think, move, and speak. Quite literally, it’s like watching characters on a page spring to life. Also, when I was writing the book I had to imagine an entire world—the world of Revolutionary New York and Long Island—but when you walk around the amazing sets they’ve constructed it’s as if you’ve traipsed through a time warp and are actually living in the past.
TURN is attracting some amazing actors including Jamie Bell, Stephen Root, and Ian Kahn. Do you think they have what it takes to portray these unique characters and bring their stories to life?
The all-round cast of actors assembled by the executive producers Barry Josephson and Craig Silverstein is amazing. The amount of dedication and thought they bring to the roles has really been surprising. For instance, when we were gearing up to film the pilot, Jamie Bell and I had a long discussion about which books he should read in order to understand his character and what he went through. He went off and bought a big pile of them. Same with Burn Gorman, who plays Major Hewlett, and Angus Macfadyen (Robert Rogers): Both of them became fascinated with the era and its personalities. I think Angus dug up everything that Rogers ever wrote—some really obscure stuff—and integrated it all into his portrayal of this tortured man. With Stephen Root (Nathaniel Sackett) and Ian Kahn (George Washington) I gather they’re equally determined to make their characters stand out. In Washington’s case, I bet you’re going to see something a lot different from what you’re used to seeing.
The British captain who pulled a gun on Abe Woodhull seems like he has the potential to be a breakout villain, like The Walking Dead‘s Governor. Is he based on anybody in particular, or is he an amalgamation of several people?
That British captain is John Simcoe, and he’s played with brilliant menace by Samuel Roukin. Simcoe existed in real life, but as with a couple of other characters in TURN, he’s a bit of a composite for dramatic reasons. But his story is certainly authentic in the context of the time and place. After all, we’re dealing with the secret world here and in that world we don’t know every little thing that happened, which means that there’s lots of room for the writers to come up with the surprise twists and kicky turns that we hope will make the show so riveting for viewers.
TURN premieres Sunday, April 6 at 9/8c on AMC (Channel 254).
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At over 1,500 miles long, the Appalachian Mountains may be home to any number of creatures—both unidentified and legendary. The goal of the Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings (AIMS) is to identify or capture these creatures… but when night falls, the question becomes, “Who’s hunting who?”
Don’t miss the season premiere of Mountain Monsters, Friday, April 4 at 10/9c on Destination America (Ch. 286)
Actress Stevie Lynn Jones has been getting a great deal of notice for her work in NBC’s latest hit, Crisis. In the drama, Jones plays the role of Beth Ann Gibson, the kidnapped daughter of one of Washington D.C.’s elite. Jones took a few minutes away from shooting to share her thoughts with DIRECTV about her experiences on the show, and offer some advice for Chicago-bound tourists.
The official synopsis for Crisis begins with “When a high school field trip goes horribly awry.” We’re already hooked, but tell us exactly how awry everything goes on this trip!
Well to begin with, the entire class gets kidnapped…but it’s not a normal class. Our class is full of children of Washington, D.C.’s elite, CEOs, international diplomats, even the president’s son. Then these powerful parents are manipulated to do horrible things to get their children back. To top it all off, the mastermind behind the kidnapping is always at least three steps ahead of the FBI. One crisis after another…
Crisis has a truly heavyweight cast, including Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney. What has it been like working with them?
I unfortunately don’t get to work with Gillian. I have spoken to her on several occasions and she is very sweet. Because Dermot plays my father I’m lucky to work with him a lot. Dermot is the scene partner every actor dreams of having. He gives so much to the other person in the scene it makes everything feel very natural. I had several emotional and serious scenes with him and couldn’t think of anyone better to do them with. Dermot also has an amazing sense of humor and could always make me laugh!
Tell us a bit about your character Beth Ann Gibson and why she’s so important to Crisis.
Beth Ann Gibson is the daughter of Francis Gibson, played by Dermot Mulroney, who is an ex-CIA analyst. When her father loses his job he falls apart and turns his back on his family. Because of this, she hates her father and wants nothing to do with him. She is also one of two scholarship kids in the school and doesn’t get along with any of the rich, elite children. Ian Martinez, played by Max Schneider, is the other scholarship kid and her only friend.
I think Beth Ann is a very relatable character. She is complex and is forced to put a harsh mask on to stay strong through the difficulties in her life. But she has a good heart and will do anything for those she loves.
Reading your bio, you have an amazing athletic background. Were you able to get proper gym time in during the Crisis shoot?
I am indeed able to get proper gym time in during shooting. It is a very large ensemble cast so I don’t have to work every day. I make sure to get plenty of time in for my workouts. I recently tried out CrossFit, which is very fun!
Crisis was shot in Chicago. Did you have any opportunity to take in the sights? It’s an awesome city.
I think Chicago is the most beautiful city I have ever been to. The architecture is spectacular. During the summer I would ride my bike and walk everywhere while taking in the pretty buildings. The architectural boat tour was a highlight for sure. Anyone who goes to Chicago during warm weather should take one of those tours. It’s totally worth it!
Crisis airs Sundays at 10/9c on NBC.
For three seasons, USA’s Suits has been one of the most acclaimed dramas on television. The series follows a fictional New York law firm’s daily machinations, which include healthy doses of secrets and backstabbing. Sarah Rafferty plays Donna Paulsen, an executive assistant with one of the top minds at the firm.
When we told our friends that we were doing this interview, they were all incredibly excited. Suits has an extremely passionate and loyal following. After three seasons, are you used to all of the fandom yet?
Frankly, I am continually surprised and delighted and sorta gobsmacked. We recently finished the Suits college tour. I visited Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard, and Columbia. There is no “getting used to” that kind of amazing enthusiasm. I actually photographed and videoed the students not only to share on Instagram, but to confirm that we weren’t actually dreaming. I know we are all incredibly grateful for our Suitors!
We haven’t even finished season three of the show, and fans are already speculating about the plans for season four. Have the powers that be given you any hints as to what is come for Donna in the future?
It’s all remained pretty hush-hush actually. But I have heard that Donna remains a passionate thespian into season four.
Do you think that Donna and Harvey should ultimately end up together, or is their current setup the ideal one for both of them? The Suits superfans on the Internet all think it’s a done deal.
I read an article where Donna and Harvey’s relationship was referred to as “the slowest of slow burns.” I think that’s a pretty fabulous dynamic.
Speaking of Donna and Harvey, you’ve been friends with Gabriel Macht for nearly half of your life. Can you share any awesome and/or embarrassing stories about him?
I have too many awesome stories to share here. He is simply the loveliest most loyal friend. Bet you didn’t know he has a fabulous high arch, an extraordinary ballerina point, and his high kick can rival that of any Rockette.
You’re a very active Tweeter (@sarahgrafferty). What have been some of your favorite interactions with the #Suitors?
It’s especially fun to lord the marriage proposals over my husband.
New episodes of Suits air Thursdays at 9/8c on USA (Channel 242).
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