It’s been almost four years since we lost beloved actor Andy Griffith, but the character he portrayed so well…Sheriff Andy Taylor, lives on. With his Southern charm and wisdom, he ruled America’s airwaves from 1960 to 1968. The Andy Griffith Show continues to be extremely popular, spawning groups like The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, Mayberry Bible studies and others. Born Andrew Samuel Griffith on June 1, 1926, in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Griffith grew up in poverty. His parents were so poor they couldn’t afford a crib, so baby Andy slept in a bureau drawer. Andy Griffith never strayed far from his roots, portraying mostly Southern characters and eventually returning to North Carolina to live out the rest of his life. When he died July 3, 2012, Andy Griffith left behind a legacy of treasured television shows, plays, movies and songs. America is richer for having Andy Griffith share his talents with us.
How much do you think you know about Andy Griffith and his most famous character, Sheriff Andy Taylor? Take our quiz and find out how much of a fan you are!Take Our Survey
How many correct answers did you have?
1-4 — You need to watch some re-runs
5-7 — You know your stuff
8-10 — You are ready to join The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers ClubView the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
It’s that time again. Around the country, millions of high school and college students are accepting their diplomas—and even more millions of relatives and friends are trying to figure out what to give them as graduation presents.
If you’re still on the hunt for a gift, it’s not too late. Launch the gallery to see 10 unique graduation gift ideas from Etsy, the handmade marketplace. Best of all, they’re all under $50, so you’ll have money left over for the party!
Help graduates navigate the world of adulthood with this custom-engraved compass.
$35 to $38, depending on engraving options
Buy it here.
You can engrave custom geographic coordinates on this necklace to remind a graduate of a significant place in her life.
$47 for silver, $49 for gold
Buy it here.
Graduates will appreciate this sturdy monogrammed duffel as they set off on their next adventure.
Buy it here.
Graduates can keep track of their world travels with this detailed world map. Countries are coated with a layer of foil, and every time they visit a new place, they can scratch off the foil with a coin to reveal the map underneath. Push pins are also included to mark cities visited.
Buy it here.
This Parker fountain pen has a weighty, luxurious feel, according to its description on Etsy, and it can be engraved in a variety of typefaces.
Buy it here.
Help a graduate job hunt in style with this custom monogrammed leather folder.
Buy it here.
This delicate wrap ring is hand-stamped with the message, "She believed she could, so she did."
Buy it here.
Inspire any recent graduate with this quote print from Theodore Roosevelt.
$18 to $42, depending on size
Buy it here.
The college graduate in your life is probably going to celebrate with some drinks—at least make sure they do it in style with this personalized glass whiskey decanter.
Buy it here.
This cuff bracelet can be engraved on the inside, outside, or both sides.
Buy it here.
Happy birthday, Clint Eastwood! The iconic actor and director turns 86 on May 31, 2016.
Eastwood revealed his calm approach to getting older in an interview last year with the Daily Mail.
“You know what the big trick is?” he said. “I have a friend that is in his 90s, and I said to him, ‘You look real good—what’s the deal?’ He says, ‘Never let the old man in.’ And he never did.”
“Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it,” he adds.
Launch the gallery to read more of Eastwood’s best quotes on aging, hard work, and not worrying about the little details.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
“Does a mall babe eat chili fries?” This timeless rhetorical question, first posed in the 1990s X-Men animated series, finally gets addressed in the live-action X-Men film universe with the release of this weekend’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
Lana Condor stars in the movie as Jubilation Lee, alias Jubilee, the fireworks-producing teenage mutant who was at the heart of the celebrated cartoon series. She spoke with Parade about her role in the movie, her research and wardrobe process, and shared details about her next movie, Patriot’s Day.
PARADE | What was your awareness of X-Men before landing the role?
I had previously seen, the year before, the midnight premiere of Days of Future Past with a couple of my friends. I think that was actually the first X-Men movie I’d seen. Once I got the audition, I went psycho and watched all of the cartoons and read the comics. I definitely became more aware once I got the audition, but truthfully, I was more of an Avengers fan. Iron Man is my most favorite human, character, person in the world. (Laughs)
PARADE | So in your research, I assume you discovered that Jubilee is currently a vampire?
I am aware of that. When I first found out, I was prepping for my audition, and I kind of freaked out. I had no idea what the script was going to be. I’m a vegetarian, so I have a huge fear of blood. If they’re going to make me suck blood in this movie, I’m going to pass out!
PARADE | Jubilee is a huge character in the 1990s X-Men animated series. What were your takeaways from exploring that show?
I watched it on Netflix. You know how you can fast-forward through it? I was scrubbing through so I could keep finding Jubilee. It was really fun. Those cartoons are amazing. I grew up on Spongebob. If I had known there was an even better cartoon out there like X-Men, you best believe I would have grown up on that.
PARADE | Jubilee has such an iconic look, what with her yellow trench coat…
It’s great. Once I got the role, they called me in for a costume fitting to start designing the costume. I remember a couple of the first fittings I went into, there were a lot of jackets, but none of them were yellow. I was freaking out in my mind, but I didn’t want to step out of place and say: “Oh, you picked all the wrong things!” Instead, I was worried: “Oh no, if they don’t put me in the right jacket, people are going to crucify me. They won’t even know it’s Jubilee!” The designer texted Bryan Singer a couple of test shots, and he texted back: “If you do not have a yellow jacket, it will be blasphemous.” So, that was fun. (Laughs) I hope if there’s a next movie, and I get to be in it, I would love to see her in the classic X-Men suit, but have it be a little more jazzed up and still have the yellow jacket and be super unique.
PARADE | If there’s anything more iconic than Jubilee’s yellow jacket, it’s that she loves the mall. What was your experience shooting the scenes in the mall?
That was the first day we worked, of the whole production of the movie, at the mall. It was massive. They rented out a huge mall in Montreal — half of it — and turned it into a complete ’80s time capsule. There was an arcade room with real ’80s arcade games, rooms selling Cabbage Patch dolls and My Little Pony. They went super authentic with it. It was a huge production that day, cameras everywhere, and 100s of extras wearing ’80s clothes. But a couple of those scenes we shot at the mall were cut from the movie, so unfortunately we won’t see a lot of what we did in that mall. But I’ve heard rumors this week that there might be a cut of it on the DVD, or deleted scenes or something like that. I hope people get to see it. It was very fun. It was so authentic.
PARADE | You’re the star of an in-universe infomercial welcoming people to Xavier’s School. It’s so tonally different from the movie — very light-hearted.
I had so much fun with that. It was great to be back as Jubilee. I thought it was really cute. They wanted it to be a super cheesy infomercial, so while I’m standing there saying my lines, I’m feeling like an idiot, screaming: “Hi! I’m Jubilee!” So big and crazy. It’s funny, because that’s definitely not what the movie is. The movie is so dark and intense.
PARADE | Your next movie is Patriot’s Day, about the Boston Marathon bombing. What can we expect?
I was worried [before signing up], because it’s a very personal issue, and I didn’t want to offend anyone or bring people back to a place they didn’t want to go, especially if it wasn’t authentic. However, once I read the script, it was so beautiful. It’s so striving to be an accurate and authentic portrayal of the horrific actions of the bombing. I think it’s going to raise morale. It shows how quickly we captured those brothers, and how quickly America and especially Boston united to get them. I think it’s going to be beautiful.
X-Men: Apocalypse is in theaters now. See Lana Condor as Jubilee in the video below.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
National Hamburger Day is Saturday, May 28—the perfect ending to National Hamburger Month, which is celebrated annually during the month of May. Add a side of trivia to your thick and juicy burger with these fun facts and 10 must-visit hamburger joints across the country.
In tiny Athens, Texas, just southeast of Dallas, Fletcher Davis started selling his now famous sandwich in the late 1880s at his little lunch counter cafe on the north side of the courthouse square. Everyone in Athens and the surrounding area was so enamored with “Old Dave’s” invention that in 1904 the Chamber of Commerce and supportive citizens raised enough money to send Davis to the St. Louis World Fair to sell his sandwiches. When he set up at the fair, he had a prime location for this booth, “directly across the midway from the Wild West Show featuring Indians, including the old Apache warrior, Geronimo”. Fletcher Davis’s sandwich became so popular at the World’s Fair that a New York Tribune reporter interviewed him, but failed to give Fletcher’s name when he wrote the article, spawning an almost century-long debate about the inventor of what we now know as the hamburger.
Frank X. Tolbert, a Texas-based journalist and historian, spent countless hours searching for confirmation that the “birth of the hamburger” was indeed the work of Fletcher Davis. After finding historical evidence and linking bits of information together, Tolbert and others agreed that it was undeniably Davis’s creation. Even the leading authority on hamburger history, McDonald’s chain “Hamburger University” agrees with Tolbert that Davis was indeed the inventor of the modern hamburger. So, we have that far-sighted East Texas Chamber of Commerce and the generous folks of Athens, Texas, to thank for the delicious burger revolution that we are enjoying today. Burgers now come in every combination and are found on the menus of almost every establishment from pricey upscale restaurants to the humble drive-thrus along the interstate.
If you are out and about this holiday weekend, be sure to give “Old Dave’s” invention a whirl or come up with your own backyard version. Here is a list of some of my favorite ‘burger joints’ across the USA in no particular order…’cause they’re all good!
In retrospect, do I regret making yesterday’s post “Parrot Party” so that it would be redundant for today’s to be “Long Beak-end”? Of course I do. However, an extra-long weekend deserves an extra-large gallery. Launch this gallery overstuffed with adorable to make your holiday weekend start in awwww-some fashion. Have a great Memorial Day, everyone!
Click here to see “Parrot Party” and check back every weekday for a new Daily Cute! If you would like to submit cute photos which you took, please send them to DailyCuteParade@gmail.com. You will be credited if they’re used in a future Daily Cute.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
In our Parade/Cleveland Clinic survey on aging, we asked participants lots of questions. But now we have another one to pose: What can you do to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? This one activity has been shown to have a powerful effect in preventing the memory-robbing disease. Take a look at the video below to learn the answer!View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Bob Rich is the chairman of Buffalo-based Rich Products Corp., a successful businessman who is No. 164 on the 2015 Forbes 400 list. He’s also a prolific writer and an avid fisherman who has found that fishing is the great equalizer. Put two people together, and regardless of their background, education and income, if those two people love to fish, they’ve found common ground.
Rich explores this theme, and delves deep into father-son relationships, in his latest book, Looking Through Water (Skyhorse Publishing). And, by donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the book’s sales, Rich puts a well-deserved spotlight on our nation’s veterans and Project Healing Waters.
Parade recently talked to Rich about two of his favorite subjects: fishing and writing books.
How is Looking Through Water different than the other books you’ve written?
This is my fifth book. For the first four, I was a reporter. I felt like my job was to tell a story that had a finite beginning and ending. But I always wanted to do a novel where I could create the characters; I could create the situations and I could put in any kind of background I wanted in order to create chaos and change in the characters’ lives. I also felt it would be fun to do a generational book, so I talked about five different generations.
Tell us about the story. Is it all about fishing?
This was never meant to be a fishing book. The book uses water as a backdrop and fishing was a great way to put the characters under duress. It’s easier to write about things you know and I know a lot about fishing. I also know a lot about family, because I run a family business. So the two blended together.
All the proceeds—100 percent—go to Project Healing Waters, which benefits veterans. Is that right?
With all of the books I’ve written, I’ve looked for a group that could benefit from a contribution. They’ve ranged from the battle on cystic fibrosis, to boys’ and girls’ clubs, etc.
As I was writing this book, some people I fish with were volunteering to fish with Project Healing Waters. I was intrigued and I got to know a lot about them—85 percent of the proceeds actually go to the charity.
They were doing the same thing that I was doing with my book: using fishing, using the water as a place where you get out of your comfort zone and relate to other people in a meaningful way. Fishing allows for conflict resolution, return of faith in people, and even in the case of my book, finding love.
Project Healing Waters is doing that. They’re taking returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, and also guys from Vietnam, and giving them a soft landing. They’re showing these people that someone cares. This is not just taking an injured vet to a fishing hole and leaving them by themselves. It’s embracing them.
It’s meaningful that Project Healing Waters is including Vietnam vets.
I wasn’t a Vietnam vet—I missed the window—but I’ve always felt there was something missing for the guys that came back and were spit on in airports and treated like trash.
It was an unpopular war and people were venting about it. They forgot that people were putting their lives on the line for them, for us, for the country.
I thought, here is a chance to right this wrong. There have been some incredible moments. In West Virginia, I said to a Vietnam vet in the group, “Come out with me. I learned a great new back cast that I think you’ll really like.” And the guy said, “Can we just go have coffee and talk?” I said, “Yeah, but I thought you wanted to go fishing.” He said, “You know what, I read your book. I know that you’ll understand what I’ve gone through and what I’m going through, and I have no one to talk to. I’d like to just talk.” We spent two hours just talking.
Talking—relating in a real way—is a key part of the book.
The story starts with a grandfather having a fishing outing with the love of his life, his little grandson who he has fished with many times. Later, we see the grandson, now grown up, going across the lake to discover a troubled preteen with a hoodie and probably tinted hair, or whatever, playing with a Gameboy.
You know, as you get older, you feel your own mortality, and you say, these grandkids, I gotta do something to reach out to them. I don’t have time to wait. That grandfather had to help that boy resolve his issues. He was really thoughtful and said, “I’m going to use a story of my past, because I’ve had my troubles too. I’m going to reach back and bring the characters out of my story—in this case, off the pages of a book—to help get to the bottom and resolve the issue of what’s troubling my grandson.
The story starts in home waters up in the Adirondacks and winds its way through Manhattan to show the grandfather when he was younger in a pressure cooker environment. But the real story plays out in Islamorada, Florida, because that’s where the water is, and that’s where the fly fishing is, and that’s where there’s tremendous chance for revelation of abandonment, which turns out to be what the grandson’s going through. His father has decided he doesn’t want to be married anymore, and his grandfather’s father decided that he couldn’t do anything after his wife developed Alzheimer’s, so they were both abandoned, and it turned out that the grandfather had an understanding of the issue.
Here’s a tough question. What’s the best day of fishing you’ve ever had?
I’m really competitive, and a lot of it is about a quest. It may be a good thing and a bad thing. For example, when we were trying to get in the South Florida Fishing Hall of Fame by catching 10 different species—some on fly, some offshore, some on plug rods—each of those was a great accomplishment. And when I caught the final fish, which was a large snook on a plug rod, that was really thrilling.
I was on a quest to catch a thousand-pound marlin, and I did that on and off. My first trip to Australia, at the Great Barrier Reef after about seven years of this, I got my first grander. It was an 1100-pound fish. So, that’s right up there. But concurrently, I’ve been with eight out of nine of my grandchildren when they caught their first fish. And the only reason I haven’t gotten one with my ninth is that she’s only a month old.
View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Twenty years ago, Vivica A. Fox played Jasmine, an exotic dancer, in Independence Day, the alien invasion feature directed by Roland Emmerich. Her character is not only back, she (and Fox) are better than ever. Read on as Fox shares more about what she loved about the role, reuniting with the original cast, spending time in Albuquerque where the film was shot and why she’s in the happiest place she’s ever been.
What was it like to work with the original Independence Day cast again?
It has been like a wonderful high school reunion with Brent Spiner, Judd Hirsch, Bill Pullman—it was so good to see everybody. Everyone was so happy to be back. You know, they had been talking about this sequel happening off and on for the past five years. When I got the call that not only was it going to happen but that they were continuing my story line, it was the most amazing feeling. I posted something on Twitter and people went crazy!
How has Jasmine evolved in the two decades since we last saw her?
What was great was that Roland made sure all of the characters had evolved. Same for Jasmine. She’s not working no pole this time. She’s now a hospital administrator. She’s doing good things and mentoring her son, Dylan. Jessie T. Usher plays my son and I loved having that mother/son relationship in the film and hanging out with him when we weren’t shooting. Same for Brent [Spiner]. We’d get off work and have wine at this great Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque where we were shooting.
Speaking of the shoot, were the days long?
Twenty years ago, a lot of the shooting was done on location. It was hot, dirty and dusty. When I found out we were filming on soundstages, I was like ‘this is cool!’
What do you hope audiences will get out of the film?
I hope the whole family can go together and watch the original gang and the newbies. We all get a chance to kick serious alien butt. Mom and dad can be like ‘There’s Vivica, there’s Jeff’ while the young kids are dying over Maika Monroe and Liam [Hemsworth].
So the film might bridge the generations?
Absolutely. It’s something the whole family can go and see together and have a good time. Usually parents drop off the kids at a film. This is one they can go to together. We need that so much these days.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been such a busy blessed bee. I’m doing my clothing line, the Vivica A. Fox Collection. It’s affordable and I want every woman to feel beautiful and look good. I also have my hair collection and I just booked Managing Manhattan, a Hallmark movie. In it, I play a fashionista—all this fashion stuff is happening for me, which is great. I’m in the happiest place I’ve been in a long time.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Much has changed in the years since alien invaders crashed onto Earth — both on-screen, and off.
Indeed, 20 years have passed since the release of Independence Day in 1996, adding an extra air of nostalgia to the upcoming sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. As the June 24 release date looms closer, take a look back at the major stars of the first film, and how they look today. Some have changed dramatically; others, not so much… and in some cases, new faces entirely have stepped into the picture.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Much has changed in the years since alien invaders crashed onto Earth — both on-screen, and off.
Indeed, 20 years have passed since the release of Independence Day in 1996, adding an extra air of nostalgia to the upcoming sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. As the June 24 release date looms closer, take a look back at the major stars of the first film, and how they look today. Some have changed dramatically; others, not so much… and in some cases, new faces entirely have stepped into the picture.
Jeff Goldblum played David Levinson in the original Independence Day, a computer expert who becomes one of the first people to realize that Earth's newest arrivals are more foe than friend.
Goldblum reprises his role in the sequel, with an increased role in Earth's new power structure. Here, he's the Director of the Earth Space Defense, an organization dedicated to protecting the planet from future invasions.
Judd Hirsch played David's father Julius in the first film, often having strong words for those who abused their positions of power, but still offering a shoulder to lean on during crises of faith.
Hirsch returns in the sequel as Julius, presumably to offer more instantly quotable lines such as: "You'd all be dead now if it wasn't for my David!"
Brent Spiner, best known for playing the android Data on Star Trek, delivered a memorable turn in Independence Day as Dr. Brackish Okun, a scientist obsessed with aliens, entrenched in his work at Area 51.
Despite his apparent demise in the first film, Spiner will return in the sequel. How is it possible that Dr. Okun is still alive? Perhaps he's an android, much like Spiner's other most famous role… though probably not. Consider this one of the great mysteries surrounding the movie.
Bill Pullman played Thomas Whitmore in the original Independence Day, the President of the United States tasked with keeping his nation and family together in the midst of a global catastrophe.
Pullman returns in the sequel, but not as president. Indeed, various trailers and stills for Independence Day: Resurgence see Pullman's Whitmore sporting a retirement beard — either that, or a sign that he's not as stable as he once was.
Mae Whitman played President Whitmore's daughter Patricia in the original Independence Day. She went on to star in shows and films such as Arrested Development, Parenthood, Scott Pilgrim vs The World and more.
Whitman will not reprise Patricia Whitmore in the sequel. Instead, Maika Monroe will play the grown up version of the character. Monroe is best known for her work in horror movies The Guest and It Follows.
Vivica A. Fox played Jasmine Dubrow in the original Independence Day, an erotic dancer and mother who ultimately gets engaged to fighter pilot Steve Hiller.
Fox once again finds herself facing down an extraterrestrial threat in Independence Day: Resurgence, albeit with a few changes in her family life. One assumes that her dog Boomer, who miraculously survived the initial attack, is no longer with us 20 years later.
Ross Bagley played Dylan Dubrow in the first Independence Day. He's the son of Jasmine, and eventually becomes Steve Hiller's step-son as well. It's the second time he worked with Will Smith, having teamed together on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Bagley will not reprise the role of Dylan in Resurgence. Instead, Jessie Usher steps up to the plate, with Dylan following in his step-father's footsteps as a fighter pilot. Usher is best known as the star of Survivor's Remorse on Starz, currently in its third season.
Will Smith was the top-billed star of Independence Day, kicking alien butt and welcoming them to Earth as hotshot pilot Steve Hiller. He was famously obsessed with "The Fat Lady," according to David Levinson.
Sadly, Smith will not return for Resurgence, despite numerous attempts to include him in the film. Instead, his character died off-screen in between the original Independence Day and the sequel — but hopefully ambiguously enough that he could return in the future, should the interest exist.
Still reeling from last week’s episode of Game of Thrones? Do you shed a tear every time you hold a door for someone or one is held for you? Do you look down at a door stop and think, “If only!”?
Well, put the past behind you as the next episode of Game of Thrones is near.
Hopefully, there will be a little bit of happiness in this episode as Gilly meets Sam’s family. Though there will be more emotional turmoil to come as Jaime faces off against the High Sparrow. The High Sparrow is readying to have Margaery take her walk of shame through the streets of town like Cersei did last season.
With White Walkers after them, Hodor gone and Summer the Direwolf serving as an hors d’oeuvres for said White Walkers, will Bran be able to redeem himself for screwing up Hodor’s past, present and future? With Meera now as his sole traveling companion, will they be able to escape or are they just doomed?
Will any of the poor Stark kids ever catch a break?!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Mind Your Body with Stephanie Stephens features celebrities and high achievers age 45+ who share their latest projects, healthy living secrets and more.
You may know them as “the Mount Rushmore of country music.” They still stand tall as monuments to music history: The Highwaymen.
Now you can explore the engaging documentary American Masters—The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End when it premieres nationwide Friday, May 27 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS as part of the 30th anniversary season of Thirteen’s American Masters series. Please check your local listings.
It’s the series’ last premiere until fall. You can stream it at pbs.org/americanmasters beginning Saturday, May 28.
On Their Road Again
The Grammy-winning Highwaymen included Willie Nelson, 83, Kris Kristofferson, 79, plus Waylon Jennings, who died in 2002 at 64, and Johnny Cash who died in 2001 at 71, both from complications of diabetes. Nelson and Jennings created the country music subgenre called the outlaw movement, in retaliation for overly controlled and highly produced material.
From 1985 to 1995, the group recorded three albums, toured the world and acted in the movie Stagecoach (1986). Four-time Emmy Award-winning producer/director Jim Brown explores how these men came together and shares the fruits of their historic collaboration on our screens.
You’ll see previously unreleased concert footage, rare behind-the-scenes footage as well as new interviews with Nelson, Kristofferson, Toby Keith, John Mellencamp, Jessi Colter, Marty Stuart and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel among others.
Great American Heroes
If, while you watch, you have trouble keeping them all straight, remember this from Kris Kristofferson: “Willie’s the outlaw coyote. Waylon’s the riverboat gambler. I’m the revolutionary communist radical and John is the father of our country.”
As you watch the show, you’ll hear Nelson and Kristofferson describe a mutual admiration society whose creativity and camaraderie inspired reflections like this one from Marty Stuart: “It was four of the last great American heroes of the 20th century. They rode into town and made us love country music…”
The Highwaymen Live—American Outlaws, a new 3 CD/1 DVD or Blu-ray box set of concert performances—including the complete Nassau Coliseum concert—is available now from Columbia/Legacy.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Mind Your Body with Stephanie Stephens features celebrities and high achievers age 45+ who share their latest projects, healthy living secrets and more.
Start your new month by tuning in to Kingdom on AT&T Audience Network when it returns on June 1. It’s the risk-taking series about “family, loyalty, ambition, glory, lust, betrayal and the raw-nerve needs and desires that inspire people to greatness or drive them to unthinkable treachery,” says the network.
In this interview, you’ll meet the lovely Joanna Going who plays Christina Kulina. On camera, she’s the estranged wife of lead character Alvey “King” Kulina, played by Frank Grillo. You’ll meet him here in my next Mind Your Body interview.
Christina is also the mother of elder son Jay Kulina, played by Jonathan Tucker, and Nate Kulina, portrayed by Nick Jonas. (Yes, that Nick Jonas.) They’re part of the cast set in Venice, California, at Navy St. MMA Gym owned by Alvey—we’re talking mixed martial arts, a full contact body sport with striking and grappling. It’s not for wimps, and here in the United States, it’s overseen by the Association of Boxing Commissions.
Joanna played her first role at 14 in The Tempest. Now 52, she built a solid career in soap operas Another World and Dark Shadows. She appeared on TV shows including Law & Order, CSI, Mad Men and in House of Cards, as well as in a number of different films.
Enjoy this conversation with Joanna, and watch her on Kingdom Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. AT&T Audience Network is available on DIRECTV channel 239 or U-verse TV channel 1114 and via live streaming on the DIRECTV and U-verse apps.
Joanna, your character Christina Kulina is struggling with her own demons and trying to right many years of wrongs. She is maintaining her sobriety, which is a large task in itself. How is Christina doing, do you think?
When we first met Christina she was deeply at the mercy of her heroin addiction, and supporting that by working as a prostitute. She was literally kidnapped by her son, Jay, to get forcibly detoxed. Having gotten through that brutal process, she’s kind of enjoying the novelty of a new life with sons, Jay and Nate. She doesn’t really have a replacement for her addiction, or the tool to keep her spirit occupied enough, and there’s a temptation to go back to old and familiar ways. Now we’re going to see her take a different path.
How are you and the cast feeling about the new season? Are the plot lines continuing along the same trajectory?
We are thrilled to have been able to do another 10 episodes, to live in these characters longer.
We’re very passionate about the show. Its creator, executive producer and showrunner Byron Balasco made these characters so rich and flawed, and the relationships between them so complicated but very relatable. Anybody with family can relate. The show isn’t heavy on plotline, but is much more a character exploration of relationships.
What adjectives do you use to describe the show?
Raw. Gritty. Intimate. Outrageous.
What do people need to know about mixed martial arts or MMA?
You don’t need to know anything about it to watch or enjoy it. It’s really about extended family and their relationships. It requires incredible discipline and personal strength. Byron wanted to explore why people do this. We know people need to live in extremes for personal satisfaction. It’s like an addiction to live on the edge and climb into a cage with someone who really wants to hurt you.
The cast is quite diverse: I keep expecting Nick Jonas to break into “Jealous” at any minute! Seriously now, how’s the chemistry?
We have incredible chemistry on the show, with seven lead characters this season. We rarely see each other or are in a room together. When we do, it’s a party because we love hanging around each other.
Line us up, we look like a family unit, and we have enormous respect for everyone.
What has your character not done that you really want her to do?
I’m curious to explore whether Christina is actually capable of an adult romance and sexual relationship that is not a “transaction.” She’s been living by her wits and living off her body for so long that it’s an unhealthy source of her self-esteem to see what kind of attention she can garner from men.
Now to you: Obviously, you have to be in good shape. What’s your routine?
During the first season of meeting Christina, she needed to appear as unhealthy as possible, and I worked to lose weight without keeling over. In real life, I don’t love working out, but I’ve been driven to it. I’ve done a bit of everything over the years: weight training, running, and right now Pilates and hot yoga. I have dogs and I hike.
How about your diet?
When I’m working or preparing to work, I do a kind of Paleo diet. I eat protein and vegetables without a lot of starches. I stay away from bread and pasta. But I love food, and I grew up Italian with a mom who was an amazing cook.
What role does mental balance and fitness play in your life? How do you take care of your emotional needs?
For me yoga is like a moving meditation and I do believe in a mind-body connection. The emphasis has to be about accepting yourself and being where you are that day. As a single mom with a daughter and those two dogs, that helps me be responsible. We do have depression in the family and I’ve experienced it as it pops up from time to time. It is easier to deal with when I have someone looking to me to do things.
What else have you done to stay the course?
I have been on and off medications at various points, and I have no problem saying that. I just read an article about Kristin Bell, who’s said she has depression. She said her mother told her, “You would not deny a diabetic insulin. Why deny someone with depression the chemical that balances body chemistry?”
You did a lot of homework to prepare to understand addiction as it relates to your character. What’s the most important lesson you learned there?
I’m not a doctor, but I researched the product Narcan [the opiate antidote used for emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose]. I urge anyone who is around an addict to keep this nearby. We know we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic nationally, and I hope more people can change their views from this being a criminal issue to being a health issue that requires medical treatment. And it’s not just about willpower.
Let’s not let Prince’s legacy be ruined. Remember people very often start out needing pain medicine. I broke some ribs in December and I needed help with that then. It’s good to be able to raise awareness about addiction.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Will Maya Rudolph be doing any of her characters from Saturday Night Live on her new show?
—Ida M., Santa Monica, Calif.
A: SNL was definitely a precursor to the type of sketch comedy that Rudolph, 43, and fellow SNL veteran Martin Short, 66, are aiming for on their new NBC series, Maya and Marty in Manhattan, premiering May 31. Rudolph is looking forward to creating fresh material, but she’s also tapping one of her all-time inspirations: The Carol Burnett Show. “I just don’t think anybody did it better,” she says. “As a group, I felt they were people who loved being with each other and made each other laugh, which is the key element. You can’t fabricate that.”View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
I used to believe that life, for the most part, is linear in its movement. However, this past year has taught me that if you hang around long enough, it becomes circular as well.
In late January 1977, both my life and the nation I call home were forever and irrevocably changed. Roots, based on author Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize–winning multigenerational family saga, held America spellbound as it was broadcast on ABC in eight consecutive nightly installments. There was an America before Roots and there was an America after Roots, and the shift in the consciousness of this country was considerable.
Before Roots, Americans tended to categorize our nation’s prolific involvement in the slave trade as an economic engine that enabled this country to rise to the stature of world power that it is today. After Roots, it was impossible to even contemplate the institution of slavery without considering the horrific fate experienced by the Africans who were brought to this land of the free, in chains. For Americans young and old, male and female, black and white, Roots succeeded in putting a face on the Atlantic slave trade, finally giving us the wherewithal to identify with the enslaved.
Roots was not only my first job as an actor, it was my first professional audition. I was a 19-year-old theater major at the University of Southern California when I was cast to play Kunta Kinte, the young Mandinka warrior stolen from his homeland and trafficked halfway around the world. Throughout the lengthy audition process I felt an uncanny connection to the character and as though I had been preparing for this role my entire life. As it happened, it was indeed the role of a lifetime. It catapulted me into an immediate spotlight of fame, recognition and the responsibility of figuring out what to do with the rest of my life at the ripe old age of 20.
If you are of a certain age, you remember where you were and who you were with when you first watched Roots. It is one of those rare events, like the moon landing, the death of John Lennon or the fall of the Berlin Wall, that momentarily freezes time and causes us to reflect on the nature of the world and our place in it. However, it’s been almost 40 years since the original broadcast and an entire generation has grown up without the influence of this important American story. It is for them, primarily, that we have remade Roots.
The story is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago, perhaps even more so. Slavery’s insidious legacy of racism and institutionalized discrimination continues to rear its ugly head in contemporary America and the linkage between these societal flaws and our foundation as a slave-owning nation are unassailable. In the Jewish faith and culture, every generation is imprinted with the story of the Shoah, or Holocaust. “Never forget!” is a cultural imperative passed from one generation to the next as insurance against that unthinkable history ever being repeated. Clearly, America has yet to fully and peacefully resolve the conflict our Founding Fathers punted into the hands of future generations; in a fundamental philosophy where “all men are created equal,” how do we reconcile our slave-holding origins?
The original Roots created a foundation for a new conversation between blacks and whites in America, a conversation made possible by the human capacity for compassion through enlightened understanding. The miniseries served as a powerful reminder of not only our penchant for unspeakable cruelty toward one another but also the transcendent nature of the indomitability of our human spirit. At its heart, Roots is a very universal story, elucidating one of the core values common to every human being: our indefatigable passion for freedom at virtually any cost.
Whether you saw the original or not, I hope you will gather your family and watch this new telling of a timeless tale—the story of Kunta Kinte and his daughter, Kizzy, his grandson, Chicken George, and on and on, each succeeding generation holding fast to the foundational importance of family, the essential nature of identity and the guiding principle of relentless determination combined with supreme self-sacrifice as a pathway toward overcoming any obstacle.
Over the ensuing 40 years since Roots first aired, both America and I have gone through considerable changes. I managed to survive my own growing pains as well as the vagaries of celebrity and have gone on to enjoy a life and career that have both been deeply satisfying. My country, too, has experienced its own growing pains.
After all, at the ripe old age of 240, America is still relatively young as countries are concerned. Two hundred-plus years ago we began as an experiment in a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Obviously, we have not been perfect in the execution of our representative, constitutional democracy, but we have managed to produce some amazing demonstrations of our remarkable capabilities. Oftentimes in spite of ourselves.
As Roots returns to our national consciousness, it is my fervent hope and most sincere desire that it once more becomes a catalyst for meaningful conversation. It is an opportunity for us to once again take stock, both individually and collectively, of our contributions to the “national conversation on race in America.” Whether, and in what manner we survive, is completely in our hands.
LeVar Burton is the co-executive producer of the new Roots, debuting May 30 at 9 p.m. ET on History and airing on four consecutive evenings.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Philip Schwimmer in Chicago, Illinois, writes:
Why is it that in medical parlance, “negative” is a positive, and “positive” is a negative?
Medical tests (x-rays, bloodwork, etc.) are usually ordered to discover a problem, such as an infection, a broken bone, or a malignancy. The term “positive” means that yes, evidence of the problem was found. The term “negative” means that no, evidence was not found. So the terms have nothing to do with how one feels about the results.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
With three Oscar nominations and roles in more than 60 movies (The Savages, Mystic River, The Truman Show) and TV shows (The Big C, John Adams, Frasier) to her credit, New York City native Laura Linney, 52, now joins the cast of the action comedy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3). She plays an NYPD police chief fighting organized crime.
When we think Laura Linney, we think big films or dramatic TV. But Ninja Turtles?
It just seemed like fun, and it’s probably the only movie of the 40-some that I’ve done that my son [age 2] can watch. Every once in a while, it’s nice
to take a break from the heavy emotional stuff.
How would you describe your character?
She’s a woman in a typically man’s world. She’s a New Yorker, she’s tough, she’s jaded, and she’s invited to look at the world in a different way when people tell her about the massive, masked turtles fighting crime in her city.
What was it like playing a woman dying of cancer in The Big C?
She saw everything very differently. Every part tends to have a very specific view of the world, and Cathy’s was completely influenced by the fact that her life is threatened and her time is running out.
Your dad was a playwright, so you’ve always been around acting and the theater. Did you ever have a plan B?
I don’t know what else I could do. Thank God it worked out for me. I’m sure I would have adapted somehow, but I can’t imagine not being able to act.
It seems as if you’re not interested in celebrity.
My situation is I’m well-known but not famous, and that’s a nice way to be. People are very kind to me. My life is not limited by the work that I do. I ride the subway and I move around, so I have no bad feelings about any of it.
You’ve said how appreciative you are of your career. Do you pay it forward?
I give master classes whenever I can. I love doing that, and I’m very involved at Julliard. Being theatrically involved is good on my list in any form, whether it’s teaching, designing or stage-managing.
You said you didn’t have a backup plan if acting didn’t work out for you. Do you think that helped you succeed?
I wish it were that easy. There are too many examples of people who it doesn’t work out for. If I start to think about it, my head really starts to spin that I’m actually able to have the life that I’m having, doing what I love to do.
Is there anything you are still hoping to achieve?
I think we all have things that we want to do. I guess I could have more dinner parties. We’re living in a period of time where everyone is so distracted, and time is crunched, and nobody really gets together anymore, so I’m trying to make an effort at least once a month to have some really good intimate time with friends and some real conversation that is away from technology. So my goals at the moment are not really career goals, but more enjoying the time I have.View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, starring Matthew Broderick as the “righteous dude” who plays hooky from high school and spends his day goofing off, celebrates its 30th anniversary June 11. Here are five fun facts about the iconic movie, newly released by Paramount on digital HD.
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Anyone who’s ever felt tugged between the childlike wonder of the illusion and a grown-up desire for the “reveal” will enjoy Now You See Me 2, opening June 10 and starring several cast members from the original 2013 film. After a year in exile, the magic quartet known as the Four Horsemen reunites on a globe-trotting adventure from Macau to London triggered by the new movie’s villain, played by a delightfully quirky Daniel Radcliffe.
Jesse Eisenberg, illusionist J. Daniel Atlas
Eisenberg’s mom worked as a birthday-party clown alongside a magician. “I always asked him how he performed tricks, and he’d always say the same thing: ‘Can you keep a secret?’ I’d say, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘So can I!’ So he never told me anything,” Eisenberg recalls.
Working on both movies gave the actor a chance to finally peek behind the curtain, though he still relishes the illusion of a good trick. “I have two competing feelings while I’m watching magic,” he says. “One is that it’s enthralling and totally entertaining. The other is that it’s frustrating because my curiosity is killing me. But when somebody is performing a trick for me, I love being ‘lied’ to. It’s kind of a thrilling, almost childlike feeling of wonder.”
But he also loves how both the new movie and its predecessor let the audience in on the tricks in a style similar to that of Penn & Teller, the magic duo famous for revealing how their tricks are done as part of their act. “It becomes less a celebration of showmanship and more a celebration of cleverness, craftiness, teamwork and effort. I love that, because I think what Penn & Teller do really well is reveal the underside of magic, but in a way that actually enhances magic because you realize you’ve just been watching something that was so cleverly constructed, and in that way it’s even more impressive.”
Woody Harrelson, hypnotist Merritt McKinney
“I remember doing a magic show when I was 5 or 6,” Harrelson says, which makes him extra-proud that the movie inspired his daughter, Makani, 9, to stage her own magic show for the family. “It was just so cool!” he says. “She told me, ‘That’s your best movie, Daddy.’ Not that she’s seen every movie, but she really liked it, and she started getting into magic.”
In NYSM2 Merritt is still up to his mind tricks, so much so that Harrelson’s mentor, Irish mentalist Keith Barry, claims the actor successfully hypnotized co-star Mark Ruffalo.
Not quite, Harrelson counters. “It’s an art; I can’t do it,” he confesses. But he did pick up a few card tricks and other sleights of hand from the magicians on the set while working on the movie. “I was constantly trying new stuff,” says Harrelson. “When it fails, it’s horrible. But when it succeeds, the feeling is just great.”
Lizzy Caplan, screwball Lula
Newcomer Caplan had to make the quirky Lula stand out in the boys’ club of the magic world. “It was really important to me not to make her just the run-of-the-mill sexy assistant or the only girl in a group of guys,” she says. She’s delighted that Lula’s overeager, slightly irritating vibe shines through onscreen.
“Throughout the shooting we had three mentor magicians on set with us all the time either teaching us things or just wowing between takes, so we got pretty immersed in that world,” Caplan says. “I now know a handful of tricks.” And she still enjoys having her mind blown. “But after working with the three magicians on set, you realize there really is no such thing as magic—it’s purely skill, and you marvel at the skill of it all, but you do lose the illusion that there’s an actual magical element.
“That said, I think hypnotism is as close to actual magic as we can get,” she says.
Dave Franco, card manipulator Jack Wilder
“At the end of the first movie, Jack fakes his own death,” Franco says. “So when the Horsemen plan their comeback performance in the second movie, Jack is asked to stay behind the scenes.” It’s a bitter pill for his character to swallow, Franco says. “He’s a born performer and wants to be onstage with the rest of the Horsemen.”
Franco picked up a few magical moves while working on the movie. “The best trick I learned was how to flip a card behind my back and catch it in my mouth,” he says. “I practiced this trick for more hours than I’d care to admit.”
That kind of discipline is, of course, the secret to any great illusion and making the onscreen magic believable. “It was very important to us that the tricks were things that real magicians could do,” Franco says. “Granted, we’re actors and no matter how much time we had to practice we were never going to be able to do certain tricks ourselves without the help of CGI [computer-generated imagery]. But [director] Jon Chu encouraged us to learn as many tricks as we could, and there are plenty of magic sequences where we don’t rely on special effects at all.”View the original at Parade or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+