Friday, May 31, 2013

Super Father's Day Gifts for Super Dads from TV Store Online

Believe it or not, Dad doesn't need another wallet. He has plenty of ties. And his golf equipment is spankin' new. So what do you get the man who has everything and wants nothing? Look no further than TV Store Online this Father's Day for a wide selection of gifts that show pops just how super he is.

Man of Steel soars into theaters June 14, just two days before Father's Day. So it makes perfect sense to load dad up on Superman swag and plan a date to the theater to watch the big-budget reboot together.

If your dad is the only Iron Man you know and love, surprise him with this distressed tee from the popular Marvel franchise.

Like Bruce Banner, dad is calm, cool, and collected most of the time. Rile him up, though, and he turns into a beast. Lovable still, but a beast nonetheless. Thus, stay out of his way when he's wearing this Incredible Hulk tee featuring the big green stomping machine.

Don't forget the single dads in your life; he needs a little love too. And he might just get it with this Superman-inspired tee with the slogan 'Ladies think I'm fly.' Indeed.

Marvel's The Avengers is one of the highest-grossing films of all time. And dad will look like a million bucks in this belt buckle featuring the group's logo.

Christian Bale, who? Chances are your dad grew up watching Adam West in the Batsuit, which makes this vintage-inspired Batman tee featuring the show's classic logo a nostalgic gift that'll bring back fond memories for the former fanboy.

Whether he's hopping out of the shower, lounging around the house, or going out to get the morning paper, dad will feel invincible in these super-soft superhero-themed robes featuring belts and pockets.

Looking for a Father's Day gift that'll help the father of your children turn up the sexy, ladies? Check out these super capes that will instantly transform him into your hero - in and out of the bedroom.

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, this Captain America tee is a prime pick to let dad get festive and fun as he celebrates our nation's independence.

If your pops was part of the X-Men, what power would he have? Let him ponder that prospect in this distressed tee featuring the league's famous logo.

For more super Father's Day ideas, browse our massive selection of TV, movie, and comic apparel at

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Picks for Fall TV's Hits and Misses Based on Network Upfronts - Comedy Edition

When you're obsessed with TV like we are, network upfront presentations are like Christmas Day without all that pesky paper; it's that special time of year when we get to see what's in store for the fall season from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC (We're excluding the CW from this roundup because there are no new comedies on its fall schedule). Based on what we saw last week, many of the new comedies look promising, but you can bet there are more than a few stinkers in the mix. Can you spot them? We can, which is why we've chosen the best and worst sitcoms from each network's upfronts, along with a little commentary on why each will win or lose - according to us. Have a look, then let us know what you think will stand out or bow down come September.


Winner: "Back in the Game"

When we heard the fab Rebel Wilson was headlining "Super Fun Night" - a new ABC comedy on which CBS originally passed - we were stoked. We love that chick, which is no secret given that we dedicated an entire post to her funny-lady ways. We went into the upfronts expecting "Super Fun Night" to be our top pick for best fall comedy on ABC, but that's not the case. Rather, "Back in the Game" - about a single mom who moves home with her grumpy, estranged father and subsequently decides to coach a little league team of misfits - impressed us so much that we had to knock Rebel down a notch. The trailer for "Back in the Game" reveals lots of laughs from this prospect that we expect will complement "Modern Family" quite nicely.

Loser: "Trophy Wife

Marcia Gay Harden and Bradley Whitford are too uptight for a comedy, and the blond chick chosen to star doesn't have the chops to carry it on her own. Expect "Trophy Wife" to go back to the shelf in the first six weeks.


Winner: "The Millers"

Chuck Lorre - the man behind many of televisions highest-rated sitcoms, including "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" - returns with a new show called "Mom" (starring Anna Faris), but we're going out on a limb to call the win for "The Millers," the post-"Up All Night" vehicle for Will Arnett. In this gig, Arnett plays a recent divorcee whose newfound freedom inadvertently inspires his parents to split up, which, ironically, may leave him up all night again.

Loser: "We Are Men"

The curse of Jerry O'Connell will strike again.


Winner: "Surviving Jack"

One name: Chris Meloni. If his stints on "Oz," "Law & Order: SVU," and "True Blood" - all highly rated and acclaimed shows in their own rights - are any indication, "Surviving Jack" will be the new comedy to watch on FOX this fall.

Loser: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

We forgive Andy Samberg for quitting SNL at the height of his popularity. Looking the other way on this disaster, however, will be much harder.


Winner: "The Michael J. Fox Show"

Michael J. Fox has never let us down in the past, and we don't expect he will this time either.

Loser: "Sean Saves the World"

Sean Hayes proved that his comedic timing was the stuff that successful sitcoms are made of on "Will & Grace," but sometimes a show is only as good as its writers. This one looks like it might have gotten the short end of the stick on the latter.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Go Go Power Rangers! Yellow Ranger Karan Ashley talks with TV STORE ONLINE about The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Karan is perhaps best known for portraying 'Aisha Campbell' the Yellow Power Ranger on the television series, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1994-96).

TV STORE ONLINE:  Where does your interest in acting come from?

KARAN ASHLEY:   Honestly, when I was a kid I thought I was going to be a singer.  I thought I'd be up on the stage and acting in that sense.    I always wanted to act, but singing was my first thing.   I'm from Texas originally.  Before I started acting, I had a singing group called K.R.U.S.H. and we had a song on the MO' MONEY (1992) movie soundtrack.  Our group got an audition to be singers in SISTER ACT 2: BACK IN THE HABIT (1993).    We auditioned and we got pretty far into it. We got called back and we had to shoot some video, and that's when the acting bug bit me.  I knew then that acting was something I wanted to do.   K.R.U.S.H. eventually ran it's course, and by that time anyhow,  I was already thinking that I wanted to leave and pursue acting.  Then, a friend of mine told me about this audition for this show called The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Could you tell me about your audition experience for Power Rangers?

KARAN ASHLEY:   Well, I didn't know what the show even was, but I went anyhow because it was a local open audition in Texas.    So I got there and there was a line of people all the way around the building.  I said to myself, "Oh my God.  How long am I going to have to wait?"  Then I thought about it and I knew that this may be a chance for me to be an actress.   So I auditioned and I got the part of 'Aisha' and four days later I was in Los Angeles shooting a television show.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I read somewhere that one of your favorite movies is THE GODFATHER (1972), and that seeing Al Pacino's performance in the movie is what inspired you to become an actress.   What was it about his performance that inspired you?

KARAN ASHLEY:  I was just blown away by it.   That movie really just sucked me into it.   When I saw it for the first time, I had just started taking acting classes and when I saw him as the method actor that he is, I was just blown away.    He became that person in that movie.  He was just so believable and I knew that acting was something that I just had to do.   

TV STORE ONLINE:   Then with the audition for Power Rangers were you nervous going in? Did you have any expectations?

KARAN ASHLEY:   I was totally nervous.  I didn't have any expectations because I had never seen the show before the audition.  I had only done a couple commercials before the Power Rangers audition.  I wish I knew his name now, but there was a guy that was standing in front of me in the line, and we started talking, and for like  three or four hours he just started schooling me in the Power Rangers.  He told me how big the show was, and the fact that the characters were teenagers.  I said, "They're teenagers?   I'm a teenager!  This is so perfect."

So I walked in to audition and the first thing they asked me was "What do you do?  Are you a dancer, or a martial artist or a gymnast?"   I was there because I was a dancer.  So I read a scene for them and then they asked me to dance.  I pulled out a CD and they told me that they didn't have a CD player.  They tell you this to throw you to see if you're ready, and so I just started dancing, and believe me I danced like I had never danced before.   I didn't think that I did very good, and it wasn't until later when I was talking to Shuki Levy the Executive Producer of the show after I got the part, that that reason I was cast was because he just liked my personality.  He said that from the minute I walked in the door and he saw my smile that I had the part, he just hoped that I could act.   

TV STORE ONLINE:  Did you have to do any sort of martial arts training after you got the role of Aisha?

Yellow Power Ranger T-shirt
Available at TV STORE ONLINE
KARAN ASHLEY:  No, they were only concerned with the fact that I could learn their choreography.   As long as you could handle their choreography they could teach you the rest.  The beautiful thing about it was the way they shot the fight sequences on the show.

You didn't shoot a ten minute fight all at once.  They'd do it in little different segments.     The way it would work, you'd do a couple punches, a couple kicks, you'd duck down a few times then they'd yell "Cut", then they'd do it all over from a different angle, so by the time you did that a few times you'd have a ten minute fight scene once it was all edited together.   

The martial arts team on the show was from Japan and they'd work with me.  Then Steve [Cardenas] and Johnny [Yong Bosch] my fellow cast members, they were and still are amazing martial artists and they'd work with me too.  You'd only have like ten or fifteen minutes to work on your fight prior to shooting it, and I think that because there wasn't the time to learn anything completely, that worked really great for me, because I think that the spontaneity of it helped me pull it off.   It was better for me to just jump into it and do it, instead of learning it.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Was the subject content of the show something that was difficult to take seriously for you as a teenager at that time?

KARAN ASHLEY:  From the very beginning, there were always kids on the set with us, so we knew how much the show meant to people.  We all took it seriously, because we of course were all being paid to be there.   We had a super strict schedule and we had long hours.  For me, it was an amazing adventure.  It was everything that I had dreamed to be a part of.  I didn't really understand the size of the show until we did the movie the following year, and even then I don't think I truly understood it.   It wasn't until years later, when I started doing these Power Rangers conventions when I started to meet the fans of the show, and I saw people waiting for hours in line to get my autograph that it I really understood.

I started talking to the fans and hearing about how much the show helped them, or inspired them to do something.   It really blows my mind when I go out to these conventions and talk to the fans.   The show has done so much for people and I'm so lucky and so grateful to have had been a part of it.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Could you tell me about the costumes you had to wear on the show?

KARAN ASHLEY:  Well, the spandex costume on the show was awful.  It was the worst.  It was like you were standing there in your underwear.  But it was comfortable, and it was probably the best thing that you could have worn when you have to be running around jumping and kicking. I felt like the Ninjette costume that I wore was the best, because as a girl, you just wanna cover yourself up and it did that pretty well.  I think the best costume was the one I got to wear in the movie.  It looked the best.  It looked so super hero, but wearing it was very uncomfortable.  It weighed like twenty-five pounds.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Those spandex costumes though....Did you know at the time that they were these sort of traditional Japanese Zentai costumes?

KARAN ASHLEY:  Yeah, before we started shooting the producers showed us some episodes of the original Japanese show that the Power Rangers was based on, and that was strange because the Japanese show was darker, there were people that would die on that show, and of course no one died on our show.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Right, yeah I wanted to ask you about that.  Watching the show even back then it had this strange dark and surreal vibe to it.   Did you pick up on that as you were shooting the show?

KARAN ASHLEY:  They were always afraid of the violence on the show.  They were worried that some kid would go off to school and get in a fight and then blame the Power Rangers.  That seemed very unfair to me.  We always made a conscious effort to keep it in the make believe realm.  When we'd fight someone, we would always fight monsters. We never fought other teenagers.  Even when we weren't in costume and we were fighting as civilians, we'd always only fight monsters.  Eventually they got worried about that too, so we stopped doing that as well.  I thought the show was really wholesome.  We were always stopping bullies, we were picking up trash, we were saving the world.  No teenagers were ever like us.

TV STORE ONLINE:  In those first couple seasons of the show there were some weird things going on with the show.  I mean there were those strange racial things, like the Asian actress was the Yellow Power Ranger, the African American actor Walter Jones was the Black Ranger....

KARAN ASHLEY:  Yeah, that was kind of weird.  I will say this.  When I came onto the show they'd give me the occasional script where they wanted me because I was the black girl to say something sassy or something more ethnic, and I didn't feel comfortable doing that.  Luckily for me, I'd tell them that I didn't want to do stuff like that, and they'd say, "OK, Not a problem."   I think the things your mentioning did strike a chord with a lot of people, and I think that by the time I came onto the show they realized that they needed to change that stuff.  They should have thought that stuff out more before they started originally.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So I know that recently you and other cast members from your Power Rangers seasons were asked to participate in the upcoming Power Rangers Super Megaforce series that is shooting in New Zealand by Executive Producer Haim Saban, but that the money he was offering each of you was insanely low...

KARAN ASHLEY:  Right, yeah.  I've never been shy speaking about Saban.  He's always been notoriously cheap.   No one that's ever appeared on any of the Power Rangers shows has made a lot of money.  For me it was a great opportunity.   Back in the day, I knew then that I was being under paid.  But it was an incredible opportunity for me.  I was a young kid, and I wanted to act.    It was a wonderful experience, and I got the opportunity I wanted.  I did eighty episodes of that show, and it changed my life.   Skip forward 20 years later to today, and I'm not the same person I was then.  I would've loved to come back to that series for a reunion show.  But there were several reasons why I decided not to do it.  

One of the reasons is that Saban wanted some of us to come back for a cameo only. And there's no money for us.  If we've been waiting for all of this time, you'd think that they'd  write some sort of story for all of us or even a moment.  The way it was presented to me made it clear that it wasn't going to be anything like that.   They weren't even willing to pay any of us union scale even to go to New Zealand.   I mean, this is a billion dollar television empire and they can't even pay us union scale?   I have the same agent as a few of the other former Power Rangers and when we got back to them with an amount that each of needed to make the trip they didn't respond. The whole thing is completely ridiculous.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I'm sure you've read what actor and former Blue Ranger David Yost has said about his experience working on the Power Rangers series....Where he talked about leaving the show because of the hateful homophobic slurs he was subjected to by the crew of the show?

KARAN ASHLEY:   Yeah, listen I'm very good friends with David and if he says that's what happened then that's what happened.  He's not a dishonest person.  I left the show a few months prior to him leaving.  When I first met David on the show, he was a very fun and loving guy, and when I left the show I could see that he wasn't the same person who I first met, he was acting different.

TV STORE ONLINE:   One of my favorite aspects of the original Power Rangers series is the snappy dialogue that comes in the middle of the fight scenes.   Was doing the voice-over stuff for that a challenge at all?

KARAN ASHLEY:   It wasn't difficult, but it was just hours and hours of work.  I think that maybe the first couple times I did it, it took me a little bit of time to get used to it,  but after that it was just fun.  We all got to become pros doing that, because we just did hours and hours of it week after week.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  With the snappy one-liners were you allowed any type of ad-libbing?

KARAN ASHLEY:  You could suggest stuff.  They had a script there, but if you could come up with something better they were up for it.  If you'd run across something that didn't seem funny, you could try and make it funny.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  I took a look at DEVON'S GHOST (2005) recently.  I wanted to see what attracted you to the horror genre?

KARAN ASHLEY:  I just always wanted to do a horror film.   When it came time for us to make a movie, my partners and I had a certain budget that we needed to stick to, and the horror genre fit that.  It was a fun experience. I wrote the script, and it was the second time I got to produce a movie, and I got to work with my fellow former Power Rangers cast member Johnny Yong Bosch.   Johnny's in the movie, and he directed it.  Our former Power Rangers director Koichi Sakamoto was in town while we were shooting it and he directed a couple weeks on it too.

TV STORE ONLINE:  The killer in DEVON'S GHOST stalks around in a baseball outfit and attacks people with a baseball bat.  He looks strikingly similar to one of the Baseball Furies in Walter Hill's THE WARRIORS (1979) was that an inspiration point for you?

KARAN ASHLEY:  Oh, I never made that connection.  I love THE WARRIORS but I think if you've connected them it's purely by accident.  We didn't do that intentionally.   We were thinking along the lines that he needed something.  Jason Voorhees has an ax, Freddy has that glove.  We needed to give him something.  It was my partner who came up with the bat.   Also, we kept that in the family too, our former Power Rangers prop guy Mark Richardson built the baseball bats for us that we used in the movie.

TV STORE ONLINE:   So you're doing Uncensored Radio now.  What's that experience like for you?

KARAN ASHLEY:  It's crazy. It's insane.  We try to live up to the uncensored name.  We try to talk about everything, and there are no rules.  Doing talk radio is very liberating. If you've never done it, I tell people to do it, because it's like an intimate conversation but people get to listen in.  It's been so great.  We've been on the air for two years now, and we have over 100,000 listeners.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Why do you think that the Power Rangers had such an appeal to the kids of the early/mid '90s?

KARAN ASHLEY:  I think the show offered something to everyone.  Each ranger was different and everyone that watched could find something to identify with in each ranger because they were so different. 
TV STORE ONLINE:   What's next for you?

KARAN ASHLEY:   I'm in the process of selling my sitcom.  It's called Grow Up Already.   People can check out our Facebook page for that.    And then of course, Uncensored  Radio.  People can listen to us on Blog Talk Radio six days a week.  And we also are in the process of editing our reality show based on Uncensored Radio.  It shows us going through the process of making the radio show. It's insane.  And I'm getting ready to go on my convention tour. I guess I'll call it that.   I'm gonna be in Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans and potentially New York at the New York Comic Con, so if anyone out there reading this is going out to any of those shows be sure to stop by and say hello to me.

Follow Karan Ashley on Facebook HERE:
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Actor/Writer Kevin Sussman talks about playing Stuart on THE BIG BANG THEORY

Actor and writer Kevin Sussman co-star of CBS's THE BIG BANG THEORY talks with TV STORE ONLINE about working on the show as well as his new project, DARK MINIONS.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Hey Kevin!  Thanks for allowing us some of your time today.

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  Not a problem.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Starting off.....Where did your initial interest in acting come from?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  Well, I grew up with three older brothers who were all in plays in high school and they used to come home and talk about all of the crazy antics that they'd get into.   So that really sparked my interest because I really admired them and I wanted to emulate them.   By the time I became their age I went full throttle into drama and started doing high school plays.   Also, I started watching a lot of movies while I was in high school too.  I was watching the movies of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino...laughing...Which is funny because my career is as far on the opposite side of the spectrum from those guys as you can get...laughing    I was also totally obsessed with Woody Allen.  I can't even tell you how many times I've seen SLEEPER (1973).    You can see how much influence Woody Allen has had over both myself and my writing partner John Ross Bowie in our new show DARK MINIONS.

The cast of DARK MINIONS:  John Ross Bowie, Clancy Brown,
Richard Kind and Kevin Sussman

TV STORE ONLINE:   I wanted to ask you about DARK MINIONS (2013). How did that project come to fruition?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   John Ross Bowie and I both have reoccurring characters on THE BIG BANG THEORY.  But, we've known each other for years.  I'm from New York, and so is he.   We both used to work on Wall Street for our day jobs.  So we became friends because we both had this common background.   DARK MINIONS really started one day when I sent John this sketch that I had written.  He liked it, and he sent it back to me but he had added the next scene to it.  
John Ross Bowie (L) and  Kevin Sussman (R)
creators of DARK MINIONS (2013)

We immediately realized that we both had this common interest in comic books, and Sci-Fi and we both had this previous experience in the corporate world.   Writing this was like the easiest thing that either of us has ever done.  It really just dropped out of us.   Sony optioned it, and they took it around to all the networks, but everyone passed.   They all said that it was too high concept, and maybe they were right.   There really isn't anything like the show on television.  We actually intended DARK MINIONS to be a live action show in the vein of RED DWARF (1988-93), but after it was turned down, John's agent suggested that we re-pitch it as an animated series.  So he took it to Amazon and they really connected with it.  In fact, it was Amazon's idea to do it as a stop motion animation project, and I was head over heels for that because one of my favorite films of all time is CORALINE (2009), and I have always loved Gumby too.

TV STORE:  Eddie Murphy or Gumby himself?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  laughing...The stop motion Gumby...and Eddie Murphy too...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:   There is a wonderful sense of humor to DARK MINIONS and then also just some of the stuff you write on Twitter is really funny as well.  Where do you think your sense of humor comes from?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  Woody Allen is definitely a big influence on me, and on John Ross Bowie.   Also, all of the funny American sitcoms that I grew up watching had an influence on me.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  Do you have a Top Five favorite Woody Allen movies list?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   That's a tough one....ANNIE HALL (1977).  ANNIE HALL...ANNIE HALL ...ANNIE HALL....That takes up spots one through three...laughing    Then SLEEPER of course, also TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969).  Those two would be my favorites of the earlier and sillier Woody Allen.     Then the ones that I think are just crown jewels and American treasures would be ANNIE HALL again, then BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (1984) and MANHATTAN (1979) are tied for second.   Then for third and fourth would be BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (1994) and STARDUST MEMORIES (1980).    I'd have to include HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986) in there somewhere too.

TV STORE ONLINE:  People always overlook ALICE (1990).

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  Oh yeah, ALICE is great.   I'm glad you brought that up. No one ever talks about ALICE.  It has one of my very favorite Mia Farrow moments in it.  She goes to the Opium den, and she's clearly not a drug user, and she's really nervous and she's rambling on.  The guy packs her pipe and she's just rambling on nervously.   There's a certain point, where the Opium doesn't seem to be kicking in, and she says, "It doesn't seem to be working."    Then it hits her and  she orders him to move the pipe and she goes from a being a novice to a old pro in an instant...laughing   It's all Mia Farrow.  Her and Woody are the one of the greatest comedy teams to get into a vicious lawsuit...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE: Your Twitter account says that you're a "Actor, Musician and Criminal Overlord".   What crimes have you committed recently and what crimes will you commit in the future?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   Oh, crimes of the mind.   I don't really have the balls to actually go through with the execution of a crime, but in my mind I'm a devious bastard...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  Could we talk about A.I.  ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001)?  I know you worked on that but wasn't your scene cut or something like that?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:    Yeah, I was in one scene and it was cut out.   I didn't get much time with Spielberg but just being there for the time that I was,  you could see exactly what a masterful technician Steven Spielberg is.   Some of the best directors I've ever worked with were the ones that didn't give a lot of direction to their actors.  If a director trusts his actors, then they'll be better, and that's the way that Spielberg is.  He really knows everything.  He knows lighting, he knows lenses and I think that if he wanted to be a Director of Photography himself he'd be an award winner.  He's just a master, the man can set up a shot.  I'm a huge Spielberg fan.  MUNICH (2005) is an incredible film. 

Kevin Sussman and America Ferrera on UGLY BETTY

TV STORE ONLINE:  As a huge fan of UGLY BETTY (2006-2010) why did you get written off the show when you did?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  Well at the time I left, my character was a series regular, but I was no longer her boyfriend, so I think there just wasn't anything for my character to do.  So it just made sense to leave.  There were a lot of fans that appreciated my work on that show, but the most vocal section of that shows fan base just loathed 'Walter' because he had cheated on Betty.   To have cheated on 'Ugly Betty' was unforgivable in their eyes, so I think it was probably a very easy decision for ABC to give me the ax on that.  But I expected it.  It was a fun experience while it lasted.  

TV STORE ONLINE:   We're huge fans of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER (2001) and in particular our favorite scene in the movie is the one that features your character at the big talent show.  Could you talk about that scene?

Sussman in Wet Hot American Summer
KEVIN SUSSMAN:   Actually David Krumholtz was originally supposed to play my part, but at the last minute couldn't for whatever reason.  I was just a last minute replacement.  I wasn't even familiar with MTV'S THE STATE (1993-1995) or any of those amazing people who went on to become huge later.   The whole wind thing at the end....Actually here's an interesting thing about that.   There's another scene in the movie where I'm holding a chicken and pretending it is a laser gun.  Amy Poehler walks up to my character....I didn't know at the time, and nor did I think to ask about it, and it wasn't until after the movie was in the can, that I found out why I was holding a chicken in the scene.  I mean, I just used it as a laser gun because I didn't know why I was holding it.  Later on,  I found out that the reason why I was holding a chicken in the scene was because that the writer, Michael Showalter, had put it into the script to foreshadow the fact that the wind thing at the talent show was coming up later.  He did that because chickens are what you see on weather-vanes...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  So how did THE BIG BANG THEORY come to you?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  I had originally auditioned for that show a couple of times.  The first time I auditioned for it I ended up not being available.   I was still under contract for UGLY BETTY even though I wasn't on the show any more, so I couldn't do it.   Then, I auditioned again for Chuck Lorre and he had wanted me to play 'Kripke' but I was doing a movie at the time or something.  Then of course, John Ross Bowie my friend and writing partner on DARK MINIONS was cast on the show as 'Kripke'.   I really lucked out, because the next role that came up on the show was for 'Stuart' and Chuck asked me if I wanted to do that. It's a lucky role because the comic store is the perfect place for the guys to go on the show.  My character is on the show even when he has nothing to do because he owns the store.   

TV STORE ONLINE:   So are you a comic book fan like Stuart on the show?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   I actually used to work at a comic book store.    I worked for a long time in NYC at Jim Hanley's Universe while I was in acting school.   I wasn't a fan of comics when I started working there, but I became a fan afterward.  I became a really big fan of Frank Miller and Alan Moore.  When I worked there too, the guys who were always in the know pointed me to the good stuff like Love & Rockets.  Emerging as my favorite comic artists were people like Joe Matt who had this awesome graphic novel called Peepshow, and Daniel Clowes who had an awesome comic book called Eightball, that was probably my favorite book.   Then also, Chester Brown, his stuff I really liked.  I liked those semi-autobiographical books like that.

Kevin Sussman, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki on CBS series

TV STORE ONLINE:   So the fact that you've worked at a comic book store must really help you with Stuart right?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  Yeah.  I can go through the motions.  I know how to work in a comic book store, in regards to the tasks that need to be done.  That serves me really well on the show, because I can just stand in the background and look busy and I know everything that needs to be done to operate a comic book store and I use it.

TV STORE ONLINE:  One thing I love about Stuart on the show is his wonderful sense of irony.   It's like he knows that the guys interests along with his own are really outside the norm.  How much of that comes from you?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  Yeah.  So much of that is me.  But also, the writers on THE BIG BANG THEORY are amazing.  They really, even early on, delved into who I am as a person.   Everything they write gets closer and closer to me, and it's really in my wheel house.  That sort of stuff, that ironic dryness of Stuart and his objectivity about his low nerd status, and being broke, and trying to run a comic book store and how shitty of an existence it is, I can totally relate to that.   I mean, I didn't own the comic book store that I worked at, but I know the owners of it really felt the same way as Stuart does.  No one opens up a comic book store to make money.  Although it would be great, it's just really hard to do.  So the fact that I've had that experience in life gives me all the confidence in the world.   The sweet spot on the show is when I get to say something that I actually would've said when I was working in a comic book store.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  Do you guys ever do any improvisation in front of the live audience?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  No, and we don't need to.  The writers are so good that if a joke doesn't land the writers will converge on the spot and in three minutes re-write it so it is funny.   It never fails.  Those guys are probably the best writers in the business in terms of on-the-spot writing.  

TV STORE ONLINE: What about during rehearsals?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  No.  There are no loose lips in that way, and part of that is the nature of the medium.  It's not a single camera show like on THE OFFICE.   Everything is very tightly scored.  Its four cameras all going at once, so everyone has to watch their marks closely.  So there's no room for improvisation really.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Has Stuart gotten over 'Penny' yet?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  No I don't think so.  Contextually if the question came up in an episode I would say No.  I think that underlining tension is what keeps Stuart who he is.     When Stuart first appeared on the show he had more self confidence, but when he got dumped by Penny it sort of rattled the fabric of his existence.   I don't think he's recovered from that yet.

Kunal Nayyar and Kevin Sussman

TV STORE ONLINE:   I was wondering if you yourself or any of the other cast members on the show have seen the adult film parody of THE BIG BANG THEORY that's out there?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   Laughing.....Really?  There really is one?   

TV STORE ONLINE:  Yeah, just look it up on YouTube.   Stuart isn't in it though.   But he should be.

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  That's good.  I'm glad Stuart isn't in it.  I don't think I'd watch it if he was.  I'd be too worried to watch it and see the porn version of me doing a better job, and I'm not even talking about the sex...That just goes without saying...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  From a sociological standpoint, why do you think that the show has resonated so much with its audience?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   You know I think that it makes people think their watching a sitcom that's smarter than other sitcoms.   The great thing about it is that you don't have to understand the jargon that Sheldon is rambling off to find it funny.   Really why the show is so successful is that the orchestration of the characters is just so damn good.  The show hits this sweet spot where the situations can be really absurd but yet the characters are so defined that you can really get into it.    The show can get a little surreal but you just go with it because the characters always stay true to themselves and they're all really likable.  Even Sheldon...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  If you yourself could write an episode of the show what types of situations would you put Stuart into?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  I would love to see him in a relationship.  I'd like to see how he handles a relationship with a girl.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Will you be coming back for Season 7 of THE BIG BANG THEORY?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:  I hope so.  I've heard that the comic book set is still there, so that's a really good sign.  

TV STORE ONLINE:   Anything new in the works?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   Just DARK MINIONS.  I'm trying to get people to click on that at Amazon.

TV STORE ONLINE:   DARK MINIONS will be something that comes to DVD eventually right?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   Right, if it goes to series.  Right now its just a pilot on Amazon.  If it does well and it goes to series then I'm sure they'll put it out on DVD.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Last question....Could you leave us with your best joke?

KEVIN SUSSMAN:    Well I don't have good jokes.  I'm not a joke teller per say.  I guess I have one, it's not my best joke, and I'm sure that I have better jokes, but it's the one that just popped into my mind.  I didn't come up with this, but here it is:   So there are these two guys that are sitting on this porch.  The one guy says to the other, "Hey how's your Alzheimer's doing these days?"   The guy says, "Pretty good, I'm on this new medication."  So then the one guys says, "Oh Yeah? What's it called?"  So he responds, " Oh it's that one thing with the pedals, and the stem and its got thorns..."  The one guy asks, "A rose?"   Then the guy turns and yells out, "Hey Rose, what's the name of my new Alzheimer's medication?"    That's not my best.  That's not my gold, it's just the one I remember right now.

TV STORE ONLINE: Thanks for your time Kevin. It's been a real pleasure.

KEVIN SUSSMAN:   Thank you.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Actor Brian Tee talks about playing Noburo Mori in the new WOLVERINE that hits theaters on July 26th

TV STORE ONLINE:  Hey Brian, thanks for allowing us an opportunity to talk to you.

BRIAN TEE:   No problems.  Thanks for having me.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So I went back and watched WE WERE SOLDIERS (2002) again last night...

BRIAN TEE:  Thanks! That one is really close to my heart because it was my first big budget movie.   I was just so green and just so happy to be working on that.  That role was just so incredible.  In the sense of the story and the fact that I was playing an actual human being that actually experienced that.   It was so epic for me.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Did you put in any research into that 'Jimmy Nakayama' character that you played in WE WERE SOLDIERS?

BRIAN TEE:  Sure, yeah I read the book that the movie was based on We Were Soldiers Once… And Young and I read some other things on Vietnam.  After reading the book I got the opportunity to talk to Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore; the guy who wrote the book that the movie was based on and he was actually there fighting with Jimmy and that was really helpful.  

I decided that the best way to approach the character was just to treat him like a hero, because that was what he really was.   I didn't want to act like a hero, but I really just wanted to tell his story, because he was a genuine man that was fighting for a cause that he believed in but due to the circumstances that he was in, didn't quite make it.  

What the director Randall Wallace did for that character and how he approached him in the movie was so incredible.   Playing that character was one of the best things I've ever been involved with, and given the blitz speed that the movie moves in, and how his story is told in such a short amount of time, his passing was just heart-wrenching and I think it pulls weight because of just how epic the movie is.

Brian Tee and Barry Pepper WE WERE SOLDIERS (2002)

TV STORE ONLINE:  Why do you think that we as Americans are still so fascinated by the Vietnam War all of these years later?

BRIAN TEE:   I think because that time was such a time of turmoil.   I think it was completely different then something like World War II.  Everyone was ready to go to war when World War II came upon us, and I think that's the opposite of what happened with the Vietnam War.  

With the Vietnam War there was a constant struggle between the people. There were protests and debates asking why we were involved. Then others were saying that it was the right thing that we were involved.  It wasn't like World War II, where everyone across the board thought that it was the right thing to do.  So I think that's why people are so fascinated with it, and plus its so similar to what we're going through today too.  Should we be at war, or shouldn't we be?  I think people are intrigued by that aspect of it, and I think that people are trying to learn from our past mistakes too.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Growing up what types of movies did you like and how did they influence you or your decision to become an actor?

BRIAN TEE:   You know one of the first films that influenced me was  BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985).  If you remember in the movie there is this Twin Pines Mall in the movie, and that wasn't too far from where I grew up in Hacienda Heights, California.  So I can remember as a kid like at 7 or 8 years old going there and watching them shoot.  I can remember seeing the cameras, and the lights, and the C-stands and this huge production going on there, and I was just so fascinated by that as a kid.   I think seeing that must have had a conscious or unconscious effect on me.  I mean, growing up in an Asian family my parents wanted me to be either a doctor or a lawyer.  My brother became a doctor, and I just couldn't see myself being a lawyer so I went down a different path, and once I got into college I really got the bug and I started studying films like THE GODFATHER (1972) and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951).

But I think it really started for me, because of the fact that I grew up liking those fun '80s movies.   I loved movies like WEIRD SCIENCE (1985) and SAY ANYTHING (1989).  Then a movie I really loved was NORTH SHORE (1987).   Those movies were totally fun and had these universal themes and ideas in them, and the characters in these films I could totally relate to as I was growing up.  Same thing with STAR WARS (1977) too.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So tell us about what your doing with this web series MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY  (2011-2013)

BRIAN TEE:  Yeah, it was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had.  As a kid too, Mortal Kombat was something I grew up with.  The funny thing is, when I was offered the role of 'Liu Kang' I told them that I wasn't interested in playing him just because growing up I never played him in the video game because I just didn't think that much of him.  I always thought he was like a rip-off of Bruce Lee, and I had always like the darker characters like 'Scorpion' and 'Sub-Zero'.   My friend who is working on the series, he told me to read the script because the producers were taking a different approach to the characters.  

So I read the script and it completely blew my mind.  I mean they complete flipped Liu Kang on his head.  He's so dark but yet you understand why he is the way he is.  He's riding the line between both the Earth Realm and Outworld.  There's so much death in the story and the characterization is so incredible.  I knew once I read it that I had to be a part of it.   

TV STORE ONLINE:  When I was kid playing Mortal Kombat I would get accused of "sweeping the leg" too much by my friends. Did you ever get that same criticism?

BRIAN TEE:  Laughing....Yeah right.  Always... The faster you could sweep the leg the better you were.   That's funny.

Brian Tee and cast of MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY

TV STORE ONLINE:  Then how did you find Liu Kang's darkness for the character within yourself?  

BRIAN TEE:  Well, after I read the script and had some discussions with the director, we decided to really strip down his image and start from the ground up.  We wanted to start with his back story so people could see where he came from and why he's become what he is now.  

When you watch the series and see what he went through that caused him to turn into what he is now, it's no different then something that happens in our own personal lives where something tragic happens, and how that can really change someone or how they think.  Any and all reasoning can go out the window when someone has to endure a tragedy. That's what happened to Liu.  So that's how I approached it.  I just tried to connect with those ideas.  I just tried to make him really human and real.  I truly want people to relate to Liu.   I want audiences to say "He's a real guy. He's relatable, and while I don't approve of what he's doing, I understand why he's that way."

Brian Tee as Liu Kang in
TV STORE ONLINE:   Not to exceed the stereotype, but do you or any of the other guys working on the series look to Bruce Lee for inspiration or influence?

BRIAN TEE:  Well to be honest...Whether they admit it or not, everyone takes inspiration from Bruce Lee.  Especially Asian Americans.   He was the first to go the farthest.  He's almost like The Godfather to some of us in the regard that he paved the way so that people would really take a look at Asians in cinema.  Of course, in MORTAL KOMBAT because it's a martial arts franchise he's obviously been an influence.   But I think of him as an actor, as an artist, and as an icon too.  I think all of us try to take the path that he took as an artist.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Then have you ever taken any inspiration from 'Bruce Leroy' from Berry Gordy's THE LAST DRAGON (1985)?

BRIAN TEE:  laughing...Sometimes... Sometimes I do...laughing    

TV STORE ONLINE:  You probably wanted to have "The Glow" as a kid just like me, didn't you?

BRIAN TEE:  Totally....Totally....laughing   To be honest, I love that movie.  It was one of those rich character driven movies.  They didn't take it too seriously, but they did at the same time.   I remember the first time I saw that, I was so into it.   It was cool because it broke the stereotype for culture, right?   I mean Bruce Lee tried to do that in his movies too.  He cast people like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chuck Norris in his movies.  He tried to make everything universal.   That's what was great for Asian Americans because it was like, finally, all the kids get to play in the same sandbox together. 

Brian Tee as Noburo Mori in
TV STORE ONLINE:   So, the big news....I hear you're going to be in the new WOLVERINE (2013) that hits theaters nationwide on July 26th?

BRIAN TEE:  Yeah WOLVERINE, that small little movie...laughing     This is one of those dream come true things for me.  I mean I grew up a comic book kid and The X-Men was my favorite team, and Wolverine was my guy.  I used to dress up as Wolverine as a kid for Halloween.  I'd make my own cardboard cut-out wrapped in tin foil Adamantium claws even.   

The journey to get this particular part was an interesting one.   They had been casting WOLVERINE pretty much for like two years.   It would start and then stop.  I'd get called in for a completely different character then who I'm playing in the film now.  Then at like the 11th hour, they called and offered me 'Noburo Mori' and it had to be the stars aligning.

TV STORE ONLINE:  And people are saying that this is going to be the movie that takes your career to the next level, what do you think?

BRIAN TEE:   Yeah, I hope so.  I don't know, everyone always talks about "the next level" or whatever.  Not just for me, but I think for every actor, there is this assumed thing that once a big movie hits for an actor it's like they get "discovered" and in the back of our minds we're thinking about the fact that we've been slugging it out for like fifteen years. 

But yeah, I hope that because of the size of movie that WOLVERINE is, it does propel me to "the next level", but for me just the fact that I get to be in WOLVERINE and I get to work as an actor for my career makes me feel just so blessed.   And if WOLVERINE doesn't "propel" me I'm not going to be upset or hurt about it, because I'll just continue on doing what I love and working  at my craft.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  What was your experience working with the director of WOLVERINE James Mangold?

BRIAN TEE:   Jim is awesome.  He's one the coolest guys I've ever come across.   With that being said, he knows exactly what he wants when he's working.   He takes character development into a whole new light, and I think everyone that works with him is happy to be there.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So what do you think that you brought to this character 'Noburo Mori' in the new WOLVERINE movie that wasn't on the written page of the script?

BRIAN TEE:   All I can say is that there is a reason why 'Noburo Mori' is the way he is.    His reasons, you may not agree with, but those reasons are coming from a place that he's definitely connected to.  But I think that what I brought to the character is a understanding quality and a life to him that I hope plays in the movie.  You can either love him or hate him, but he's a guy that you'll at least understand where he's coming from.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Now the trailer is out there for the new WOLVERINE film.  In the trailer we see this really bad ass sword fight at a temple, and we see this really cool fight on the top of  a train...It looks really awesome!   What can fans expect with the new film?  Will there be more character development?  Will it be better than the ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009) movie?

Available at TV STORE ONLINE
BRIAN TEE:  Bigger, badder and better. Absolutely.  I think you hit the nail right on the head. There's going to be so much more depth and character development.  I feel like fans are really gonna connect with Logan like we've never seen before. He's very vulnerable both physically and emotionally in the new movie.  The stunts will be bigger and better.  It's going to be visually amazing.  The set pieces, are bar none the biggest that I've ever seen.  I mean, if you're going to compare it to the other X-MEN movies, it's gonna be like nothing you've ever seen. It goes way beyond the other movies.

TV STORE ONLINE:  One more question... Do you think you'll get a Brian Tee / Noburo Mori WOLVERINE movie action figure and how will it effect your ego?

BRIAN TEE:   laughing...That would be amazing!   I don't know but that would be awesome.  How would it effect my ego?  I'd probably go out and buy like a hundred of them, and I'd probably set them up all around the house in different poses...laughing  

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