Friday, October 28, 2011

1. Can you tell us a bit about Dot and her story arc? What was your impression of Dot when you first read the scripts?

When we first meet Dot, she's angling to become the office manager at Fitzpatrick Motors. Over the course of the first six episodes, it becomes clear that Dot has an ulterior motive for being at the dealership. She and Fitz actually have a past that Dot is looking to reignite, and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Blackmail, voodoo, knife-throwing... these are just a few of the tools in Dot's arsenal.

When I first read the scripts, I was so exited to play this role and be part of the show. Dot is really the most fun character I've ever played. She's a firecracker: fearless, passionate, and a little bit crazy. What actress wouldn't want to take that on?! While we were filming the second season, someone said that Dot's kind of a bully, and I said, “Yes! Exactly! That's what I love about her!”

2. Do you want Dot and Fitz to hook up again? What is it about him she finds so irresistible? Or would you like to see her end up with Josh?

I don't know if it would be a very wise idea for Fitz and Dot to hook-up again. Things didn't go well the first time around. Those two are kind of like oil and water. Or gasoline and a match. I think Dot and Fitz might work better as friends. Or enemies. Or a bit of both. And I'm not sure Josh and Dot would make a good couple, especially long-term, either. Dot might be a little too type-A for our lovable stoner.

3. What is your inspiration for Dot? Is there anything you do to get in character?

Wardrobe, hair, and make-up are such important parts of getting into the character of Dot. I don't feel like Dot unless my lipstick is on, my bangs are perfect, and I'm wearing my kitten heels. Kate Rose, our costume designer, has really helped develop Dot's look. Both Gloria Digdon, who does my hair, and Amanda O'Leary, who does my make-up, also do a great job of pulling the whole image together!

When I worked in the fat suit for last week’s episode, I relied heavily (pardon the pun) on those ladies to help me figure out Dot's former, plus-sized beauty queen look.

As far as inspiration for Dot is concerned, I thought a lot about some tough ladies in history: Catherine The Great, Lurcezia Borgia, and Hillary Clinton. I also made a "Dot Foxley Mix" that I often listen to at the beginning of my workday. The mix had a lot of Queen, Blondie, and Tom Jones – it really helps me get into character. Well that and my padded bra!

4. Can you talk us through the process of transforming into a completely different Dot for her backstory? Was wearing the prosthetics / “fat suit” uncomfortable?

Wearing the fat suit was a really interesting experience. It was a bit hot and uncomfortable, but the effect was so cool, so it was worth it. Watching the facial prosthetic make-up transformation happen was amazing. It was wild to see another version of myself. And I have to say, I thought I looked pretty fabulous in my Miss Carbs get-up. It was fun to work the extra junk in my trunk.

5. Did you have to do any special training the episode? You looked pretty skilled with those knives...

I can't say I did too much special training for my knife-throwing scene. I did practice a bit, but I have notoriously bad aim. Thank god for editing!

6. What was your favorite scene to film from “Bring Me the Feet of Dexter Laine”? Any behind-the-scenes tidbits you'd like to share?

I loved shooting the big "reveal" scene in the garage - when Fitz, Larry, and Josh figure out who Dot really is. We had a lot of fun shooting that scene. And the way it came together in the end with the flashback scenes [which we filmed at a different time] was just great. It was a blast to unleash Dot's "crazy" on the boys. Dot may not get her man in this episode, but she does get a bucket of dirty bird in the end, which is almost as good!

CAST INSIDER: Kathleen Munroe

Thursday, October 20, 2011

1. Can you chat about your character, Ali Devon, and her second season story arc?

When we see Ali in the second season, she has made good on her promise to herself to change her self-destructive patterns. In fact, she has settled into a relationship with her earnest and adoring colleague Chester Vince. The problem is that while her behavior has been modified, her feelings haven’t changed, and run-ins with Fitz start to complicate her newly stable life. Compounding this is that Chester reveals himself to be just as flawed and complicated as everyone else, which kinda blows her faith in him as her link to a pure and good life. The struggle for Ali in the second season is essentially the same as in the first, but the stakes are higher… she’s still caught between her good intentions and her true feelings, and she's messing up a lot along the way.

2. Can you talk a little about the Ali, Fitz, and Chester love triangle?

Fitz is everything Ali wants to avoid, but at the same time, he's exactly what she’s hard-wired to love. Or lust after, at the very least… And lust can sometimes feel a whole lot like love. Chester, on the other hand, is seemingly safe, reliable, stable, and completely lacking in swagger and sex appeal. They represent for Ali the two basic opposing forces within her - the longing to be a responsible, healthy, and good person, and the deep-seated attraction to dark, exciting, and dangerous men.

3. Let’s chat about filming scenes with Jason Priestley and Jonathan Torrens…

Filming with Jason and Jonathan is really hard work because they're both so ridiculously funny, and the writing in some of those scenes is just too much. It basically winds up being an exercise in restraint. It can take awhile to get a straight-faced take, but they're awesome, and so good at what they do, so it’s great stuff to be thrown into. And at its heart, the push-pull dynamic operating between the three characters is real, so all in all, it makes for a pretty good day at work.

4. Chester or Fitz – who do you want Ali to end up with?

As an actor, I want Ali to be caught between Chester and Fitz ‘til the end of time, if only because Jason and Jonathan are both so outrageously fun to work with. The three characters together have a dynamic I’ve enjoyed so much. As far as Ali’s concerned, if I were her friend, I think I'd tell here she might be best off taking some time for herself...but that's no fun! And realistically, I don’t think she’ll shake her attachment to Chester or her attraction to Fitz easily anytime soon.

CAST INSIDER: Donavon Stinson

Friday, October 14, 2011

1. Can you talk a bit about Josh and his Season 2 story arc?

Gosh it's crazy to think back to Josh's story arc in season two as we are entrenched in season three right now! I'd say Josh goes through a bit of a self-discovery phase in season two. He adores Fitz, and considers him a brother. However, at the same time, he is fighting with the fact that there's a new addition to the mix in the tall, lanky form of Larry. It's a great dynamic between the two characters, because he doesn't necessary like Larry, but he's doing it for Fitz. Fun stuff.

2. What do you do to get into the head space to play Josh?

I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. For one, I try not to fall into the stereotypical "pothead" role when I am playing Josh. I just try to blank out a bit. Josh is present in the moment, but at the same time, his mind is already moving on to the next thing on his agenda. A bit of an ADD thing I guess.

I also like to use this menthol blower thing that the make up department has - it gets my eyes nice and glossy! Damn... I just gave away my secret didn't I... ?

3. What was your favorite scene to film in Season 2?

That's a toughy! One that tops the list would have to be the scene in "My Own Private Oka", last week’s episode, when Fitz, Larry, and Josh argue around the campsite. That day was just ridiculous. We couldn’t stop laughing at the whole situation, especially Jason. Here I am sitting across from these guys with a wolf’s head on and a teepee with a picture of two dogs copulating on a deer hide right behind me… Good times!

4. The dynamic duo of Fitz and Larry in the first season has sort of evolved into a three musketeers dynamic this year... How do you like working with Ernie and Jason in these scenes?

Three musketeers hey? I'd say more like the three stooges! I absolutely love working with those guys. It's such a great dynamic; we all have such a different way to approach a scene. Ernie is very methodical in his approach to comedy; he's got a great dry sense of humor. I, on the other hand, love to just fly by the seat of my pants, and come up with something different every time - chaotic if you will. And Jason, what is there that this guy can't do? He is a real leader. I can always trust that he'll tell me if something isn't funny, and he's game for anything. It's such a great vibe between the three of us.

5. You've been named the resident prankster by cast and crew. What have you done to earn this title?

I don't know if I'm necessarily the resident "prankster" on set. I don't really pull pranks as much as I just like keeping the set fun and enjoyable, and I guess if that means making an ass of myself, then so be it! I do like making funny videos for the crew though, as a kind of thank you for all their hard work. Then, we all watch them at the wrap party at the end of the season. I made one last year called "Donavon's Day Off", where I tried to do everyone else's job for them on my day off: camera operating, boom, hair, and make up. Everyone kept shooing me away like some pest. It was fun to do and the crew really got behind the idea. They did some pretty stellar acting in it as well!

6. Are you and Josh anything alike?

No, but yes, but no... yes.

7. Are there any behind-the-scenes tidbits you'd like to share?

Josh seems to be in more ridiculous costumes this time around, that or he's naked... yes, I said naked!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Interview with Art Department Chief – Production Designer Bill Fleming

Q: Can you talk about your role on Call Me Fitz?
A: With "Fitz" as with most shows, the production designer is responsible for the visual look - creating the world in which the series takes place. As such, I work with set decorators, carpenters, locations, props and the art departments to create the sets and find the locations needed for each scene in the script.

Q: Can you talk about the process of interpreting what is written in the script into a fully executed design?
A: It depends what the script calls for and what works in the "Fitz" world. While much of comedy is entrenched in character and situation, the where (i.e. the setting), is mostly grounded in reality.That reality in Call Me Fitz centers on the dealership, and its surrounding world of box stores and strip malls that are ubiquitous to suburban North America. We look to that reality for inspiration, but we also have to deal with the practical concerns - time, money, and what we can find nearby in terms of shooting locations.

Q: This season we use standing sets such as the dealership less, and actual locations more. What are the challenges that this presented you? Did you enjoy the chance to use more locations?

A: Creating the Amish farm near the end of the season was exciting, as it is very much a departure from our suburban world. Also, creating the carnival in the first episode was fun to build around our existing Ruptal set. It’s important to open things up once or twice every show so that we do not get too claustrophobic.

Q: Per episode, how long does it take you to create and execute a design start to finish?
A: Time usually depends on how big the build is. A typical example might be the morgue set, which probably took about two hours to plan, half a day to draw, a day to build, a day to paint, and half a day to dress (decorate!) – start to finish in about 2-3 days. However, a more intensive set such as the hospital scene you’ll see later in season two, took a good part of two weeks from design to dressing.

Q: What is it like designing for a real location versus a set?
A: When we were planning the first season we had originally talked about building the showroom and offices (our dealership is housed in an actual car lot) in a studio. I was very keen to put these sets on a real location with live traffic driving down a busy street. You feel the street when we are on the dealership lot, and it really grounds the show. It’s hard to get depth - real long hallways, layers, and large-scale rooms - on our very small studio spaces. For that we need to find actual locations. Studio sets can look as real and impressive as the real thing if time, budget, and imagination allow them too. The advantage of the sets on Call Me Fitz is that our studio is right beside our main location (i.e. the dealership), which means the crew can roll right into a studio set from Fitzpatrick Motors without moving the whole production. Its our own little studio backlot!