USTownhall RealStories presents MATT RYAN, star of CONSTANTINE
Written by Scott Katz
Monday, 03 November 2014 21:08
On Friday, October 31, we spoke with Matt Ryan, who plays the titular character in the new NBC series Constantine, based on the popular occult DC Comics character.
USTH: Matt, can you just take us a little bit through the casting process? How did you come to learn about this part and how extensive was the audition process for you before you got it?
Matt Ryan: Oh wow, it was quite a ride to be honest with you. I was doing Henry V in London in the West End with Jude Law and the Michael Grandage Company. It was pilot season obviously, so there were a lot of auditions coming up.
So, Kate Dowd was casting [the series] in the UK, so I went in for an audition, did a tape, we sat at the table. I actually had really long hair and a big, bushy beard. And I can remember my agent calling me and saying, "Look, they really, really like you, but they can’t really see past the beard," you know?
And I was like, "Well, you know, I’m in the middle of a play. There’s not really much I can do about that."
What was my favorite - I’d been on a movie called Sunday Paper about four or five years ago or something, and I actually bleached blonde my hair for that so it was kind of a similar look.
I think I’d done about four or five tapes or something, you know, with different notes. And I already had a conversation with Daniel (Cerone) and David (Goyer) [developers of the series] as well, via Skype, to give me notes and stuff.
So, kept on doing all of these tapes, but still, I had this big beard. And then, I was going to try and get a night off the play to fly over to test. But unfortunately, due to some circumstances with a member of cast in the play, I wasn’t able to take a night off.
So, I had to let that test go really, in a way. And I think they used my tapes or something. But I think they couldn’t see past my beard. I think they went back to the drawing board and started looking again.
And then they came back about a week or so later and said, "Look, we still really like you and we want you to retape." So retaped again. I ended up doing about six audition tapes or something.
And I think one of the notes which was really funny was my agent said that David Goyer had mentioned that we really liked Sasquatch. And eventually the play ended.
I ended on a Saturday night when I would have the wrap party, so to speak, of the play and jumped on a plane first thing in the morning, flew over. I think it was a holiday in America on that day so all of the hair salons were shut.
So I had to have a friend of mine come over and cut my hair. And then the next day, I went in and tested, and then went to the studio testing process, and then the network testing process.
And then eventually got there, man. It was quite a ride to be honest with you. You know, it was quite a long process – it’s definitely the longest audition process I’d been through. And it was such a thrill then when I actually got the job, you know?
USTH: Given that you’re the star of this show and this is a big American TV production, are you feeling any sort of pressure? How are you acclimating yourself to being the focus of this new series and all of the attention on you? How are you handling all of that?
Matt Ryan: It’s a new experience, you know? It’s something that I’ve never encountered before. So, there’s been different turning points in Constantine that I’ve never come across.
And I feel like you just throw yourself into whatever work you’re doing and you concentrate on that.
And we work so many hours as well that there’s not the time to stop and think, "Oh my God, what is this I’m doing?" which is kind of a good thing because you have to be in the moment and just go with it and keep your work going, which is what I love doing. You know?
[That's] kind of [my] perspective on it, then. And I think that if we had a three month break right now I’d probably go, "What the hell just happened," do you know what I mean? But, at the moment I’m still kind of right in the mix of it.
Kind of working every day. And that’s kind of where I like to be as well. You know, with my head in the work and concentrating on that, you know? I think it’s been a hell of a ride and it’s been really, really good fun as well.
And, I’ve really enjoyed it man. And I’m just taking it all in my stride and trying to enjoy it.
USTH: I know Constantine is on a different network than some of the other DC comic book shows like The Flash or Arrow, but has there been any discussion that you know of regarding the possibility of characters from each of those shows crossing into your show or you crossing over into their shows?
Matt Ryan: Not that I’ve heard of. I mean, I don’t know what goes on in the DC office or what all those guys talk about. But, so far I don’t have any information on whether that’s going to happen or not.
Our thanks to Matt Ryan for speaking with us today. Contstantine airs Friday nights on NBC.
American Idol finalist COREY CLARK: Unfiltered
Written by Scott Katz
Monday, 19 May 2014 19:03
ABOVE:: interview segment where American Idol Season 2 finalist Corey Clark sets the record straight about his 2002 arrest.
On Sunday, May 18, 2014, we got together for a video interview with Corey Clark, the American Idol finalist from Season 2 who was dismissed from the show as announced on the April 1, 2003 broadcast. Mr. Clark and nine other ex-Idol hopefuls have a pending lawsuit filed in Federal Court in New York City against American Idol Productions among other defendants. Mr. Clark has stated that he has proof that the show has been discriminatory against African-American contestants and is seeking legal redress.
Our interview with Mr. Clark went approximately five hours, and we will be putting the video footage online over the next several days. For now, here's a segment of the interview in which Mr. Clark talks in full detail about his arrest in October 2002 that led to his dismissal from American Idol more than five months later. It is fair to say that the fallout from this pivotal event in Mr. Clark's life still affects him to this day.
Think you've heard it all? Think you know all the details? Don't answer until you've heard Corey Clark tell his story in his own words. Note that the footage is uncensored for language, and in certain brief instances, there will be language that could be considered Not Safe for Work.
During the course of the interview, Mr. Clark talks about several people who were involved in the events he describes. In the interest of getting all sides to the story, anyone mentioned who would like to interview with us to tell his or her side can contact us at
For those experiencing long buffering times, you can listen to the interview in audio-only format:
1st INTERVIEW: May 18, 2014
2nd INTERVIEW: October 26, 2014
Corey Clark: Unfiltered, Part I (approx. 91 min)
Corey Clark: Unfiltered, Part II (approx. 58 min)
In Part I, Mr. Clark discusses the American Idol audition process, how Simon Cowell affected his decision to continue his career in music, his 2002 arrest, the charges being dismissed then mysteriously reinstated, The Smoking Gun, his dismissal from American Idol, and being blacklisted from the music industry.
In Part II, Mr. Clark discusses The Book Deal That Wasn't, his 2005 interview with ABC, Paula Abdul, the discovery of new facts that cast old beliefs in a new light, and goes in-depth about his current lawsuit against American Idol Productions and other defendants.
The statements made by Mr. Clark in his interview sessions with USTownhall.com are exclusively his own. USTownhall.com, its employees, associates, affiliates, subsidiaries, and parents are neutral parties who neither condone nor condemn the statements made herein.
Corey Clark: Unfiltered, Part 3 (approx. 51 min)
In Part III, Mr. Clark discusses the legal and strategic underpinnings of his lawsuit, talks more about Paula Abdul and his reasons for embarking on the alleged affair, and gives his honest--and shocking-- thoughts about Simon Cowell, Paula, and Randy Jackson. He called Randy a ...what?!
In this interview:
• Corey spills the behind-the-scenes details about his American Idol audition process.
• Corey talks about the Smoking Gun website article that led to his dismissal including a shocking revelation about what American Idol knew concerning Corey's legal situation before the article came out and what Corey says Idol did with that information.
• Corey discusses his post-Idol career and his contention that he was blacklisted from the music industry.
• What really happened between Corey Clark and Paula Abdul?
• Corey talks about his showbiz experiences before Idol including his days with R&B star Ne-Yo.
• Corey goes into great detail about his lawsuit against Idol and discusses the evidence he was able to obtain to bolster his case.
• How will this case affect the American Idol judges? Will any judges, past or present, be named as defendants or have to give testimony?
• What does Corey really think about Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul?
• Corey discusses his feelings of race relations and racial equality not only as it concerns American Idol, but how he sees things in the larger society.
• And much, much more!
To keep in touch with Corey Clark or to check out his music, we provide the following links:
USTownhall RealStories presents NICK LACHEY of The Winner Is
Written by Scott Katz
This summer, NBC premieres The Winner Is – a new kind of singing competition. The series, hosted by singer Nick Lachey, marries the talent search of traditional shows of this type with the fast pace and drama of a game show. In each episode, six contestants will be paired off to sing against each other. A panel of 101 music experts will judge the performances and decides who advances to the next round. Before the results are announced, the contestants are given a choice: leave the game immediately and take home a cash prize ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 or opt to stay in the game in the hope of advancing. If the contestant turns down the cash and the judges do not pick him or her to advance, the contestant goes home with nothing.
The contestant who survives the entire seven week competition will win the grand prize of one million dollars! Episodes begin airing June 10 and 17 before moving into its regular timeslot on July 11.
USTownhall RealStories speaks with Nick Lachey of The Winner Is:
USTH: Can you just talk a little bit about the process by which the show found these contestants? Was there some kind of audition process?
NICK LACHEY: We had a great scouting department that really searched the country for great talent. I can't emphasize enough that these are talented people from every walk of life. I mean, everything from an emergency room nurse to a chicken farmer to a 10-year-old 6th grader. I think we've really captured talent form all across the country. And so there were four or five different cities you could go and actually audition in. But in addition to that, we took submissions online. And again, the scouting department did a great job of finding truly the most talented people in the country and bringing them to LA for the show. So I really commend them for doing a great job.
USTH: If you were a contestant on the show, how much of a risk taker would you be? Would you try to go all the way or would there be a point where you would say you'll just take the money and leave the show?
NICK LACHEY: Well, I think that's the real captivating thing about this show. I think any performer who comes into this, they're coming in with the intention of going all the way and winning the $1 million. I mean, that's the goal.
But when you get in the heat of the battle and you just give them your performance and your opponent's giving a great performance, it's really tough to reason how the judges in the audience have voted the thing.
So, it becomes this really walking the fine line between being confident in your performance and in yourself and also trying to take yourself out of the situation enough to be objective and say, "All right, should I take the money? It'd be a shame to walk home with nothing right now. Should I take the money and leave with something in my pocket?"
So that's where the real drama comes into this whole thing. So it's tough to know. I mean, you like to think you'd go in and make the rational, smart decision but when you're in the heat of the battle – I think you can ask any performer. We have a great amount of pride in what we do. And it's tough to admit that you've been beaten, so to speak.
So, it becomes a real mental challenge to balance those things and make the right decisions so fast.
USTH: For this first season, do you know how many episodes it's going to run?
NICK LACHEY: Yes. For this first one I believe we have seven, which includes the $1 million finale. Or is that wrong, maybe six. I can't remember now offhand.
NIKKI LICHTERMAN (from NBC publicity): Seven.
NICK LACHEY: Seven, yeah. So there is seven. So there's six preliminary episodes and then the 7th one is the $1 million finale where we take the winner of the previous six and then they all compete for the chance at the $1 million. So that's what kind of makes up the first season.
USTH: As far as things are concerned right now, is the show just scheduled to be on just this one summer season or do you see it basically continuing as an ongoing series?
NICK LACHEY: Well, I love the show. I can speak honestly that in filming it we would all sit backstage and literally we'd have wagers going on as to whether people are going to take the money, not take the money. I think it's a really, really intriguing, captivating show that I think is really going to catch on, which would suggest that we come back for many more seasons. I think that's the hope.
USTH: And as you look back on these past seven episodes that you've filmed, what are your thoughts that you're left with about how this experience was for you?
NICK LACHEY: I had a blast shooting this show. I mean, that's what I really took away from it. Got to meet some very, very talented people, meet some great young singers and old singers for that matter. But more than anything, what I loved about doing this show was the ability for me to really be myself. I mean, I think more than you saw maybe on The Sing-Off in the past. In this show, I was able to really loosen up and be me and interject a little more and it was a looser kind of environment – just a different kind of show. So, I think each and every show you host – they're all different and they all kind of tap into a different part of your personality. And this one certainly did for me, but it was a lot of fun to be a part of and a lot of fun to do and certainly hope we get to do a lot more of them.
Our thanks to Nick Lachey for taking the time to speak with us. The Winner Is has two sneak peek episodes on Monday, June 10 and Monday, June 17 – both following NBC's hit series, The Voice. The Winner Is then returns for the remainder of its run on Thursday, July 11 at 9pm.
USTownhall RealStories presents DONALD TRUMP, TRACE ADKINS, & PENN JILLETTE of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice
Written by Scott Katz
Saturday, 18 May 2013 19:03
On Sunday, May 19, the sixth installment of The Celebrity Apprentice reaches its finale. After toiling away for weeks, the fourteen celebrities have been whittled down to the final two – country superstar Trace Adkins and magician/entertainer Penn Jillette.
In the final task, which began on the May 12 episode, Team Trace, led by Adkins, faces off against Team Penn, led by Jillette, in concoting a new flavor of ice cream for Walgreens Pharmacy's DeLish brand. Team Trace came up with "Maple Macadamia Mash-Up," while Team Penn created "Vanilla & Chocolate Magic Swirtle."
Additionally, each team must produce a promotional video and raise money for a launch event featuring its new flavor. Trace Adkins was joined by returning celebrities Lil Jon, Gary Busey, and Marilu Henner, while Penn Jillette had Lisa Rinna, La Toya Jackson, and Dennis Rodman assisting him.
Sunday's episode will show the conclusion of the task, which had been previously filmed, within a live setting where the final two will face Mr. Trump and await his decision on who performed the best and who will become the next Celebrity Apprentice.
USTownhall RealStories speaks with Donald Trump, Trace Adkins, and Penn Jillette of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice:
USTH: First of all, Mr. Trump, congratulations on Celebrity Apprentice being renewed for another season.
DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much.
USTH: Well deserved; it's a great show.
DONALD TRUMP: Thanks a lot; I appreciate it.
USTH: As you look back on this past season, how happy are you with the way it all turned out? What are your thoughts about the way the whole season developed?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, you know, I'm very happy with the final two. I actually took a lot of heat, fellows, I will tell you this because so many people liked Lil Jon. I have this very large Twitter account with millions of people, and I will tell you I took heat. Penn and Trace, [the people] loved Lil Jon and they were very disappointed. Now, it also was that he happened to say something at his little interview. He said, "Please Tweet Mr. Trump and say, 'You made a mistake,'" so maybe that had to do with it. That could very well have had to do with it. But a lot of people really felt very strongly about him, and I think the two guys would say he was terrific.
PENN JILLETTE: Absolutely.
DONALD TRUMP: I really like who we ended up with. I really like the season. It was a very good season. Very competitive from a lot of standpoints because there were so many [other series] – the Sunday night hours are very, very tough. You have all of the finales. You have all of the major Country Music awards, and there were so many different competitive shows, and yet we still did well. You had the Bible I guess in cable; you had [Game of Thrones]; you had everything. I think Sunday night has become – Sunday night used to be an easy night. I think it's now maybe the most competitive night on television. And despite that we did very well. We almost always won the 10:00 hour and we're really happy about it. But I like the way the season came out.
USTH: My next question is for Penn and Trace. Do you consider yourselves to be competitive by nature, or is this something new that came out of you while playing this game?
PENN JILLETTE: It's very new for me. I've never played sports. I've never been a game player. I've always kind of been in my own little world. And I've never really focused on any sort of competition thing. And I actually enjoyed it. Maybe I've got to start playing chess or something.
DONALD TRUMP: Get yourself into sports; you'd be great at sports. You don't play – you've never played sports? I didn't know that. Wow.
PENN JILLETTE: I've never been a sports player, no.
DONALD TRUMP: With that size you would think you'd be good.
PENN JILLETTE: I've always been a bit of a bookworm, I'm afraid.
TRACE ADKINS: I, on the other hand, am an old jock and yes, the competitiveness started at a very early age with me and it continues on today, really. I mean, the business that I'm in, country music, is a competitive business. To be relevant in this business means to be competitive, and that's how I continue to be relevant because I continue to be competitive.
USTH: On the first interview that we did before the season began, I asked Brett Michaels and LaToya Jackson to describe their charities and why it was important to them. You both have done a little bit of that on the show already, but I feel you can never talk about your charities too much. So I'd like to give you the opportunity once again to each of you to talk about your charity. What's the name of it, and why is it important to you?
TRACE ADKINS: Okay, I will just say at this point though you watch Sunday night because they give us ample opportunity to talk a lot about our charities. They spent a lot of time interviewing us and interviewing the people that we are representing. And so Sunday night, they go into our charities in great depth. So, that will all be on there Sunday night. But I'll just tell you quickly that the American Red Cross showed up at my office in June, 2011 when we had a house fire. Our house was a total loss, and right on the heels of the firefighters was the American Red Cross. And I was embarrassed at that time to learn that they respond to over 70,000 house fires a year in this country. I didn't know that. I thought the Red Cross was just the huge natural disaster response team, and I was embarrassed to learn that they – somewhere in this country right now, there's a Red Cross volunteer that's helping somebody. And, I just felt like I owed them something for being at my house when I wasn't there. I was in Alaska, so I play [Celebrity Apprentice] for the American Red Cross.
PENN JILLETTE: And I play for Opportunity Village, which is now a local charity in Las Vegas. [Penn and Teller] do a lot of stuff with charity in Vegas. The reason I chose Opportunity Village is I'm hoping that the idea will spread. It is for people with intellectual disabilities, and it is the idea of not warehousing these people or keeping them separate from us, but rather training them to have skills and [integrate] into the workplace and just not be part of an intellectual apartheid. And I'm hoping that that idea has been successful. One of the things that's wonderful about being on Celebrity Apprentice besides the fact that it helps Penn and Teller, a bigger fact is people from all over the country have called Opportunity Village and talked about starting them in other cities. And I need to add because –Mr. Trump cannot hear this enough – that it was Elvis Presley's favorite charity. Every scarf that he would wear in Vegas and wipe his brow and kiss and throw into the audience was made by the clients in Opportunity Village. And I will also say that they do a lot of stuff for Mr. Trump. At some of his hotels and properties, they do some packaging for him there. So, it's a wonderful charity to move people with intellectual disabilities into the mainstream and let them be part of us and let us love them and appreciate them.
USTH: That sounds great. Finally, as you guys look back on this past season, what are the feelings that you are left with, and are you surprised about anything that you learned about yourself?
PENN JILLETTE: Yes, I'm a little surprised that I believe I'm a little less of a creep than I thought. I've always seen myself as much more of an outsider, and I think Celebrity Apprentice let me deal with people that I normally wouldn't deal with and understand that I can get along a little better with them. That meant a lot to me. Also, after talking about the charity, this seems a little crass, but as well as we were doing in Vegas before [Celebrity Apprentice], we're doing much, much better now, [it] is the biggest bump we've ever seen.
TRACE ADKINS: Wow.
USTH: And Trace?
TRACE ADKINS: I'm not really surprised, but I have to say from day one when I showed up and I got to peruse the cast, I thought if I was going to win this thing that Penn was going to be the man I was going to have to beat. And that's why I chose him first when I was given the opportunity to choose my team. I picked him, and then I was going to pick Omarosa and use her to dispatch Penn. But Brett picked her, and I knew immediately he'd made a mistake, and she cut his throat the first week. Anyway what have I learned about myself? That I have more patience and tolerance than I thought I did.
USTH: Our thanks to Donald Trump, Trace Adkins, and Penn Jillette for taking the time to speak with us. The finale to All-Star Celebrity Apprentice airs live on Sunday, May 19 at 9pm Eastern on NBC.
USTownhall RealStories presents DAVID GIUNTOLI of GRIMM
Written by Scott Katz
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 13:40
NBC has given its cult favorite series Grimm two votes of confidence recently. On April 26, it was announced that Grimm has already been renewed for a third season, and beginning tonight, Grimm moves from its traditional Friday night timeslot to a prime spot on Tuesday nights after ratings juggernaut The Voice. We spoke to Grimm's star David Giuntoli about the series and what we can expect for the remaining episodes of the season. Grimm's second season finale will air on May 21.
USTownhall RealStories speaks with David Giuntoli of Grimm:
USTH: Can you tell us, in broad strokes, about some of the plot lines for the remainder of this season?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: Absolutely. Nick and Juliette start patching things up. And it's looking very hopeful for us come the end of the season. Two: a level 10 – as I like to call it – Wesen comes to Portland who is pulling the strings controlling a lot of other types of Wesen. We can call them the undead. And he has an army of people under his control that wreak havoc. And this is a longer story arc. We'll be visited by an actor named Reg E. Cathey. He's a wonderful actor who's just been in House of Cards, and he's been in everything. And he's great. And he plays this kind of powerful Wesen that we will be introduced to in the next couple of episodes. The Royals get closer and closer to me. They come to Portland, and they want the key. And I learn much more about why it is they want the key. The Captain and I start working together. Let's see... Zombies are entering Portland. And also as far as Adalind goes – the Adalind storyline is insane. And that's all I'll say about that.
USTH: Looking to season three, what would you like to see happen with your character in both his professional and personal lives?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: Well, I'd like to see some resolve – some real closure – to the Juliette storyline. I love working with Bitsie Tulloch [who portrays Juliette Silverton], and it'd be nice to be just a couple again. I want to get Sergeant Wu into the fray of the knowing. That would be really fun to work with him in the way that now Russell, Hank, and I can work together and Bree and Silas and the Captain. I would love to get Sergeant Wu into the fray.
USTH: Now that you've completed two seasons, what has this whole experience meant for you as an actor?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: I look back at the beginning of season one, and I'm like, "Who is that kid, that supple little kid?" It has been just an absolute gift to me and a blessing. And I've learned so much. I feel like I get paid to learn every day. And I've become very good friends with a lot of my cast. And, you know, we live in Portland together. And they're my group now. It's been so lovely. And there's the producers and the writers and my bosses are also giving. They leave us alone. They give support. You never feel criticized. It's a very healthy place to be. So I'm very grateful.
USTH: You're on Tuesday nights for the rest of the season. Do you know if you're going to be on Tuesday nights in season three?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: I don't know if we'll be on Tuesday nights in season three. I guess we'll all kind of figure that out together based upon how we fit on Tuesday night for the rest of the season. I'd be really –I have had that thought myself. I do not know the answer.
USTH: Regarding working with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Can you tell us a little bit about what it's like to have her on the show? And who is on your personal wish list for potential guest stars in the future that you would like to work with?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: Oh gosh. I can't say that just because there's so many. I wouldn't want to offend the people, you know? Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was wonderful to work with. And the episodes that she's been in have been so work intensive, and she has such a wonderful work ethic. And she's so fury, and working with her I get caught watching her all of the time and almost forget that I'm in the scene. Because she's so captivating and compelling and beautiful and just makes wonderful choices. And, you know, that's what I think about her. I've really enjoyed the guest actors we've had thus far. And anybody's who's decided to come who can swing it we'll love to have.
USTH: Is there like a specific type of actor that you think fits well into the Grimm family?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: Sure, character actors.
USTH: Does it help to be a theater actor?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: You don't have to be like a theater actor per se. I mean, most actors have done some theater. I love the local guys getting some jobs – guys and girls getting some jobs because these are people who have dedicated to theater and they live in Portland. So there're not a ton of gigs that show up there. So I love when we get a really great new talent. But also it's fun to expose viewers to people who you have not seen much. We had an actor named Brian Finney who is a very well respected actor in Los Angeles. He works with the Robbins Theater – the Actors' Gang. And he played the Ziegevolk in the episode where he was a lawyer who charmed the jury. And, it was great getting to have him. So, you know, that's the type of actor.
USTH: As far as you personally are concerned, what do you like to do during your down time? Are you an actor who seeks other projects like theater or movies? Or do you just like to take it easy until the season begins again?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: I like to seek other jobs that I think will push me and do something that I'm not currently doing.
USTH: Okay, do you have anything in the pipeline that you want to talk about?
DAVID GIUNTOLI: I do, but I can't talk about it because it's not a solidified yes. But I appreciate the question.
Our thanks to David Giuntoli for speaking with us today. Grimm now airs on Tuesday nights at 10pm on NBC for the remainder of the season.