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The Fretts on Film Interviews: Sarah Shahi (Part II), Carla Gugino, James Roday and More!

May 17, 2012

I just got back from the USA Network upfront party at Lincoln Center, where I cornered a few of the cable channel’s celebs to chat about movies. First up: Fairly Legal‘s Sarah Shahi, who almost caused my blog to melt a few months ago when she told me about her heavily tattooed nude scene in the upcoming Sylvester Stallone action flick Bullet to the Head. But now that we’re all hot and bothered in anticipation, the film has been bumped for release…. until February 2013. What gives, Sarah?

“(Director) Walter Hill and (exec producer) Joel Silver were butting heads about it,” Sarah told me. “They took the film away from Walter for a while, but now it’s back in his hands. So it’s all good.” I’ll say: I’d trust Hill, the genius genre artist behind The Warriors, 48 HRS., the Deadwood pilot and much more over Silver, the vulgarian who brought us Hudson Hawk, Richie Rich and The Last Boy Scout. (Okay, Hill also made Brewster’s Millions and Red Heat, and Silver started out as an associate producer on The Warriors and also produced  48 HRS., but film is a director’s medium.)

On a personal note, I asked Sarah to autograph a press pass with her picture on it for my 10-year-old daughter, Olive, of “Stuff Olive Says” Facebook fame and a new fan of Fairly Legal. Sarah said, “If I ever have a daughter, I’m going to name her Olive,” and signed her picture, “To Olive, my favorite girl on the planet, Love, Sarah Shahi.” How sweet is that? (And if you ever give birth to a sister for your little boy, William Wolf Howey, I’m holding you to this promise, Sarah!)

Next: Psych‘s James Roday, who unbeknownst to him—until now—was the best part of one of the worst days of my life. I first met him when I paid a hellish visit to the set of The Dukes of Hazzard movie in 2005, down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I’d accepted the assignment because I was excited to interview costars and lifelong idols of mine Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds. But Willie (who had come to the set on his tour bus) was so, um, distracted that I could barely get a coherent answer out of him, and Burt, I was informed at the end of the day, wasn’t doing publicity for the movie. (That’s how bad Dukes was—the guy who starred in Cop and a Half, Stroker Ace and Switching Channels knew it was such a stinker, he was distancing himself from the project while he was filming it.) To give you an idea just how bad this day was, Jessica Simpson was the most articulate person I spoke to on the set all day.

The then-unknown Roday (as dickish racer Billy Prickett) was shooting a chaotic crowd scene with Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Burt, Willie and Jessica—it was supposed to be the film’s conclusion, but ended up on the cutting-room floor—and he was absolutely amazing to watch, so funny and committed and fresh on every take. I told James this, and he was blown away. “I can’t believe you said that. That role was supposed to be played by Matthew McConaughey until 24 hours before I shot that scene. He dropped out and I came in. And the first scene I had to shoot was with Burt Fucking Reynolds! I was like, “Fuck! Are you kidding me? I just got out of wardrobe fitting!” No matter—Roday nailed it.

I also chatted with two more faves—Necessary Roughness‘ Callie Thorne and Carla Gugino (left), who’s just part of the tremendous cast (Sigourney Weaver, Ciaran Hinds, Ellen Burstyn) of USA’s summer miniseries Political Animals. Callie was charming as always, and Carla told my TV Guide Magazine colleague Ileane Rudolph and me that she’d love to return FX’s top-caliber drama Justified next season to reprise her role as Karen Sisco, whom she also played in a brilliant-but-cancelled ABC drama of the same name. The reason she only did one episode this season was because of her commitment to the Broadway play The Road to Mecca, which I saw. As I told Carla, she—as well as costars Jim Dale and Rosemary Harris—was robbed of a Tony nomination. She couldn’t have been nicer or more appreciative.

Yep, some days my job doesn’t suck…

Any other fans of Sarah Shahi, James Roday, Carla Gugino or Callie Thorne out there? Share your favorite roles!

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From → Interviews, Posts

7 Comments
  1. I could never stand that close to Carla Gugino without getting all sweaty and tongue-tied. Holy cow, she’s smokin’ . . .

  2. Wow this sounded like a blast! So cool to hear that these actors are as cool off screen as they are on screen. Shahi sounded like the sweetest lady on the planet and Roday sounds humble about his craft. Cool post! I always wondered what they would be like off camera.

    • bruceafretts permalink

      Thanks–I did have a blast. And it’s always nice when actors are as cool off-camera as they seem on-camera. Doesn’t always happen, believe me!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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