Laura Silverman on Playing it Straight
Twenty-year-old "High School Musical" cutie Corbin Bleu is more than glad that his character's family in his new "Free Style" movie is biracial, just like his own family. He made a point of seeing to it that casting was done that way.
He tells us that, with himself and his father two of the producers on the feature, opening tomorrow (10/9), "It was one thing we definitely wanted to play to. So many times in films, you'll have interracial kids, but they'll still have two black parents. At this time, right now, where we are now, you're seeing many more interracial families. So many people are mixing and it's wonderful and that needs to be portrayed more in our films."
Corbin notes that, being a producer, "This is the first time I got to take hold of some of the reins and I'd like to do more. I was involved in locations and casting and wardrobe and all that."
He has other projects in development, including "a cool horror flick we're working on. It's going to be fun. You have to expand yourself out as much as you can. You can't be stifled in any genre, any one thing."
Hence, "Free Style," in which he plays a gung-ho motocross racer. For Corbin, it meant lots of training in motorcycle riding, which he's come to love. "Luckily, it was my dad who came out with me the first day on the course and not my mom, 'cause if it was my mom, the first fall it would have been, 'This movie's not happening,'" he says with a laugh.
He also gets a romance with the "stunning" (his word) Sandra Echeverria. He got to "have the chance to cast my leading lady and it was great," he says, beaming. And the presence of the Latina actress "ended up bringing in another whole thing culturally."
SIBLING REVELRY: Laura Silverman, the real-life sister of comedienne Sarah Silverman, also plays her sister on the Comedy Central series "The Sarah Silverman Program." While Sarah is certainly the more known of the two, Laura tells us they couldn't be more encouraging of each other in life and on the show. "At first, I was very hesitant during the first season. I was very conscious of not trying to upstage Sarah in any way — to try to be completely supportive of her being the funny one. It turns out we are equally supportive and we both have our moments to be funny on the show. We are always in such awe of each other. We watch each other at work with big smiles on our faces. Unless she's faking it, she seems to like what I do," adds Laura with a smile.
While Sarah plays a chaotic, out there, fictionalized version of herself, Laura plays the responsible younger sister, which lends itself to a different kind of humor. "I studied at first how to be the 'straight' person. It's something that has actually always interested me," she tells us. "There's a little bit of theory behind it. You are responsible for setting the baseline of what's normal in that world so that the main character can exist being the way she is instead of looking like she's crazy or just a total a-hole. The way I react to her allows her to exist in that way. It's been really fun exploring that world with Sarah and the rest of the cast."
GROWING UP MAGICALLY: When it comes to adolescent stars, "Wizards of Waverly Place" creator Todd J. Greenwald is an expert — having such shows as "Saved by the Bell" and "Hannah Montana" on his credit sheet. So when he says he's confident the "Wizards" teen trio won't be ruined by the perils of fame, it's worth asking why. "It all starts with family, and everyone's family from our cast is solid," he says. "I love what I'm seeing with them." For instance, of Selena Gomez, he says, "She went to Africa as a speaker for UNICEF this past summer. She's really taking responsibility and trying to give a good example and I'm so proud of her for that."
All this month — "Wiztober" — the Disney Channel series is featuring episodes that tie into Halloween themes. The Oct. 16 show has eldest brother Justin (David Henrie) bringing a real ghost into a neighborhood spooky house. Now, there's a prank.
Greenwald tells us he's savoring the moments with "Wizards," which garnered Emmy honors last month. They're in production on their 35-episode third season, and, given that the cast is growing up fast, "Season 4 could be the last season. It goes so quickly," he notes. "You're doing a show and then suddenly, it's a memory."
Like "Saved by the Bell." Greenwald is still friendly with "Saved" cast members. "I just saw Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley a couple of months ago," he notes. "That show was like a sitcom camp, and a bunch of them have gone on to do great things, like Mark Paul" — Gosselaar, that is.
WHO SAYS TV IS OUT OF IDEAS?: Casting forces have been interviewing actors to re-enact real-life drama for a forthcoming show called "Injured and Pregnant" — from the makers of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant." Honestly! It's for Discovery Health.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster
To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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