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The SAG Conversations with “Southland” Event

Nov 18th, 2011 | By | Category: Celebrity Sightings

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I would like to start off today’s post by announcing that my good friend, fellow stalker Owen, who is a copy editor by trade, has just started his very own blog which chronicles the various spelling mistakes and grammatical errors that he comes across in printed material on a daily basis.  The blog is called When Write Is Wrong and, let me tell you, it is absolutely HILARIOUS!  I strongly urge you to check it out and get your LOL on.  Smile You can visit When Write Is Wrong here.  And now, on with the post!

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Last week, I received an email from the Screen Actors Guild inviting me and a guest to a screening of the TNT television series Southland, followed by a Q&A with executive producer Christopher Chulack and cast members Lucy Liu, Regina King, C. Thomas Howell, Ben McKenzie, Michael Cudlitz, and Shawn Hatosy.  And even though I had never before actually seen an episode of the show, once I saw the name Ben McKenzie I just about died of excitement!  As I have mentioned several times before on this blog, this stalker absolutely LOVES herself some The O.C., especially its cutie former star, and I have been absolutely dying to get a picture with him for what seems like forever now!  So I immediately RSVP-ed to the event and invited fellow stalker Mike, from MovieShotsLA, to be my guest as Southland is one of his favorite shows.

The evening started out with a screening of the Season 3 episode titled “Fixing a Hole” and while my mom, who watches Southland religiously, had warned me that the series might be a bit too gory and gritty for my taste, let me tell you, I absolutely LOVED it.  It was laugh-out-loud funny, extremely well-written and sharply poignant.  I cannot wait to rent Season 1 and start watching from the beginning.  Immediately after the episode ended, the stars of the show entered the room and my stomach literally did a flip-flop when Ben McKenzie came into view.  He is even cuter in person than he appears to be on TV.  Swoon!  Smile Because I am anal and always arrive at these types of events about 3 hours early, I secured some FABULOUS seats for me and Mike and we literally could have reached out and touched the actors.  Sadly though, this particular venue did not allow any photographs to be taken during the Q&A, so I was unable to get any pictures of the actors onstage.  But, let me tell you, the interview session was FABULOUS!  The Southland cast is easily one of the most down-to-earth casts I have ever seen in person and, for such a dark, heavy show, the atmosphere between them all was extremely light and fun.  They seemed to genuinely like each other and had an easy rapport.  And although the jokes were flying out of everyone’s mouth, Michael Cudlitz (who plays Officer John Cooper on the show) was by far the funniest of the bunch.  He is absolutely HILARIOUS in person – like stand-up-comedian funny.  My favorite part of the Q&A, though, had to be when the actors talked about the fact that executive producers Christopher Chulack and John Wells do not allow any sides on the Southland set.  For those unfamiliar with the term, “sides” are small portions of a script that contain only those scenes being filmed on that particular day and actors usually have them on hand at all times.  John and Christopher banned the mini-scripts from the set from the very beginning so that the actors would be forced to do their homework and come to work prepared each day. The Southland cast all said that it was a phenomenal way to work and that they were better performers because of it.  This policy especially resonated with me as it used to drive me absolutely batty in acting class when my fellow students would show up unprepared. Memorizing lines is the easiest part of acting, in this stalker’s never-to-be-humble opinion, and if you cannot even come to class with that basic part of your homework completed, how can you expect to be present and focused onstage???  But I digress.

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Immediately following the Q&A, Mike and I, of course, approached all of the actors to ask for pictures and I am very happy to report that they could NOT have been nicer!!  We met Regina King first and she was a complete and total sweetheart – a total 180 from the tough, brazen character she plays on Southland.  Sadly, while we were talking to Regina, Lucy Liu walked by and because no one stopped her for a photo (most actors consider themselves to be above the whole fandom thing), she left before we could talk to her.  As Miss Pinky Lovejoy, from the Thinking Pink blog, would say, “FAIL!”

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After Regina, we hit up Shawn Hatosy whom I was familiar with from both Alpha Dog and Dexter.  It is funny, but even though I had never watched Southland, I knew and loved each of the actors in attendance from other productions.  Shawn was extremely nice and happily posed for photos with both Mike and me.

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After posing with Shawn, I spotted Ben McKenzie and just about had a heart attack.  Pinky Lovejoy had told me prior to the event that Ben was a total sweetheart and I am happy to report that she could not have been more right!  SUCH a nice guy and, as I mentioned above, ADORABLE in person!  SWOON!  SWOON!  SWOON!

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After Ben, Mike and I got a pic with Michael Cudlitz, which we were both EXTREMELY excited about as he had played jock Tony Miller on fave show Beverly Hills, 90210.  When I first walked up to Michael, I said, “You were Brenda Walsh’s prom date!”, to which he smiled and said, “That I was!”  LOVE IT!  Smile

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Last up was Ponyboy himself, C. Thomas Howell, who was a complete and total sweetheart!  I chatted with him a bit about Rob Lowe’s autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends (which is honestly one of the BEST books I have ever read – like in my entire life!!!!), and he told me that his wife had just read it and had also said it was one of the best books she had ever read.  Ironically enough, a few minutes later Mike and I ventured into a nearby Starbucks (I know, shocker!) and who should be in front of us in line, but C. Thomas!  He recognized us and I quickly said, “We are not following you, I swear!”  I mean, I’m a stalker, but I’m not that bad!  Winking smile C. Thomas chatted to us again for a few minutes and then I headed off to use the restroom, but Mike told me that when C. Thomas left, he called out to him, “Later, bro!” and waved good-bye.  How incredibly cool is that??  All in all, it was an AMAZING night and I am still pinching myself over the whole thing!  As Pinky Lovejoy would say, “Win!”

And don’t forget to check out fellow stalker Owen’s new blog, When Write Is Wrong!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Unfortunately, there is no stalking location for this one, but you can catch Southland every Tuesday night on TNT.  Season 4 is set to begin on January 17th.

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9 comments

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  1. Becky says:

    I remember reading this before, and loved reading it again since I am on such a Southland kick. This had to be such a fun event. Thanks for always sharing your experiences with us, Linds! (I gave you a shout out on my blog the other day – hope you don’t mind). Cheers!

  2. I like this series very much. Is it coming on tnt with new episodes?

  3. Rebecca says:

    Southland is a cluster-eff of stalking heaven, as nearly everything is filmed outside and on location. So many times when I can spot where they are by the background, even if no one mentions the location name! (Cafe de Leche in Highland Park and Phillipe’s in Downtown are my favorite finds as I LOVE!!! both those places:-))

    I love the show and glad you do too!

  4. Dave says:

    As a proofreader, I’m always looking for a good larff when it comes to grammatical errors (see http://holographicmeatloaf.com/2010/11/19/argh/). Thanks for posting a link to your friend’s site. Looks good so far :)

  5. Alex says:

    Glad you got to go and very cool you wrote about it. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ben McKenzie, one of the truly decent, not to mention smart, talented and hardest working guys in the biz. I don’t watch cop shows, but he’s worth watching for.

  6. Owen says:

    Aw, thanks for the free publicity. You are such a sweetheart, and it bums me out that we live 3,000 miles apart. My nascent site couldn’t ask for better PR than a top-of-the-page mention on IAMNOTASTALKER. Thanks again. Love ya! P.S. If there are any spelling or grammar errors in this comment, puh-lease edit them! 😉

  7. lavonna says:

    Lucky…C Thomas Howell is a FAV…when he was on Criminal Minds he was amazing..and creepy :)

  8. Chas Demster says:

    I love every single bit of this post but there is one part of this I love more then anything you have done in a while and you know what that is. Glad you are going to give the show a chance. The partnership of Michael Cudlitz and Ben McKenzie will make you keep watching for comedy reasons. You actually saw one of the more serious episodes for the screening.

  9. Katie says:

    I love Tommy Howell! How amazing is your meeting with him? Gah, I love Rob Lowe’s book so much, probably my best non-fiction book of the year! I really hope to meet Tommy someday, I should definitely check out Southland as well :) Great photos and a great event!


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