Friday, August 05, 2011
Seven Questions with Actress Christine Lakin; TCA Summer 2011 Press Tour: The CW; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 8, 2011)
We get answers to various questions that you will all want to know about, including how she got her start in acting, including her audition story on Step by Step, how Al grew up on the series, details on her upcoming projects and a look back at her career thus far, on the 20th anniversary of Step by Step and how much she would love to do Dancing with the Stars! As always with all of our interviews, it is in Seven Questions form. So let's first tell you a little bit about Christine Lakin (as if you didn't know!).
Christine Lakin was born in Dallas, TX and was raised outside Atlanta, GA. There, her love for performing blossomed when, at age 7, she became one of the youngest members of the Atlanta Workshop Players, a local theater company. As a child, Christine starred in dozens of national and regional commercials for top NY advertising firms and made her film debut at age 11 in the TNT civil war drama The Rose and the Jackal with Christopher Reeve. Shortly thereafter, she landed the role of Al Lambert on the popular ABC sitcom Step by Step, starring Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers, which ran for a successful seven seasons.
Having graduated Cum Laude in 2003 from UCLA with a B.A. in Communications, Christine is also currently writing a one-woman stage show based on her life. Christine resides in Los Angeles. Visit http://www.christine-lakin.com/ for a bull detailed biography!
"Seven Questions with Christine Lakin"
SitcomsOnline: We've been tweeting each other for a while (which is so cool!), but it is finally great to interview you! I've been a fan of yours since you started your role as Al Lambert on Step by Step in 1991 and I remember watching the pilot when it originally aired on TGIF on ABC! Can you believe it has been 20 years since the series premiered? I have to ask, how did you get the role and what are some of your experiences from the pilot process for Step by Step? I remember originally there was a different "Mark Foster" and he was a dark-haired kid, but he was replaced pretty late in the pilot season probably as you can still spot him running around in the opening credits in season one, if you look hard. I always wondered who he was and you answered that for us on Twitter (actor Jarrett Lennon)! I guess the unaired pilot with Jarrett Lennon will never be seen unless a season one DVD comes out?
Christine Lakin: Hey! Thanks for all your great tweets... sometimes you have more info on my upcoming appearances than I do and I appreciate that! I do remember auditioning for Step By Step, although it was indeed awhile ago (thanks for reminding me how young I was ;) I was 12 years old and living in Atlanta, where I mostly grew up. I had been working professionally in commercials, print and theater for several years at that point and was spotted by a Los Angeles agent the year prior while doing theater in South Georgia. After a year getting acquainted with the agent, my mom brought me to L.A. over my spring break to vacation and casually audition. During that time, I filmed a scene from the movie Irreconcilable Differences for my reel - that way my agent there could submit me for things from afar. We went home to Atlanta and several weeks later got a call that they wanted to see me for Step By Step. I personally thought it was ridiculous to fly across the country for an audition (practical 12-year-old I was) but my father traveled a lot and was able to buy my mom and I tickets with miles... so off we went that same evening. We got into L.A. very late and my audition was early the next morning. It was basically a test situation as we were scheduled to leave the next day. This was before the days of massive conglomerates (for you fellow TV nerds out there) so giant producers like Tom Miller and Bob Boyett made the decisions they wanted and Networks followed suit. And somehow, they chose me. I don't remember a lot about the actual audition other than they laughed a lot, which I guess ultimately was a good sign. Here's a weird fact though - my agent at the time had children who were also actors so when I filmed my demo tape, I did so on the set of Full House, as she pulled some favors. Bob Boyett was the producer on that show as well, happened to walk by the control room as I was filming it, asked who I was... and 2 months later here I am in a room testing for a series for him. So yes, call it what you will - a break, serendipity, being at the right place at the right time - I definitely experienced that. We moved from a sensible Hilton in Woodland Hills to a suite at the Century Plaza Hotel on Avenue of the Stars for 2 weeks and filmed the pilot. I felt like Annie. It was an amazing experience. Though, contrary to belief, we did not get to ride any rides at Magic Mountain (where we filmed the title sequence) other than the splash boat thingy, which I was really annoyed about. And I got food poisoning the first day. I thought Suzanne Somers was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and I was completely in awe of Staci Keanan, having grown up watching her till that point.
Yep, the Mark in the pilot was indeed replaced after we filmed - for no other reason than someone felt he didn't look like part of that family. I doubt that version of the pilot is available anywhere other than my parent's living room. I shared a schoolroom with Brandon Call and we had a very brotherly/sisterly relationship. Lots of teasing, laughing, sibling-like ganging up on the younger boys, raiding the girls' rooms for snacks, playing Nintendo, basketball, etc. It was really idyllic, especially for an only child like myself who always wanted brothers and sisters. We had the most wonderful crew- lovely and amazing men and women who literally watched us grow up. The cameramen would let us sit on the cameras and taught us how they worked; our craft service gal Ingrid was like a mom to everyone, making favorite foods, hugging us whenever we passed by; our directors were always playing, having inside jokes and making up handshakes with us... I really had a pretty special experience I think and one that's rare now for many reasons.
SitcomsOnline: You have beaten the odds, I think. You started as a child actor and you have transitioned nicely in your career as an adult actor and even finished high school in Atlanta and then college at UCLA. How have you been able to beat the child star odds as it seems you are just about the only child star from Step by Step to do that? However, Staci Keanan has started back up again and you even appeared with her (and also Patrick Duffy) in the big screen movie You Again last year. How was that like sort of reuniting with those two on-screen?
Christine Lakin: I wouldn't say I'm the only kid from Step By Step to beat child star odds necessarily... I think if you start professionally at anything - whether it be sports or dancing or acting - and then become an adult, those dreams and passions don't always cross over. So for some of my former cast mates, I think it's probably more accurate to say they left the business. In a more general sense, I think it's really difficult to be a well-known child actor because it's hard to ever leave it behind. Take this interview for instance. I certainly don't mind revisiting my childhood career because I have wonderful memories. I'm touched by comments folks make who watched the show and made it a part of their childhoods too. I don't think all child actors feel that way, whether it's because they were forced into situations in which they were powerless or because the role they played haunts them negatively. On another note, and I only speak because I've seen it happen, I also think being a child professional (in any way) comes with a certain psychological complexity. You are a child but expected to behave like an adult. If there's not enough balance between kid life and work life, that's a problem. Additionally, I think too many parents see paychecks and suddenly parenting goes out the window. It's also a problem if kids' entire self-esteem is suddenly wrapped up in this imaginary thing called fame. Fame is fleeting and show business is fickle. You don't have to be in it to know that. From my experience, my parents were always pretty adamant about getting me back to Atlanta to "kid life" and making my education the biggest priority above work, above acting, above "celebrity." While it can still be a struggle at times with other people's perceptions of me in the industry, my own self worth isn't contingent on it. So short story long, I guess that's how I avoided the more stereotypical trappings of drugs and being a member of the Hot Mess Club.
I adore Stacy and Patrick and it was so much fun to get to play with them again on You Again. Stacy is in law school and Patrick had been enjoying time on his ranch so it was a blessing to get us all on screen again. They both star in my webseries Lovin' Lakin as well and were great sports playing themselves. We're finishing our deal with several platforms so look for it soon.
SitcomsOnline: On Step by Step, you basically grew up in front of the camera and we watched you evolve into a stunning young lady. How was that like and how was it working the last few seasons of the series when you basically became "the hottie" of the cast? Were the episodes more adult, as you even had to do a swimsuit commercial episode and wear dresses? Maybe that paid off since you were recently selected as one of the top 100 sexiest women by FHM! I certainly agree!
Christine Lakin: Oh start! Seriously, that's very kind of you. Um, I don't really know how to answer this!? I guess I was always kind of a tomboy growing up - forts and wearing Jams and things like that - so my foray into adolescence was sometimes on par with my character, but I had also grown up doing theater and dancing so wearing certain costumes or wardrobe wasn't strange or jarring to me. In fact I was always a bit jealous of the other girls and their wardrobe and earrings and hair and makeup... you know, just like you would be with big sisters when you're 14. So I was excited when they let Al grow up a little and explore some storylines about dating and boys. It was fun to get to know my character in a new way. I remember getting to go to the mall with the costumer and help her pick a lot of my new duds for the season - ultimate shopping spree. As far as FHM goes, it was definitely a little out of my comfort zone but ultimately I went with it and it ended up being fun. Look, I'm not a prude but you gotta pick your moments. And hope you have an awesome photographer when you do ;)
SitcomsOnline: After Step by Step, I mentioned you have been working very steadily and have appeared on many TV shows and big screen movies. Among the TV shows are 7th Heaven, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Odd Man Out, Opposite Sex, Boston Public, Touched by an Angel, Rodney, Veronica Mars, One on One, The Loop, Family Guy, Rita Rocks, Hellcats, a great guest arc on the brilliant Sons & Daughters and you recently starred on The CW series Valentine, which was very underrated. And among your movie credits are George Rule, The Hottie & The Nottie, The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain, Dark Mirror, Reefer Madness, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, You Again, Valentine's Day, and more. So far, what have been some of your favorite TV and movie roles after Step by Step? You are quite talented in everything you do!
Christine Lakin: Aw, thanks for that. I feel very fortunate I’ve been able to continue as a working actor in this business. Sons and Daughters was highly underrated and gone much too soon. Such a wonderful experience improving like that and a precursor to Modern Family I think. Valentine was an absolute dream job. Great cast, and Kevin Murphy just wrote so wonderfully for me. I loved playing Kate - a brainy, slightly nerdy, slightly sexy writer in this fantasy land of Gods and Goddesses. It never had the opportunity to really find its audience and it's a shame. Hellcats was a blast as I got to reunite with Kevin who is really just one of the most talented and nicest guys you'll find in TV. I love working with Garry Marshall, having done three films for him now (spot me in New Years Eve this winter) and he's a legend. Of course any film with Andy Fickman is a pleasure. I could be biased, but I don't think so.
SitcomsOnline: I have to mention you have a great working relationship with the great Garry Marshall. How did that come about? You have done so many of his plays and movies he has directed like the play Happy Days: A Family Musical where you played Joanie Cunningham and his big screen movies like Georgia Rule, Valentine's Day and the upcoming New Year's Eve. In addition, you also have done a lot of director Andy Fickman's work, I know that might be a more than working relationship though, but that's certainly OK! Right my huckleberry friend? (Sorry had to throw Kilborn's line to you on here!)
Christine Lakin: Haha! My relationship with Garry began from working in several productions at his theater, The Falcon Theater. Theater has always been a big part of my life - it's what kind of fuels me and my passion. I started by doing a kids musical there (written and directed by the super talented Joseph Leo Bwarie) and that led to performing in a play there that Garry directed, which led to the audition for Happy Days, which ultimately led me to becoming a part of my theater family, The Troubadour Theater Company (@thetroubies), which is probably the single most joyful thing in my life. I've done 9 productions with them and it's pure creative joy. Garry is a very loyal person and uses many of us in his movies - you can't watch a Garry Marshall movie without spotting someone you know in almost every scene. Again, they broke the mold when they made him. I've worked with Andy Fickman in 5 movies, a musical and several readings of new works. We have an awesome working relationship and friendship outside of our personal lives and always have. I am blessed to have someone who supports and understands me and also excited to share in all his successes. So it works out.
SitcomsOnline: You know an actual Step by Step reunion like what Growing Pains and Facts of Life did (you know, the ABC TV movies) is probably not likely, but how about a reunion retrospective where the cast sits down together and talks about the show similar to what the cast of Happy Days and Married...with Children did? I think it would be ratings magic for ABC, especially since this fall it will be 20 years since the series premiered! Would you do something like this and do you think Patrick, Suzanne, and the rest of the cast would do it?
Christine Lakin: That would be REALLY interesting and I'd love to see who would come out for it. Would be great to see everyone again and I think fans of the show would be interested in that. Patrick I know has talked recently about it and seemed positive about a reunion situation so start the campaign someone. :)
SitcomsOnline: You'll be seen next week (August 10 at 8pm) on an episode of ABC Family's Melissa & Joey ("Waiting for Mr. Right"), but what else can we expect to see you in the near future? It's too bad you won't be Craig Kilborn's Huckleberry Friend sidekick on The Kilborn File anymore, as you were very good and witty in that. I certainly hope you return as a regular in sitcoms and also do Dancing with the Stars! I and many others have been pleading and pleading, as you know, to get you on Dancing with the Stars and you would be an absolute delight and the perfect celebrity for the show! Can't Melissa Joan Hart, who has appeared on the show already, try to get you in, ha? We need some Lakin in primetime every week so everyone can see what a talented and beautiful person you are! The future seems very bright for you!
Christine Lakin: I will be seen next week on Melissa & Joey and very excited to be playing a friend of Melissa's on the show, as we actually are in real life as well, so that was a fantastic experience. She gave me lots of pointers on Dancing with the Stars so I really hope one day they'll finally have me. As you know, I'd LOVE to do it but their process is a bit tricky in who they choose so y'all will have to keep petitioning hard to get me on their radar. Make it trend and visit the Facebook page and we'll see what social networking can do!
The Kilborn File was something new for me and I loved working with Craig and really liked that format. Next up I'm working on a show in NY that I started here in Los Angeles and looking forward to some time there. Humidity and all. Lovin' Lakin should be out SOON, you can hear more of me this season on Family Guy and get to play me in a new game for Sony Playstation early 2012... my baby Worst Audition Ever is gearing up for more shows this fall, hopefully in NY as well but the blog is blowing up and we hope to keep making artistic humiliation funny. Watch videos from the show and like us on Facebook! (My) new website coming soon too!
Thanks so much for the support. I absolutely love what I do and I feel so fortunate to keep doing it. Peace! @yolakin
Our sincere thanks to Christine Lakin. We are VERY grateful she gave a lot of her time just for us! We wish her continued success in her career and we will not rest until she makes it on Dancing with the Stars! For more information on Christine Lakin, continue to stay with us for info and don't forget to view her official website, which will have a new look soon. And you'll want to click on all the links she mentioned in the interview!
Back to the TCA Summer 2011 Press Tour, yesterday The CW presented. Mark Pedowitz, President of Entertainment at The CW, started it off with an executive session, where he said, "we are opening ourselves up to look at comedies this year." They have not produced a comedy pilot in a few years and are looking to get back into that game next development season. He also announced that Gossip Girl and 90210 will get two extra episodes each this year, bumping the totals to 24, while Nikita and Supernatural will each get an extra episode, bumping their totals to 23. For mid-season, The CW has new reality Re-Modeled which is likely airing on Wednesday nights come midseason. They also have another reality series called The Frame that will have an eight week run airing twice a week.
Among the other announcements were, platinum-selling pop star and fashion icon Lady Gaga sits down with legendary fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier in a one-of-a-kind interview special, Gaga by Gaultier, that will air on Monday, September 12 from 8:00-9:15 p.m. ET. Immediately following Gaga by Gaultier that night, The CW presents a special 45-minute sneak peek at the network's upcoming season of new and returning primetime shows in The CW 2011 Fall Preview Special from 9:15-10:00p.m. ET, hosted by Maggie Q of Nikita and Kristoffer Polaha of the upcoming Ringer. The following night, on Tuesday, September 13, The CW's season officially kicks off with the season premiere of 90210 and one of the most talked-about new shows of the season, Ringer, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, at 9 p.m. ET.
It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of August 8-12, 2011, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!
Monday, August 8, 2011
- Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Watch Jason on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Catch the funny man Aziz on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
- J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Everybody Hates Chris/'Til Death) - J.B. visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe appears on Lopez Tonight at 12am on TBS.
- Chris Gorham (Out of Practice) - Chris appears on a repeat of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne stops by Lopez Tonight at 12am on TBS.
- Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Catch Wanda on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
- Topher Grace (That '70s Show) - Watch Topher on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
- Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game/The Steve Harvey Show) - Wendy visits The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Keesha Sharp (Are We There Yet?/Girlfriends) - Tune in to see Keesha on The Mo'nique Show at 11pm on BET.
- Shia LaBeouf (Even Stevens) - Catch Shia on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Joel McHale (Community) - Joel appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
- Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Aziz continues to make the rounds on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- David Koechner (Hank/The Office) - David is a guest on Lopez Tonight at 12am on TBS.
- Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Watch Elijah on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
- Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Jim appears on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Denis Leary (The Job) - Denis stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Elizabeth Berkley (Saved by the Bell) - Elizabeth visits The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiam) - Susie talks about Curb Your Enthusiam on Today on NBC between 10-11am.
- Roseanne Barr (Rosenne) - Catch Roseanne on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) - Simon is a guest on a repeat of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced/The Nanny) - Watch Fran on a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Romeo (Romeo!) - Romeo appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)
12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Tuesday, January 24
The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.
American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.
Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancé, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.
The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.
New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.
The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.
Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.
Tuesday, January 24
- Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
- Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
- Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
- Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.