Random Question

31 08 2010

Sunday night I had one eye on the TV for the Primetime Emmys and one eye on TweetDeck, where I saw a number of tweets asking why Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill weren’t being recognized at the awards show.

Historically, the teen drama genre has gone unrecognized at the Emmys, except for in 1995 when Milton Berle was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his appearance as Saul on Beverly Hills 90210.

The closest the genre has come to similar-sized recognition was Beverly Hills 90210’s and Jason Priestley’s multiple Golden Globe nominations in the early and mid-90s.

There’s a lot of theories out there as to why the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – the organization responsible for the Emmys – continually chooses not to recognize the genre, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Why do you think the teen dramas have received just one Emmy nomination over the last 20 years?

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News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210 and Dawson’s Creek

8 07 2010
  • Despite its first-ever official Emmy campaign, The CW didn’t receive any nominations.
  • Nomads, The CW pilot featuring Michaela McManus (Lindsey, One Tree Hill), is officially dead, with just HMS known to still be in contention for mid-season.
  • The next category in The CW Sourcies is Favorite Recurring Character. Among the nominees: Rachel, Chase and Grubbs (One Tree Hill), Carter (Gossip Girl) and Ivy (90210).
  • Trevor Donovan (Teddy, 90210) tweeted that he is in the August issue of Cosmopolitan.
  • Multiple places are confirming that Brian Austin Green (David, Beverly Hills 90210) is “finalizing a deal” for Desperate Housewives.
  • James Van Der Beek will appear on MTV’s When I Was 17 this Saturday.
  • Jane Lynch (Mrs. Witter, Dawson’s Creek) and Julie Bowen (Aunt Gwen, Dawson’s Creek) were nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for the Primetime Emmys. Lynch was also nominated for Outstanding Guest Star In A Comedy.




News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210 and More

16 06 2010
  • Zap2it has an interesting look at the CW’s Emmy chances. Emmys aside, I strongly agree with their assessment of One Tree Hill this past season.
  • Austin Nichols (Julian, One Tree Hill) is now on Twitter. Added him to the Twitter Directory.
  • For the season overall, Gossip Girl and 90210’s total audience rating increased by 28 percent when you added in DVR viewing.
  • Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl) has been cast in Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding.
  • Digital Spy has an interesting video interview with Jessica Szohr (Vanessa, Gossip Girl).
  • Szohr and Trevor Donovan (Teddy, 90210) appear in another round of Op ads.
  • Kellan Lutz (George, 90210) is featured on PEOPLE’s 50 Most Amazing Bodies list. The full list is in the new issue, which I haven’t see yet so I’m not sure if other teen drama stars are on it.
  • Brian Austin Green (David, Beverly Hills 90210) and Megan Fox are engaged, her rep confirmed to Gossip Cop.
  • SoapNet has a new quiz called Which O.C. Lady Are You? I got Taylor Townsend and was told, “High-strung doesn’t even begin to describe you. Brainy, passionate, focused — there’s nothing you do that you don’t dedicate at least 100 percent to. But as accomplished as this may make you, remember to let loose every once in awhile. Life can’t always be planned out.”
  • Gossip Cop and I busted an In Touch story about Tom Cruise wanting Katie Holmes (Joey, Dawson’s Creek) to get Botox.




News Roundup: 90210, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and More

7 06 2010
  • The Wrap has an interesting article on the success of The CW’s digital ad sales to support online viewing.
  • 90210 came in second in Kristin’s worst season finale poll.
  • Bebe will be making a clothing line inspired by 90210.
  • The trailer for Gun, featuring AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210) is out. Warning: it is NSFW.
  • Jason Priestley (Brandon, Beverly Hills 90210) is auctioning a lunch with him in support of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which is helping to combat the oil spill in the Gulf.
  • Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) was on The View on Friday.
  • Vanessa Marcil (Gina, Beverly Hills 90210) will be returning to General Hospital on August 11.
  • Pretty Little Liars, featuring Laura Leighton (Sophie, Beverly Hills 90210), Bianca Lawson (Nikki, Dawson’s Creek) and Lucy Hale (Hadley, The O.C.), premieres tomorrow on ABCFamily. It is executive produced by Bob Levy (executive producer, Gossip Girl) and Leslie Morgenstein (executive producer, Gossip Girl).
  • One Tree Hill is among the shows The CW is submitting for Emmy consideration, in addition to Gossip Girl.




News Roundup: 90210, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and More

3 06 2010
  • Beginning July 28 (but really August 2), 90210, Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill will air according to their fall schedule timeslots: 90210 and Gossip Girl at 8 and 9 on Mondays and One Tree Hill at 8 on Tuesdays.
  • Korbi debated whether the season 1 or season 2 finale of 90210 was better.
  • The L.A. Times has an interview with Shannen Doherty (Brenda, Beverly Hills 90210), with a pretty interesting BH90210-related poll at the end.
  • The CW is doing its first-ever Emmy campaign and including Gossip Girl for the Academy to consider.
  • Bree Williamson (Brandeis, Gossip Girl) and Robert Buckley (Clay, One Tree Hill) are among a group of celebs that filmed anti-puppy mill messages.
  • MTV has an interview with Joe Manganiello (Owen, One Tree Hill) about True Blood.
  • An episode of The O.C . is reportedly featured in the new film Marmaduke, which opened today.
  • As you may have heard, Rue McClanahan of the Golden Girls died today. I tweeted this morning that Summer (Rachel Bilson, The O.C.) and Anna (Samaire Armstrong, The O.C.) would be devastated. A few hours later, Zap2it posted the key clip.
  • Tate Donovan (Jimmy, The O.C.) is no longer starring in No Ordinary Family, which stars Autumn Reeser (Taylor, The O.C.) and is executive produced by Greg Berlanti (writer-producer, Dawson’s Creek), but he might appear at some point as a guest star.




Exclusive: Jonathan Jackson and Enation on Their One Tree Hill Connection

18 04 2010

About 200 artists are heard on One Tree Hill each season, according to the show’s music supervisor, Lindsay Wolfington. Of that 200, only a tiny portion are seen on-screen. A few easily come to mind…Fall Out Boy…Kate Voegele…Mike Grubbs. But what made the use of Enation particularly unique is that its first song on the show, “Feel This,” wasn’t sung by the band but by Bethany Joy Galeotti (Haley).

After Galeotti’s character performed the song during the season 5 finale (Episode 5.18, What Comes After The Blues), the band performed onstage with Galeotti as she sang it again in season 6 during the USO concert (Episode 6.10, Even Fairytale Characters Would Be Jealous), which also featured Voegele (Mia) and the band Angels & Airwaves. Enation, which features Jonathan Jackson (yes, that Jonathan Jackson), Richard Lee Jackson, Michael Galeotti, Luke Galeotti and Daniel Sweatt, also had their song “World In Flight” played in that episode.

I recently spoke with Jonathan Jackson on the phone and caught up with Richard Lee Jackson and Luke Galeotti via e-mail. In our interviews, the band discussed the effect One Tree Hill has had on them, their plans for the future and using social media to connect with their fans.

TeenDramaWhore: First of all, I want to congratulate you. I heard you have another baby on the way.

Jonathan Jackson: Yes, I do. Thank you. We’re excited.

TDW: I also have to commend you for the unbelievable job you did not too long ago on General Hospital in the scenes where Lucky confronts Elizabeth and Nikolas.

Jackson: Oh, cool. Thank you.

TDW: We all know that you have an obscene amount of talent but those were just breathtaking.

Jackson: Thank you so much. That’s awesome.

TDW: I don’t know if you can say but were those in your Emmy reel?

Jackson: Well, those are for 2010. If I’m nominated next year, then I’ll be sending those scenes in.

TDW: The cut-off dates always throw me for a loop.

Jackson: The ones [for the upcoming Emmys are from] ‘09 and that particular episode aired in January of 2010. So that won’t come around til next year.

TDW: Oh, wow. So even though you filmed it before January, it matters when it airs.

Jackson: Yes.

TDW: Gotcha. Switching over to Enation, some bands would say being featured on a teen soap like One Tree Hill or even a daytime soap like General Hospital is cheesy or selling out. But Enation has obviously embraced it. Why is this the route you thought was good for you guys?

Jackson: Well, there’s a few reasons. One is we’re friends with Bethany Joy Galeotti and Michael, who’s our keyboard player in the band, is married to her. So it was a friendship and a relational connection that specifically got us excited about doing something for One Tree Hill. And just in terms of the basic idea of placing songs on TV shows, we’ve always been for that. Especially as an independent band, when you don’t have a giant label pushing your music on radio, that’s sort of a different way to reach a wide audience. One Tree Hill has a really strong following and we thought it would be a great way to get our music out there and exposed to more people.

TDW: The fans who were uninitiated to Enation before One Tree Hill, did their enthusiasm surprise you at all?

Jackson: It really did. We had no idea that the music would catch on like it did. It’s been pretty cool. And the song that we did with Bethany Joy was really cool. People really connected with that song. It was a real personal song for me about redemption. It was neat to see people really connect with it.

TDW: For your appearance on the show, what differences did you notice between filming One Tree Hill, a primetime show, and General Hospital, a daytime soap? I know the processes are a bit different, right?

Jackson: Primetime shows that shoot on film are pretty different than daytime. Daytime is sort of a hybrid between theater and film in the sense that on General Hospital you have four cameras that are shooting at once. One Tree Hill usually does one camera at a time, which is more of the traditional film style. You do multiple takes from a bunch of the different angles over the course of the day. On General Hospital you basically do the scene once and they catch it with four different cameras and you move on to the next scene. As an actor, it’s pretty different. But I grew up doing films and other TV shows as well so I’m pretty used to the different styles that people do.

TDW: Was it an added challenge to be filming something with the musical component? Because you weren’t filming something as an actor, like you usually are.

Jackson: It was cool, actually. It was fun. I had never really experienced it from a different angle like that. It was cool to be part of the filming but not be one of the actors, per se, and just be one of the musicians. It was cool to see it from a different perspective and it was fun to partner with Bethany and see what happened. The USO thing was really cool, too, because the people were amazing. Just to be able to support something like that meant a lot to us.

TDW: I know Enation and [Galeotti’s band with Amber Sweeney] Everly recently booked a gig for August at the Corn Palace. Will other joint dates be announced?

Jackson: As soon as we get ‘em, we’ll announce ‘em. That’s definitely a possibility. It works out perfectly for us just because we’re all really good friends. Our music is different but it sort of complements each other well and there’s crossing of audiences with One Tree Hill and General Hospital. So I think it’s possible we’ll do more dates.

TDW: When you guys perform together, do you collaborate on-stage, too? Like, do you perform Feel This together?

Jackson: We’re sort of talking about that right now, how we’re going to arrange all that stuff. We’ve done small acoustic shows where we’ve done that but this is probably the first full-on, full-length show that we’re doing together so we’re talking now about how we’re going to execute everything.

TDW: In Enation, you & Richard are brothers and Michael & Luke are brothers. What is the benefit of working with your siblings?

Jackson: Well, for Richard and I, it’s awesome. Most of the creative things we do in our lives, we do together, whether it’s writing scripts or playing music. All that kind of stuff. It’s great. He’s an incredible drummer and producer. We work really well together. And I think it’s fun for Luke and Michael as well. It’s just nice when you’re traveling and touring to have your brother there and feel like somebody’s got your back. But we feel like that with Dano as well. We’re sort of a band of brothers.

TDW: I like that phrase. How do you find time for everything? You have the music, you’re doing other projects with your brother, you have two kids, and you have an immensely popular but very time-intensive daytime series. How do you fit it all in?

Jackson: It’s pretty tough. It’s pretty crazy. I don’t know. You just do your best to prioritize. For instance, I’m not working on GH this week so I’m up in Washington and we’re working on music. When I have downtime at night, I spend a lot of that time writing screenplays and books and stuff like that. Whenever I’m not doing one of those creative things, I’m doing another. Also prioritizing time with my wife and kids is something I work really hard at, trying to put that time before all the creative stuff.

TDW: You guys have increasingly been using Facebook and Twitter to interact with fans. It’s one more thing to do but it’s opened up opportunities to have relationships with fans that you didn’t necessarily have before.

Jackson: I know. It’s been a transition, probably, over the last five years to incorporate more of that stuff. It’s really important, especially, like I said, as a band when you’re doing some stuff independently. There’s a fun creative process of just dreaming about how you can stay connected with people and let them get to know what you’re about and what the music is about. We’ve been doing an online magazine, Enation Magazine. I think we’ve done five or six issues, and that’s been really cool because it gives people a really in-depth picture of some of the music and some of our experiences. But Twitter and Facebook have been great.

TDW: Last question, and I know it might be an impossible one to answer. If you had to choose one for the rest of your career–doing TV, making movies or playing music–which would you go with?

Jackson: Yeah, that probably is impossible. I think between the three, I’d probably try to hold on to a combination of making films and still playing music with the band. Maybe we could make films and then score the soundtracks. That would be cool.

Q & A with Enation’s Richard Lee Jackson and Luke Galeotti

TeenDramaWhore: How has the association with One Tree Hill changed your “knownness” factor?

Richard Lee Jackson: Being on One Tree Hill has increased our exposure in a big way. Not only were we able to play in front of the live USO crowd of over 3,000 people the night our show was filmed, but we were also seen by the millions of fans who watch the show once it aired. We’ve had over 100,000 people download the version of “Feel This” we did with Bethany Joy, which is now our biggest-selling song. There were also over 100,000 people all over the world who watched a YouTube video focusing on the lyrics to “Feel This”––which as a co-writer of the song makes me feel pretty great! We want that message of hope, beauty, and redemption to get heard, and One Tree Hill was a big part of that happening.

Luke Galleotti: Well for me, playing on One Tree Hill was the first time I’ve really been around “Fame” and I got an interesting new perspective on why I am playing music. Fame is very overrated but at the same time it can be used to influence a lot of people. So, I guess what that whole experience showed me was that what I really want for me and my music is to be content being me and bless a lot of people along the way.

TDW: What was the most surprising thing about filming your appearance on One Tree Hill?

RLJ: For me, the most surprising part was how involved the USO really was. The men and women on the base there in [North Carolina] were the ones who actually built the stage where the concert was performed on. They were so inviting, so happy for us to be there. We were the ones who were honored to serve them any way we could, but their hearts were so filled with gratitude. They put their lives on the line for us, and here they are thanking us for showing up and playing a concert. We told them, from the stage, anywhere we could, how thankful we were for their sacrifice and service.

LG: I was surprised that the cast and crew were everyday normal people. For me, I had a totally different view on how things worked and how people acted in the industry but when it was all said and done, we are all just people. I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone. There are a lot of great people on that set.

TDW: What’s the one TV show you would love to have an Enation song on?

RLJ: Lost. No question for me. That’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. They’ve had some really great music sequences, too.

LG: I don’t watch a lot of TV but it would be fun to hear our songs on the shows I do watch–Lost, Chuck and/or The Legend of the Seeker.

TDW: Who would play each of you in the movie version of Enation’s career?

RLJ: : Oh, man, great question! Okay, let’s see.
Jonathan: Leonardo DiCaprio or Johnny Depp
Myself: Matt Damon
Daniel: Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell or Jeff Bridges (younger)
Michael: Matthew Fox
Luke: Colin Farrell

LG: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I think I would nominate Enation to play Enation. I don’t know anyone who is better at being us than, well, us.

TDW: What’s next for the band?

RLJ: We are continuing to promote our recent albums, “World In Flight” and our first ever live album, “The Future Is A Memory.” We are also working on our next album, which at this point is at the “throwing paint on the canvas” stage. We don’t know what it will look like yet. We have some shows lined up for the summer and we’re still looking to book more. Those dates should be released pretty soon for our fans. We are always interacting with our fans, making our Enation Magazine for the Enation Army members, and we love keeping in touch through Twitter and Facebook. Our biggest desire is to continue to be who we are, making  great music that we hope connects with people. We want to look back and be really proud of the catalogue of music we have.

LG: Well, I hope to work on building a strong fan base in the northwest and seeing what opens up from there. For me, it’s not about where we go or how far we go. It’s about us being together.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index





Exclusive: John Wesley Shipp On Being A Dawson’s Creek Dad

20 12 2009

What’s better than a dad? A superhero dad. And, yes, my friends, they do exist. Look no further than John Wesley Shipp. Not only did he play a bonafide masked crusader in The Flash as, um, The Flash but he was also the most kick ass dad Capeside ever had on Dawson’s Creek.

Shipp and I discussed Mitch’s most memorable scenes, the heyday of soap operas and his independent film work.

TeenDramaWhore: What was it like living and filming in Wilmington? It’s so far from Los Angeles where most things are filmed.

John Wesley Shipp: You know, it’s funny. Not just in terms of where to work but at different points in my career when I’ve really wanted to have an experience, I’ve noticed that if I really hold it in my mind, the experience will present itself. Right before Dawson’s happened, I was thinking, you know, I’m sick of living in L.A., the land of perpetual glare. I sure would like to do a series somewhere that had seasons. I’m from the Southeast, so close to my family, which is all in Atlanta, would be nice. Not a series like The Flash, where I’m killing myself every day, practically opening a vein with each episode. But something that had some interest and was cool. Dawson’s Creek presented itself so it’s kind of what I asked for. At least in the beginning, the parents had vital storylines. Of course, they were subsidiary but they were independent and intersecting with what the kids were experiencing. That was fun. It was fun for a couple of years and then it was fun again at the very end. But in terms of working in Wilmington, Wilmington’s a cool town. I love the fact that the water–which Dawson’s Creek used very effectively–was almost a character in the series. It was very effectively used. It’s very much a part of the landscape. And the town is sort of like traditional, small town, historical society, Southeastern coastal town meets Hollywood. And then there’s the beach culture. On one side, it’s all new, the Outer Banks, cool places, houses to rent, condos. The other side, which is on the Cape Fear River, is older, historical. They had downtown candlelit carriage rides to view the houses that had been restored. There’s a river culture. There’s even a little sophistication in it. They had this wild club there for a while. They have cool cigar bars and eateries and restaurants down on the river. So I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. I also think that given the fact that the show exploded the way it did and we had such a young cast–and I know it was a pain in the ass for them being separated as the years went on–I think the production probably benefited from the fact that we weren’t in L.A. or we weren’t in the fastest-track place, because those kids became international stars overnight. Even as intelligent and well-intentioned as they were, it probably would’ve been very heady stuff for them had we been, say, in L.A.

TDW: Let’s throw New York into the mix, because you filmed in New York City, too, when you were on Guiding Light.

Shipp: Yeah, I lived in New York City for 14 years. I love New York City. I started my career there and I had my first success there. When I was living there, I was living there the way you’d want to live there. I had a great apartment on the Upper West Side overlooking the river and I had a house on six-and-a-half acres in Woodstock to go to on the weekends. So that kind of was the ideal way to live in New York. Then I went back in 1992 for a year when I did Dancing with Lughnasa on Broadway and a stint on All My Children. I don’t know if it was my youth or my success that I remember fondly or if it’s entirely New York but I’m actually wanting to move back there. L.A. can be very oppressive. There’s many opportunities about L.A.; I don’t want to be a whiner about it. But it is a one-industry town and everyone is in the motion picture industry. Everyone has a script in tow and everyone is an actor and everyone is a producer and everyone is on the hustle, getting this project made–you know what I mean? It can be a bit mind-numbing. Plus all that sun. New York is, as they call it, the great teeming metropolis. It’s teeming with life. Everybody does something different and nobody is particularly impressed with what you do because everybody is so busy carving out a piece of the rock themselves, a piece of that island for themselves. It’s just such a melting pot and it’s exciting. You walk out onto those streets and you’re alive. So many different people from so many different worlds. I think for an artist or an actor, it’s probably much healthier creatively to live in New York than L.A. But I’ll only speak for myself.

TDW: If you came back to New York City, would you want to do Broadway again or another soap? One of the ones that’s still here, anyway.

Shipp: I don’t know about daytime. Daytime seems to be in a pretty tough spot at the moment. I wonder, and I’ve heard speculation, about whether there will be any daytime dramas left in 5-7 years. Certainly I would like to do theater. I’m attached right now to the production of a little play with the Firebone Theatre Company called Song of the Bow. I’m attached to that and they’re looking at production next September. I’m also, after our phone interview, talking to a producer from Atlanta. He’s actually in New York right now checking out theater space. They’re taking the play from Atlanta to New York in January and he’s talking to me about the possibility of whether it would be a good fit for me. I would love that. I would love going back to New York doing a play. I think it would be the best thing for me right now so we’ll see. We’ll see if it holds true that what I hold in my mind happens. Of course, first choice, I’d really like to do an interesting series in New York because (whispers) that’s a lot more money. We’ll see what happens.

TDW: What was your reaction when you found out Guiding Light was going off the air after 72 years?

Shipp: Well, the Guiding Light I knew, from everything I had heard, no longer existed. They weren’t shooting in a studio anymore. It was practically students with handheld cameras in driveways.

TDW: That was very much my understanding of it as well, from what I’ve read and from watching it.

Shipp: I would watch it. It would be on at the gym and I’d look up. I just thought the production values had flipped. I was at a Guiding Light Emmy party at Krista Tesreau’s on August 29 in L.A. I have some pictures up from that party on my Facebook page. It seemed like ancient history. I left that show, what, 25 years ago? A quarter of a century. It was exciting. Guiding Light was a great time and it was a great time to be in daytime. That and when I went over and did the story on As The World Turns with Julianne Moore and Steven Weber. It was a time when the youth explosion, the numbers, the ratings were way up from what they had ever been before. As a consequence, the networks and Proctor & Gamble were putting money in. I went to the Spanish Islands on location. I went to St. Croix on location. Of course we also went more regionally. I don’t think they did even local locations anymore. We went up to Connecticut, Kent Falls, where we did the whole Laurel Falls Kelly-Morgan wedding and story. It was an exciting time. If you were going to do daytime, the early to mid-80s was the time to do it. I was very fortunate to work for Douglas Marland on both Guiding Light and As The World Turns. I had the best of the best in my daytime experience.

TDW: So if that was so wonderful, what 10-15 years later made you switch not only to primetime but a teen drama?

Shipp: It was what was offered. I mean, I had been through The Flash and that was disappointing in many ways. It was handled so badly by the network and that’s not just my opinion. That’s the network’s opinion. We had a number of things going against us for that show, even though we were a critical hit and the industry really dug us. But we had a network that had the oldest demographic so all of our in-house advertising fell on deaf ears. Plus we debuted in the fall and then we were off for baseball because CBS had the World Series that year. So we went on and off then we went back on. Then the Gulf War broke out. Then we went back on and George H.W. Bush threw up in Japan so we were preempted again. Then they moved our night. So it was impossible to find an audience, although it’s doing well now on DVD. It was released in 2006. So after that I went back to New York and did the play Dancing at Lughnasa on Broadway and a series of guest shots and TV movies and things like that. And then Dawson’s Creek presented itself. The interesting thing about that is they had already shot the 20-minute pilot presentation. I believe at the time they were auditioning for Mitch, I was in Moab, Utah with David Carradine, Lee Majors, Cathy Lee Crosby and Michelle Greene doing a movie called the Lost Treasure of Dos Santos. What a cast, huh? It was a riot. But, anyway, then I heard about this project. They were deciding to go in a different direction with the father and they sent me the pilot presentation. If you can think back to before Dawson’s Creek exploded on TV–and as a result of it, so many spin-offs and so many teen dramas and so much saturation and copy-cat shows to the point where it became something of a cultural joke almost–if you think back before Dawson’s Creek, there was nothing like it. I mean, yeah, you had Beverly Hills 90210 but it was completely different in tone. The kids were beautiful and–ours were, too–but theirs were popular and sexy and with it and hip, slick and cool and, let’s face it, didn’t have the brain power of our characters. What was interesting about Dawson’s is that it was not slick. The kids were not hip, slick and cool. They were a little bit on the outside. Joey Potter [Katie Holmes], that whole story–not exactly your typical teen queen there with the problems in her family. Pacey Witter’s [Joshua Jackson] father being a drunk. And that Michelle Williams [Jen] character being a real outcast at the beginning. And even Dawson [James Van Der Beek], his mom cheating on his dad and experimenting with an open relationship. There really was nothing like it. And, also, I noticed the language that these kids were using. I thought, wow! We were even criticized for that. We’re writing up to the youth audience; we’re not writing down to them. Why would you criticize that? Isn’t that a good thing? You mean the dialogue is too smart? That’s a criticism? But, anyway, how did I come to do it–I didn’t really look it as a teen drama. Now, when [creator] Kevin Williamson left the show [between seasons 2 and 3] and it became more and more of that and the parents were increasingly de-emphasized, that led to my leaving. At the end of the four seasons and the kids were going to be going to college, I saw the handwriting on the wall. We would be standing in the background with Lily and waving at Parents Day and I really had no interest in doing that. So when they wanted to renegotiate our contact, I set my price really high. Then they started production on the fifth season and two weeks into production, the WB shut them down because they had no story and that’s when Paul Stupin came to me in L.A. and said if we gave you the money you were asking, would you come back and kill the character? I kind of budged my heart for a minute but I have to tell you, it was a great decision. It was the perfect time to leave Dawson’s Creek. I did indeed get two beautiful episodes that made me feel like the previous four years had been about something. You know what I mean?

TDW: Yes. Those episodes [5.03, Capeside Revisited & 5.04, The Long Goodbye] are just incredibly moving. For a show that was, at times, a lot about sadness, those really stand out as sadder moments and turning points for Dawson, his mom, for the way that it affected his relationship with Joey. We got that in that episode after Mitch’s death. We see how his death has affected everyone as there’s those flashbacks or re-imaginings of Mitch with each of the characters.

Shipp: And imagine for me–what a sendoff?! And what a tribute to Mitch. I mean, I really got to tie up each relationship. I got a retrospective of what Mitch had been and, as you say, what he had meant to everyone and went out on a real high note. It worked out really well for me.

TDW: The other scene [in episode 2.05, Full Moon Rising] that stands out in my mind–and I was talking about it to someone just a few weeks ago; they were watching the series for the first time–was the scene where you’re in the kitchen with Dawson and he’s kind of confronting Mitch about having an open marriage and Mitch kind of breaks down and says, you know, “I was never taught what to do if my wife had an affair.” And the way that you just delivered that line was just heartbreaking.

Shipp: Honey, thank you so much. I loved that. Kevin Williamson wrote that episode. I didn’t even have to act it, you know what I mean? Just the idea of this man and those words. You can barely even say them. I think I even heard you choke up trying to say them.

TDW: Yeah, it’s true.

Shipp: “My dad taught me how to do this, he taught me had to do that but he never taught me what to do if my wife cheated on me. I never knew to ask.” I mean, I can barely say those lines now. So beautifully written and so incredibly vulnerable, particularly for a male character on television. I love that scene. I love that episode.

TDW: Did you keep up with the show or its storylines after you left?

Shipp: Not at all. I never saw it after I left. And it’s not that I sat down and made a conscious decision and it’s not that I had a resentment about the way things went down, because it was totally a collaboration. They needed something from me and I wanted something from them and we both got it. But, having said that, when you’re such an integral part of a family–and that’s what you become and it’s also an impact of being in Wilmington because we only really had each other. So on the weekends, you’ll be going out on boats and going out to Masonboro Island, we’d throw the football around, ride around on wave runners. We did everything together so it was very much a family and to know that your family was going on without you, it was too sad for me. I really had to make a clean break. It’s interesting. They had asked me to come back recently. AFI–was it in AFI?

TDW: The Paley Center. They had the panel.

Shipp: They asked me to come and be a part of it but I couldn’t do it. I think James did it and Meredith [Monroe, Andie].

TDW: Yep. It was James, Meredith, Kevin, Paul Stupin and Busy Philipps [Audrey].

Shipp: They had actually asked me to do it and I wish I could’ve. That would’ve made me feel like a part–it would’ve completed something for me to be able to do it. But I’ve been up in San Jose. I’ve been very busy and I just got back from doing an independent film in Ohio that I’m very excited about and had another, a comedy with Jodie Sweetin, play to really good notices at two film festivals, one in Wilmington.  And another film I had premiered in New Orleans at the New Orleans Film Festival in the last several months so, you know, I’ve been busy. But one thing James had said–they said something about the death of his father and he said “I was really sad because I wouldn’t get to see John anymore” and that’s the way it was. I was literally killed off. When you leave a show, you leave a show. And it was accentuated by the fact that we were sequestered in Wilmington. So, no, I never saw an episode after I left.

TDW: Well, I can tell you that, in the series finale, Gale [Mary-Margaret Humes] actually remarried.

Shipp: Yeah, I knew that because I keep in touch with Mary-Margaret. But do you know that I just found out–and I mean a couple of months ago–that Jen died, right?

TDW: Yes.

Shipp: I just found that out, like two months ago.

TDW: If you have the time, I really recommend picking up the complete series and watching the last two seasons. The emotion that we talked about earlier was there for Jen’s and maybe that goes back to the fact that Kevin Williamson returned for the series finale after he had been gone for so long. You really had his voice, his emotion and his rawness that he would put into things.

Shipp: I’ll tell you, those are good words to describe it. It seemed to me that–this goes back to the pilot presentation when I first watched it–this had a sound and a look and a feel that was unlike anything that was on television. It’s difficult now to imagine as there’s been so many copy-cats and spin-offs and it’s been run into the ground. There was a rawness amidst the sophistication. There was a bumpiness, a sense of dis-ease about the emotional lives. And also I always felt that Kevin really was Dawson, I think. I haven’t had this discussion with him. I could be wrong. But I thought we were seeing all of this life on the creek through the eyes of Dawson, which were Kevin Williamson’s eyes. I felt for James after Kevin left because I really felt that Kevin is the only one that really gets Dawson and I’m sure that was difficult for James after Kevin left. It was much easier to write for Pacey, much easier to write for Joey. To a lesser degree I think it was easier to write for Jen. I don’t really think they quite knew–they experimented with different things. But it was easier to write for Pacey and Joey. But the more awkward unique perspective of a Dawson was Kevin’s voice. I mean, my god, Greg Berlanti is a wonderful writer and oh, god, the man–I just blanked on his name–who wrote my last two episodes was just brilliant and some of the best stuff I had. But I do feel the show suffered from Kevin’s awkwardness and the lack of the Kevin’s awkwardness. There was something really awkward in the writing of Dawson that Kevin really got that we missed after he left.

TDW: Going back to you and your storylines, did you think the show gave a realistic portrayal of parent-child and husband-wife relationships?

Shipp: I don’t know about realism. I think realism is overrated. I would say it gave an interesting perspective. One thing I will say is with the explosion of information with the Internet and the sophistication of kids–I mean, my nine-year-old niece and twelve-year-old nephew have their computers in school and their this and their that and they’re so much more aware of the world and what’s going on–that I sort of think that the parents, adults, have a much wider ranger of possibilities. They’re not locked into authoritarian roles in modern society. In other words, in the 40s and 50s you started wearing suits and you got a corporate job and the dad was the head of the house and the mother was the nurturer and the father was the provider and everybody knew what their roles were and everybody got old very soon. I sort of think after the 60s and 70s and all that, and certainly today, there’s a much wider range of possibilities and, in a sense, the kids are growing up faster and the parents aren’t growing up as fast, getting old as fast. So they’re meeting in the middle. Does that make sense? I know what I’m trying to say. It’s that consequently you have a lot of more options. What I enjoyed was when Kevin would turn the–and he did it many times–he would turn the father-son relationship on its head. Another thing we were criticized for. I read things saying what kind of parents were these, what kind of role models, blah, blah, blah. But what I enjoyed was the intentional flip-flopping, the parent becomes the child and the child becomes the parent. I think that was interesting writing. Is it realistic? I don’t know. Again, I think realism is overrated. If I want realism, I don’t have to ever turn on the TV. I just live my life. But I think it has to be true but it doesn’t have to necessarily be real if there’s a sense of truth in it, and I think there was. I was tickled to death that Dawson goes out on his first date and I’m more comfortable talking about it than he is. I tell him, “Have fun, play safe.” And he’s all “For chrissake, dad!”  You know, coming in and finding his parents making love on the coffee table, he’s totally grossed out and disgusted by that but I thought that was great. I loved that. It certainly was more fun for me as an actor than if I had to come in and be “the dad,” you know what I mean? I mean, who was Mitch? What did he do for a living? Who was this goofy, kind of lovable, sensitive, lost character? There was a certain wisdom that he had, simple wisdom. Certainly he wasn’t the stereotypical patriarch of the family and I was glad ‘cause that would’ve been boring as hell.

TDW: Are you recognized for the role at all when you walk down the street?

Shipp: Oh, yeah. Constantly. You know what I’m most amazed about? And my mom has picked up on this, too. The amount of times I get recognized for Guiding Light. I wouldn’t even recognize myself from Guiding Light! But the two things I get recognized the most for are, of course, Dawson’s Creek and The Flash.

TDW: Are you back in touch with any of the Dawson’s Creek cast or crew?

Shipp: Yeah. I never was out of touch with some of the people. Mary-Margaret and I, in fact, our friendship if anything has grown deeper since the show. We’re very close. We’re constantly in touch and she kind of plays the mom role and gets the gang together every now and then. I haven’t talked to Katie in years but she and I have messaged. She sent a message through an agent at the premiere of a movie but she’s got her own thing going on now and that’s consuming her. I’ve actually seen Meredith several times and her husband. Michelle, of course, has been in New York. The person I’ve most consistently been with–and I keep up with everybody through her–is Mary-Margaret.

TDW: One of the films–I think you already mentioned it–that you’ve been working on is Port City.

Shipp: Yeah, that was the comedy with Jodie Sweetin at the festival in Wilmington.

TDW: Well, coincidentally, that also stars Matthew Laurance and Barabra Alyn Woods, who also played parents on teen dramas.

Shipp: Oh, yeah.

TDW: Matthew was on 90210 [as Mel] and Barbara was on One Tree Hill [as Deb].

Shipp: It’s like, where do teen drama parents go to die? Port City. (laughs) And then this last film that I did–I just got back a couple of weeks ago from Ohio where we filmed it–was a company out of Chicago called Glass City Films. It’s a wonderful script called Separation Anxiety, in which a young man either falls to his death accidentally from an icy dam or commits suicide and we don’t know which. His two best friends, one female and one male–there’s also some sexual tension there that we find out about–and his father, who is me, spend the movie trying to make sense out of his death based on what we need to believe. Interestingly enough, the father needed to believe it was suicide, which I immediately found interesting. He saw his son as kind of a drifter, where his life was just sort of a series of accidents. It was intolerable for him to think that at the end of his life, it was just one more accident. He needed to believe that it was an intentional act that he set out to accomplish and accomplished. Now isn’t that an interesting perspective? That’s not something I’ve ever seen, where his father needs to believe his son committed suicide. We fight it out, the three of us–me and the two best friends. Most of my scenes are with the girl who–that’s a complicated relationship so I won’t go into it but it’s more than just best buddies with her and my son. We spend a lot of time hashing and thrashing that out and what we need to believe and finally come to an accommodation where I’m able to go bury my son. It was a good group of people, a talented crew and cast. I can’t wait to see it put together.

TDW: Where we can we actually see you next? Is Port City going to get a wide release or is it just doing festivals?

Shipp: I don’t know. Karma Police, which debuted at the Dallas Film Festival the year before last, is out on DVD and on I think–I can’t keep up with these sites–Blockbuster Online or Netflix, so I know it’s out there. Grotesque, my little short film that I’m so proud of, we banged out in New Orleans last year in about a week. I play a priest with a dubious past. That’s online and the trailer for that is in my Facebook videos and there’s a link to the actual 29-minute version. And then Separation Anxiety will also do the festival market.

TDW: Do you like the festivals better than a major motion picture that’s in theaters everywhere?

Shipp: No. I would rather it be straight to theaters. Again, it’s a matter of what’s offered. I will say one thing–and it’s not just my particular insight–but there’s a lot more creative freedom the less money there is riding on a project, you know what I mean? The more money, the more hands in the pie. The more sets of suits that have their handprints on the script and the edit and the this and the that, the more of a business it is. I understand that. It’s wonderful and spontaneous and creative working in an independent film atmosphere but make no mistake: I would not turn down an A film that would be set for a major release.

TDW: I hope to see you in one soon! And I’d really like to see Port City.

Shipp: You know, it’s funny. I was kind of worried about it because it’s sort of a screwball comedy and my character’s really a jerk, a goofy filthy jerk and that’s not necessarily been my trademark but all the feedback I’ve gotten is “Wow! What a great departure! You should do more comedy!,” which my brother has been telling me for years because he knows how innately ridiculous I am. But I’ve managed to shield the rest of the world from that.

TDW: Hopefully not for long!

Shipp: I’ve actually taken off the last year, for all intents and purposes. Those projects that I mentioned came to me of their own volition. I’ve not been interviewing. I’ve not been auditioning. My dad came up to San Jose to pastor a new liberal church out here that’s been facing some difficulty and then he had heart surgery. Well, I came up to San Jose and they ended up losing their music director and my background is music. I was an opera major at Indiana University in Bloomington before switching my major to theater and I’ve studied keyboards since the age of 5 so I grew up with music of the church and for the last year, that’s been my primary occupation–rediscovering my love of music and my spirituality in a very inclusive and liberal atmosphere. It’s been great for me being of service to my parents, who are now back in Atlanta. My dad’s doing fine. And I agreed to stay on at the church through Christmas, the Christmas Eve service. So I have two more Sundays to plan musically and then I’ll be flying to Atlanta to be with my family and probably re-engage my career full-time beginning in February.

TDW: Mary-Beth Peil was an opera major as well.

Shipp: Yep. She has a glorious voice. A wonderful woman. People who only knew who her from Dawson’s Creek have no idea who that woman is.

TDW: I interviewed her, via e-mail actually, last month and I would’ve loved to hear her real voice because I know her Grams voice isn’t actually hers.

Shipp: No, she’s young and sexy and funny. You just wouldn’t know her with her hair down and all that. And she tends to be play those severe, more matronly parts because she’s good at it. She’s on a series now, isn’t she?

TDW: Yes, The Good Wife with Julianna Margulies.

Shipp: Right.

TDW: Alright, well, I’m glad we were finally able to connect.

Shipp: My pleasure, Shari. It’s been great talking to you.

Come back next week for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index








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