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‘Superman & Lois’ star Tyler Hoechlin on how he’s like Superman


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Tyler Hoechlin!

The “Teen Wolf” star dons the famous red cape to play the latest incarnation of Clark Kent/Superman in the new CW series “Superman & Lois.”

“I feel like I understand a lot about Clark and Superman. Obviously not the powers, I wish I knew what it was like to fly — that would be great,” Hoechlin, 33, told The Post. 

“But he does the right thing when there’s no reason other than ‘Why not?’ My folks raised us that way. I know you don’t have to do the right thing all the time — but it doesn’t make sense to me why you wouldn’t. That’s something about him that I connect to. And his eternal optimism.

“I grew up a romantic, then I became a cynic in my twenties and then realized that sucks,” he said. “I enjoy waking up in the morning and hoping that we will get there. Wherever there is that we’re hoping…so I appreciate that about him.”

Premiering Tuesday, Feb. 23 (8 p.m.), the series is a more mature take on the famous story. The pilot’s opening showcases all the familiar beats — Clark’s arrival on Earth as a baby and his idyllic childhood in Smallville; his move to Metropolis as a young man and his job at the Daily Planet; meeting and falling for scrappy journalist Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch, “Grimm”). But after catching up to his adult life, the series gets to its main story in following Clark and Lois after they’ve already been married for years and are parents to two teen boys.  

“It’s really not a show about Superman, it’s about a husband and a wife who are parents and the husband happens to be Superman,” said Hoechlin. “It’s interesting when you look at how someone that the world sees as this iconic figure — what does he look like to his children? Because Dad is always embarrassing. It’s fun to play with that and see who they really are in those more intimate moments, when they’re not playing this character for the world.”

“Superman & Lois,” which also stars Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, premieres Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m.
“Superman & Lois,” which also stars Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, premieres Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m.
The CW

In addition to “Teen Wolf” (2011-2017) and “7th Heaven,” (2003-2007), Hoechlin appeared in movies including the ’80s period piece “Everybody Wants Some!!” Although “Superman & Lois” is not his first time playing Superman — his rendition of the character has been around since 2016, appearing in The CW’s other DC shows such as “Supergirl,” “Arrow,” and “The Flash” — “Superman & Lois” marks the first time that he’s gotten his own show.

“Every once in a while I have that moment where it hits you, ‘I’m wearing a cape today, that’s what I’m doing at work. I am wearing a cape today!’ ”

Before taking up acting, Hoechlin was on his way to a pro baseball career until an injury caused him to pivot to Hollywood. He said it taught him persistence, which he’s brought to his current career (“baseball is a game of failure and so is this business — you take a lot of swings and only get a few hits”).

For that reason, he said he hasn’t seen past onscreen Supermen such as Henry Cavill, Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Dean Cain or Christoper Reeve.

“[My exposure to other Supermen] was very little if I’m being completely honest,” he said. “I was playing baseball competitively and working as an actor from the time I was young. I had other interests, but not many that I could put much time into.

“I’ve intentionally stayed away [from Superman since getting the role],” he said. “I’ve found it more beneficial to have an impulse and trust it without the hesitation of, ‘Oh, so-and-so already did that.’ It makes it easier to just go do my thing without overthinking it. Since it wasn’t something that I grew up so close to, it allows me to play it without that pressure.” 



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CBS sitcom ‘Mom’ to end with Season 8



The popular CBS sitcom “Mom,” starring Emmy-winner Allison Janney, will end after the current eighth season.

Chuck Lorre’s comedy about a group of tightknit addicts — including Janney’s lead character, Bonnie — will conclude with the May 6 season finale, which will serve as the series ender, according to Variety.

The move comes after Anna Faris, who plays Bonnie’s daughter Christy, shockingly left the series right before production began on Season 8 in September.

“For the past eight years, we’ve had the great honor to bring these wonderful characters to life, sharing their struggles and triumphs with millions of viewers every week,” said executive producers Lorre, Gemma Baker and Nick Bakay in a statement.

“From the beginning, we set out to tell stories about recovery from alcoholism and addiction that are rarely portrayed in a network comedy series. Whether it was the emotional reactions of the live audience on tape night inside Stage 20, or discussions at the White House regarding the opioid crisis, or the personal stories we continue to receive on social media, we take great pride in knowing MOM has positively impacted so many lives. We are forever grateful to our brilliant cast and guest stars, wonderful writers, and amazing crew for going on this journey with us.”

CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl added that the show, produced by Warner Bros. Television, “has touched people’s lives by sensitively tackling weighty yet relatable topics, with a perfect, deft touch.”

On Tuesday’s episode of Ellen DeGeneres’ eponymous talk show, Janney, 61, told viewers that “it was very odd” not having Faris, 44, on the show anymore, adding, “She’s very missed. Anna is missed and her character on the show is missed. And we’re just happy that she’s doing what she wants to do now and we’re happy even more so that we’re able to still tell these stories about these great women and recovery.

“And I think there’s some really wonderful characters that have been established,” she continued. “And people love the show so we’re gonna keep telling the stories as long as we can.”

In a statement announcing her departure last year, Faris called her seven years on the show “some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career.”

The show’s regular ensemble cast also includes Jaime Pressly, Mimi Kennedy, Beth Hall, Kristen Johnston and William Fichtner. Over the years, a number of other performers were featured as recurring and guest stars, including Yvette Nicole Brown, Ellen Burstyn, Kristin Chenoweth, Beverly D’Angelo, Patti LuPone, Joe Manganiello, Emily Osment, Kevin Pollak, Richard Schiff, June Squibb, Octavia Spencer, French Stewart (originally a series regular), Kathleen Turner, Steven Weber, Bradley Whitford and Rainn Wilson.

The series finale will air at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 6, on CBS.



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Bradley Constant plays teen Dwayne Johnson in ‘Young Rock’


Alabama-born actor Bradley Constant added another team to his college football allegiance after winning a starring role on “Young Rock,” premiering Tuesday (Feb. 16) on NBC (8:30 p.m.)

“I’ve always been a super-huge sports fan and a University of Alabama fan,” said Constant, 22. “But now I’m also a University of Miami fan.”

There’s a reason for that: “Young Rock” was co-created by global superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who played football at the University of Miami before international fame as a WWE personality and movie star.

Johnson plays himself in the sitcom, which is set in 2032. He’s running for president and sits for a revealing, no-holds-barred TV interview in which he reflects on his life as a kid (played by Adrian Groulx) and during his University of Miami days (played by Uli Latukefu).

Constant, 22, plays the teenaged Johnson, who’s going to high school in Pennsylvania, where’s he called “Dewey” and looks older than his 15 years (his fellow students suspect he’s an undercover cop a la Johnny Depp in “21 Jump Street”). His mother, Ata (Stacey Leilua) is loving and caring; his father, Rocky (Joseph Lee Anderson), is a good-natured professional wrestler. Dewey works with his best friend, Gabe (Taj Cross), at a local pizzeria.

“Young Rock” marks Constant’s first TV role after spending the past 10 years acting in commercials and student films.

“In January of last year my manager sent me a regular e-mail audition as usual, except this one had a GIF of The Rock waving his hand forward like [he was] saying ‘Bring it on!’ “After I got the role, [Johnson] messaged me and we organized an introductory call.

“I had questions right off the bat [for Johnson],” Constant said. “I asked him, ‘What were the three most important things to you at 15?’ and he said, ‘Girls, working out and my family’ not in any tiered order. I definitely had crushes on girls at school but I didn’t have the confidence [Johnson] has on the show. My family is huge to me, still is and always will be.”

"Young Rock" marks Bradley Constant's first TV role after spending the past 10 years acting in commercials and student films.
“Young Rock” marks Bradley Constant’s first TV role after spending the past 10 years acting in commercials and student films.
Mark Taylor/NBC

Constant has two older brothers, Christopher, 28, who works for a tech company in Nashville, and Michael, 27, who’s in medical school at Columbia University.

“Me and my brothers are so close and we text each other every day,” he said. “When I was in middle school they were in high school, which was right across the street.”

Constant said that, once he was hired for “Young Rock,” Johnson never told him how to play his 15-year-old alter ego.

“He never said, ‘We need the character to be like this.’ It was really about getting to know [Johnson]. After I asked my initial questions it turned into a casual conversation. He described what his mindset was and what was happening to him at that time. I just tried to connect and to understand the situation — that 15 was a tough time for him. His family didn’t have a lot of money and he had a rough relationship with his father at that point.

"Young Rock" premieres Tuesday, Feb. 16 on NBC at 8:30 p.m.
“Young Rock” premieres Tuesday, Feb. 16 on NBC at 8:30 p.m.
Mark Taylor/NBC

“He told me to be myself.”

In an unusual move for a network show, “Young Rock” was shot from last September though last month in Queensland, Australia due to the pandemic production shutdowns. “I had never even left the US before and I was really excited to see koalas and kangaroos,” Constant said. “I probably got a little too close to some of them.”

While Constant doesn’t share any screen time with the other “Rocks” — Groulx and Latekufu — he said they got to know each other while on location.

“We shot our scenes at different times but we were on the set together a lot and we hung out, eating and playing XBox,” he said. “We all stayed at the same hotel. I can’t tell you how much of a blessing it was to shoot [in Australia]; we didn’t have the fear of being shut down and we were able to get out and hang around. Queensland didn’t have any [COVID] cases and no one wore masks when eating. I lived here in LA and worked at a grocery story until I left [for the shoot] last September. It was a surreal experience.

“I was ready for Australia,” he said. “Everyone there was so kind and sweet. It was like a fantasy land.”



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One murder horrified a country


Keeley Hawes says her expectations “weren’t particularly high” regarding viewer interest in her two-part TV movie “Honour,” which premiered last fall on ITV in the UK.

“It wasn’t a mainstream subject and not something many people knew about,” Hawes, 44, says of “Honour,” which chronicles the 2006 murder of a young British-Iraqi Kurdish woman, Banaz Mahmod, by members of her own family, based in southwest London. The 95-minute movie, written by Gwyneth Hughes, makes its US premiere Feb. 16 on streaming service BritBox.

“We thought maybe we’d get 1 million viewers in the best-case scenario,” Hawes says. “We ended up with 7.5 million viewers. People learned so much more about the case. At the end of this journey, people knew about the story and had a greater understanding of these so-called ‘honor-based’ violence and abuse cases.

“You hear of ‘honor killings’; it’s reported on the periphery, but you think it’s one of those things that happens to other people in other communities,” Hawes says. “It’s not something you know very much about — certainly I didn’t.”

Banaz, 20, had left a pre-arranged marriage, which was violent and abusive, and was dating Rahmat Sulemani, who was deemed unsuitable by her family. Sulemani reported Banaz missing in January 2006 and, three months later, her body was found stuffed in a suitcase and buried in a backyard in Birmingham, 120 miles away. She had been raped and strangled.

Keeley Hawes’ two-part TV movie "Honour" premiered last fall on ITV in the UK and makes its US premiere Feb. 16 on streaming service BritBox.
Keeley Hawes’ two-part TV movie “Honour” premiered last fall on ITV in the UK and makes its US premiere Feb. 16 on streaming service BritBox.
Courtesy of BritBox

Sulemani was the prime suspect, but as DCI Caroline Goode (played by Hawes) doggedly worked the case, she discovered the hushed existence of “honor killings” –someone murdered for “dishonoring” their family — and that Banaz had gone to the police several times, fearing for her life, but was ignored.

Goode eventually brought the killers to justice — even extraditing two of them back to England from Iraq after they fled the country.

“The first thing I did after reading the script was to watch a brilliant documentary [about the case] by Deeyah Khan called ‘Banaz: A Love Story,” which won an Emmy [in 2013],” Hawes says. “I met Caroline Goode and we had a cup of tea and I asked a lot of questions. We are not similar, physically, in any way — she’s petite and I’m very tall — but it wasn’t like I was playing Margaret Thatcher or the Queen since no one here knows what Caroline looks like. So there wasn’t much pressure in that sense.”

Hawes also executive-produced “Honour,” which is an end of the business she really enjoys.

Keeley Hawes plays DCI Caroline Goode who investigates the 2006 murder of a young British-Iraqi Kurdish woman, Banaz Mahmod.
Keeley Hawes plays DCI Caroline Goode who investigates the 2006 murder of a young British-Iraqi Kurdish woman, Banaz Mahmod.
Courtesy of BritBox

“I had been working on a series called ‘The Durrells in Corfu’ and I executive-produced the fourth and final season [of that shows] and really enjoyed the experience,” says Hawes, who’s married to actor Matthew Macfadyen (“Quiz,” “Succession”). “I’ve been acting for a long time, since I was a child, and I really felt like I was using a different muscle and thinking about things in a different way. I’ve spent so much time in this business and was thinking about expanding and exploring the idea of producing — and then I received this script…it ticked a lot of boxes in terms of producing and in playing this amazing woman.”

Writer Hughes interviewed Banaz’s sisters, and Sulemani, for “Honour” — “she really dived very deep into this project,” Hawes says — and takes viewers on a journey that has far-reaching implications, not only for Bonaz’s family members and Sulemani, but for the London police.

“After this case and because of this case, the police are now educated in honor-based crime and violence,” Hawes says. “Caroline is retired now but has dedicated her life to educating people and working with police and various charities…up and down the country.”



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Lorraine Toussaint on ‘Equalizer,’ ‘Your Honor’ and ‘Concrete Cowboys’


Veteran actress Lorraine Toussaint can be seen on several TV platforms in the coming months.

She plays Judge Sara LeBlanc in Showtime’s “Your Honor,” which wraps its season next Sunday, and co-stars in “The Equalizer,” a reboot of the classic series (and 2014 movie) with Queen Latifah in the title role. It’s premiering Sunday night on CBS in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot before moving to its regular time (8 p.m.) on Feb. 14.

Toussaint, 60, also co-stars opposite Idris Elba in the movie “Concrete Cowboys,” streaming this spring on Netflix. She spoke to The Post about all three projects.

“Your Honor” took a long hiatus because of the pandemic shutdown. Was it hard to get back into gear when you returned?

We owed several episodes when we shut down, so it was a matter of, how do we get back to that? It was not an easy feat. We all went into COVID hiding — the hair was different, do the wardrobes still fit? It’s no joke. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was very surreal. We were doing something called “block shooting,” which means we were shooting three episodes at the same time…and we had to track where we were in all three episodes from where we left off months ago. It was a real head-squeezer.

When did you start shooting “The Equalizer?”

“Your Honor” shut down [last March] and we were three days away from starting “The Equalizer” when [CBS] pulled the plug. We came back in November and luckily we were starting from scratch. It was easier than having to pick it up from before [a shutdown]. We shot in New York and I was committed to being here because my daughter is a dancer at Alvin Ailey…and I wanted to make sure that, unlike [Queen Latifah’s “The Equalizer” character, Robyn McCall], mama stays home with her teenager. All of these things came together in a lovely package and it was hard to say no.

Lorraine Toussaint as Sarah LeBlanc and Bryan Cranston as Michael Desiato in "Your Honor."
Lorraine Toussaint as Sarah LeBlanc and Bryan Cranston as Michael Desiato in “Your Honor.”
Skip Bolen/SHOWTIME

In “The Equalizer,” you play Robyn’s Aunt “Vi” Marsette.

I play her “very young” aunt. I did see the original franchise and I’m a big fan. I enjoyed the TV show in the ’90s. Because the characters were so very very brooding and male and odd — bordering on psychotic loners with deep dark demons in their past — we reinvented that a bit. Robyn is a black woman [a former CIA operative] who clearly has been, and continues to be, at the top of her game. She left her family life behind while traveling the world taking care of the bad guys, and now she’s come home to a 15-year-old who she doesn’t quite know how to mother anymore, because that’s what [Aunt Vi] has been doing while she was gone. It’s a rough road getting back into the good graces of a 15-year-old who doesn’t trust you anymore, so my part is helping these two characters navigate their way back to each other and to operate as Robyn’s internal moral compass.

My character is a bit of a bohemian. She’s a painter and an artist and well-traveled; she may have some questionable parenting skills but she’s that favorite auntie we all have — she’s irreverent, has been a roadie and toured with a band, and you know she’s got a stash of weed in her room.

What can you tell me about “Concrete Cowboy?”

It’s about a little-known community in urban Philadelphia, a cowboy community that’s existed since the 1800s. These are horse-loving, cowboy-living, urban women and men who still have horses and stables. This community has existed and has been saving children’s and young people’s lives by bringing them to the stables to care for the horses instead of being in gangs. Many of the actual community and cowboys and cowgirls are in the film and play lead roles. I play the co-owner of the stables with Idris Elba’s character. It’s a family drama in an unlikely setting: his teenage son gets dropped off at the stables because his mother has some issues. This is a boy who doesn’t know his father and vice versa. They’re going to find their way to each other through these horses.



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James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti collab on Hulu show


It took nearly three years for “Everyone is Doing Great” to find its home.

The comedy series, available only on Hulu starting Wednesday (Jan. 13), was created by pals James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti, who co-starred on the long-running teen-angst drama “One Tree Hill” — and who used a combination of gumption and crowdfunding to ultimately land their eight-episode series on the streaming network.

“Stephen and I had wanted to collaborate for a while, we just didn’t now what that was going to be,” says Lafferty, 35, who played Nathan Scott on “One Tree Hill.” “Eventually we got to the point where we’d lived enough life and had that ‘light bulb’ moment where we went, ‘OK, this is actually kind of funny. We’re seeing these things happening around us and to us.’”

Their idea morphed into “Everyone is Doing Great,” which centers around thirtysomething actors Seth (Colletti) and Jeremy (Lafferty), five years removed from their hit vampire TV series “Eternal” and coming to terms with their lives and their relationships. For Jeremy, that includes his wife and “Eternal” co-star, Andrea (Alexandra Park). The cast also includes Cariba Heine (“Designated Survivor”) and Karissa Lee Staples (“S.W.A.T.”)

Lafferty and Colletti shot the series pilot in 2018, then turned to the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise enough money to finish shooting the next seven episodes, which took them through the late summer of 2019.

“We knew there were resources — crowdfunding and going around to some festivals and seeing if we could generate interest and financing,” says Colletti, 34 (Chase Adams on “One Tree Hill”). “We really didn’t want to leave it up to the industry — we knew we could do it ourselves the way we wanted to do it and keep the creative integrity at the heart of the show.”

"Everyone is Doing Great" centers around thirtysomething actors Seth (Colletti) and Jeremy (Lafferty), five years removed from their hit vampire TV series "Eternal" and coming to terms with their lives and their relationships.
“Everyone is Doing Great” centers around thirtysomething actors Seth (Colletti) and Jeremy (Lafferty), five years removed from their hit vampire TV series “Eternal” and coming to terms with their lives and their relationships.
Getty Images for SeriesFest

Colletti says the choice of using “Eternal” as Jeremy and Seth’s previous hit TV series made a lot of sense in setting the tone of the series.

“I would say that ‘One Tree Hill’ and the vampire series are two of the same, but different in the sense that [‘Eternal’] was something very visual, with the vampire aspects and how we thought it would be really fun to play with that,” he says. “When we have the flashback scenes with Jeremy and Seth sitting on the set in full makeup with blood dripping down their mouths, complaining that the sushi they ordered for lunch didn’t come in time…we knew that would be a little more interesting.”

Park’s appearance in the “Doing Great” pilot was brief, since she was still working on E!’s “The Royals” (she played Princess Eleanor Henstridge); once she finished shooting that show’s fourth season she was back on board.

"Everyone is Doing Great" is available only on Hulu starting Wednesday (Jan. 13).
“Everyone is Doing Great” is available only on Hulu starting Wednesday (Jan. 13).
Hulu

“I’d say she’s strong-willed and no-nonense, for sure,” she says of Andrea. “What drew me to her was that she’s an interesting girl who’s set the bar quite high for herself and finds herself in a very difficult position. Andre has gone straight from ‘Eternal’ to finding success in another show almost immediately and is having all these problems in her marriage, with Jeremy spiraling into a stage she sees as beneath her on the surface because she’s a bit of a perfectionist and control freak.

“We all struggle with that need for control and perfectionism and she starts to realize that’s not really the key to happiness,” she says. “She learns a lot about herself and her choices and what’s important to her…and we see her unravel in that way.”

Lafferty and Colletti say they had shows including “Dol & Em,” “Catastrophe” and “The Trip” in mind as they were constructing the series.

“When people read the logline they think it’s similar to ‘Entourage’…but we didn’t want it to feel so aspirational and fun,” Lafferty says. “We wanted the humor to come from the awkwardness…those little moments where it seems like nothing’s happening but everything’s happening.”

“It’s about trying to look around and re-evaluate your life — how did I get here? Where am I going? — and being honest with yourself,” Colletti says. “The big arc for our characters this season is trying to figure it all out, adjusting from there and finding new growth.”



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Drew and Jonathan Scott dish on ‘Celebrity IOU’


“Celebrity IOU” returns for its second season Monday at 9 p.m.

In the series, which set HGTV viewership records in Season 1, popular renovation experts (and identical twins) Drew and Jonathan Scott, aka the “Property Brothers,” work with celebrities to surprise someone who’s impacted his or her life in a positive way — by renovating their homes in pay-it-forward fashion.

Monday’s four-episode season opener (9 p.m.) includes Jonathan’s girlfriend, actress Zooey Deschanel, surprising her best friend, Sarah, with a home makeover. Among the celebs featured this season are “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley, Allison Janney (“Mom”) and Rainn Wilson.

Drew and Jonathan, 42, answered some questions from The Post about “Celebrity IOU” and what goes into producing their hit series.

Besides Zooey D., how do you find celebrities who want to participate in the series? 

Drew: It took five years for us to get this idea off the ground — Viola Davis was the first person to say yes, without hesitation. In the first season, we had to reach out to a lot of celebrities we knew to spread the word about the new show. With the success of Season 1 and seeing how it transformed people’s lives, now celebs are coming to us saying, “I know someone who deserves this … please help.” It’s really something special. 

Is there a “Celebrity IOU” template when choosing the episodes you want to shoot? Are there ground rules?

Jonathan: We have no problem whatsoever convincing celebrities to do demolition work. Allison Janney called it a type of therapy, which it really is! What surprised us, but probably shouldn’t have, is how excited everyone gets about the design side of it. Not everyone has the ability to visually pull a room together. But most of the celebs have been really great at it. And because they know the recipients so well, their input is invaluable.

Zooey Deschanel with Drew and Jonathan Scott
Zooey Deschanel with Drew and Jonathan Scott
HGTV

Drew: Budget is different for every project. We talk about budget on the front end, but that tends to be decided more by the kind of space we’re doing: inside or outside, kitchen or bedrooms, etc. and what kind of permits are involved to ensure it’s not something that will drag out for a year or more. 

Jonathan: Ultimately, the goal is to help those who need it the most or who deserve it the most. The celebs we work with are exceptionally humble people and so grateful and thankful for having the recipient in their lives. The celebs get hands-on throughout the entire project but, of course, we’re also navigating through complex schedules and sometimes other restrictions. Thankfully, we haven’t had a problem with scheduling any of our celebrities. 

Has there been one overriding emotion regarding the stars who want to renovate a friend/mentor’s residence?

Jonathan: An overwhelming sense of gratitude. Every celebrity we work with cannot stop talking about how thankful they are for this person’s role in their life. How selflessly they give of their time and how they’d never expect anything this special be done in return. Whether they are related or not, they are always family. Some of the stories have involved real tragedy, others personal sacrifice. But every single story has been special and something that will drive the audience to ugly-cry. 

Zooey Deschanel with Drew and Jonathan Scott
Zooey Deschanel with Drew and Jonathan Scott
HGTV

Are there any hoped-for ”Celebrity IOU” entries (without naming names) that didn’t work out?

Drew: Thankfully we’ve had a lot of luck in that regard, and the people we work with are amazing and willing to do whatever it takes. There have been a couple of celebrities who got pulled away due to other projects and had to postpone. Also COVID caused us to cancel some planned episodes due to travel. And there was one where the potential recipient managed to sniff out what was happening and really felt that the kindness would be best offered to somebody more in need. That alone brought a tear to my eye. We’re really dealing with the most kind, generous, humble folks on this show. And it’s inspiring. 

How long does it take to complete the average “Celebrity IOU” renovation? 

Jonathan: On our other shows like “Property Brothers: Forever Home” or “Brother vs. Brother,” a six-week renovation is pretty standard, and that’s after we’ve gotten all the permits and contractors in place. On “Celebrity IOU,” we cut that timeline in half, so you really are looking at a three-to-four week renovation with a dedicated and brilliant crew and months of prep work and logistics. Trust me, it’s all in the prep and planning. We’ll literally order most of the supplies in advance to our warehouse so we’re never waiting on stuff to arrive.



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BBC hit ‘A Suitable Boy’ makes its US premiere



There’s a lot going on in “A Suitable Boy” — but the British import takes its time to unravel.

And it’s worth the wait.

The six-episode series, which premiered in July on BBC One, has now landed in the US on AMC-owned Acorn TV, which has exclusive American and Canadian rights. Directed by Oscar nominee Mira Nair (“Salaam Bombay!”), and based on Vikram Seth’s 1993 doorstop-of-a-bestseller (over 1,300 pages), it tracks the intertwined lives of several families in India and is set in 1951, four years after the end of British rule and the birth of Pakistan, as the series’ characters grapple (in various ways) with the countries’ newfound independence, class-conscious divisions and prejudiced views of one another.

At its core, though, “A Suitable Boy” is a love story that plays itself out in the different arcs of two characters, Lahta Mehra (Tanya Maniktala) and Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter).

The studious Lata falls in love with fellow university student Kabir Durrani (Danesh Razvi), much to her widowed mother’s horror. Kabir’s sin is that he’s Muslim, which is a no-no in Lata’s family because of the ongoing cultural and (sometimes) physically violent battles between the two cultures (played out here against the simmering backdrop of an Indian temple being built right next to a mosque). Worst of all, Kabir is not the “suitable boy” who’s supposed to be chosen for Lata in a pre-arranged, caste-system marriage in which she has no say. But times are changing and Lata is a rebel at heart — who’s ready to take control of her own life and buck tradition.

Then there’s Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter), the daydreaming, ne’er-do-well son of a respected government official who falls for the much-older Saeeda Bai (veteran actress Tabu). She’s a renowned singer with a “reputation,” which fuels his father’s fury. Why can’t Maan just follow in his older brother’s footsteps? (Translation: get a respectable job, settle down and have lots of children with a submissive wife).

It’s a lot to take in, and, early on, viewers will find themselves trying to figure out who’s who in the large ensemble cast, which includes brothers, sisters and friends of Lata, Kabir, Maan and Saeeda — all of whom, in one way or another, figure into the show’s plotline. But once the dust settles, each of the main characters come sharply into focus, thanks to crisp writing (“A Suitable Boy” was filmed in English with subtitles where applicable). It was also shot on location, mostly in the Lucknow, the capital of the Indian state Uttar Pradesh, and that lends an air of authenticity to what’s unfolding onscreen.

Maniktala has a winning presence as Lata — you’ll root for her through her various trials and tribulations — and the same goes for Khatter, who, as Maan, combines an impish sense of humor with a surprisingly touching sensitivity. They both start to travel down roads that will have significant consequences — not only for themselves, but for the others in their orbit.



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Jack Bannon discusses ‘Pennyworth’ Season 2


It’s the “Batman” world like it’s never been seen before. 

Epix drama “Pennyworth” dives into the lore of the famous superhero’s universe by showcasing the early life of Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), the man who would later become Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler.

Season 2, premiering Dec. 13 at 9 p.m., has added new cast member James Purefoy (“Rome”) and finds Alfred now running a black-market club as the threat of the fascist Raven Society grows stronger.

“The great thing about being allowed to do a Season 2 is that you work out what works and what doesn’t and start playing to your strengths,” says Bannon, 29. “Because it’s wartime, there’s a lot of big action in it, which felt almost like we were doing a movie at times rather than TV.

“Season 2 takes place a year on from the end of Season 1. Civil war has fully kicked off, the country is even more divided, and the Ravens have gained even more power,” he says. “London and Soho is a neutral zone, so Alfred has a big new nightclub that he’s running in Soho [and] he’s trying to get together enough money to get to America — because England is struggling and he thinks he and his mom can go make a better life there.

“So that’s his main goal.”

Jack Bannon
Jack Bannon
Nick Wall/Epix

Bannon says he was eager to work with Purefoy, who plays Captain Troy, a character new to the audience but very familiar to Alfred.

“He’s an old captain of Alfred’s from the army,” Bannon says. “He’s kind of a dark character that Alfred sees himself in and looks up to. They have quite a strange but brilliant relationship, and James is an actor that I’ve watched for years. He came on and was so generous with his knowledge and time

“He was great fun.”

“Pennyworth” is set in a recognizable version of 1960s London mixed with a comic-book style alternative history. For instance, along with ’60s fashion and pop culture, there are televised public executions and the Raven Society, which is working to overthrow the British government. 

Jack Bannon and James Purefoy
Jack Bannon and James Purefoy
David Hindley/Epix

The story follows Alfred, a former British SAS soldier who’s forming his own private security company while working as a bouncer in an exclusive nightclub. 

 “For me, the Christopher Nolan trilogy was the one that really grabbed me,” Bannon says about his history with the Batman franchise. “I wasn’t a comic book reader really when I was growing up. But the films definitely grabbed my attention.”

The most famous movie version of Alfred is Michael Caine’s portrayal in Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy — and Bannon says he even modeled his onscreen accent after Caine. 

Jack Bannon
Jack Bannon
David Hindley/Epix

“I think he was the one that said, ‘I’ll play a butler as long as he’s ex-SAS.’ So he gave us that backstory which our series explores, so we owed him that — and also because [the show is] set in the ’60s, and [Caine] was kind of the archetypical film star of the ‘60s.

“In the very first audition tape, I thought I was too young for the role and did a terrible Michael Caine impersonation,” Bannon says.

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll never hear anything about that!’”



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Shane Johnson storms into ‘Power Book II’ on Starz


Shane Johnson says he’s surprised — and happy — that he was able to continue playing US Attorney Cooper Saxe in “Power Book II: Ghost,” the role he originated on “Power.”

“I thought I was done for when Tommy [Joseph Sikora] put a plastic bag over my head,” says Johnson, 44. “Usually [showrunner] Courtney [A. Kemp] gives you a heads-up before you die … so I was reading the script and thinking, ‘Did she forget to give me a heads-up?’

“But I feel like I’ve managed to strike a very important chord within the ‘Power’ universe.”

“Power Book II: Ghost,” continues the story of Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.), who, in “Power,” murdered his father, James St. “Ghost” Patrick (Omari Hardwick) — but it’s his mother, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), who’s on trial for the murder.

“I’m really excited for my character this season since it’s been like seven years in the making,” says Johnson, who originated the role of Cooper Saxe when “Power” premiered in 2014. “So to get to this point — and the fact that I’m still around and still finding places to go with the character and new challenges — I feel like I’ve found some dynamic changes in Saxe over the years.

“And that’s really due to the writers.”

Clifford Smith (Method Man) and Shane Johnson
Clifford Smith (Method Man) and Shane Johnson
Starz

Johnson has a few thoughts on the direction in which he’d like to see this season’s plotline head.

“As an audience member I would want Tasha to go to jail because she is responsible for this universe,” he says. “In Season 1, she told her husband, Ghost, that ‘You’re gonna be the biggest drug dealer in New York City.’ She was that person. And then a few seasons later she’s like, ‘Oh, I want to go legit’ and that Ghost should take responsibility because he’s the one who did all the illegal stuff.

“Now she wants to turn over a new leaf, but it’s kind of too late,” he says. “She already made these choices — and she’s responsible for some of the deaths. But as a parent, I fee like she’s responsible for her kid to a degree — his upbringing and molding him…so she’s directly responsible for Tariq being who he is and who he needs to be.

Shane Johnson
Shane Johnson
Starz

“As Cooper Saxe I want to see Tariq in jail because he’s the one that killed his father,” he says. “James Saint Patrick was the real person I wanted in jail but I can’t have him anymore because Tariq killed him.

“He took my biggest case away from me so now I wanna take him down.”

Saxe is also using his niece, Riley Saxe (Andrea Lee Christensen) for insider leverage while she’s dating Tariq’s college roommate.

“Riley could definitely be Cooper’s downfall because she hasn’t listened to
anything he says. He keeps trying to trust her and tell what to do but she’s buried in her phone — a typical millennial.

“She’s just half paying attention and wants to please [Cooper] …but ends up getting him in trouble,” he says. “He keeps trying to trust her and tell her what to do but
she’s buried in her phone [like] a typical millennial. The moment he thought she was sleeping with Tariq was one of my favorite moments on the show.

“I think they’re loyal to each other but she has bad instincts — instead of listening to her uncle.”

“Power Book II: Ghost” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on Starz.



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