LISA LINKE TALKS CURRENT PROJECTS, DREAM ROLES & FUTURE PLANS 35

With roles in Modern Family and This Is Us among others already under her belt, as well as her regular appearances on the webseries Successful People, Lisa Linke has earned herself praise from fans and critics alike in recent years, and earned every positive word that’s been spoken or written about her. While her career shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Lisa to chat first auditions, dream roles and her advice for aspiring actors.

TITL: When did you first realize that you wanted to make performing a career? Was there any particular show or film you watched that made you think: “That’s who I want to be…that’s what I want to do?”

Lisa Linke: I think I realized I wanted to make it a career after I was already living in Chicago, studying improvisation and seeing people perform on stages and actually make a living doing it. I don’t have any artist role models in my family – everyone is business or education (or both) and so the idea of being an artist was really scary and challenging. So, until I saw people doing it and doing work that I found fun and engaging, then I could allow myself to really entertain that as a possibility. I don’t think it was as much as a particular show or film, but more being surrounded with people that I knew and liked and saw them doing this awesome thing.

TITL: Whose careers are you most inspired and influenced by? How do their careers impact your own?

LL: I’m always inspired by people who create their own content. They really take ahold of their own path and just start making art that demonstrates their style and voice. I like doing that. I think whenever anyone makes a successful series that is specific and authentic, it gives permission for everyone else to try and do that, too. And when it’s successful, it shows studios and networks that people are craving that kind of content, so they go looking for it to buy.

TITL: Can you recall your first audition?

LL: Ever? Nope. I always did plays in school growing up. I can remember my audition to join the improv group in grad school, which made me fall in love with improv. I knew nothing about improv, but I’d seen a show in Atlanta before I moved back to Illinois to go to grad school, and I absolutely loved it and wanted to learn how to do it! We did this warm up game and I was so excited, I physically pushed the person next to me, and the woman leading the exercise jumped in and was like “don’t do that”. But in a nice way, because she hadn’t said we couldn’t, and I was legit so excited.

TITL: Which of your auditions are you most proud of and why?

LL: I’m most proud of auditions where I did what I wanted to do in the room. It’s really easy to get thrown off throughout the day, traffic sucks or you can’t find parking, people are rude or it’s hot or you didn’t get the material as early as you wanted or whatever happens – life happens – but your job is to get in the room and deliver. The job is booking the job, and when I do a good job, and get good feedback in the room, or get a pin or check avail or a booking then I feel really good about what I did. I can feel good about what I did in the room even if I get zero feedback, too. I know what I did in the room and what I wanted to do.

TITL: Prior to auditioning for a part, how much research/background do you do in terms of the broadcast company/the show itself/other members of the cast, and do you find that such research helps?

LL: Oh, it helps immensely! You have to know your stuff. You have to know what show you’re going in for – what network it is on, what tone the show has and what the writer has written before. All that stuff just makes your audition more accurate. I didn’t know any of this before I started studying out here in LA, but I am a real research geek now the minute I get an audition.

TITL: You’ve starred in hit shows including This Is Us, Modern Family and the Netflix series LOVE. Of all the roles and characters you’ve played so far, do you have any particular favourites and do you have any fun memories you can share from time on the sets?

LL: Well, Modern Family was really amazing because it was a special day on set. They were on location, and Chris Martin was on set that day. All the crew was kind of twitterpated with him and it was easy to see why – he is literally the nicest person on earth. He was so cool to talk to in the hair/makeup trailer, and then so kind and funny on set. He entertained everyone in between takes with his guitar. Everyone was having a great time! For me, being on This Is Us was amazing because they moved so fast and it was being directed by Ken Olin and I’ve always been a fan of his, from way back in thirtysomething days. So, to see him direct was just fantastic. LOVE was incredible because Nisha Ganatra, the director, loved to improvise and I got to improvise a ton on set. That was wonderful, and to work with Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Ed Beagley, Jr. and Kathy Baker was a total dream! I love working, period. Everything else on top of that is gravy.

TITL: What’s your dream role and which TV show would you most like to star/guest star in? Are there any actors or actresses you really want to work with?

LL: I do comedy and love it, but I watch a ton of drama! I think I’d love to be on something super tense like The Americans or Homeland. I get so hooked watching it and the acting on those shows is amazing. I love working with everyone because I like learning from everyone – but to work with someone who has made their own content, like Melissa McCarthy, Issa Rae, or Amy Schumer would be amazing.

TITL: What made you want to be a part of the web series Successful People, and do you think there will be many other such series being made in the coming years, due to the boom in and power of technology and the internet?

LL: Yes! There are so many series being made right now, it’s so easy to create content on a small scale.  I did the first season because Artie & Theresa – the creators & stars – asked me to, and then when they invited me back with a series regular role for the second season, I was thrilled! That character is seriously the most obnoxious in the world. I loved playing her!

TITL: You’ve won a number of awards including Lead Actress at LAWebfest and overall web series winner at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. How much do accolades like that mean to you, and would you say you’re more of an individual who cares more strongly about what your fans/followers think and that you can and do take on projects you feel passionate about?

LL: Thank you! It’s always nice to take a piece of work you’ve created and have it be recognized. Festivals are a great part of online content life. I like making content I’m proud of and want to do. It’s a lot of work to do – so usually I have to be really interested in the project and want to make it and get it out there in the world, or be asked to work with people that I adore and have a blast working with.

TITL: The entertainment business is cut-throat and competitive. With that in mind, and given your impressive resume, what advice would you give to those just starting out? What three traits would you say people need in order to survive in this fickle industry?

LL: Ah! You’re very kind. I’ve been told that you need two of the following three: luck, talent and perseverance. You can’t work on luck, but you can work on the other two. I say get your butt in a class and stay there! And create your own content.

TITL: Finally then, are there any projects or plans in the pipeline you can tell me about? What’s next for you and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

LL: Yes! I just released Dog Therapist with my friend Gwen, and it’s a super short web series – all episodes are under a minute! We had a blast and I hope we do some more like it. I have a guest star on a Disney show coming out sometime this spring/summer, so I can’t wait for that to be announced! And of course, I’m creating more content. Do you sense a theme!?

For more information on Lisa Linke, visit her website or you can follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Birdie Thompson.

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BRITISH SOAP AWARDS 2018 TO AIR LIVE; SHORTLIST NOMINATIONS REVEALED 23

The British Soap Awards returns to ITV in June and for the first time in the show’s history will be broadcast live. Celebrating its big 2-0, the annual awards will take place in London at The Hackney Empire and will honour the nation’s biggest and most-loved TV shows.

Celebrating another mammoth year in soap opera, the awards will look back on twelve months of murder, mystery, make-ups, break ups, trials, tribulations and tears. An incredible year in which the Slater family returned to Albert Square in EastEnders, Phelan’s reign of terror continued in Coronation Street, Lily self harmed on Hollyoaks, Ross Barton’s life changed forever in Emmerdale and PC Rob Hollins life was shattered after Ayesha’s Mum died on his watch in Doctors.

The five biggest soaps – Coronation Street, Doctors, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks – will be battling it out to win recognition for their work over the past year.  Some of the biggest faces from all five soaps will be hitting the red carpet for the most star-studded and glamorous event in the soap calendar. 

Hosted by Phillip Schofield, the live awards will be presented by an array of well-known faces from across the TV and showbiz world. 

The British Soap Awards recognise outstanding achievement in the country’s most popular television genre.  There are 16 awards voted for either by the public or a panel of expert judges.

Here, we presents the full Soap Awards shortlist.

VIEWER-VOTED CATEGORIES

Best British Soap
Coronation Street
Doctors
EastEnders
Emmerdale
Hollyoaks

Best Actor
Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan, Coronation Street)
Jack P Shepherd (David Platt, Coronation Street)
Michael Parr (Ross Barton, Emmerdale)
Ryan Hawley (Robert Sugden, Emmerdale)
Theo Graham (Hunter McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Actress
Catherine Tyldesley (Eva Price, Coronation Street)
Lucy Fallon (Bethany Platt, Coronation Street)
Lacey Turner (Stacey Fowler, EastEnders)
Emma Atkins (Charity Dingle, Emmerdale)
Anna Passey (Sienna Blake, Hollyoaks)

Greatest Moment
Richard Hillman drives his family into the canal (Coronation Street, 2003)
Vivien’s rape (Doctors, 2008)
‘You ain’t my mother’ (EastEnders, 2001)
Hotten bypass crash (Emmerdale, 2016)
Jade says goodbye to Alfie (Hollyoaks, 2016)

PANEL-VOTED CATEGORIES

Villain of the Year
Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan, Coronation Street)
Ryan Prescott (Liam Slade, Doctors)
Jake Wood (Max Branning, EastEnders)
Gillian Kearney (Emma Barton, Emmerdale)
David Easter (Mac Nightingale, Hollyoaks)

Best Male Dramatic Performance
Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan, Coronation Street)
Chris Walker (Rob Hollins, Doctors)
Jake Wood (Max Branning, EastEnders)
Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle, Emmerdale)
Ross Adams (Scott Drinkwell, Hollyoaks)

Best Female Dramatic Performance
Lucy Fallon (Bethany Platt, Coronation Street)
Laura Rollins (Ayesha Lee, Doctors)
Lacey Turner (Stacey Fowler, EastEnders)
Natalie J Robb (Moira Dingle, Emmerdale)
Nadine Mulkerrin (Cleo McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Storyline
Phelan’s reign of terror (Coronation Street)
‘Consequences’ – Rob Hollins’s PTSD (Doctors)
Karma for Max (EastEnders)
Who Killed Emma? (Emmerdale)
Lily’s self-harm (Hollyoaks)

Best Newcomer
Nicola Thorp (Nicola Rubinstein, Coronation Street)
Reis Bruce (Austin Lonsdale, Doctors)
Lorraine Stanley (Karen Taylor, EastEnders)
Andrew Scarborough (Graham Foster, Emmerdale)
Lauren McQueen (Lily McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Young Actor
Matilda Freeman (Summer Spellman, Coronation Street)
Maisie Smith (Tiffany Butcher, EastEnders)
Isobel Steele (Liv Flaherty, Emmerdale)
Ela-May Dermican (Leah Barnes, Hollyoaks)

Best On-Screen Partnership
Bhavna Limbachia and Faye Brookes (Rana Nazir and Kate Connor, Coronation Street)
Matthew Chambers and Elisabeth Dermot Walsh (Dr Daniel Granger and Dr Zara Carmichael, Doctors)
Lacey Turner and Jake Wood (Stacey Fowler and Max Branning, EastEnders)
Ned Porteous and Andrew Scarborough (Joe Tate and Graham Foster, Emmerdale)
Malique Thompson-Dwyer and Theo Graham (Prince McQueen and Hunter McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Single Episode
Eva and Aidan’s wedding debacle (Coronation Street)
‘Stop All The Clocks’ (Doctors)
Max’s last stand (EastEnders)
Cain and Faith flashback (Emmerdale)
Three Mothers, Three Daughters (Hollyoaks)

Best Comedy Performance
Louiza Patikas (Moira Pollock, Coronation Street)
Ian Midlane (Al Haskey, Doctors)
Nitin Ganatra (Masood Ahmed, EastEnders)
Sally Dexter (Faith Dingle, Emmerdale)
Nicole Barber-Lane (Myra McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Scene of the Year
The grooming of Bethany (Coronation Street)
Bollywood proposal (Doctors)
Lauren and Abi’s rooftop fall (EastEnders)
Emma meets her fate (Emmerdale)
Scott’s suicide note (Hollyoaks)

The winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award and The Tony Warren Award will be announced on the night.

The British Soap Awards 2018 will be held at London’s Hackney Empire on Saturday, June 2 and will air live on ITV for the first time in the ceremony’s history.

CORRIE TO AIR MALE SUICIDE STORYLINE NEXT WEEK 33

Coronation Street is to highlight the important issue of male suicide when Aidan Connor tragically takes his own life.

In episodes to be screened the week of May 7th viewers will hear that Johnny Connor has discovered his son’s body at his Victoria Street flat, after Aidan failed to turn up for work at the factory.

As the news of what Aidan has done spreads, his devastated family and friends try to come to terms with the shock of their loss and begin to question why they hadn’t spotted any signs that he was struggling to cope with life.

Viewers will last see Aidan on screen on Monday 7th May when he goes to see Eva at the cottage where she is living after giving birth to baby Susie, before returning to a family party at the Rovers. His final scene will see him back at his flat alone. No element of the suicide will be shown on screen.

Johnny makes the devastating discovery at the beginning of an hour long episode on May 9th.

Actor Shayne Ward, the writers and production team, have worked closely with charities Samaritans and CALM to ensure the storyline is handled sensitively and realistically.

Shayne Ward said: “I am honoured to have been trusted with a storyline like this, it shows the confidence that Kate and the team had in me to be able to play it. When you get given a storyline like this it is a decision that is not taken lightly, I have played it with as much honesty and truth as I could. I am very proud of what I have done in my three years on the show and on this storyline in particular.

“Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story.”

“Talking could have helped Aidan to turn his life around. It could have brought him relief from what he was going through. This is what his loved ones would have wanted. Suicide is a very permanent response to what are usually temporary problems.

“We all know someone who has maybe felt like Aidan did, someone who found it hard to talk and we have all heard stories like Aidan’s when it was too late, when people looked back and wished they had spotted the signs, but it isn’t always possible. If we can encourage someone who is feeling low, who is having the sort of thoughts Aidan was having, to realise they need to talk, then we have achieved what we set out to with this story.”

Aidan’s devastated family and friends try to come to terms with the shock of their loss.

Coronation Street Producer Kate Oates said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can’t afford to not talk about it.

“Aidan’s story, bravely and brilliantly tackled by Shayne Ward, is designed to give people who hide their feelings of desperation a chance to start a conversation, letting someone know what they’re going through. Through this story, we want to assure anyone who feels suicidal that there is always someone who wants to listen and support you: whether a friend, family member, or one of the brilliant charities we have been working with throughout this story.”

Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans, said: “We were pleased that Coronation Street invited us to work with them on Aidan’s storyline. Suicide is clearly a very sensitive topic and one that presents some distinct challenges for producers of soaps. This is why Samaritans publishes media guidance and works with programme makers.

“Soaps can play an incredibly powerful role in increasing people’s awareness and understanding of difficult issues. Viewers will see the devastating impact of suicide and the effect that it has on families – it’s never the case that others would be better off without you.

“By illustrating the dangers of staying silent when it feels like life’s challenges are overwhelming, we hope others who are struggling will be encouraged to reach out for support. And, if viewers are worried about someone else, we hope it will inspire them to be brave and open up a conversation.

“You won’t make things worse, but you could start that person on the road to recovery.”

Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, said: “Coronation Street is doing vital work in highlighting such an important issue with this storyline. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, where three in every four suicides are male. The reasons for this are many and complex, but at CALM we focus on the cultural and societal aspects, including the pressures men face and how societal expectations can limit help seeking when life gets tough.

“Working with Coronation Street has allowed us to engage a huge audience in the devastating effect of suicide, while providing a platform to highlight the help that is available for those in need of support.”

Aidan’s final episodes will air the week beginning Monday 7th May.