JOE MINOSO TALKS THE ‘CHICAGO FIRE’ MID-SEASON FINALE & WHAT 2019 HAS IN STORE 0 123

Having been acting since he was a teenager, Joe Minoso is no stranger to entertaining audiences, but it’s his role as firefighter Joe Cruz on the hugely successful series Chicago Fire that’s brought him to trans-Atlantic attention and earned him a growing army of fans and supporters. With the show airing its mid-season finale tonight, ThisIsTheLatest spoke to Joe about what fans can expect from the exciting episode, the many shows he’d love – and would have loved – to appear in and his advice for aspiring actors.

TITL: What is it about acting and performing that you enjoy so much? Do you still get that thrill and rush that you used to when you first started out?

Joe Minoso: Especially in television, I appreciate that there’s new stuff thrown at you all the time. As an actor, I think you get joy in figuring out the puzzle of being a character that is always evolving… Some days it can feel like you’re dealing with the drudge of any 9 to 5 job. But there are always days, even seven years later, where you can’t help but feel the electricity in the room.

TITL: Have you ever thought about taking up another career, or has it always just been about acting for you? 

JM: I have been acting since I was 15 years old and it’s always been my first love. I’ve recently started looking into directing. But if I weren’t an actor, I would probably be an editor. I think it’s probably the most fascinating part of what we do. It’s amazing how many things get dictated in the editing room.

TITL: What do you think it is about Chicago Fire that keeps fans so interested in the show? What’s its selling point?

JM: I think that family is the one thing that sets Chicago Fire a part, even from the other Chicago shows, and also our blend of action and comedy. First responders, firefighters and paramedics specifically, see some of the most horrific things you could ever see as a human. Because of that, they find themselves goofing off and finding excuses to laugh as often as possible. We strive to translate that on screen with every episode. I think that’s a quintessential part of the show, always being there to make each other laugh in the face of gruesome circumstances.

TITL: What first interested you in the role of Joe Cruz and how have you enjoyed his character arc and development as the show has gone on? 

JM: I was interested in any role that I can get when I got the role of Joe Cruz. I was just lucky enough to be hired. His name was originally Timothy Haze when I auditioned. Once I got the role, they changed the name to Joe Cruz. I would say if the character has evolved in anyway it would be more lighthearted than they originally planned. And maybe less of a ladies man.

TITL: The mid-season finale of the show is today, Wednesday 5th. Without obviously giving anything away, is there anything you can tease fans about what to expect from the episode in general and your character’s part in it?

JM: It’s actually a pretty big episode for Cruz. A girl he’s been seeing pretty seriously is involved in a major car crash. So the episode becomes about the emotional journey for Cruz as he has to navigate whether or not she will survive and also meeting her parents for the first time.

TITL: Any fun stories you can share from set this season? 

JM: I can say that Yuriy, along with my wife, planned a surprise party for my 40th birthday this year. Pretty much everyone from Fire and many people from the other Chicago shows were there. It was an incredible day filled with a treasure hunt, that led me to places from my past in the city. It ended with an incredible party at the Flamingo Rum Club with a Cuban band and dancers and drinks named after me. It really was insanely special.

TITL: You’ve also appeared in Shameless, Prison Break and Man of Steel, among several other big projects. Do you have any favourite memories or moments from your time on those sets?

JM: I just think it’s pretty funny when people ask me about Man of Steel and how impressed they are that I worked on that movie. I worked for one day, I am literally a blur on screen in that film. But it was incredible to be on such a big budget set. It was slightly overwhelming to see just how many people it took to take on an endeavor of that size. We were filming a major scene where a building basically falls on a bunch of citizens. I got to work with Laurence Fishburne. Tremendous experience.

TITL: Of the many projects you’ve been a part of, which might you say you’re most proud of? 

JM: Chicago Fire. I’ve had the opportunity to do the most varied work of my career on this show. I think Cruz is a really good guy with a big heart and that’s a lot of fun to play.

TITL: If you could appear in any other TV series, past or present, and not including the ‘Chicago’ group of shows, which would it be and why? 

JM: So many! The Wire, The Office, Breaking Bad, Westworld, Stranger Things, One Day At A Time, and Game of Thrones. I think the main reason for any of them is because they do amazing work in whatever regardless of genres. Whether comedy or drama or action, I consider them the pinnacle of what they do and it would be tremendously exciting to be a part of something like that.

TITL: Away from the screen, you’re involved with many charities and organizations notably Shriners Hospital For Children, the Salvation Army and WWF. How important is it to you that you’re able to give back and help the communities and people around you less fortunate than yourself, and speak out about issues that are important to you? Would you like to see more people in the public eye do the same? 

JM: I recognize that this job has given me something of a small platform where I can highlight causes that are important to me. I think it’s important for anyone who has a means to communicate with a large portion of the world, to be responsible and try to make that world a better place. Anything that I can be involved with that is helping children, or first responders is at the top of my priorities right now. I also recently lost my mother to a battle with cancer. So I have been trying to focus on cancer organizations that are working on raising money and awareness. The way I see it, if you have a pretty good lot in life, you have to reach out and help those who don’t.

TITL: Being on such a demanding show such as Chicago Fire must take a toll, so how do you unwind after a long shoot or hectic filming schedule comes to an end?

JM: My wife and I are big-time homebodies. We love to sit on the couch and either watch TV or listen to music or play board games. I would say during hiatus though, we try and take advantage of traveling when we can. My wife loves the outdoors and has turned me into something of a nature lover myself. we do our best to find waterfalls wherever we can.

TITL: What advice would you give to anyone just starting out in the entertainment business? Is there anything you wish you’d been told, or comment/piece of advice you always come back to and reflect on? 

JM: Be true to yourself. Be confident in your art.  Arrive prepared but ready to play. Be a professional but also a friend.

TITL: Are there any other projects in the pipeline you can tell me about? 

JM: Fire takes up a lot of the year but I’ve been meeting with writers about directing something, and I’m currently working on a pilot script with Christian Stolti and Yuri Sardarov. Just laying foundations for a future project.

TITL: Finally then, the holidays are just around the corner, as is 2019. What are your plans for the festive period and what does the new year have in store for you personally and professionally? 

JM: Spending time with the family. And resting as much as possible. I’m excited to have this year over with!  It was a rough year for me personally and I am happy to have the opportunity for a reset. Things feel like they are in an upswing though.  I’m very excited to have recently signed on with Abrams Artist and the opportunities that will bring. I look forward to cultivating a path forward with them and hope to see big things happen in 2019!

The mid-season finale of Chicago Fire airs tonight at 9/8c on NBC in the US and you can follow Joe on Twitter. Header photo credit: Brant Brogan.

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2019 GRAMMY WINNERS ANNOUNCED 0 18

Dua Lipa, Kacey Musgraves and Childish Gambino were among the big winners at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Country-pop star Musgraves took home four prizes in total, including Album of the Year for Golden Hour. The singer-songwriter, who bagged the top prize over the likes of Cardi B, Drake and Janelle Monae, thanked her “sweet husband” during her acceptance speech, who she met and fell in love with during the recording of the collection.

Musgraves also picked up awards for Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance for Butterflies and Best Country Song for Space Cowboy. Golden Hour is the singer’s first Top 10 on the Official UK Albums Chart, debuting at Number 6 upon its released last April.

Meanwhile, Dua Lipa won Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording for her Silk City collaboration Electricity. The singer thanked her fans, “who have allowed me to be the best version of myself.”

Lipa also paid tribute to the “many female artists” in the category, adding: “I guess this year we’ve really stepped up”. The comment was a not-so-subtle dig at Grammys president Neil Portnow, who last year brushed off criticism of the lack of female winners by saying women needed to “step up” in order to be considered.

Elsewhere, Childish Gambino won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year for This Is America, and Lady Gaga picked up prizes for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Duo Performance, the latter for Bradley Cooper duet Shallow from A Star Is Born.

Here are the winners and nominees from the 2019 Grammy Awards:
Album Of The Year — Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
Record Of The Year — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best New Artist — Dua Lipa
Best Rap Album — Invasion Of Privacy, Cardi B
Best R&B Album — H.E.R., H.E.R.
Best Rap Song — “God’s Plan,” Drake
Best Country Album — Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
Song Of The Year — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance — “Shallow,” Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical — Pharrell Williams
Best Rap/Sung Performance — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Rap Performance — King’s Dead, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake / Bubblin, Anderson .Paak
Best Rock Album — From The Fires, Greta Van Fleet
Best Rock Song — “Masseduction” St. Vincent
Best Metal Performance — Electric Messiah, High On Fire
Best Rock Performance — When Bad Does Good, Chris Cornell
Best Urban Contemporary Album — Everything Is Love, The Carters
Best R&B Song — “Boo’d Up,” Ella Mai
Best Traditional R&B Performance — Bet Ain’t Worth The Hand, Leon Bridges / How Deep Is Your Love, Pj Morton Featuring Yebba
Best R&B Performance — Best Part H.E.R. Featuring Daniel Caesar
Best Latin Jazz Album — Back To The Sunset, Dafnis Prieto Big Band
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album — American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom, John Daversa Big Band Featuring Daca Artists
Best Jazz Instrumental Album — Emanon, The Wayne Shorter Quartet
Best Jazz Vocal Album — The Window, Cécile Mclorin Salvant
Best Improvised Jazz Solo — Don’t Fence Me In, John Daversa
Best Reggae Album — 44/876, Sting & Shaggy
Best Dance/Electronic Album — Woman Worldwide, Justice
Best Dance Recording — Electricity, Silk City & Dua Lipa Featuring Diplo & Mark Ronson
Best Contemporary Classical Composition — Kernis: Violin Concerto, James Ehnes, Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony
Best Classical Compendium — Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems Of Life; Glacier; Rush, Joann Falletta
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album — Songs Of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’india & Landi, Karim Sulayman
Best Classical Instrumental Solo — Kernis: Violin Concerto, James Ehnes
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance — Anderson, Laurie: Landfall, Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet
Best Choral Performance — Mcloskey: Zealot Canticles, Donald Nally
Best Opera Recording — Bates: The (R)Evolution Of Steve Jobs, Michael Christie, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edward Parks & Jessica E. Jones
Best Orchestral Performance — Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11, Andris Nelsons
Producer Of The Year, Classical — Blanton Alspaugh
Best Engineered Album, Classical — Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11, Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra
Best Pop Vocal Album — Sweetener, Ariana Grande
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album — My Way, Willie Nelson
Best Pop Solo Performance — Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?), Lady Gaga
Best Country Song — “Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Country Duo/Group Performance — Tequila, Dan + Shay
Best Country Solo Performance — “Butterflies,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Music Film — Quincy, Quincy Jones
Best Music Video — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Regional Roots Music Album — No ‘Ane’I, Kalani Pe’a
Best Tropical Latin Album — Anniversary, Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) — ¡México Por Siempre!, Luis Miguel
Best Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album — Aztlán, Zoé
Best Latin Pop Album — Sincera, Claudia Brant
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) — Faith – A Journey For All, Jimmy Carter
Best Children’s Album — All The Sounds, Lucy Kalantari & The Jazz Cats
Best Folk Album — All Ashore, Punch Brothers
Best Contemporary Blues Album — Please Don’t Be Dead, Fantastic Negrito
Best Traditional Blues Album — The Blues Is Alive And Well, Buddy Guy
Best Bluegrass Album — The Travelin’ Mccourys, The Travelin’ Mccourys
Best Americana Album — By The Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile
Best American Roots Song — The Joke, Brandi Carlile
Best American Roots Performance — The Joke, Brandi Carlile
Best New Age Album — Opium Moon, Opium Moon
Best Song Written For Visual Media — “Shallow,” Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media — Black Panther, Ludwig Göransson
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media — The Greatest Showman, Hugh Jackman (& Various Artists)
Best World Music Album — Freedom, Soweto Gospel Choir
Best Roots Gospel Album — Unexpected, Jason Crabb
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album — Look Up Child, Lauren Daigle
Best Gospel Album — Hiding Place, Tori Kelly
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song — “You Say,” Lauren Daigle
Best Gospel Performance/Song — “Never Alone,” Tori Kelly Featuring Kirk Franklin
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album — Steve Gadd Band, Steve Gadd Band
Best Immersive Audio Album — Eye In The Sky – 35th Anniversary Edition, The Alan Parsons Project
Best Remixed Recording — “Walking Away (Mura Masa Remix),” Haim
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical — Colors, Beck
Best Historical Album — Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris
Best Album Notes — Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris
Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package — Squeeze Box: The Complete Works Of “Weird Al” Yankovic, Weird Al Yankovic
Best Recording Package — Masseduction, St. Vincent
Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals — “Spiderman Theme,” Randy Waldman Featuring Take 6 & Chris Potter
Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella — “Stars And Stripes Forever,” John Daversa Big Band Featuring Daca Artists
Best Instrumental Composition — Blut Und Boden (Blood And Soil), Terence Blanchard
Best Alternative Music Album — “Colors,” Beck
Best Musical Theater Album — The Band’s Visit, Original Broadway Cast
Best Comedy Album — Equanimity & The Bird Revelation, Dave Chappelle

HUGH JACKMAN TO PERFORM AT THE 2019 BRIT AWARDS 0 25

We are so excited to announce that multi award-winning actor and performer Hugh Jackman is set to open the show with a performance from the global musical sensation The Greatest Showman.

This show-stopping BRITs performance will be under the creative direction of Michael Gracey, the film’s director.

Hugh Jackman has carved a successful career both on stage in front of live crowds. From his award-winning turn on Broadway as the 1970s singer/songwriter Peter Allen, to Wolverine in the blockbuster X-Men franchise, he has proven to be one of the most versatile actors of our time. Jackman garnered his first Academy Award® nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables, and his standout performance as protagonist Jean Valjean also earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical, as well as SAG Award® nominations for both Best Ensemble and Best Male Actor in a leading role, and a BAFTA Award nomination. Most recently, he was nominated for his role as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman. His ‘The Man, The Music, The Show’ World Tour will kick off this May, which includes five nights at The O2 Arena, London.

The Greatest Showman has taken the world by storm since its theatrical release at the end of 2017, hitting the top spot in the UK by early 2018 and becoming the most purchased home entertainment release after Avengers Infinity War and Star Wars The Last Jedi.

The film’s soundtrack, composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, was the UK’s best selling album of last year, topping the charts in several countries including the US, Australia, UK and Japan and reaching No. 1 on iTunes in over 70 countries. The 5x Platinum certified soundtrack has to date sold over 5.4 million records worldwide, with 1.77 million sold in the UK, and is the second album in 30 years to spend 11 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the UK, equalling the record set by Adele for her album ‘21’, and was the longest running soundtrack at No. 1 in 50 years. ‘This is Me’, taken from the soundtrack, won a Golden Globe for ‘Best Original Song’ and was nominated for an Academy Award; the soundtrack was also up for two GRAMMY awards, and last night was announced as winner of Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.

BRITs Chairman and Chairman & CEO of Sony Music UK and Ireland Jason lley said:
“We are delighted to welcome the Golden Globe and Tony Award winning superstar Hugh Jackman to the BRITs stage this month with a performance that is set to be nothing short of spectacular. The Greatest Showman soundtrack dominated the charts in 2018 breaking records all over the world as well as here in the UK. It’s only fitting that the UK’s biggest celebration of musical successes should be kicked off with a performance from the biggest selling album in the UK of the last year.”

The Greatest Showman is the latest performance to be revealed for The BRITs, following the announcements of P!nk, Calvin Harris with Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Rag’n’Bone Man, Jess Glynne with H.E.R., The 1975, George Ezra, Little Mix with Ms Banks and Jorja Smith for the UK’s biggest night in music.

The BRIT Awards 2019 with Mastercard take place Wednesday 20th February at The O2 Arena, London, broadcast exclusively on ITV and hosted by Jack Whitehall. Clara Amfo and Alice Levine will be back to host this year’s Red Carpet show on ITV2 on the night of the awards for the third year running.