JOE MINOSO TALKS THE ‘CHICAGO FIRE’ MID-SEASON FINALE & WHAT 2019 HAS IN STORE 0 140

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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BRIT AWARDS 2019 WINNERS REVEALED 0 47

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BRITs 2019 WINNERS
Tonight we celebrated the achievements of British and international artists and musicians over the last year, live on ITV from The O2 Arena, London!

Jack Whitehall was back on hosting duties for the second year to present an exceptional night of entertainment for the 12,000 arena guests and the millions watching from home. A grand total of 13 awards – designed by acclaimed architect Sir David Adjaye – were handed out during the show.

Presenters on the night included: Paloma Faith, Annie Mac, Suki Waterhouse, Khalid, Jared Leto, Liam Payne and Winnie Harlow.

Multi-award winning actor and performer Hugh Jackman kicked off proceedings with a dazzling rendition of ‘The Greatest Show’ from the global music sensation The Greatest Showman, resplendent with over 100 circus-themed dancers. Calvin Harris made his BRITs debut with a collaboration with Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Rag’n’Bone Man, and the show also hosted performances from George Ezra, Jorja Smith, Jess Glynne with H.E.R., Little Mix with Ms Banks and The 1975. P!nk closed the show with an incredible four song medley following the presentation of her Outstanding Contribution to Music award.

Winning British Group for the second time, The 1975 also added the much coveted Mastercard British Album of the Year award to their BRIT tally, for their third No. 1 album A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships.

A true ‘Giant’ of British music, Calvin Harris bagged his first ever BRIT awards, having been nominated 16 times in the last ten years. Winning British Single, along with Dua Lipa, for their No.1 smash hit ‘One Kiss’, the multi-million selling DJ was also honoured with Best British Producer, in acknowledgment of his immense chart topping success over the past twelve months, collaborating with some of the biggest artists in the world and responsible for some of the biggest hits of the last decade.

More BRITs firsts on the night saw a win for George Ezra for British Male Solo Artist and Tom Walker in British Breakthrough Act, the latter a public vote. Rising star Jorja Smith, who won the Critics’ Choice award in 2018, came away with British Female Solo Artist.

The BRITs Global Success award, identified by global sales success of a British artist, was awarded to Ed Sheeran for a second year, continuing to celebrate the phenomenal success of his third album Divide – certified sales alone account for 10.5 million, and overall Ed has sold an estimated 150 million records to date.

Ariana Grande was announced as Best International Female and Drake won his second BRIT award for Best International Male. Best International Group went to The Carters, their first as a group – although Beyonce and Jay Z have both won BRIT awards as individuals previously.

British Artist Video of the Year was once again determined by public social vote and this year the winner was Little Mix for ‘Woman Like Me’, which the girls performed earlier in the show.

WINNERS & SPEECHES

BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST – GEORGE EZRA (PRESENTED BY DANIEL STURRIDGE & PALOMA FAITH)

BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST – JORJA SMITH (PRESENTED BY H.E.R. & NILE RODGERS)

BRITISH GROUP – THE 1975 (PRESENTED BY NATALIE DORMER & VICKY McCLURE)

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT – TOM WALKER (PRESENTED BY ALICE LEVINE & CLARA AMFO)

INTERNATIONAL GROUP – THE CARTERS (PRESENTED BY JACK WHITEHALL)

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST – DRAKE (PRESENTED BY JACK WHITEHALL)

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST – ARIANA GRANDE (PRESENTED BY JACK WHITEHALL)

BRITs GLOBAL SUCCESS AWARD – ED SHEERAN (PRESENTED BY ABBEY CLANCY & ROMAN KEMP)

BRITISH ARTIST VIDEO OF THE YEAR – “WOMAN LIKE ME” BY LITTLE MIX FEATURING NICKI MINAJ (PRESENTED BY BROS)

BRITISH PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – CALVIN HARRIS (PRESENTED BY ANNIE MAC & SUKI WATERHOUSE)

BRITISH SINGLE – “ONE KISS” BY CALVIN HARRIS & DUA LIPA (PRESENTED BY LIAM PAYNE & WINNIE HARLOW)

MASTERCARD BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR – “A BRIEF INQUIRY INTO ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS” BY THE 1975 (PRESENTED BY JARED LETO)

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC – P!NK (PRESENTED BY KHALID)

HOLBY CITY & CASUALTY CROSSOVER ANNOUNCED FOR MARCH 0 61

For the first time since 2005, the cast of Holby City and Casualty will join forces for a two-part crossover special on BBC One as the staff of the emergency department and the wards come together when Holby City Hospital is plunged into chaos.

Characters from both series will interact as their storylines are intertwined across the two dramatic, action-packed episodes.

A major cyber-attack plunges Holby into blackout and disables most of the hospital’s automated monitoring equipment. At the same time Sacha (Bob Barrett) is in a car crash which injures his daughter Bekka (Francesca Barrett) and Ric’s (Hugh Quarshie) granddaughter Darla (Naomi Katiyo), one of whom might be pregnant. Fighting a different battle amongst the chaos, Connie (Amanda Mealing) is left to save the life of a member of her own team with surgery. As Sasha’s injuries become apparent Jac (Rosie Marcel) comes to his rescue and is ready to operate but with only one theatre available in the blackout, Connie and Jac have to make the impossible decision of which of their friends to try and save first.

Simon Harper, Executive Producer of Holby City and Casualty, says: “We’ve known for some time there’s been major audience appetite for a mega crossover between these sister shows, so that’s exactly what we are serving up! You’ll see both the Casualty and Holby teams striving heroically against the odds in two episodes of pure, nail-biting, taut, emotional medical drama. I’m quite literally in awe of Michelle Lipton’s writing achievement and Steve Brett’s direction in pulling off this double, and so proud of both the Cardiff Casualty and Elstree Holby crews and casts in making the mind boggling logistics work, quite aside from their creative wizardry. There’s so much to relish in the cross-show character interactions: an especially poignant thematic resonance between two regulars, Connie and Jac in delicious conflict, and perhaps most vitally, who from Casualty has been secretly carrying on with whom from Holby!”

The crossover will begin during Casualty on Saturday 2 March and will conclude during Holby City on Tuesday 5 March on BBC One.

Throughout 2019, Holby City is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a host of guest appearances from previous Holby characters and fan favourites across the year. Amanda Mealing will be the latest returner in the crossover, coming back to her old stomping ground in Holby as Connie Beauchamp.