Television Car expert and ex Top Gear/The Grand Tour star Richard Hammond and a bunch of his houseguests were gassed and robbed in the South of France, this according to Hammond’s wife, who was also there.

Sunday Express columnist Mindy Hammond told the outlet Sunday that she, Richard and a large group of friends staying with them had been burgled recently while staying at a villa in Saint Tropez — after she believes they were all knocked out with anaesthetic gas.

She says the terrifying experience went down over a weekend, in which 15 guests — herself, Richard and their teenage daughter included — woke up one morning to find that everyone’s wallet and purses had been ransacked of cash, not to mention their kid’s watch.

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With credits including appearances in The Leftovers and The Resident to her name, it was her role of Jessie Quick in the smash-hit CW series The Flash that saw Violett Beane truly come to global attention. She’s currently starring in the CBS show God Friended Me and with a secret film project lined up, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with the talented actress to discuss her early career ambitions, what she does with her downtime and her support of environmental and animal causes.

TITL: You fell in love with performing while in middle and high school, but prior to that, did you have any other career ambitions? What was and is it about acting and performing that makes you so passionate about it?

Violett Beane: I wanted to open a bakery! I love baking and creating recipes. I might still do that someday, you never know! I was raised in Austin, Texas which is where I really found my creative side. I went to an arts high school that technically you had to apply for, and I was in theatre for a long time. I just loved acting and performing. When it came to senior year, I realized I didn’t really want to go to college necessarily at that point in time. So I decided to commit fully to my passion and I found a local agent in Austin and just started sending in taped auditions for film and television.

TITL: You’re perhaps best known for your role of Jesse Quick on The Flash. Looking back, do you have any favourite memories of being on set and what impact did being part of such a successful show have on you both personally and professionally?

VB: One of my favorite memories was my very first day on set. I was so nervous but luckily, the scene was with Tom Cavanagh and he was so nice and really helped me that first day.

The biggest impact was just honestly how much I learned. You learn something different from every set but with The Flash, I was really just learning the basics and what it meant to be on a high-production television show and working with that great cast and crew. Also, the fans were just so supportive and loyal from Day 1 and that has been so amazing to experience.

TITL: You’ve also starred in The Leftovers and The Resident, as well as featured alongside Lucy Hale in the film Truth Or Dare. How important to you is it that you’re able to take on a varied number of roles, and how much character prep do you tend to do for each?

VB: Very important! I want to learn and experience new situations and expand my craft with each role and I have been very lucky so far to be able to have that chance. As far as prep, I do research before each role. For example with The Flash, I went right away to a local comic book store in Austin and bought as many comics with Jesse Quick as I could.

TITL: What’s been the highlight of your professional career so far?

VB: Very hard question! But I have to say that putting on the super suit as Jesse Quick for the first time was crazy to experience! It’s not every day you get to be a superhero.

TITL: Your new show, God Friended Me premiered fairly recently and was picked up for a full season by CBS. What drew you to audition for the show and the part of Cara? What can you tell me about your character?

VB: Well when I was auditioning during pilot season last year, I was reading a ton of scripts and going in multiple times a day for things. It was honestly one of the only ones that I read that really left me feeling uplifted and positive at the end of it. I think with the world we’re in right now, we kind of need something like this.

God Friended Me is about an atheist who gets friended by someone calling themselves God on Facebook. He ignores the request because he doesn’t believe in God and he thinks someone is messing with him. Eventually he accepts it and he starts getting these friend suggestions for people. He sort of ends up being a change in their lives. I play Cara Bloom, she’s an online journalist and she ends up being one of the friend suggestions that Miles gets. In the pilot, you see that she struggles with the fact that her mother left when she was really young. She came to New York in search of her and she’s actually found her, but she doesn’t really know how to take the next step. That’s when Miles and the God account enter. Then she decides to stick around after they’ve helped her. Each week, there is a new “friend suggestion”.

TITL: What would you say makes God Friended Me different from the many other shows out there and how would you sum it up in a few words? What is its unique selling point?

VB: I think the show is very uplifting and ultimately is about inclusivity and connectivity and it does this by showing different beliefs and lifestyles.

TITL: If you could appear in any other show, past or present, which would it be and why?

VB: There’s so many great shows! But what immediately comes to mind right now is Orphan Black. That show was so amazing and it’s a dream to someday work with Tatiana Maslany. Also, I am currently obsessed with Killing Eve. I can’t wait for season 2!

TITL: Are there any other upcoming projects you can tell me about or are you just waiting for the next ‘right’ role to come along?

VB: Right now God Friended Me is keeping me pretty busy and I will be shooting the series until spring. But I am also going to be shooting a film next year. I can’t talk details yet but I think fans will be really excited once the news gets out.

TITL: Away from acting, you’re passionate about environmental and animal causes such as Meatless Mondays, and have partnered with PETA for a campaign. How important do you feel it is for people with a platform such as yourself in particular, to use said platform to speak up about the issues that matter to them, and do you wish more individuals would do the same?

VB: With my social media and in life, I don’t try to force my beliefs on people but rather try to start the conversation. I have learned people have a lot of opinions and they’re often times fear base opinions. When I did the PETA campaign, I got a lot of comments from people saying, ‘Why do you have to shove this down our throats? Why are you putting this in front of us?’ Some people are very passionate when they feel that something is going to be taken away from them and fear is what drives negativity, I believe. It is a defense mechanism and I feel that once we are able to break that wall and be open and just have a conversation, things could be better. So spreading awareness is the biggest key and I just want people to not go blindly into their choices.

TITL: Finally then, given that filming and performing can be tiring, especially with long shoots, what do you like to do for down-time? Do you have a favourite vacation spot or one particular hobby you indulge in?

VB: I bake! I love creating yummy vegan and gluten-free donuts, cookies, brownies. You name it! And of course, spending time with my bunny, Milo, and puppy, Kora. I also love traveling and my favorite place so far has been Thailand.

God Friended Me is airing Sundays on CBS and you can keep up to date with Violett by following her on Twitter and Instagram. Header photo credit: Storm Santos.


With a career that spans both stage and screen, Luke Guldan is certainly no stranger to the entertainment business and 2018 has been and continues to be a busy and fulfilling one for the talented performer. His new show Tell Me A Story premiered last month and ThisIsTheLatest caught up with him to chat all things TV, keeping fit, and his advice for upcoming actors.

TITL: You’ve been performing on both stage and screen for a number of years now. Do you still feel that rush of excitement and passion you did when you first started out and exactly what is it about performing that you’re so drawn to passionate about?

Luke Guldan: For sure. The passion continues to evolve and grow. I have a great appreciation for film and expression. I’m not so drawn to performing exactly but more so the becoming / creating aspect, being immersed in that and so, being less aware of the actual performing.

TITL: Your latest show, Tell Me A Story premiered last month. For those who haven’t seen or heard of it yet, what can they expect from the series and how would you sum up your character Billy?

LG: Tell Me A Story is airing now on CBS All Access and it’s suspenseful, thrilling, fun, exciting, tragic, epic – typical Kevin Williams! Billy is a guy who’s trying to make his way in a tough city – and enjoying every minute of it.

TITL: What was it like working alongside Paul Wesley, Kim Cattrall and James Wolk? What would you say they’ve each most brought to the show?

LG: It’s always a great privilege to be involved in a project with such high-level and accomplished talent. I think each brings a wealth of experience, a huge fan base and a lot of range.

TITL: You’ve also starred in hit shows including Gossip Girl and Law & Order: SVU. Do you have any highlights/favourite memories from your time on those shows?

LG: Having strong roots in NYC – just having the opportunity to work on SVU and have that credit, is a huge highlight in itself. It’s one of those shows that has been around forever and so many great NYC actors have been on it – it’s kind of a seal of approval.

TITL: Your CV is testament to how versatile an actor and performer you are, but just how important to you is it that you’re able to take on a varied number of roles, and with that in mind, what kind of role, that you haven’t had yet, would you most like to? Is there a particular TV series or film franchise you’d love to appear in?

LG: The Avengers– rumor has it Captain America might be passing on the shield. So definitely going to take this opportunity to throw my hat in for that. I’m ready to suit up.

TITL: You’re returning to The Good Place. Without giving too much away, what can you say about what’s ahead for your character in episode 8 and do you know much as to where the series will go as a whole?

LG: It’s going to be forkin’ awesome. Trust.

TITL: With such a varied and lengthy resume, this might be a difficult question for you to answer, but what’s been the highlight of your professional career so far?

LG: I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great opportunities and experiences – but a highlight would definitely have to be ripping a suit off in front of Kristen Bell and Ted Danson – at the same time! Winning.

TITL: Given your busy TV and film schedule, do you have any plans to return to the stage, and which production would you most like to have a part in?

LG: Totally – a few favorite plays are 4000 Miles, All My Sons, and Sweet Bird of Youth.

TITL: Are there any other upcoming projects you can tell me about or are you just waiting for the next ‘right’ role to come along?

LG: I just finished working on a Sci-Fi action adventure film called Final Frequency that I’m excited about. I play a deaf veteran battling with PTSD. It should hopefully have an early 2019 release date.

TITL: Away from acting, you’re an accomplished athlete. How, if at all, does your passion for health and fitness tie in to your performing work? Do you find that keeping fit as you do enables you to work, and feel, better both personally and professionally?

LG: In performance, you use what you have – so without your health you have nothing. Maintaining a healthy body, mind and soul is a vital part of my life and definitely influences the work I do and the opportunities presented to me.

TITL: How do you like to unwind after busy day or hectic few months on a film/TV set?

LG: I thrive when I’m working or creating – so I don’t do too much unwinding. I’m more of an active recovery kind of person. Going to the gym is usually the “unwind.”

TITL: The entertainment business is, it can be argued, fickle and cut-throat, so what advice would you give to those just starting out in it and looking to make their mark? What one trait would you say they most need to have in order to succeed?

LG: Focus on the positive and have fun. A good sense of humor.

TITL: Finally then, given all that you’ve done so far in terms of your career, what’s left for you to tick off on your personal/professional bucket lists? At what point would you be content to walk away from this business believing you’d achieved all you wanted to, and more?

LG: I feel like I’m just getting started. And there’s always more to accomplish.

Tell Me A Story is airing now on CBS All Access. For more information on Luke Guldan, visit his website or follow him on Twitter. Header photo credit: Richard Gerst.