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A Dog's Way Home, pets, Lola, kid's crafts, art

Are you a dog person? Is your furbaby showered with love and adoration? Do you have a special voice you use to greet your four-legged friend when you get home? No shame in our game, we definitely do. We love our Lola. She truly is one of the family. I don’t know what we’d do without her and all the joy she brings with her happy tail wagging and dog kisses.

Lola was a Christmas gift for our family to ourselves after a particularly hard year. In 2012, we suffered a miscarriage and lost our first fur baby, Saffaron. We were gutted. There was so much upheaval in our lives from the losses and so much love in our hearts that needed to be given and had no place to go.

The girls had been begging for a pet to fill our dog-sized hole in our hearts. It feels weird now to think that one goes to a place to “buy” a pet, especially since they are so much an integral part of our family’s story.

Lola was like salve to our hearts. She is our constant companion and loves our daughters as fiercely as we do. When I work at my desk (or on the couch or from my bed), Lola is always beside me. When the girls are sick, she sits by them until they are well. When the Big Guy has had a particularly bad day, she knows and she lays her head in his lap and soothes his soul.

I can’t even imagine a world without Lola in it. Who knew you could love a four-legged friend as much as you love human family? But how could you not, they are always there to make the world a better place.

Gabi wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up and she has a particularly special relationship with Lola. She calls her, “my sister” and she means it. In a lot of ways, Lola has healed us as a family and there is nothing we will ever be able to do to repay her for that. For now, we love her with all that we’ve got and she does the same in return.

Gabs painted a canvas of Lola to put on her wall in her bedroom and it is adorable. I think this is a great activity for all kids to do. It gave Gabs some one-on-one time with Lola and now, she has this sweet memory of the day her and Lola sat together for an hour as she tried to get her sweet face just right. I love it. I want one for the wall in my office.

A Dog’s Way Home chronicles the heartwarming family adventure of Bella, a dog who embarks on an epic 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her beloved human. A Dog’s Way Home is based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron with an all-star cast including Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi and Bryce Dallas Howard.

“Finding Bella” takes us on the journey of a dog trying to get back to her owner. Bryce Dallas Howard, the voice of Bella, shares the story of how Shelby the dog was rescued and goes on a journey of her own. Discover Shelby’s epic adventure as she finds her forever home and new life purpose as a therapy dog.

A Dog’s Way Home In Theaters January 11, 2019

 

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Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

Today is the day that we’ve all been waiting for Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters! I mean who doesn’t remember growing up watching Mary Poppins nanny the Banks children and secretly wishing we all had a Mary, of our own, to use a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down? I can’t wait to see Mary Poppins float into the scene with her iconic umbrella.

And who didn’t want to take a jolly holiday with Mary and Bert? I’m pretty sure that I’ve known all the words to the entire soundtrack since I was a small child. If we’re being completely honest, I’m halfway through learning all the lyrics to the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms

When I became a mom myself, Mary Poppins was one of the first Disney movies that I wanted to share with my little girls. I can still hear tiny toddler voices singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at the top of their lungs, as they penguin walked all around the living room.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

Mary has always been a part of our family. So you can only imagine how excited we are for the latest installment of the Mary Poppins series, Mary Poppins Returns. Did I mention that it stars Emily Blunt, one of my favorite actresses, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Hit Broadway musical Hamilton.

In Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Review

I’m excited just from the trailers. I know grown women aren’t supposed to squee but I can’t help but get excited. Maybe it has something to do with how excited my girls are to see it or maybe it’s just the little girl in me peeking through. Either way, the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack has been downloaded and playing on repeat on car rides to school and home. We’ll be the ones singing along in the theater. Also, if you love Mary Poppins Returns as much as we do, check out these awesome coloring pages!

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

MARY POPPINS RETURNS is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a. and Marc Platt, p.g.a. with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The music score is by Marc Shaiman and the film features all-new original songs with music by Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Experience

The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes, Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character. With an all-star cast like this, it’s got to be amazing.

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Marry Poppins Returns is the perfect family holiday movie, Disney

Like MARY POPPINS RETURNS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marypoppinsreturns/

Follow Walt Disney Studios on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneystudios 

Follow MARY POPPINS RETURNS on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marypoppinsreturns/

MARY POPPINS RETURNS arrives in theatres everywhere on December 19th!

Y’all know that Disney is our jam and I am in need of a Disney fix so we will definitely be seeing Mary Poppins Returns over Christmas break. I’ll be sure to pop up a review after we see it. I’ll get the girls to chime in too. But if you need one right now, I hear good things about Mary Poppins Returns. 

Who else will be seeing Mary Poppins Returns over break?

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Fiddler on the Roof, To Life, Broadway, Broadway in Chicago

I remember watching the movie Fiddler on the Roof with my dad when I was a little girl. Over the years, I’ve watched it many times and it holds a special place in my heart because Tevye the Dairyman reminds me so much of my own father. The story begins with Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman with 5 daughters, explains the customs of the Jews in the Russian shtetl of Anatevka in 1905, where their lives are as precarious as the perch of a fiddler on a rood.

The affection that Tevye holds for traditions and culture, his deep and unabiding love for his wife and children and even his stubbornness fueled by integrity and his demand for respect, all so similar to my father. His irreverent reverence for his faith and the customs and history of the Jewish people demonstrate his humility.

Meager in his beginnings but knowing that still, in the eyes of God, he is as good as any wealthy man and that his daughters deserve more than their station would dictate. Maybe this is the part that reminds me of my dad the most. My dad too is from meager beginnings; he comes from farmers. He came here alone, as an immigrant, to a strange country when he was young and he loves his 6 children with a fierceness that is only outdone by his love for his wife.

The original Broadway production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, which opened in 1964 and featured choreography by Jerome Robbins, was the first musical in history to surpass 3,000 performances. The show won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical in addition to eight other Tony Awards that year. This acclaimed revival proudly introduces a new generation to the iconic musical adored across the globe.

 

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter.   This classic musical is rich with Broadway hits, including “To Life (L’Chaim!),” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Sunrise Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Tradition.”

 

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF has musical supervision by Ted Sperling, scenic design by Michael Yeargan (Tony Award-nominee, The King and I), costume design by Catherine Zuber (Tony Award-winner, The King and I, My Fair Lady), lighting design by Donald Holder (Tony Award-nominee,The King and I), sound design by Scott Lehrer (Tony Award-winner, South Pacific), and hair and wig design by Tom Watson. Casting is by Jason Styres, CSA.

 

The tour of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is presented by NETworks Presentations.

 

Official show site: http://www.Fiddlermusical.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FiddlerBroadway

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FiddlerBroadway

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/FiddlerBroadway

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

Tuesdays at 7:30PM (no performance on Dec. 25)

Wednesdays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM (no matinee performance on Dec. 19)

Thursdays at 7:30PM

Fridays at 7:30PM

Saturdays at 2:00PM & 8:00PM

Sundays at 2:00PM and 7:30PM (no evening performance on Jan. 6)

 

TICKET INFORMATION

Individual tickets are on sale and range in price from $25-$98 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com.  For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

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Disney's the Lion King, the Lion King, Disney Live Action, James Earl Jones,

I remember seeing the animated movie, The Lion King, in theaters in 1994. I was blown away by the story. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wept openly in the theater while young Simba went through some of the most harrowing situations a child, animal or human, ever could; he lost a parent and then lost himself.  His life was forever changed. He went from being the proud son of the king of the Jungle; the apple of a pride’s eye to an orphan.

I’ve watched The Lion King movie at list 100 times with my daughters. It’s a family favorite. Hakuna Matata is my 13-year-old’s favorite thing to say.  Both girls still laugh their heads off at Timon and Pumba. It’s just one of those heartwarming movies that we love as a family. It’s the kind of movie that you watch together and somehow feel closer after doing so. It’s like magnetized super glue for families; pulling us together and then keeping us there.

Disney's the Lion King, the Lion King, Disney Live Action, James Earl Jones,

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker a must see for all Ballerinas

You can imagine our excitement when we heard that they were remaking it into a live action version in 2019. We honestly can’t wait to see how they are going to take such an iconic movie and parlay that into live action. How can you take a story that includes animated animals speaking like humans and remake it with real animals without losing the integrity of the movie of coming across as cheesy? Well, leave it to Disney to do it and you will not be disappointed.

I’ve, obviously, not seen the movie yet but if the trailer is any indication of the quality of the upcoming movie, I am excited…jump up and down, can’t wait to take my girls and the Big Guy to see it, excited.

From Disney Live Action, The Lion King will be a drama film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, written by Jeff Nathanson, and directed by Jon Favreau. It is a photorealistic computer animated remake of Disney’s traditionally animated 1994 film. The film features the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa.

Plans for a remake of The Lion King were confirmed in September 2016 following the success of Favreau’s remake of Disney’s 1967 animated film The Jungle Book. Much of the main cast signed on in early 2017 and principal photography began in mid-2017. The film is scheduled to be released on July 19, 2019.

READ ALSO:  Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

Director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King” journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

Who else is excited to see the new Disney’s the Lion King?

THE LION KING opens in theatres everywhere on July 19th, 2019

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The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ABCTVEVENT event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given a set tour by Caleb Foote of The Kids Are Alright and to meet some of the cast including Michael Cudlitz but all opinions are my own.

Last month in Los Angeles, I got a sneak peek of ABC’s “The Kids Are Alright.”  I have to admit, that this is one of my favorite new shows this season because it reminds me of growing up in my parents’ house in the 70’s and 80’s. There were 8 of us in a small house. There wasn’t a lot of money but there was a lot of love and faith in God, in each other and in family. There were also a lot of shenanigans.

Set in the 1970s, the ensemble comedy “The Kids Are Alright” follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces that he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves. Honestly, on the set visit, I felt like I was back home at my mom’s house.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

The series stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence Cleary, Caleb Foote as Eddie Cleary, Sawyer Barth as Frank Cleary, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey Cleary, Jack Gore as Timmy Cleary, Andy Walken as William Cleary, and Santino Barnard as Pat Cleary.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

On the day we visited, we were shown around the set by Caleb Foote, who plays Eddie Cleary. We also had the chance to meet Tim Doyle, creator and executive producer,  whose life the show is about, production designer, Michael Whetstone, set decorator, Claudette Didul, costume designer, Susan Michalek, line producer, Kris Eber  and Michael Cudlitz ( who plays Dad, Mike Cleary) as well as several of the other Cleary family members. It was amazing.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

The Cleary House

The attention to detail is crazy. The Kids Are Alright house is based on a house the producers found in Sherman Oaks.

“Whetstone: This house is based on a house that we found for the pilot back in March and I think it was built in 1932. It was very, very small. It was one of the first ranch houses in Studio City or something. And our director loved it tight. He wanted it to feel crowded. Usually, when you go to stage, you say, “Oh, I’m gonna make it 25% bigger for shooting.” We didn’t really do that.”

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

 

“Foote: In most cases, they would expand the set in the recreation of the studio. But, having the tight-knit family is a big part of our show.”

 

The thing I really loved about the house is that you really got the feel of what it’s like to live during those times in a small house with a big family. As I mentioned before, this is exactly how I grew up with the exception of us being in Chicago, 3 boys and 3 girls and being Latino Catholic versus Irish and the story is pretty much my childhood. I can tell you from experience, a claustrophobic home filled with children and love may feel like a noose on your neck at sometimes but mostly, it feels like a hug from a mom and it’s something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

The dining room is the heart of the Cleary house; it’s where meals are served, where the important conversations take place and where Peggy and Mike dole out nourishment and wisdom to their 8 boys. The thing I loved about it the most was that it is so small and so full of things that the family can barely all fit in it at once. In fact, if you pay attention, you will notice that each episode, a different son sits at a tiny side table.

You might also notice that most of the decor looks like it’s from the 1950s and 1960s since the family is on a tight budget with all those boys. This is keeping it real.

 

The Yard

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

One thing that I absolutely loved is that they created an actual outdoor yard to film in. They did have the soundstage yard but that infamous treehouse and who could forget that brotherly love fight scene sandbox, that is all outside and it is magical. From the clothes on the line to the car in the driveway, you felt like you were transported back to the 1970’s.

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

 

We met the show’s creator Tim Doyle. The Kids Are Alright is based on Doyle’s childhood and he narrates each episode. This is his childhood and he reminisced with us about how different growing up in the 70’s was versus growing up now.

“Doyle: It’s a funny thing. It’s amazing that we all survived that period but some of us didn’t. But all the ones that are here are like, “Oh, yeah, it’s okay. You don’t have to have parental supervision. Let kids run around like feral animals. Let them do whatever they want.” That’s the people who survived talking. There are the other ones and a lot of bad stuff happened but we’re not telling those stories. We’re glossing over those.

We’re not saying don’t be good parents. We’re saying be good to your kids and supervise them. But there was a different way… We’re giving a taste of, as accurately as we can, what we remember it being like.”

The 70’s

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim Doyle

The vintage clothes, the vernacular and even the television shows and magazines lying around the house…The Kids Are alright producers did not miss a beat in capturing the 1970’s era.

We got to see wardrobe with costume designer Susan Michalek. The collection of clothes needed for a show with 10 principal actors is huge.

“Michalek: We need so much that what we really get from is all the rental houses in L.A (Los Angeles). ABC has a costume house, Warner Brothers has a costume house, and then there are some private ones too. There are about eight or ten in L.A. Their buildings are the size of football fields and really high with racks of clothing where we go get most of it.”

The Kids Are Alright is all about conjuring up the nostalgia one feels when going home. None of this happened by accident. Extensive research was done to insure that the Cleary home was filled with just the right furniture, knick–knacks and even the wall hangings.

“Didol: We actually lucked out with a couple of estate sales. We literally took this whole drapery rig right out of the house as is, and it is so fragile that I couldn’t get it dry cleaned and we’re going to just see how long it lasts… But we really do try to do our due diligence, finding things that were from the right period.”

The Kids are alright, Caleb Foote, Michael Cudlitz, #ABCTVEVENT, Tim DoyleOn tonight’s episode, Peggy sees an opportunity to put Eddie’s Girlfriend through a test before letting her into the Cleary family circle on an all-new episode of ABC’s ‘The Kids Are Alright, Tuesday, November 13.

Peggy’s Day Out-To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog on “The Kids Are Alright,” TUESDAY, NOV. 13 (8:31-9:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.

Follow along on social:

Facebook: @TheKidsAreAlrightABC
Twitter: @TheKidsABC 
Instagram: @thekidsarealrightabc

Hashtag: #TheKidsAreAlright

Make sure to watch The Kids are Alright on ABC. It came out on October 16, 2018 and airs Tuesdays at 8:30|7:30c on ABC; also available streaming and on demand.

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Interview with #DWTS Pros, Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent, Interview with #DWTS Pros

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ABCTVEVENT event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to Interview with #DWTS Pros but all opinions are my own.

Have you watched Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) or Dancing with the Stars Juniors  (DWTS juniors) and thought to yourself, “I can do that?”

Yeah, me neither. You all know I trip over my own feet and let’s be honest, I’m dangerous. People can get hurt… most likely me!

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie

Due to the break heard around the Internet, consequently I pretty much dance like Elaine Benes and Frankenstein had a sweet little pirate baby. It’s not graceful or pretty.

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin

But a couple weeks ago, I was invited to Los Angeles by Disney for the Nutcracker and the Four Realms red carpet premiere event and the bonus was a session at Pro Dance L.A. owned by Gleb Savchenko and his wife, Elena Samodanova. Located at 744 N Fairfax, Los Angeles, CA,90046 and offers classes to dancers of all ages.

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing “Dancing with the Stars” pros and “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” mentors Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten and Gleb Savchenko. Most noteworthy,  about that dance lesson, I’ll write more about that in another post but let’s just say, most noteworthy, there’s video!

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin

My girls are dancers. First of all, they’ve been dancing ballet since they were 2-years-old. Consequently, they love it and they work hard at it. As a result,  they were very excited that I would have the chance to interview Gleb, Alan and Brandon. I was impressed by the words of inspiration these pros had for young dancers.

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin

Interview with #DWTS Pros; Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten and Brandon Armstrong

Above all, what messages would each of you give to young dancers who are following their dance dreams?

Brandon Armstrong: Never give up.

Gleb Savchenko: Never give up.  Just push forward and you know, anything is possible.

Alan Bersten: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Gleb Savchenko: I grew up in Moscow with no money in literally one-bedroom apartment with my parents and I do the most amazing show in the whole world.  So, just dream and work really hard.  Never give up.  Don’t let anybody push you down.  You know, stand your ground and just, just pour your soul and heart into what you do.

Alan Bersten: I think that’s beautiful.  I think if you’re passionate about it, no one can stop you.  If anyone is passionate about anything, no matter what, they’re going to be stubborn about it.  And I think that’s actually one of the best qualities you can have them especially in a dancer because there’s a lot of nos before you get a yes.

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

Brandon Armstrong: I think that it is so important to be unique.

Alan Bersten: But be unique, especially all you kids out there, be unique.  Don’t look at somebody else and say I want to be Gleb.  You know, take all the things that you think are great about him and develop yourself but still be yourself.  Be unique.

How do you teach kids about failure?

Alan Bersten: I think if the kid knows that they’re doing their best nothing else matters. I grab that for myself and it’s great to know that if you do try your hardest and you feel like you did your best, nothing else should matter.

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

Gleb Savchenko: Sometimes for kids it’s really hard because they’re kids.  My daughter, she’s going to be eight.  She dances but she’s not really into it.  You have to really want it.  You have to be inside of you, there has to be that competitive feeling.

My girls are ballet dancers. How would you recommend I encourage my daughters and build up their self-esteem?

Gleb Savchenko: This is a good question.  That’s a really good question. Just tell her to keep doing what she is doing and try really hard. It’s never always a number one, number two and number three.  There is a process of becoming someone.  And through that process, you have a lot of down times, a lot of failures, and a lot of losses. Before I won a competition, I lost five years.

Alan Bersten: I think that struggle is what really builds the character and the willpower.

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

Gleb Savchenko: It builds your character. It builds the want and the willpower.

Alan Bersten: If you can make it through that struggle, that’s when you know you want to do it.

Brandon Armstrong: I grew up doing the same thing.  I grew up as a studio rat.  I would be in the studio 10 hours, two hours of jazz, two hours of ballet and I would just get pounded all day long.  The thing that my dad used to tell me that everybody else, all the people that I looked up to whether it was Misty Copeland in the ballet world or Travis Smalls in the contemporary world or hip-hop, whatever it was, they did the same thing.

Nobody gets to cut corners in this industry, especially if you want to be elite. If you want to be great at what you do, nobody can cut corners.  My dad was a little bit more tough love.  He was a colonel in the military.  He’d to be like “you’ve got to suck it up because all the people that you’re looking up to did the same thing. It’s time for you to decide if you want to do it or if you don’t.  And realize that everybody’s working hard.

Finally, did you ever have a teacher who told you that you couldn’t succeed? What would you tell a child who has been told that they can’t do something?

Gleb Savchenko: I was doing gymnastics since I was five until I was eight and I grew really quickly and that’s exactly what my trainer came to my parents, actually my grandma, and said he’s going to be too tall. Take him out.

Brandon Armstrong: Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. This guy just got drafted in the NFL and he has no arm. He’s leading the league in picks. There are ways for you to be unique and to make it happen.

Alan Bersten: If someone tells you that you can’t do it, that’s when you prove them wrong.

Brandon Armstrong: Then, above all  figure it out. You can be the atypical version of what you do.

Pro Dance L.A., Interview with Dancing with the stars, #DWTS, #DWTS juniors, Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, #ABCTVEvent

Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” airs Sundays at 8|7c on The ABC Television Network or streaming or on the app. /  “Dancing with the Stars” airs Mondays at 8|7c on The ABC Television Network or streaming or on the app.

READ ALSO: Exclusive interview with Misty Copeland

You can follow Pro Dance LA on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, too, for more info! There is also a YouTube page for both DWTS and DWTS: Juniors HERE.

‘DANCING WITH THE STARS: LIVE! – A NIGHT TO REMEMBER HITS THE ROAD THIS WINTER DANCING ACROSS AMERICA To buy tickets to the DWTS Tour coming to a city near you: dwtstour.com #DWTSTour

All New Show to Feature “Dancing with the Stars” Season 27 Dancers Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Sasha Farber, Alan Bersten, Jenna Johnson, Brandon Armstrong and More!

TV’s biggest dance show returns on tour this winter with “Dancing with the Stars: Live! – A Night to Remember” Kicking off December 15th in Columbia, SC, the show will feature fan-favorite professional and troupe dancers in a brand-new production showcasing every type of dance style as seen on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars, ranging from ballroom and jazz to modern and hip-hop. Choreographed and creative directed by Emmy© Award-winning choreographer Mandy Moore and Dancing with the Stars Executive Producer Ashley Edens-Shaffer, audiences will have the opportunity to experience the excitement, glamour and glitz they see in the ballroom every Monday night live in theatres in their hometowns.

The tour delivers a spectacular night of show-stopping dance performances from world-renowned dancers including Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Hayley Erbert and Britt Stewart, with more surprise casting to be announced.

Tickets for “Dancing with the Stars: Live!” are on sale now. To purchase tickets and to get the full list of tour dates, please visit dwtstour.com. VIP packages will be available through VIPNation.com, giving fans the chance to purchase premium tickets, meet and greet opportunities with the cast, exclusive merchandise and photo opportunities.

My Interview with #DWTS Pros; Gleb Savchenko, Alan Bersten and Brandon Armstrong was a day I’ll never forget.

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Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to interview Misty Copeland but all opinions are my own.

Last week at this time, I was interviewing Misty Copeland. Just so you know, I felt like I was floating above my own body and could not believe that I was in the same room with such an inspirational and empowering woman who is not only a game changer in her field but an advocate for change for girls and women everywhere. More than that, she is my little girls’ personal shero.

READ ALSO: Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

I can honestly say that Misty Copeland was one of the most gracious and authentic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. On top of all of this, I had had the opportunity to ask her a question that my daughter really wanted me to ask. Her answer was pure inspiration.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

How Misty Copeland got involved with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms:

They reached out to me which was kind of shocking. I’m not an Actress but I understand the Nutcracker connection, clearly. It was like a really organic fit and they were just really open about letting me kind of take the lead. They’re like, we don’t know Ballet, this isn’t our world so please teach us. We’re going to entrust that you’re gonna have the right team.

They allowed me to choose a choreographer so I selected Liam Scarlet. He’s a Choreographer in Residence for the Royal Ballet in London and I had worked with him before.

When they brought the idea to me, it was based on the book, the Nutcracker Book. It wasn’t based on the Nutcracker Ballet so there was no Ballet in this version of the story. They were like we can’t do the Nutcracker and not have Ballet in it, so they created this Character for me, the Ballerina Princess just as a way to have ballet in it. I’m the storyteller so it’s like a performance within the movie to share the story of the four realms and tell it to Clara. It’s awesome.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

READ ALSO: Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy

Was there a specific piece of choreography that you were taught by a Choreographer that made it click for you that you wanted to dance professionally? And what was it?

I don’t know if there was a step. I feel like the first ballet class that I took was on a basketball court at the Boys/Girls Club in San Pedro, California. I don’t want to say that I hated it but it was not something I thought I was gonna do.  I think all the other kids that were also coming from underprivileged backgrounds like me and none of them had danced.  They were all older.  I was 13.

But they all had their gear on, whatever it was. They had leggings or tights and I was in these baggy basketball shorts and socks and I was like, this just isn’t right.  It just doesn’t feel right.

I think it wasn’t until the first time that I was taken on scholarship into the local ballet school and I put on the pink tights and the leotard and I could see myself in front of the mirror.  That’s when it clicked, I felt beautiful for the first time in my life. I felt right.  I felt like everything. Who knows if it was actual reality but in my mind, being a black young girl, being super skinny with long legs and these massive feet, big hands and little head, of which everything was just wrong in the real world.  I stepped into the studio and it was like Oh, everything is exactly right.  These are the proportions and I was just like woah! It gave me such power and confidence like I’d never experienced before.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

What advice would you give a girl who desires to be a professional dancer but is told she is starting late?

I feel like, first of all, if you like it do your research. I think the majority of like the greatest ballet dancers all started after the age of 13, which is kind of crazy.  I think that it’s just proof that it’s not about that. I understand the reason that they (the ballet schools) like to start you out before you hit puberty, it’s so that they can really mold the body and it (movements) becomes second nature.  You know because the ballet technique is so detailed, that once you get to the level of a Professional dancer, there are so many other things you’re thinking about that you can’t be thinking about technique.

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

You’re learning Choreography for up to 10 Ballets in a week that you’re performing.  You’re growing as an artist and becoming a character. There’s so much to think about and that’s why we start so young.  But it’s possible.  I think that it’s about what you do with the time that you’re in the studio. I was taking 3 to 4 classes a day, just trying to catch up.  But I think with the right support and the right will and push. If you’re working with a teacher that’s telling you that you can’t do it, then you need to go somewhere else. It’s possible to be anything you want to be, if you have someone that supports you and if you have representation to look at.

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms with Misty Copeland – In Theatres Playing Everywhere Now!

Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

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Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ChristopherRobinBluRay event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to preview Christopher Robin on Blu Ray but all opinions are my own.

In Disney’s heartwarming live-action adventure, the young boy who shared countless adventures with his stuffed animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood has grown up and lost sight of what’s important in life. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasure in life once again.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRayDoing Nothing often Leads to the Very Best Kind of Something -Winnie the Pooh

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. The producers are Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr, with Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns serving as executive producers. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin; Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn; Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline; and Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. The film also features the voices of: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger; Brad Garrett as Eeyore; Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.

READ ALSO: A picnic with Pooh and Tigger Too; Interview with Jim Cummings

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Bringing the Iconic Characters to Life

A great deal of care also went into their creation, with special attention being paid to Winnie the Pooh’s tummy (to make sure it had the proper cuddle factor), to Tigger’s expressions (so he could eff effectively register surprise, anger and bewilderment) and to Eeyore (to make sure he had the proper amount of sag).

Disney legend Richard M. Sherman, “There’s something sentimental and sweet and nostalgic about Pooh. He’s like your childhood buddy, who we sometimes forget about when we get older, but when he finds out that Christopher Robin is in a bit of trouble, he comes back to remind him what it’s like to have an imagination and to have wonderful times together doing nothing.” “I think Pooh will be around for the next 200 years because he is so special and so dear,” he says. “There will always be people rediscovering Winnie the Pooh or finding about him for the first time.”

Watching the movie, I fell in love with these characters from my childhood all over again. They seemed more real to me than they ever had before. They became tangible; not just apparitions of my own imagination but walking, talking, living and breathing embodiments of childhood. This was also the way my daughters and my husband felt after seeing the movie.

Humor

One of the most endearing parts of Christopher Robin was the humor. Though it tackles many serious topics, it does so with levity and love. It tells the story on a very basic, human level that people of all ages cannot only comprehend but embrace. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay, Piglet

“When you are able to make people laugh and cry in the same movie and you are able to tell the story with integrity and ground it in reality and have the magic realism on top of it, it lifts your spirits and connects you with the people you love,” says Forster.

And this is a story Forster believes has never been more relevant. “I think it’s something we desperately need in the world,” he says. “We could all use a little bit of Pooh’s heart and wisdom right now.”

Family

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

Christopher Robin reminds us of the importance of family, in all of its forms and for all of our lives. You never outgrow the ones you love and who knew you before you became who you were meant to be; the ones who love you unconditionally.

Finding someone to personify an adult Christopher Robin posed a unique challenge for the filmmakers. The boy forever immortalized in E.H. Shepard’s iconic illustration sitting with his best friend on their thinking log has grown into a loving husband and father and a hard-working employee at Winslow Luggage, but the burdens that come with adulthood have caused him to forget the good times of his youth and he has lost sight of the person he once was. I think Ewan McGregor was the perfect choice Christopher Robin.

Hayley Atwell (“Howards End,” ABC’s “Agent Carter”) was cast as Evelyn Robin. A fictitious character married to Christopher Robin, she personifies home and love and holds the family together. “They were very happy at the beginning of their marriage, but she sees him becoming a workaholic and losing that connection with his family.”

Bronte Carmichael plays Madeline Robin, the bright nine-year-old who, much like her father, has a passion for make-believe. She wants nothing more than to have her father read to her every night before she goes to bed, but he wants her focused on her studies.

“Madeline is a very serious girl at the beginning of our story and really wants to please her father, studying very hard all the time,” says Forster. “She is prepared to go to boarding school, but what she really wants is to stay home with her family.”

When Madeline comes across a box belonging to her father with a drawing of Pooh and his friends along with other keepsakes from the Hundred Acre Wood, it gives her a glimpse into his childhood for the first time. “Times were different then, and so was the way people related to their kids,” says McGregor. “You can see that she wants love from him in a way that isn’t just him providing for the family, and that’s what the story is about really, and by the end of the film he is able to give her that.”

I Always Get to Where I’m Going By Walking Away From Where I’ve Been. -Winnie the Pooh

 

Imagination and Play

Disney’s “Christopher Robin” brings the timeless charm and nostalgia of A.A. Milne’s stories and characters to the big screen in an imaginative tale about the joy and purity of youth. Speaking to the child in all of us, the film is a gentle reminder to let some of those qualities infuse our adult lives.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

“Translating a lovely, simple story with an uncomplicated, targeted message into a feature film can make one’s own life a better experience for the effort,” says director Marc Forster. “The simpler things in life are, indeed, often those that make us the happiest. And in ‘Christopher Robin’ we see a man who has lost sight of that which tethered him to humanity in broad strokes, and who is reminded of his better self through reconnecting to his childhood, his own imagination and to a love of wonder. In so reconnecting to his own better spirit, he finds his way back to the loves of his life, his wife and daughter, and for that, his life is enriched. All for remembering that the simpler things in life are not to be left behind or forgotten.”

“Life goes by so fast, but hopefully this film will remind people to take a look at their own lives and re-evaluate how they spend their time…and with who,” says Forster.

There’s Always Time for a Smackeral of Wonder. -Winnie the Pooh

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRay

The fun-filled tale features A.A. Milne’s timeless characters from the Hundred Acre Wood—Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl—making their first appearance as three-dimensional characters who remind Christopher Robin, and viewers of all ages, to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience

Bonus features included with Disney’s Christopher Robin BluRay provide a heartfelt look at the making of the movie, showcasing the magical artistry that brings the classic characters to life, the human actors’ techniques for interacting with stuffed animals, and the filmmakers’ passion for their project. Bronte Carmichael, who plays Christopher Robin’s daughter Madeline, takes viewers on an exciting journey from the drawing board to film locations throughout the United Kingdom. Features flashback to highlight Walt Disney’s fondness for Winnie the Pooh and recall the voice actors who lovingly portrayed the unforgettable voice of the iconic character. An exclusive digital bonus feature explores the actual teddy bear, given to Christopher Robin Milne 98 years ago, which inspired the original Pooh stories that have been shared and adored by families around the globe.

Christopher Robin Blu-Ray Bonus Features

BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • In Which … A Movie Is Made for Pooh– Filmmakers and cast share their passion for this story in a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie.
  • In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice– Discover what it’s like to voice Winnie the Pooh, from voice actors Sterling Holloway to Jim Cummings.
  • In Which … Pooh and Walt Become Friends– How did Walt Disney and Pooh meet? Take a journey through time to explore the legacy of Walt’s first encounter with Pooh.
  • In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life– See how Winnie the Pooh and Friends were brought to life as walking and talking stuffed animals in this magical live-action world.

EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL BONUS FEATURE:

  • In Which … We Were Very Young– Meet the actual, original teddy bear who, along with his best friends, has inspired so much love worldwide for almost a century.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor. #ChristopherRobinBluRayBRING HOME DISNEY’S CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ON BLU-RAY  NOVEMBER 6th!

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Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the #ChristopherRobinBluRay event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to interview the voice acting legend, Jim Cummings but all opinions are my own.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

On Day 2 of my recent trip to Los Angeles with Disney, in honor of the release of Christopher Robin on Blu-ray, I was magically transported to 100 Acre Wood aka the beautiful Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. There I had the pleasure of attending a Friendsgiving picnic with 24 other bloggers and legendary voice actor, Jim Cummings. Yes, I had a picnic in the woods with Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger, too!

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor 

Disney’s Christopher Robin (available November 6th).

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

We dined al fresco at a long rustic table, sheltered by a large weeping willow with a magical door. Everything was perfect. It felt like a fairy tale. It was the perfect kind of day for the perfect picnic in the 100 Acre Wood.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Jim Cummings arrived and was seated at the head of the table. He is an amazing storyteller and I could listen to him talk for days. His comical one-liners, flipping back in forth between Pooh and Tigger were only outshone by his gracious and warm personality. He really is what I would imagine Winnie the Pooh in human form to be.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Photo credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Jim Cummings has been Winnie the Pooh since 1987 and Tigger since 1989/1990. Yet, he still finds the magic. He told us he still tries to experience the movies as an outsider.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Cummings in 100 Acre Wood and it was absolutely magical.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

Since we were there to celebrate the release of Disney’s Christopher Robin on Blu-ray we asked Jim his first impression of being a part of the film.

I thought it was a great idea. What if Christopher Robin grew up and, and turned into a person and got stuck working like the rest of us. Now what? It was just so magical. And, you know, Pooh and the gang went out there and kinda saved him. Kind of returned the favor after all those waterfalls that he saved us from. (he said with a laugh) So, it’s great.

Jim Cummings, Friendsgiving, Interview with Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, #ChristopherRobinBluRay, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Disneys Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Ewan McGregor

I had a question that I was dying to ask Jim and I got the opportunity to ask the legend himself.  Of all the Disney characters you’ve ever done, which one do you relate to the most, and why?

Probably Tigger. Darkwing Duck maybe. Because I am the terror that flaps in the night. I don’t know if you knew that. But, they’re all Disney characters now, aren’t they? I like Hondo Ohnaka from Star Wars Clone Wars. And honestly, Ray from Princess and the Frog is one of my favorites of all-time.

 I don’t know. I guess I have like five. It’s like which of your five kids are your favorite? Well, all five, you know. 

Jim wasn’t always Winnie the Pooh. He took over for the original voice of Pooh, legendary voice actor, Sterling Halloway. He told us about that one time he unexpectedly stumbled upon his predecessor at a restaurant.

Before I was in this business many moons ago, Sterling Holloway, God bless him, he retired and he moved to Laguna Beach. We (my wife and I) were sitting down. And I was sittin’ down there with my wife, and we thought nobody was in the restaurant. And the waitress walks over to a corner — to somebody we couldn’t see in the booth and said, have you decided what you would like to have for lunch? Well, yes, I believe I’ll have the chowder. (in a Pooh voice)

So I had to get up and, and walk across the room, and there he was. God bless him. He was so cool. And I regret to this day that I didn’t go up and go…I don’t know I would’ve said. You’re Winnie the Pooh. What do you say?] You know, and now people do that to me.

What’s your favorite Winnie the Pooh quote?

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

A special thank you to Disney and Jim Cummings, for a magical day full of pixie dust and a one of a kind picnic with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too in the 100 Acre Wood. Who knew one of my childhood dreams would come true?

Christopher Robin will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and more on November 6.

 

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Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Thank you to Disney and ABC for inviting me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip, in exchange for coverage of Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms event. I was hosted by Disney for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent and given the opportunity to interview Mackenzie Foy but all opinions are my own.

Last week at this time, I was being whisked away to the infamous Roosevelt hotel where I had the pleasure of interviewing Mackenzie Foy, Clara in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. She was absolutely as sweet, kind and charming as you could imagine. She is such a smart and poised young lady.

READ ALSO: My Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Red Carpet Experience

Mackenzie Foy is a very talented young actress; turning 18 on November 10. Happy birthday, Mackenzie! I loved her in Twilight and The Conjuring but she really shines in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms!

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy

How does it feel to be a classical holiday character now?

It’s really fun. What’s beautiful about the Nutcracker that it’s such a beloved story throughout many, many years, so it’s really, really, really fun to be able to play a character that so many people all over the world can relate to and have this childhood connection from seeing the ballet when they were young, and I think that’s really important to be able to do.

What was it like to get the call that you were gonna be Clara in the movie?

It was really exciting. So I was actually in the shower and doing my hair when my mom ran in, and she was like, ‘the director’s on the phone’. I was like, oh my gosh, okay, and so I put a towel on and I answered and the director was like, ‘would you be our Clara?’ I was like, oh my goodness, yes. Thank you so much. And he’s like, all right, see you in a couple weeks.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Can you tell us about the interview process?

The audition process was actually quite long. It was about two months, which isn’t really, really long, but it is more than usual. And it was really fun. Once I did a screen test, they flew me to London to do it in full costume- hair and makeup; a partial set; real camera, it was like, oh my goodness. I didn’t really have too many details about the story of the character when I first got the audition. I just knew that it was a British character and that immediately piqued my interest.

Talking about stunts on Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I actually did a lot of stunts and stuff, which was really fun. I did horse training, which was awesome, and I went to this place- it’s called The Devil’s Horseman; they’re film horses, and so they’re proper stunt people. It was really, really cool being with these horses. It’s what you think of, the English countryside –  that’s what it looked like there. So it was actually amazing training outside on these beautiful horses. It was crazy.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

What was your favorite realm in the film?

Which realm? It’s everchanging. Right now I really love the Land of Snowflakes just because it’s very blue and shiny, and very sparkly because it’s still kinda hot here. I’m dying for winter weather and winter cool.

What was your favorite Clara costume to wear?

I wear quite a few costumes in the film which was really, really fun. They were all handmade- all very, very intricate, which is really amazing. But I really love the purple party dress because that one has a bustle- and it’s really fun. Actually, I have a couple bustles in the film. I have a proper cage and then I have a bum pad.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

More on costuming and makeup 

It was very beautiful, but there’s a lot of detail that went into the costume design, from the tights to the shoes, to the many skirt layers, and the bodices, and the corset. So I have a very high respect for all of the costumes, and also they have kind of a different character to them, They kind of go with Clara’s evolution, which I really like.

I don’t really wear a lot of makeup in the film, just a little bit of concealer if I have a pimple or something. Then hair wise, it would vary, and there’s a couple of looks that took – I’m bald from wrapping my hair around wires and stuff. But there’s all the twisting with the braids and all that kinda stuff.  The hair and makeup team was really, really amazing, and I loved talking to them every morning. I really enjoyed going in there because that’s kinda like a time you get to just sit and talk, and see how everybody’s doing. The actors coming in and out, and you talk to the hair and makeup people, and it was just really fun every morning.

What is your favorite scene in the film and why? 

Misty Copeland performs a dance scene in this, and it’s really, really quite beautiful. What’s really cool, because you guys are gonna see it tonight, the sets in that scene, well, in a lot of the scenes in the film, were real. So when she’s in the trailers, you see she’s walking through and this castle pops up, and the flowers open in the ground. Those were real. Those are real people really making it all work. And so that’s actually a really cool thing about that.

And if you look in the background behind, the chairs, all of the extras are color-coded, and so they had an ombre effect. Wrapped around the set was this canvas of night sky, and they actually poked giant holes in it and then shone lights behind it so it looked like stars. And so the sets in this film are very, very intricate, and that one was one of my favorites just because it was so beautiful.

What advice do you have for young girls that look up to you and want to follow in your footsteps? 

As for young girls, I hope they see this film, and I hope they see that Clara is unapologetically herself. That even though she’s this young inventor in her time period, it wasn’t really socially acceptable, but she still says – This is who I am. This is what I love to do, and I’m gonna do it. And I hope they see that and know you can do that. You can be interested in science. You can be in interested in mechanics. And you can still wear dresses and like those kinds of things.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

What was it like working with Morgan Freeman? He seems like a father figure, so what was that like? 

He’s a really nice guy. He’s very joyous and has a very fun sense of humor, so it was really fun just getting to know him and getting to talk to him, and seeing what he was like.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland

Can you tell us what a typical day would look like for shooting? 

Yes. A typical day of filming – putting on the costumes and playing and working with them which was really fun. The set on this film- the cast and crew- everyone was really, really nice, so it was really fun, and very happy environment. I actually still keep in contact with a lot of the crew. It was really amazing.

There was a lot of young women in the crew, and so we all go along really, really well, and we’d talk about our shows that we watched on the weekend, and all of that stuff. If you’re a kid, you still have to do school – because of my age, I have three to five hours of a school a day. Whenever there was downtime, if they had to change the cameras and stuff like that, I would go and do schoolwork.

How does being the main character different from being a supporting character? 

Well, every character, no matter how big or small has its own challenges because they’re all unique, and you have to do the research in order to properly create them. But I would say with Clara, and her being a main role, there was definitely- this is the story- it follows my character, so I have to make sure that everything is in line.

I have to make sure the past is in my head, and I have to make sure I know where she’s going. So with the bigger part, you have to go more in detail to all those things, especially how they relate to every single character in the film.

Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Do you see this film as being one of those traditional holiday movies that families will continue to watch every year? 

Well, I definitely hope it is something that people want to see every year. I think the film really captures the spirit of the holiday season -when it starts to be cold, and you just have that joyous feeling. I think it really captures that, and I think it also has elements of the book and the ballet to where if you are older, you have seen it many times, you have that nostalgic feeling, but it also has kind of a new twists and turns, and so it kind of brings in the younger and all ages. It kind of brings everyone in together to watch it. So I hope that families like it, and that they go and see it every year.

Exclusive Interview with Mackenzie Foy, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review, #DisneysNutcrackerEvent, Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, Jayden Fowara-Knight

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright

Mackenzie Foy is an amazing young lady who plays a strong, independent Clara who will inspire little girls for years to come.

Be on the lookout for my next interview with Misty Copeland who plays the ballerina in Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

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