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Neil Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark Armstrong spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about their father’s iconic first walk on the moon.

Rick and Mark Armstrong could not be more proud of their father, legendary NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong, on the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. During a recent New York celebration of the timeless first walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong’s sons shared their thoughts about Apollo 11’s legacy and space education in classrooms today.

Watch the interview video with Neil Armstrong’s sons above or read the full transcript below!

Interview with Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: Mark, I read you sang Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” with an orchestra a couple of months ago.

Mark Armstrong: Yeah, with Fred Radke and the Harry James Orchestra![Smiles]

What was that like?

They’re incredible musicians. It’s just an honor to be on stage with them.

How does it feel to continue your father’s legacy? He means so much to so many people around the world as the first man to walk on the moon.

Rick Armstrong: Really I think it was more about the Apollo legacy rather than any individual. Apollo legacy inspired many people all over the world to go on and to follow their dreams. That’s really what I think.

How do you feel about space education these days? Do you feel it’s dropped off a little bit considering today’s youth seems to be more interested in their phones than going to space? Like they lost this sense of wonder at the beginning of the Apollo missions.

Rick Armstrong: I think the kids are interested. All kids are always interested. Unfortunately, the curriculum hasn’t always kept up with that. I know I looked at my daughter’s history book a few years ago. There was one paragraph about the entire space program. That was kind of shocking to me that there wasn’t a lot more attention paid to it.

It’s something that I think really needs to be addressed because the kids interest is there. No question about it.

Mark Armstrong: I would just add that space provides this sort of blank canvas for a lot of imagination. I think the younger you get kids thinking about that, the better. There’s a lot of reason to be optimistic. There are new plans to go back to the moon in 2024, and I’m really excited about that.

Did either of you ever want to be astronauts like your father?

Mark Armstrong: Absolutely! I was very interested in becoming an astronaut. It just wasn’t clear to me what that path was. While I was on that path, I fell in love with computer technology and I spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley.

Rick Armstrong: I would love to be weightless looking down at Earth. Absolutely! That would be great.

Be sure to watch our interview with Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Space History Department Curator and Artifacts Expert.

Watch the Apollo’s Moon Shot finale this Sunday on Smithsonian Channel at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch the episode live on Fubo TV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.

You can also watch on the Smithsonian Channel’s official live stream or with a free trial of the Smithsonian Channel Plus service.



Rodrigo Santoro talks Joel Kelly in Hulu’s Reprisal, Xerxes (Interview)



Joel Kelly - Reprisal -- "The Tale of Harold Horpus" - Episode 101 -- Years after being left for dead by her brother and his gang the Banished Brawlers, Katherine Harlow reemerges as Doris and begins to plot her revenge. Meanwhile, a kid named Ethan is in over his head when he joins the Brawlers' world of the Bang-a-Rang. Joel (Rodrigo Santoro), shown. (Photo by: Antony Platt/Hulu)
Photo Credit: Antony Platt/Hulu

Rodrigo Santoro discussed the role of Joel Kelly in Hulu’s Reprisal which debuted today, the impact 300’s Xerxes had on his career, and finding inspiration everywhere as an actor at NYCC 2019.

Rodrigo Santoro, a memorable standout as Hector Escaton in Westworld and the one and only Xerxes in the 300 franchise is back on the scene once again! This time around, Santoro is playing Banished Brawler de facto leader Joel Kelly in Hulu’s Reprisal, which is available today for subscribers. During an interview, Santoro spoke about finding inspiration as an actor everywhere you go, mentioning how seeing a dog while doing recon for a role as a homeless man moved him.

Santoro described what it meant to him to play an Irish written character like Joel Kelly on Hulu’s Reprisal, where they didn’t change his character name to something more Latin sounding just to suit his Latin origin (Brazil). He spoke of how 300’s Xerxes definitely opened doors for him in his acting career but he didn’t want to raise his own expectations because that only leads down the road of frustration.

Watch the full interview with Rodrigo Santoro above or read the transcript below:

Nir Regev: What was it like after you portrayed the role of Xerxes in 300? Did you feel your career moved in the trajectory you were expecting?

Rodrigo Santoro: You know I try not to raise expectations in anything because I think that leads to frustration. We idealize things and then you know… I just try to do the best I can in my work and my life in general. But yes, since you mentioned Xerxes for those who saw 300 and Xerxes it was a big turning point for me. Absolutely! I got much more opportunities to work in the United States after that project but every role is a new challenge. I’m pretty happy where I am right now. You know the opportunities that I’ve been having. Especially, being a foreigner and I think we’re living in a very interesting moment right now.

I’m glad to be a part of it and to be here talking about a show where I play a character whose name is Joel Kelly. It’s not Raúl or Jamon. It’s not Latin, it’s not written Latin. I am Latin, I’m from Brazil. I’m playing a character that was written Irish. They didn’t change the name of the character. Joel Kelly is the de facto leader of the Banished Brawler. Doris’ brother who left her is Burt [Rory Cochrane] and he’s disappeared. He hasn’t been around for a while, and then Joel which was his right hand man, is in charge.

Reprisal — “The Tale of Harold Horpus” – Episode 101 — Years after being left for dead by her brother and his gang the Banished Brawlers, Katherine Harlow reemerges as Doris and begins to plot her revenge. Meanwhile, a kid named Ethan is in over his head when he joins the Brawlers’ world of the Bang-a-Rang. Joel (Rodrigo Santoro), shown. (Photo by: Antony Platt/Hulu)

Does Reprisal have a big post-apocalyptic aesthetic? I mentioned Mad Max as a comparison to one of your co-stars earlier and he said it wasn’t really like that visually.

It’s hard to describe but it does have different references like from the 20s, from the 50s, from the 80s. We can’t place because we don’t know when it is. We don’t know where we are. It has a tone of like a fantasy to it, which allows us a tremendous amount of freedom. And also, I think at its core, this show is truly a revenge story revolving around the theme of family. Family you were born into and the family you find along the way. Family that you choose to be a part of. So, it’s really about the relationships of those characters. And then the era we’re in, we don’t know.

You have so many references Tarantino, David Lynch, people that have watched the pilot, you know journalists and people that have seen some of it… They have been describing it as David Lynch meets Tarantino. Great reference by the way, which we love! But it’s a hyper-noir kind of… The tone is just very unique. It’s something that I haven’t seen it you know out there.

Reprisal — “A Flintlock & A Hound” – Episode 102 — Ethan learns about The Brawlers’ place when they face off against a rival gang. Doris navigates the obstacles of finding a crew. Joel tries to figure out why the Ghouls went to such lengths. Meredith’s secret enterprise has an unexpected result. Joel (Rodrigo Santoro), shown. (Photo by: Brownie Harris/Hulu)

When you say Tarantino do you mean cuts like Kill Bill style?

Kill Bill style, the way it’s shot, the way it’s written, especially the way it’s written! Our writer, creator Josh Corbin is in my opinion, a brilliant writer! And just the scenes that carry on, and then you don’t know where they’re going to go, and they’re just interesting to watch and very engaging. The characters are very, very engaging.

It’s an ensemble, every character’s interesting, every character has a back story and it’s going somewhere. They’re not just there. So, that’s what makes it very compelling. And I think people will quickly be engaged and they will get excited to actually binge it. And it will be available, all the episodes! So I think that will be a great experience.

I’m curious as an actor, do you like having all the episodes release at once or do you prefer the more traditional weekly episode? Do you check ratings yourself and that kind of thing?

Oh no, I don’t [check ratings]. I think that I’m getting used to the whole thing about having everything available at once. I take my own time. I have binged before, it depends how much time you have. But I think it depends. I don’t mind if they don’t come all at once but I kind of like to have them there. So, if I really get into it, I can just go through it and it’s a great journey when you just get hooked. You want to go to watch, you want to discover. You get really involved and that allows you to experience that.

Do you feel you prepare the same ritual wise as an actor? Do you have a kind of go-to method for each role you undertake?

Always different man! I don’t believe in formula, I think that every actor and even talking just for myself, every time is a bit different.

No superstitions?

Well I like to research as much as I can. Actually because I really have fun. To me the most interesting part is actually beforehand. When you’re researching, when you’re trying to understand the universe of the character you’re gonna play, the world that you’re getting into, and watching films, seeing pictures, listening to music. All that good stuff that you do for research, to me, it’s such an interesting part of the process. But I don’t have a specific ritual that I go through every time.

One thing I do is to sort of like put myself into it… Let’s say, if you’re ever in a car, and you have the gear in neutral… I try to drive myself to the neutral place. So, I don’t have a preconceived concept or a pre-judgment of the character I’m gonna play, or the world that I’m about to step into. Let me be neutral so I don’t judge much. I research, I study.

Reprisal — “dammit” – Episode 109 — Ethan is caught between two worlds and Meredith has to decide if she’ll protect him. Matty comes under suspicion, but Avron pushes too far. While the Brawlers zero in on the Monster Ring, Doris and Bash celebrate their anniversary. Joel (Rodrigo Santoro), shown. (Photo by: Fred Norris/Hulu)

Do you actively go to meet people related to the roles you’re portraying for inspiration?

Oh yeah, I try to do everything! It varies sometimes. You know, inspiration is an interesting thing. It could come from the least expected thing. One time, I was walking down the street, I was researching for a part that was a homeless man that I played. I just saw this dog on the street and it just moved me so much. It was a dog on the street. It just was very meaningful for me! Now, is this a method? Does that happen every time? No. It did happen that time.

So, I just try to be open, not judge, not try to put things in a box. I think you just have to be open to receiving and feeding yourself with as much as you can. And then you forget about everything and just do it!

Thank you Rodrigo!

Thank you!

Catch Rodrigo Santoro as Joel Kelly in Hulu’s original, exclusive series Reprisal starting today!

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Joel Allen talks The Purge’s Ben Gardner, Intense Scenes (Interview)



THE PURGE -- "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" Episode 207 -- Pictured: Joel Allen as Ben -- (Photo by: Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network)
Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani / USA Network

Joel Allen discussed Ben Gardner’s connection to The Purge’s memorable God Mask, its symbolism, and Season 2’s intense scenes at NYCC 2019.

There is no question late into season 2 of The Purge, that Ben Gardner and The God Mask have merged into one. No longer Jekyll and Hyde, Ben Gardner is still wearing the mask even when he isn’t. During a one-on-one exclusive interview back at New York Comic Con 2019, just a shade under two weeks prior to The Purge Season 2 Premiere… Joel Allen discussed what The God Mask meant to him as both a character and as an actor, the amped up intensity of Ben’s scenes, and what’s it like shooting them on-set.

Watch the full interview with Joel Allen above or read the transcript below:

Nir Regev: What does The God Mask mean to you as both an actor and as a character?

Joel Allen: I mean you can just dive right into that symbolism and just lean into that hard. The God Complex that comes with it. So, for the character it means a ton and for me as an actor, it’s like a gift from the writers.

During the The Purge Season 2 premiere, when the original owner of The God Mask gets on top of Ben… Was that supposed to be an attempted sexual assault? He did say ‘he wasn’t really going to do anything’ once Ben got the upper-hand with the knife. Yet, it definitely felt like more than just intimidation was happening there.

I mean, my fear in that moment was pretty genuine because it was very vague in the script. And it wasn’t till we showed up on the day to shoot it, that it was apparent, that oh… This is a sexual assault situation! So yeah, it was pretty intense for me and scary. But that’s what’s going on, yeah. Which is something that I haven’t really dove into much, in this series at all, or the franchise. So, it’s kind of a unique moment.

Is that the first time you’ve done something like that in your acting career? Having to be vulnerable to that kind of level?

Yeah, and I’m a big guy as you can see. So, it was difficult to find… But I have been on the other side of that as an actor in some projects. So, it was nice to be on the other side. Not that I would want that to happen ever to me but you know to get that flip of perspective for sure.

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

When somebody survives an attempted Purge… Do you feel there’s some kind of attraction to the Purger’s power that on display?

With my character definitely, you get a sense of that. It’s teased that perhaps there is a complete shift in behavior and personality. But I don’t know through Marcus’ character if there is that… Right? So, you get to see two different trajectories for different purposes but obviously within the first episode you see that, you know, it wasn’t just an attempt that it led to…

How much did Ben hate his friend Turner after he left him there after the suicide bridge scene?

Oh it was terrible! I mean, I pretty much hate him throughout the show because of that. As you can imagine… Being devastated like that. Swell guy, great actor [Matt Shively], really nice person… But yeah, you’ve really got to hate him! You have to… It’s the job! (laughs)

That stabbing scene in the premiere… That was brutal! Did you shoot that all in one take?

No, no. That’s very difficult because you know this is my first big franchise, big TV thing. So the machinery of it is not necessarily conducive to acting. But you have to really kind of stay in it because there’s like you know, you’d stab a few times and then spray me with blood. Then stab a few times, then spray again, and just like take after take after take.

You’re doing different angles and I had to be shirtless throughout the day, being doused in the blood. But then cleaned up to have less blood for when you reshoot the scene.

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

What is it like having to stay in that mode?

Miserable! Oh, It’s awful! But you learn a lot. But I’m not missing those days when I had my body covered in this cold blood. And it was really dirty, this shed we were in. So, not the most enjoyable thing to do.

The first season cast didn’t make it to The Purge Season 2. Would you like to be in a potential The Purge Season 3? Not in the sense that your character Ben lives or dies this season. Ben Gardner could always still make a cameo in a flashback, even should something happen to him this season. More, do you think they’re going to keep resetting the The Purge’s cast every season?

Right, I won’t tell you what happens to my character but… If it were possible to bring me back, yeah, I had the time of my life shooting this show! Everybody in the cast and crew is awesome and we tell a really compelling story. So if they were able to tell another compelling story in another season, yeah I’d be back! For sure!

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

I’m just curious, do you wear glasses on this season ever?

No, I don’t wear glasses on the show. I wear my contacts on the series.

A lot of actors say if they have some kind of makeup for an injury on their face and they look in the mirror it effects the way they act. Do you feel whether you have glasses on or not when you’re performing, that it affects your portrayal at all?

Yeah, yeah of course! Everything has to be really specific, physically, at least if you want to believe the world you’re living in. So, definitely yeah! I try to take into consideration all the things, the posture, and the way they talk, and hold themselves. The physical things you take on.

You’re like The Purge Clark Kent, you take off the glasses and go Purging!

Yeah, exactly! (laughs) You recognize me? (takes off glasses, looks straight into the camera).

Thanks Joel!

Thank you!

Joel Allen holds The Purge’s famous ‘God Mask’ at New York Comic Con 2019 to promote Season 2 of the USA Network TV Series – Photo Credit: Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat

Missed last week’s episode of The Purge? Catch up with The Purge Recap of ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’

Be sure to watch my interviews with The Purge’s Paola Nuñez, Rochelle Aytes, James Roland and Krystal Houghton Ziv!

Catch more of The Natural Aristocrat’s coverage of USA Network’s The Purge in The Purge category page.

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Fear the Walking Dead

Jenna Elfman talks June and John Dorie’s relationship, acting (Interview)



Jenna Elfman and Garret Dillahunt as June and John Dorie on Fear the Walking Dead Season 5- Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC
Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC

Fear the Walking Dead’s Jenna Elfman talked to The Natural Aristocrat about June and John Dorie’s passionate relationship and her on-screen chemistry with co-star Garret Dillahunt. 

Acting Dedication: Elfman also discussed meeting a real life Head of Trauma in Austin, Texas to get fully immersed for the role of June.

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: How does it feel to be at the center of every Fear the Walking Dead ‘shipping conversation on Twitter? I mean, the fans absolutely love the June/John Dorie relationship. They’re in love with John pretty much, how does that make you feel?

Jenna Elfman: I get it, I’m in love with John Dorie too! (smiles) June loves him and cherishes him. Garret [Dillahunt] and I get along great. Ever since we first met, it’s just been effortless, acting together. I really enjoy it. It’s one of those things you luck out with sometimes with an acting partner, you know? I think we have that.

Is it more captivating for you as an actress to be more of an unreliable character where you don’t know if June might walk away from one script to the next?

I get excited, I just love the storytelling and I trust what they’re going to do. They write fun stuff for me. I love what they’re writing for me, and I’m really really committed to it and enjoying doing it. I love the trajectory they have happening. I dig it a lot. I’m always very excited for the next script.

Do you prepare any differently as an actress from when you first came on Fear the Walking Dead as Laura?

Well, when I read the script I’m always just looking for “Where are the moments of change?” in the script. In every scene, which character is changing and how and what is the impetus of that change? And I really make sure I understand the storytelling in that way. The overall theme and the message. What are the characters’ agreements and what are their problems? And so forth. 

I think, maybe now that June’s point of view is very clear and she’s very committed to what they’re doing, I guess I’m approaching this season slightly different. Really because June kind of has a new constitution for herself. But it’s all the same kind of script analysis and character analysis.

Did you visit nurses and doctors for acting research and inspiration?

I met with the Head of Trauma in Austin (Texas) and I had him walk me through. Obviously, there’s triage and trauma nurses and trauma doctors, there’s a clock ticking on life or death. It’s a different sort of mentality of the things you’re looking for. I wanted to know what am I paying attention to? The heart rate, the breathing, the pupils, the skin color, all the things. 

If I do this, what would happen? If I do that what’s important to her in that moment with that particular injury? What is she thinking about? I just had him walk me through the whole thing. It was interesting because before he was the Head of Trauma, he was a battlefield surgeon, and so a lot of the stuff he was walking me through was very similar to this scenario that the characters find themselves in. It was very helpful. 

You had an amazing line in Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 5 Premiere where you were treating a patient, ‘Well, I’ve never done this in a truck stop before! Only at a trauma center.’ Do you ever get to riff on the lines at all or do you read straight from the script?

No, it’s not me. If I have questions [on the script] I’ll contact the writers, I’ll sent them an e-mail and ask for clarification or something. But no, I don’t change the lines or anything. Unless I ask them to clear it up ahead of time.

What does it mean to you as an actress to get a spot on this show? 

It was very thrilling for me, I really wanted to start a new chapter in my career. Something new. I’d done drama before but I’d never done anything like this. They just offered me the role like eleven days after I kind of reconciled myself to what I wanted to do next. So, it was perfect timing and openly accepted by me!

Your character has changed names the most on Fear the Walking Dead! How does that feel, do you ever get confused yourself?

(laughs) No, but I think it just shows sort of an evolution about trying to find yourself, and needing to heal. once again. Luckily, the John Dorie effect… (smiles) You’re able to kind of heal and become yourself. I think this season, we see this beautiful June in full bloom. A new version of herself but connected to her truth.

Thanks Jenna!

Thank you!

Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s interviews with Fear the Walking Dead cast members Austin Amelio (Dwight) and Colman Domingo (Victor Strand) during New York City’s Split Screens Festival at the IFC Center.

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