The 33rd annual College Television Awards honoring student talent drew Hollywood stars eager to talk about their own college experiences and share green living strategies.
Geena Davis, whose Geena Davis Foundation bestowed the Focus on Diversity and Gender Equality in Children's Media award, talked about recycling and her time at Boston University. "My parents were crazy enough to let me major in acting," said Davis, who got her big post-grad break in "Tootsie." She just shot a small part in "In a World," written and directed by and starring Lake Bell, and would be interested in doing another TV series if she can find something as good as her last show, "Commander-in-Chief."
For Sandra Oh, being eco-conscious is "more and more about my diet and my food, where I bought it and where it comes from." The "Grey's Anatomy" star studied at the National Theater School of Canada and believes that "going to school film, for acting, for music just gives you a strong foundation." She plans to use her series hiatus to "rest, travel and I may do a short film."
"Our college experience is exactly the same: none," said Breckin Meyer, noting the irony of hosting the College TV Awards with "Franklin & Bash" co-star Mark-Paul Gosselaar. "But we've both played college students throughout our careers." The legal dramedy returns to TNT for its second season on June 5, and according to Gosselaar, "we become equity partners at the firm, which creates more responsibility, more conflict, more drama and more comedy as well." A big supporter of environmental causes, Gosselaar wishes he could add solar panels to his house, "but we rent." On his hiatus, he plans a family trip to Belgium, while Meyer is producing the TBS sitcom "Men at Work" and has a cameo in the upcoming comedy "Geezers."
While she didn't go to college, Cat Deeley was an A student and appreciates the value of higher education. 'I never had the opportunity so that's why I waned to be here to celebrate the opportunity that these people have," explained the "So You Think You Can Dance" host. The Fox competition will premiere May 24 and lose its results show, and Deeley thinks that consolidation will make it more exciting. The audition tour begins soon, which means the avid vintage shopper will be on the lookout for recycled fashion finds on the road. "I do loads and loads of vintage clothes and furniture. I love things from the past that have a history. They're eco-friendly as well as brilliant."
Matthew Gray Gubler of "Criminal Minds" raved about the garden he planted with herbs and large and tasty "dinosaur kale" and described his college experience as a film student at NYU, where he spent months holed up in his room, editing his projects. He directed the April 4 "Minds" episode about ritual murders in Oregon, his third time behind the camera. "It's strange, gothic, supernatural. It feels like an old 'X Files' episode or 'Twin Peaks' meets 'Wuthering Heights,'" compared Gubler, also mentioning an upcoming two-part episode in May "with explosions and scary stuff." On his hiatus, he plan to make another film with the director of "Excision," for which he grew a goatee to play a 50-year-old sex ed teacher. He also hopes to do more "Chipmunks" projects, whether for film or as a series.
Having known she wanted to act since she was four and gotten her start in local theater in her native New Hampshire, Eliza Coupe attended the California Institute of the Arts. She's now starring in ABC's hit sitcom "Happy Endings," which has its season finale April 4. "It's a weird turn of events," she says of the wedding-set episode, which features guest star Brian Austin Green. Coupe recycles and buys organic. "I'm mostly vegan, nine years now."
Tony Hale also recycles and stocks up on organic products. "It just smells better because there's not so much crap in it," believes Hale, who studied journalism at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., "because I didn't think I could make a career out of theater." The "Arrested Development" vet is excited about the 12 new "A.D." episodes that Netflix is producing for summer, each one focusing on a different character and sure to whet fans' appetites for the future feature film. Meanwhile, Hale has two indie films in the can, "Flatland" and "Not That Funny," and the new HBO comedy "Veep," premiering April 22. He plays the neurotic, overly eager-to-please personal aide to Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Vice President. "I worship her and will do whatever it takes for her to like me but she treats me like crap."
"We recycle, we live in a 100 percent solar home — we have integrated solar panels on our roof, an energy-efficient washer and dryer. We save a lot of money while saving a lot of energy," says Russell Hornsby who studied theater at Boston University and the British Academy for Dramatic Arts, where he "learned the difference between acting and emoting." On NBC's supernatural procedural "Grimm," he's still under a "love hangover spell," a three-episode arc, and while he can't reveal details, said that the finale will bring "a season one cliffhanger like you wouldn't believe." He plans to take a hiatus vacation trip with his wife to Vietnam, where his mother, a Navy vet, served in the Navy. "She went back for the first time in November with her Navy buddies and said it was cathartic, like coming full circle," said Hornsby.
Beth Reisgraf takes her own bags to the grocery store and gets around by bike or on foot when possible," try to walk a lot and take my car less," said the "Leverage" star, who attended the University of Las Vegas for two semesters but left in order to pursue acting in the school of experience in Hollywood. She promised an exciting season when her TNT series returns in July. "We have an exciting series opener, full of explosions, fights, action and comedy. You're also going to get a lot more insight into some of the characters."
Scott Porter was excited about the house he just bought that has plenty of natural light, thanks to solar tubes. He also promised some exciting developments on "Hart of Dixie," The April 23 episode will showcase the musical theater veteran's vocal chops when his character George Tucker sings Harry Connick Jr.'s version of "Jambalaya." "George has some realizations that he's been living his life for everyone else and decides to take a weekend for himself. He makes a bucket list and sets out to accomplish all the things he has listed there." He discovers the secret fiancée Lemon (Jaime King) has been keeping about her affair "and it affects George profoundly. You'll see a lot of friendships and relationships change, see things start to go upside down."
"We come back on the 9th and we have some secrets coming out and the repercussions of all of that," confirmed "Dixie" costar Cress Williams, whose character is the man Tucker's fiancée was cheating with. The finale will leave viewers "itching for a second season," he teased. A theater major at UCLA, Williams knew he wanted to act 'before I could walk" and was lucky enough to get training in Shakespeare, be directed by Debbie Allen, and meet Denzel Washington while acting at the university. Currently working on a film called "In Our Eyes," he shops for organic produce at Whole Foods and wants to check out a new organic foods chain called Sprouts that recently opened nearby.
Joan Van Ark is also an organic produce buyer. "I love organic spinach. It's my new kick," she said. Having studied at Yale Drama School and the Guthrie Theater, she believes that success is a combination of "preparation meets opportunity." She just wrapped a movie called "Watercolor Postcards," playing a woman dying of cancer, and will make an appearance in this summer's "Dallas" reboot on TNT, reprising her role of Valene Ewing. She'd love to do more theater and find a regular series role, something like "a biker grandma, something really incongruous."
Aldis Hodge ("Leverage") and his older brother Edwin ("Cougar Town") have been acting together since they were kids on Broadway, on TV in "Sesame Street" and in movies like "Die Hard With a Vengeance" and "Big Momma's House," but have different ways of being eco-friendly. "He has a Prius, I use as little water as possible and the lights are off 90 percent of the time," said Edwin. He has several upcoming films, including "American Trash," "Christmas in Compton," "Vigilandia," and the long-awaited "Red Dawn" remake. Aldis will be seen in "The East," about a group that tries to take down a corrupt pharmaceutical company. The two never compete for roles. "Whatever comes in for me is received with love, and vice versa," Aldis noted.
Photos courtesy the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation