With television having become such an ubiquitous form of technology, networks have really upped their collective games in terms of producing content. Lucky for Anton Media Group, we’ve capitalized on the myriad performers who are working at projects at any given time.
You can take the girl out of Queens….you know the rest. Fran Drescher made her name as the lead in the CBS sitcom The Nanny, but made her mark in early but memorable roles in Saturday Night Fever and the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap as horrified publicist Bobbi Flekman. Through it all, the New York City native has proudly worn her accent and background as a badge of honor.
“I never forgot my roots, and most of my characters are deeply tied with my past,” she said. “I keep the memories of my childhood and upbringing—all of the rich and colorful characters I grew up with—very close in my heart, and it’s what Peter [Marc Jacobson, her ex-husband] and I like to write about. Inside, I still feel like that chubby girl from Queens with working-class parents. That’ll never go away. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I’m not afraid to not have money.”
Currently splitting time between playing the patriarch on the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs and Larry David’s fictional manager Jeff Greene on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jeff Garlin has led a busy life with myriad projects that had the common thread of his being in a position to make people laugh. It’s been a goal he’s had ever since the Chicago native was 8 years old and saw Jimmy Durante perform.
“I was always the funniest kid in school,” he proudly said. “[Jimmy Durante] inspired me. I asked my parents if that’s a job. They said yes and I said, ‘That’s a job I want.’”
Having been imprisoned with his family by U.S. officials in an internment camp during World War II, George Takei has taken a lead as an immigration and LGBTQ rights advocate. Projects reflecting that childhood experience include his role in The Terror: Infamy, an AMC horror drama anthology set in the same kind of camp Takei and his family were interned in.
Also They Called Us Enemy, a graphic novel recounting Takei’s experience in those American concentration camps. And while he’s always had progressive values, his playing Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek wound up being a perfect breakout role for him.
“Gene Roddenberry said the Starship Enterprise was a metaphor for Starship Earth and the strength of the starship lay in its diversity, coming together and working as a team. That was the 23rd century that he had envisioned and how true he was because we’re still having problems with that.”
While most people may recognize Richard Schiff for myriad roles he’s played as a character actor, most know him as Toby Ziegler, a White House communications director on The West Wing. The Maryland native first cut his teeth as a director. He recounted how this experience translated to the first time he got behind the camera on the beloved NBC series.
“I went from director to actor back to director. On The West Wing, I was always the protector of actors on the set; they trusted me to protect the story and integrity of what we were trying to achieve.”
Cedric the Entertainer
Born Cedric Antonio Kyles, the man known as Cedric the Entertainer made his bones on the stand-up circuit and later made a successful transition to film (Barbershop) and later television (The Steve Harvey Show, The Last O.G.) As one of the leads and an executive producer on the CBS sitcom The Neighborhood, Kyles has been walking the tightrope of being able to send a social message with comedy.
“In today’s television [world], what gives the show its unique voice is the fact that we made this choice to tell great stories that can put us in situations of great conversation and controversy, yet, we find this funny line where everybody ends up sharing in the laughter.”
Bill Hader may have launched his career via a storied run on Saturday Night Live, but he’s since shifted gears into becoming a renowned actor, writer, producer and director. His latest project is Barry, an HBO dark comedy about a hired killer that has become both a critical and commercial success and is going into its third season. Hader shared how the seed was planted for this unique series.
“[Co-creator Alec Berg and I] came up with this idea and saw the story potential of a guy in between two worlds and his trying to navigate these two worlds. The situation was inherently crazy and funny, so we thought, ‘What if we played this very grounded?’ We made it very real. I think a lot of people would have heard this idea coming from us and thought it would be a very glib kind of over-the-top comedy, but I think the tone kind of surprised people.”