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Michael Cerveris and Carrie Hamilton talk about what it's like to be the new kids on the block.
New faces have added spark to Fame's School of Performing Arts. Two newcomers, Michael Cerveris and Carrie Hamilton, have had to adjust to fame in both their professional and private lives.
On Fame, Michael plays "Ian Ware," an East Londoner who has just arrived in the United States with his working-class family. He becomes Mr. Shorofsky's protegee because of his impressive musical talent. Carrie, the daughter of TV great Carol Burnett, plays "Reggie Hamilton," a performing arts student who is also a rebel.
"When they called me to do Reggie," Carrie remembers, "they wanted me to be a standup comic." She's glad the character has changed since then." Now I do a lot of things," the white-haired actress explains. "I write music, play the piano, dance and do character work, but I've never done stand-up."
Michael agrees that the auditions were nerve-wracking. "I was sure I didn't have the part at one point," the brown-eyed actor recalls. "They thanked me with this thank-you-good-bye tone in their voices. I got all the way to the elevator before they came and got me." After a second look, Michael joined the cast of Fame.
The cast and crew of Fame work long and hard hours. Carrie and Michael find themselves putting in 12 hour days that are fun, but also exhausting. There have also been times when their inexperience on the set has caused some embarrassing moments for the young actors.
"I had a scene in a recent episode where I was with my girlfriend on the show and the scene took place in her apartment in New York," Michael remembers. "The first scene was at 7:30 in the morning and it was this passionate love scene, which was hard enough for me because I've never done that before. People who have done this for a long time are able to call up their emotions in just a couple of minutes and they're ready. I don't know how to do that yet, so I end up walking around for two hours and not being able to talk to anybody."
Carrie recalls a similar experience. "We were doing the episode where Nia Peeples' character gets killed and I have this scene with Carlo Imperato. 'My character, Reggie, is supposed to be kind of half laughing / half crying in the scene. We did it and I gave Carlo everything I had and it went great;' she explains. "They turned the camera on me and for some reason, I don't know where it came from, I really started crying. The director yelled, 'Cut and do it again.' I came back and started crying again. And the scene wasn't even written that I was supposed to be crying. I'm walking through the MGM lot with tears streaming down my face. Even worse, I had to match a scene vocally that was a happy, up scene."
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