Rising Star Spotlight: Get To Know “Dwight in Shining Armor” Star Sloane Siegel

Charismatic and multi-talented television and film actor, Sloane Siegel (Amazon’s Emmy-nominated “Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street”) returns to television yet again, leading as “Dwight,” opposite Caitlin Carmichael (Life Itself) and Joel McCrary (American Beauty) in the third season of “Dwight in Shining Armor,” (Paramount & BYUtv returning on March 15th) the hilarious, campy family adventure-comedy.

Recently picked up for seasons 3 & 4, Sloane plays “Dwight,” a modem, 21st-century teen, while taking photographs in the forest, accidentally falls face-first into an ancient, underground chamber, and lands on ‘Gretta’ (Carmichael) a medieval sleeping princess, planting a kiss on her and waking up not only her and her loyal court magician, ‘Baldric’ (McCrary) but all of the medieval villains that have been asleep like her for the past 1000 years. Together, the trio must defeat her hordes of enemies.

Born in Washington, DC and raised on a Rescue Farm in West Virginia, Sloane began his career dancing hip hop but made the transition to acting at age eight after a chance casting call. At 10, he came to Hollywood to pursue his dreams and just 2 short years later, Sloane booked his best-known role as “Gortimer” in AMAZON’s award-winning “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street”. He has been awarded the Best Actor Award as the Lead in a TV Series by the Young Artists Awards 3 years in a row, has earned the Best Leading Young Actor in TV Award from the Young Entertainer Awards, and has won 16 awards through the film festival circuit. Audiences may also recognize Sloane from dozens of appearances on other top shows including CBS’ “Pure Genius,” & “Partners,” ABC’s “Modern Family,” and NICKELODEON’s “Big Time Rush.”

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Sloane Siegel to talk about his journey in the entertainment industry so far and here’s what went down:

How were you actually discovered?

I had been doing musical theater at a small company in West Virginia when my mom heard an ad on the radio for a “big-time acting school”. It totally sounded like a scam, but she gave me a choice to either go to my soccer playoff game or give that probable scam a chance. So on a whim, we drove three hours away and it turned out to be real. I auditioned knowing pretty much nothing about acting and they liked me so much they gave me a scholarship for 6 months and then sent me to a showcase in Vegas where I signed with a manager and I guess that’s what really started me on my path.

What do you like most about acting?

It’s a tie between the impact it has on other people and the amazing things I get to do. I get to create characters and be a part of shows and films that leave a lasting impression on people’s lives. I’ve received so many letters from people who have enjoyed my work and they’ve told me that it got them through a hard time or made them feel less alone, or made them laugh when all they could do is cry, or helped them cry when they’ve felt emotionally trapped or stunted. I love that I can do what I love and help people in the process and have them enjoy it as much as I do.

On a more personal and internal note of why I love acting so much, I get to travel and see places I never would’ve gone otherwise. I get to live in new places and pretend to live in other ones. I get to do fight scenes, wear cool costumes, meet countless new amazing people, and channel all those confusing emotions as a human being into something useful and fun.

Can you tell us about your role in Dwight in shining armor?

I play Dwight, your everyday normal teen, who happens to fall into a buried, forgotten castle, and lands lip-to-lip with a 1,000-year-old gothic warrior princess, waking her up and becoming her spellbound champion. Dwight is a caring, charismatic, dorky dude who always looks for a peaceful solution in a medieval world out to get him, turn him into a toad, roast him on a spit, and take the princess’ kingdom.

What sort of person is going to love this character?

I think everyone is going to love this character. I think even if you aren’t laughing with him you’re definitely laughing at him. He’s just a good guy forced into some pretty dire situations and strives for the most positive outcome. I feel like everyone loves a character that didn’t ask to be a hero but has to be, you know the shtick.

How is this character like you? Different?

I feel like we look pretty similar, I don’t know that might just be me. But for real, we both strive for the most positive outcome where everybody comes out happy. Neither of us is capable of violence. If somebody stabbed me, I would probably say sorry. I’d say we’re very different in the sense that Dwight is very out of his element in the show where I would be totally in mine. I’m a bit of a thrill-seeker and I’m always excited about new experiences, whereas Dwight is comfortable in his routine and is terrified of everything in Gretta’s world.

What’s the biggest challenge to taking on this role?

Probably the comedy. Even though I’ve been with this character and show long enough to have the style down, It’s still always uncertain whether a joke is going to land or not. Whether it’s a one-liner or physical comedy it’s very challenging. Comedy is very musical and you have to hit every beat and then it’s up to post. Usually, on our set, we’ll only get two or three takes to get it perfect so there’s a lot of pressure there.

Photo Credit: Benjo Arwas

Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

I would love to see Christopher Walken take on the role of Dwight. I think that would be absolutely hysterical.

Besides yourself, which actor in this show is going to blow people away?

Evan Hofer as Chlodwig. He appears at first as a villain and very quickly becomes a friend. His character returns a whole lot more than you’d expect and he is delightfully hilarious in the part. Certainly, my favorite character on the show, and Evan is one of my favorite people on the planet.

If you could play any other character in this show, who would it be?

I would have loved to take on the part of Sir Aldred. He is a very imposing villain all throughout season 3 and his many appearances leading up to that raise the tension perfectly. The actor that portrays him, Kanoa Goo is a delightful person and a great actor. The grand battle with the Tovanars begins sooner than you think.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Well, no experience in this industry is really comparable and I’ve actually been sitting here at my laptop for an hour trying to figure out what was THE most memorable experience of my career and I think the thing that comes to mind over the rest is the final day of Gortimer. The very last day of filming for a show that had been three of the most amazing years of my life. Everyone was truly a family and that was my first time leading a series. That show changed my life and the final day hit me really hard. Fun fact: The very last scene ever filmed was the opening scene in Gortimer vs. The End where I find the little coin magic trick. The very last line ever spoken while filming the show was “Ta-dah.” I remember saying that line, a somber “Cut,” and then the bell went off. We all stood there in shock that we had completed the series. Everyone rushed into the set so that our AD could series wrap Robyn and I and hearing everyone cheer and cry when they said “That’s a series wrap,” still rings in my ears.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I’ve met so many incredible and interesting people throughout my career. I got to meet Mark Harmon and Wilmer Valderrama on NCIS and they were both very interesting people with many stories to tell. I met Andy Serkis at a Hollywood event. I ran into Ron Perlman at the gym. I meet actors and directors all the time, but all the most amazing people are part of the crew. They stay behind the scenes, but without them, no production would be possible. Some of their life stories will move you and each person I’ve met on every crew has always been kind to me. Some of my closest friends are from the crew.

We note that you suffer from anxiety, with cities and states going on self and government-imposed quarantines and social distancing instructions, can you give us some tips and what’s keeping you feeling mentally and physically fit during this tough time?

Personally, I’ve been meditating and writing, organizing at home, distracting myself with productive things. When you’re trapped at home you tend to be much more vulnerable to your own thoughts. When you start feeling anxious, reach out to a friend or family member to ground you and if there is no one available, start naming people you love and think of your favorite time they’re ever smiled at you. There is really no solution to anxiety, but you can actively fight it inside yourself by treating yourself with kindness and allowing yourself forgiveness. I tend to be pretty hard on myself, but I’ve been working on forgiving myself for the bad days a bit more and that’s helped a lot. Because every day isn’t going to be a good day, but once you accept that, you can look forward to all the good days and make sure you appreciate all the good no matter how small.

As far as physically fit goes, start a small workout routine for as soon as you wake up and right before you go to bed. It’s not about how many sit-ups or push-ups you can do, but keeping a consistent routine. Don’t be mad if you don’t see results right away, but be happy and proud of yourself for committing to your physical health.

Take care of yourself, even after this quarantine is over, mentally and physically. Appreciate the good things in life, treat yourself and others with kindness and do what makes YOU happy.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it?

I’m hoping to write a lot more and finish up a few novels in the future, travel to many new places, complete Dwight as well as start a new series after that. A new episode of Dwight in Shining Armor Season 3 premieres each Sunday at 7:30 PM Central Time on BYUTV. Stream seasons 1 and 2 online at BYUTV.ORG. You can watch Gortimer Gibbons’ Life on Normal Street on Amazon for free.

“Terminator: Dark Fate” Movie Review: Is It Worth Your Money??

TERMINATO

Rating: 1/4 Stars

Much as people balk and groan at the thought of seeing sequels or new installments to decade-old franchises, I love seeing film series I grew up and adored coming back after so many years and continuing a story with a new take. However, many people seem to agree (myself included) that James Cameron’s epic sci-fi series “The Terminator” should have stopped pumping out future films a long, LONG time ago. Many believe “T2: Judgement Day” is the last true and respected Terminator sequel made and everything else sucked afterward (I strongly disagree on “T3: Rise of the Machines” however). Now Cameron is back to produce this latest (and hopefully last) ditch effort to revitalize the franchise with “Terminator: Dark Fate.”

20 years after Judgement delayed was stopped, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) has lost her way and struggles to find a new path now that the world is finally free from the technological terror of Skynet…or is it? In Mexico City, a young girl named Dani (Natalia Reyes) is attacked by a twin pair of deadly terminator machines called Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) who seeks to kill her for something she will do in the future to aid humanity. A mysterious cyborg woman named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) also comes from the future to protect Dani. Now along with a still-spry Sarah Connor and an old T-800 unit (Arnold Schwarzenegger), they must all work together to stop a new dark future from coming and save humanity once again from the threat of machines.

If there ever was a movie franchise that perfectly embodied the “beating the dead horse” metaphor, it’s Terminator. After the last disastrous effort to restart the franchise with a new trilogy of films with “Terminator Genisys”, people were hopeful Cameron’s involvement along with classic stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger coming back would mean a return to the film’s quality roots which have been dead and dormant since “T2.” Turns out they were wrong, they were VERY wrong! Ignoring the events of every Terminator movie except the first two, “Dark Fate” is a lazy, weakly cobbled together hot mess that copies tropes, ideas, and clichés from every single previous Terminator movie (including the bad ones).

“Dark Fate” is essentially a poor man’s clean slate that tries to start a new storyline to keep expanding the lore by ripping off every movie that came before it; sacrificing all originality and creativity. The first 5 minutes of the movie is the most shocking and infuriating part of the entire film and if you’re anything like me, it’ll be impossible to really get into the rest of the movie after seeing it. This film doesn’t feel like a worthy successor to any of the previous Terminator movies; it feels more insulting than anything else. For example, Skynet is written out and a new software-based menace called Legion emerges as the new big bad, with Dani as the ‘new’ John Connor and Grace as the ‘new’ T-800 protector role.

The only things that work here are a few action sequences and (unsurprisingly), Hamilton and Arnold back as Sarah Connor and the T-800 unit. Their attitude, awkward chemistry and bad ass images really bring back that nostalgic thrill back to the good old days of quality Terminator movies. They slipped back into their roles seamlessly and have every bit of sharp wit, gravitas and intensity they’ve become immortalized for. Sadly, everyone else falls pitifully short. Dani is a sad substitute for John, having no personality, memorable lines or even much of an impressive future role to play in the new timeline. Mackenzie Davis’s Grace tries her best but suffers from weak writing and weak conceptualization (basically, she’s a knock off of Sam Worthington’s character from “Terminator Salvation”…and she needs insulin shots to survive).

Even the new Terminator robot, Rev-9, offers nothing new and just copies the same powers and abilities the T-000 had in “T2” and the powers of the TX from “T3.” Overall, “Dark Fate” has nothing going for it, even with Cameron, Hamilton, and Arnold all being attached to it. Everything this movie has to offer has been seen and done before and better in the previous Terminator films. The story and characters are insulting, weakly written and prove that the Terminator franchise needs to stay dead and buried and not come back until someone in the absurdly far future knows how to salvage this mess.