This is an interview with Vivien Cardone, TV Daughter of Treat Williams's TV Single Dad on The WB's Everwood, but it's also about a few other things.
Here at the Third Most-Entertaining Site on the InternetTM, I get a *lot* of emails. Many of these are requests for details about actors who aren't on television anymore. Quite a few are sales pitches for hawking merchandise on the site. There are waves of emails when series get cancelled, pleading with me (in ALL CAPS) to "HELP SAVE [insert show name here]".
I have a personal "favorite" type of email. Typically, it's about a cancelled series, but sometimes it's about a series that's currently on the air. Here's an example:
To the Editor:
I read your site and saw what you said about insert series name. This was a great show, with no foul language or violence. You don't know anything about what makes a good show! The actors on the show were great, and it was people like you who got the show taken off the air!
P.S. My daughter insert daughter's name here played insert character name on that series, and if you don't like her acting, you can kiss my big toe!
Letters like this usually send me back to read what I wrote about the show. What could I have possibly said to tick-off this angry Mom or Dad? Invariably, it was because I said something like "shows like this don't last long, no matter how good the cast was."
So, this is how I met Lisa.
Lisa Cardone is Vivien Cardone's mom. She surfed my site way back in September, when I had posted my first review of Everwood. In that review, I mentioned that Everwood had two strikes against it: the show was in the Death Strip that was Monday-after-7th Heaven, a time slot that had laid waste to *four* single-season series. Second, the show featured my personal nemesis: TV Single Dad Plot Number One. This plot ("Dad, mourning the death of recently-expired Mom, tosses the kids in a pickup truck /airplane / boat and moves to a completely-different locale, usually with an exotic climate. The family is composed of an Angry Son or Daughter, and an Obedient, Quiet Daughter. ") has never survived very long on broadcast television. After watching the screener tape from The WB, I wrote all this in the review. I also said Everwood would probably last about three episodes.
Lisa wrote me:
I'd like to know if you are bashing Everwood because you saw the pilot or you just heard about it! You couldn't have possibly seen it because then you would see how ridiculous you sound!
Aha, I thought: a relative! I wrote Lisa back, explaining that I didn't want the show to be cancelled - - it was just that shows with this track record often disappeared after a few weeks. She understood what I was talking about, and promised she'd write back if the show survived.
So, November rolls around, and Everwood is still on the air. I get another email:
It's Lisa Cardone (mother of Vivien Cardone of Everwood). I was wondering if you're ready to concede that Everwood might just last more than, what was it, three episodes? Sorry, just had to rub it in a little. I'm not being cocky, believe me! I know that nothing is ever solid in the entertainment business, but I really do think we have a good one here that will last longer than one season.
Okay, I was wrong. I rewrote the review on the site, and mentioned that it was surprising how good Everwood was doing in the ratings. I wrote Lisa, and let her know about my changed opinion. I also asked if Vivien would be up for an interview. Lisa wrote back and told me the cast and crew were jazzed up about being nominated for a People's Choice Award for Best New Drama. Oh, and Vivien would be happy to do an interview.
Understand something: I don't *like* to interview child actors. They have a pretty rough life: going from audition to audition, getting in a series, having the series eventually fold, and having to live with the impression that they were somehow to 'blame' for the cancellation. It's terrible, and I've met enough kids on sets to raise my quease-factor pretty high.
Yet, I thought interviewing Vivien might be different. Just look at her acting chops: at a mere nine years old, she's already acted with Russell Crowe and Ed Harris in A Beautiful Mind. And now, she's Treat Williams's daughter on a *successful* WB series that now seems to have the legs of a Dawson's Creek. What would be the harm?
So, armed with all these positive thoughts...
Vivien - Hello, Jim!
Hi, Vivien! How are you doing?
Vivien - Great!I'm sorry to interrupt your time off, but I'm glad we could get together to talk about a couple of questions. Did your mom give you the list of questions I was probably going to ask?
Vivien - Um, yeah.
Just wanted to make sure you're not getting blindsided by all these questions. So, things are going good on the set now, with being renewed for the rest of the season...
Vivien - Yeah!
That's good. How is it out in Utah? When you first did the pilot, you were way up in Canada. Are you getting used to Utah?
Vivien - Oh yeah, it's great!
A lot more mountains than Long Island, I guess.
Vivien - Oh yeah! [laughs]
So, what's your typical day like on the set? What time do you have to get up, and all that?
Vivien - Normally, it depends on what time I have to go in. If I have to go in at seven o'clock, I have to go in at twelve...
Do you doing your shooting in the morning, mostly?
Vivien - It can't be more than nine-and-a-half hours...
Right, because you're a fourth grader, right? You're nine?
Vivien - I'm a *fifth-grader*.
A fifth-grader - sorry! When you're on the set, who do you usually hang around with on the set?
Vivien - I usually hang around with Treat, and he is the *most* hilarious person I've ever met.
Do you get a lot of downtime when you're on the set? I guess you mostly have to practice your lines, and do blocking and stuff.
Vivien - Well, sometimes I come in early, like when I have to do schoolwork, on a weekday. And normally it's a weekday when I go in. So I go in early and I do my schoolwork with my parents and I *eat* a lot, and I normally eat *candy!*
Oh, yeah - - all that sugar will keep you going!
Vivien - Yeah!
When you're working on the sets, a lot of actors I've talked to on different series say there's a lot of inside jokes and things that people write - like notes on the refrigerator and things like that. Do you have any jokes or funny pictures on your refrigerator on the set?
Vivien - Hmm - - I didn't write anything *yet* - - but I might!
Well, we'll keep a lookout for that! What's been your favorite episode so far? You're on the ninth episode now?
Vivien - Yeah, I think so. I don't have a favorite - - I like them all. They're all so great.
Is it hard wearing all the winter clothes? I guess now it's winter, so it's easier, but was it hard wearing all those heavy clothes in the summertime, shooting up there in Utah? It must have been hard.
Vivien - Ohh, it's HOT!
When you're not working on the show, what do you do for fun?
Vivien - Well, my aunt and my mom bought me games, so I normally go and I play with my games - - but, I mostly do my schoolwork.
What kind of games? Are they mostly PlayStation games?
Vivien - Uh, yeah..
Okay - this last group of episodes you've been on, they've written a part in the storyline where your character has kind of a crush on Chris Pratt's character. Are they going to keep going with that? Do you know if you have more scenes with Chris?
Vivien - I don't know. But seriously, I really think Chris is -hot-.
Really? He seems like a nice guy.
Vivien - Yeah, he's great.
Do you get a lot of time in advance to practice your lines?
Vivien - Yeah - I have some time. They give me time. If I'm not really ready, they give me like, five-ten minutes. We have a scripter who helps us with our lines. If we forget our lines, we can ask her, or him, what the line is, and they'll tell us. And then we'll get it down.
Do you get a lot of yours on the first take? Are you good at first takes?
Vivien - Yeah.
You get a lot of scenes where you get to - I don't want to say 'temper tantrum' - but you get a lot of scenes where you can yell a lot - is that fun?
Vivien - Yeah!
Yeah, I think every episode you get at least one chance to storm out of the room, or yell at somebody, it seems. I guess when you're all up in Utah, do you live near each other? I mean, you're away from home and everybody, but does the cast and crew live near each other? Do you see everybody a lot off the set?
Vivien - Well, kind of. But we do have friends that we can walk to outside. And it's great because - I actually have friends, because I really didn't have many friends before, but now I'm in Utah, and I have like, *five* friends.
They must be anxious to see you when you get back there soon.
Vivien - Yeah.
When's the next time you get time off? When's your next hiatus?
Vivien - April, because there's Easter then, and there's my birthday in there, too!
Oh yeah - your birthday [April 14th] is the day after my birthday, so we're both Aries. That's a good sign!
Vivien - The best!
I saw the picture of you that your mom put up on The Internet Movie Database where you're wearing flowers in your hair. Is that from step dancing?
Vivien - No, it's from A Beautiful Mind
Oh, that's from the movie - - I didn't realize...
Vivien - They were kidding around on the set.
Oh, okay - because you looked a lot littler back then. You've grown a lot since then. I guess they have to shoot all your scenes real quick so you don't grow up too quick in an episode! Do you do more than one episode at a time? Do they shoot several scenes of different episodes at the same time, or do they just do one episode at a time?
Vivien - They do one at a time. It takes, like, eight days.
Do you get to do a table read first?
Vivien - Yeah. We do.
Now, you seem to have a lot of indoor scenes. Have you had to have anybody do any stunt work for you?
Vivien - Oh yeah - - for the motorcycle scene.
Oh that's right - the motorcycle! Darn, you didn't get to ride the motorcycle...
Vivien - No.
Well, maybe next time, they'll let you.
Vivien - I did get to sit on it! [laughs]
Oh, well that's okay, then!
Vivien - Yep.
Is the weather okay out there? Do you have to stop for the weather a lot?
Vivien - Sometimes. Mostly if it rains. It rarely rains, though.
Are your sisters and your brother out there with you too, or are you mostly just out there with your mom?
Vivien - Sometimes, they're here with my mom, but mostly, they're flying back and forth. But mostly, they're back there with them.
Back with your dad.
Vivien - Yeah.
It must be hard being so far away from home for so long. When you did A Beautiful Mind, could you commute from home, or did you have to stay in New Jersey and stuff?
Vivien - Yeah - - well, we stayed at Princeton.
Yeah. That's not too far from home. But I guess it's a lot farther out there in Utah.
Vivien - We stayed in Princeton for a while, but the rest of the time we drove back-and-forth.
Okay, here's a question that you'd know, since you've starred with both of them: who's taller, Russell Crowe or Treat Williams?
Vivien - Um.... Russell.
Vivien - Yep.
Do you talk to Tom Amandes much? I talked with him a month ago and he said it's a lot of fun on the set.
Vivien - Yeah, I do -- but Treat -- [laughs] - he's hilarious.
Does he do things to crack you up?
Vivien - Yeah! I can do something that he does...
Vivien - Yeah - -
What does he do?
Okay, I recorded that, so when you click on it on the website, you can let Treat hear how you impersonated him!
Vivien - [laughs]
Does he have a nickname for you?
Vivien - No...
Oh, well I guess he just calls you "Man!"
When you watch TV, besides watching Everwood, of course - - what other shows do you watch on TV?
Vivien - Uh, hmm - - I watch cartoons. I like Rugrats, I watch Hey Arnold...
Yeah, a lot of Nickelodeon. Do you watch Sponge Bob Square Pants?
Vivien - Yeah.
Do you like Rocket Power?
Vivien - Oh, yeah!
Yeah, I get a lot of mail from kids who like Rocket Power. Do you watch any Cartoon Network? Do you watch, like, Dexter's Lab and all that?
Vivien - I watch Animal Planet... and The Crocodile Hunter. Steve Irwin's funny.
Do you have a favorite set you like to work on?
Vivien - I think all the sets are pretty cool.
I know the story about you and your mom at the gas station, when you found out you were going to be in A Beautiful Mind. Where were you when you found out about Everwood?
Vivien - We were in a car.
You were in a car?
Vivien - We were driving in Manhattan. And then, Mickey calls us up, and then everyone's screaming "Yay! She got the part! She got the part! She got the part!" It was cool. It was quite a neat thing!
That's cool. What was the audition like? Do you remember the audition?
Vivien - Um - - they filmed me in the office.
Did you do a scene with Treat or somebody?
Vivien - No. Mr. Erbst[?]
And so it was right after that you found out?
Vivien - Um, yeah. It was about four days before we found out.
Now, do you remember - they do the bumpers, the WB commercials with the big WB sign and everything, out in L.A. - what was that like, because those are usually pretty hectic. They have a lot of show to shoot when they get that set up.
Vivien - That was so cool - it was great.
I forget what your scene was - did they have you leaning on a letter or something?
Vivien - No, they put me on a table. And I'm having my head on my knee. And I did a winter one where - - I threw a present. And snow was falling.
Have you seen that on the air yet?
Vivien - Nope.
Well, maybe it'll be on tonight. We'll have to watch.
So, you go back until April, and then you're good until next fall. Things are going pretty good.
Vivien - Until July.
Oh, until July. Wow, that's a lot of episodes.
Vivien - Yeah...
Here's another question: besides candy, what's your favorite food on the craft services table?
Vivien - I don't know - just - M&M's.
Oh, you're big on M&M's. The plain, or the peanut kind?
Vivien - Actually, neither. I like the crunchy kind.
Yeah, the crispies - I like them too. I hadn't tried them before, and someone gave me some of them last year, and they surprised me.
Vivien - But I'm also a real big fan of gum - I love gum!
What kind of gum? Do you like Big Red?
Vivien - Um, no.
No? Do you like Juicy Fruit?
Vivien - I like the original.
Oh, like Bazooka...
Vivien - Yeah - any kind of gum. Except for the hot and red stuff.
Can you blow a big bubble?
Vivien - Sometimes. It's really hard. I do it very rarely.
Do you get to ski when you're in Utah? Do you like skiing at all?
Vivien - I don't know how! But I'm gonna learn to snowboard, actually.
Vivien - My friend has this snowboard and it doesn't have the things that click onto your feet - - it's a beginner's, and she said maybe I can use it...
Oh, neat - - well, if you do get to go snowboarding, get your mom to take a picture and I'll put it up on the site.
Vivien - Okay.
Okay, so a week goes by, and I'm typing up this interview. On E! Television, the run-up to the People's Choice Awards is airing. Joan Rivers stops the kids from Everwood (Gregory Smith, Emily Van Camp, and Vivien) to ask a few questions. So, I turn up the volume to hear if Joan Rivers could interview a nine-year-old better than I can.
Joan asked Gregory, "So, you're all pretty much normal kids with a typical home life?"
Yes, said Gregory, we're all pretty much average kids.
Joan knelt down to ask Vivien a question. Vivien listened intently.
"So, Vivien - - does Daddy hit Mommy?"
Vivien frowned at Joan and said, "What?"
Joan really needs a tutorial on what's appropriate with children. Picking on little girls for provocative airtime is dirty.
Vivien let it slide. Unlike Joan, Vivien is a class act.