Okay, the secret’s out! My final “mystery guest” for Hooked Heartie’s Mystery Month is self-proclaimed “Hallmark Channel’s favourite bespectacled bald guy”, the one and only Milo Shandel! (Gotta love the Canadian spelling!) He was my second cast Skype interview, Laura Bertram being the first, and what an interview it was! He made me feel so comfortable, it was like talking to one of my brothers. No seriously, he literally sounded like one of them! Speaking of which, he is such a great family man! He’s out doing sports with his boys almost every Saturday from morning to evening. AND he’s a fabulous actor, as we all know. He’s certainly one of OUR favorite bald guys, right Hearties?! FAIR WARNING: I haven’t laughed this hard since I interviewed Elliott Wallach! Some gems are going to get lost from video to print, I know, but I’m going to try my best to convey the hilarity of our conversation, at least in part. 😀 For example, at one point when I downright snickered and lost it, I told him he was making it very difficult for me to remain professional. His response? “Are you kidding? Laughing at my jokes is the best thing you could do!”
Another one is when I apologized for taking so long to write down his answers because I didn’t have access to recording equipment. He said, “No problem, I’ll just talk slower.” Then he proceeded in this deep, dragging voice: “He…………….was…………….a…” It was hysterical!
And here’s a fun fact! Did you know that his name is pronounced “Meelo” even though it’s spelled like “Milo”. And his last name is not SHANdel, like I thought for so long. It’s ShanDEL. He’s resigned to it though, “as long as they feed me lunch, and my check clears.” 😀 There’s that humor again. So let’s get to know him a little better.
1. Tell us about your family, past and present.
– I have a half brother, 2 half sisters, and a stepsister.
– Now, I have 3 boys: ages 13, 10, and 7. My 10-year-old loves When Calls the Heart. He’s my biggest fan!
– My wife and I have been married since 2001, but we’ve been together since 1989, when she was 20 and I was 19. Yes, my wife is older than I am. (Here’s when I admitted that I’m also older than my husband.)
2. Were you born in Vancouver?
– Yes! I’m one of the few in the industry actually from here, and I happen to also be in the Directors’ Guild.
3. What is your favorite place to go out to eat, and what can you be found eating there?
– With 3 kids, we almost never go out. But when we do, there’s usually “Pizza” in the name. 😉 My wife and I go out once in a while, but not much. When we do, my favorite is a French Bistro, Les Faux Bourgeois. There are no reservations, so there’s always a line-up. There’s a fabulous dish of strip line steak with garlic butter. They serve amazing Belgian fries, you know, sometimes simple is best. And of course, lots of red wine! (This is where I interjected that I’d have to take his word for it because I don’t drink. Without missing a beat, he says, “Oh, well, then lots of sparkling cider.” 😀 )
4. What is your ideal vacation and/or pastime?
– A beach by the ocean in a lounge chair. My wife and I worked on a Disney Cruise ship, so our week off was usually in the Bahamas.
5. Do you like portraying the authority figure? You seem to get that type of role often.
– I’ve been totally typecast, but I’m okay with that. I’m very comfortable with who I am. Mr. Young was my 1st non-theater job, so I was typecast from the very beginning. But I thought “I should be so lucky!” If you’re typecast, you’re working. I’ve been in lots of interesting shows, met lots of great people.
6. Speaking of authority figures, how much research did you have to do to portray the scientist Dr. Sully for “Love on the Menu”, and sound like an authority figure on that subject?
– After a while, you develop a sense for the techno babble, so I just used the script. I did need to look up a couple words. There was this one word; I don’t remember what it was, but even Kavan didn’t know what it meant, and HE wrote the script!
7. Do you have any hidden talents?
– How hidden? I toured with “Mamma Mia” for 6 years, so I’m a singer. Fun fact about that – we did LIVE harmony backstage; it sounded really cool! I play bass guitar and trumpet, at least I did. I speak a little French, and I played football in high school and university.
8. You’ve been around the Hallmark genre board quite a bit! Is there a particular genre you like best?
– I really love Summer Nights, even though it’s FREEZING when we film them, because summer is my favorite season.
9. Well then, tell us more about “A Summer Romance”.
– It was shot under the name “Dude Ranch” before it got changed to “A Summer Romance”.
– The carnival scene was THE coldest, but Erin is impervious to the elements. We eventually got to move into that beautiful barn, which was great!
– Erin, by the way, is one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with!
10. What’s your favorite Hallmark and non-Hallmark role?
– Non-Hallmark is Mr. Young on Disney XD. I’ve never had so much fun filming a role. I played an idiot principal, so there were 4-5 jokes PER PAGE in the script! At one point, I was covered in honey, blasted with Rice Krispies, then thrown into something that at least resembled milk.
– Favorite directing project is “Some Assembly Required”. It’s about a group of kids taking over a giant toy factory.
– Favorite stage role was the Australian dad in “Mamma Mia”.
– Favorite Hallmark role is Mr. Jenkins. (Here, I pretended to get frustrated, and said, “Besides him!” He totally went with it, doing the whole, “Oh, oh, okay!”
– Favorite Hallmark role besides Mr. Jenkins would have to be Rick Fitch from Mystery 101. He’s just SO pathetic, so it made him fun to play. He falls off a cliff, what’s not to love?!
Milo as Mr. Young
11. Your character, Rick, in “Mystery 101: Words Can Kill” was very intriguing! Especially with the dating of Amy’s mom. We’re there any deleted scenes from there, because I wanted SO much more of that dynamic of former best friends torn apart between Rick and Graham.
– Don’t think so. I just had to pack it into the scenes we had. I tried to play him as a man with lots of personal and professional jealousy, but also with a sense of regret.
– Something else I’ll tell you about my experience: Kris was terrific, Jill was funny, and Betsy and I had a lot of fun filming together!
12. Do you have any projects coming up?
– “Nancy Drew”, “Babysitters Club”, and “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” In those last two, guess what I’m playing! A teacher!
13. What is your dream role? Who would you love to work with someday?
– Dream role would be Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing”, opposite my wife. Doing it on stage would be ideal!
– Will Ferrell in his world would be awesome, and Jeff Goldblum gets more interesting as he gets older. So, I’d love to work with them one day.
14. Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes stories from any projects?
– In WCTH, in my scene with Lori talking about the bank, it was raining so hard that we were having trouble with the sound. When the robbers take me hostage to get the payroll, it was TORRENTIAL. We were completely soaked!
– (He sent this to me after because he remembered “the best story ever, of course the minute I hung up.” How sweet is that!) I was in a Netflix movie called “Okja” starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. We shot for three days in Manhattan, and one day on set this guy shows up that I saw out of the corner of my eye. He was wearing white jeans, a white T-shirt, and a white Fedora. As I was walking past on my way to set, I thought, “who’s that loser?” It was Brad Pitt. He was one of the movie’s producers.
15. Okay, time to really talk WCTH! First of all, does Mr. Jenkins have a first name?
– It was never scripted. Let’s go with Jerald. He goes by JJ. 😀
16. Why do you love playing him so much?
– I’ve gotten to play him a lot over several seasons. I really love horse country, so I love going to set; it’s like stepping back in time. I love history!
– I actually auditioned for Ned Yost, and a couple others, so I got to know the show well.
– Peter DeLuise, one of our directors, is such a great guy! Very talented, VERY funny!
17. Mr. Jenkins was not a very popular character in Season 5. Did you get a lot of negative audience reaction?
– It was more “Naughty, naughty, Mr. Jenkins. You rascal!” with the finger wagging. But I’m glad he could redeem himself. All Hope Valley people are good people, so they gave him a chance.
18. If you could write any plot for Jenkins, what would that story entail?
– First of all, Jenkins should NOT be a banker. He’s really bad with money! 😀 I picture him having lost all proceeds from selling the bank because he made a bad investment. He shows up destitute, scraggly beard, clothes are a mess, and he’s trying to get into mining. He has to rely on the kindness of others to help him get back on his feet, and he definitely needs a romance, (I suggested Florence, and he loved the idea!)
Well, that’s all for now. But come back on Friday for Milo’s favorite Jenkins moment in #FlashbackFriday. I hope you loved hearing more about Mr. ShanDEL as much as I did! He really was an amazing person to get very to know!
Please keep in mind as Christmas shopping season starts bustling: if you go to the bottom of the blog and click on an Amazon link you can do ANY Amazon shopping, (you don’t have to purchase the item you click on!), and you’ll be supporting the blog, which I would really appreciate! 😀 So that, and taking a moment to click on an ad would sure help out a lot, because every little bit helps. Have a great rest of your week, everybody! This is Hooked Heartie, signingoff! May your heart let your hope blossom!