Skip to main content

Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Ohio University Alum Piper Perabo
Leads Spy Fantasy ‘Covert Affairs’

Ohio University is quickly becoming the new mecca for television secret agents.

With the debut of Covert Affairs, USA Network’s new weekly spy thriller, 1998 OU graduate Piper Perabo succeeds Richard Dean Anderson (the immortal MacGyver and OU attendee – he never completed his degree) as TV’s coolest spy with Midwest roots.

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a teleconference with Perabo and fellow online journalists. Dumb luck would see her called to the set when it was my turn to ask a question (seriously, my name was called, I swallowed my gum and cleared my throat, and they cut the call short). So aspiring actors and actresses will have to wait until I can score an exclusive interview to find out what she did to break out of Athens and into Hollywood.

Here’s what I did grab from others' questions:
  • Perabo considers Covert Affairs more “real life” than recent hit Alias, starring Jennifer Garner. Affairs follows the every day life and super secret missions of rookie CIA agent Annie Walker. Much of the show’s drama lies in how Walker balances stops at the grocery store with stopping bad guys. “In other words, what you do at night when you get home after you’ve been chasing an assassin all day long,” Perabo says.
  • She conducted research at the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Va. “Funny story,” Perabo says. “I brought a notebook along, but when I got there, my guide told me I couldn’t bring the notebook into Langley. So I asked, ‘When I get inside, can I have paper and pen?’ My guide said, ‘Yes, but you can’t take your notes out of headquarters.’ And it’s these little things that make Covert Affairs more realistic than other shows. You can’t bring anything into headquarters. Annie can’t take a purse into headquarters. Nothing.”
  • Perabo’s fight training was designed specifically for her and her size – and to emulate the fast pace found in the Bourne films. Perabo is a bit petite. Petite fighters – those often smaller than their opponents – focus on a lot of close quarter, hand-to-hand fighting. Perabo’s fighting combines martial arts with Israeli army street fighting techniques. (It’s probably worth mentioning here that the show’s executive producer, Doug Liman, directed The Bourne Identity and the upcoming Fair Game, about ousted CIA agent Valerie Plame.)
  • Speaking of Valerie Plame, the former agent is a consultant on the series. She worked closely with Perabo to explain what an agent’s life is like outside the agency, including relationships with friends and family members, and how to keep your secret agent life a secret and the burden of doing so.
  • “This role is more like two roles,” Perabo says. “Being the family person who keeps part of their life a secret, even from their closest loved ones. And the action-oriented CIA agent.”
And, finally, no word on whether Perabo will star as Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s next Batman movie. Perabo worked with Nolan on The Prestige. “But if he calls, I’d play whatever he wanted me to play.”

Covert Affairs airs on the USA Network Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST. You can catch the premiere episode this week (the week of July 12, 2009) Saturday at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 11 p.m., and Sunday at 10 a.m.
More about Covert Affairs:
  • Covert Affairs Official Site
  • L.A. Times review: Perabo “appealing”, show “fast-paced, fun and every bit as charming.”
  • New York Times review:Covert Affairs is fun and clever and Ms. Perabo has panache in the role. The show has a bad habit of blasting maudlin pop ballads to signal Annie’s moodier moments, but the action scenes — particularly a hotel room barrage of sniper fire in the pilot episode — are first rate.


Popular posts from this blog

Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Imagine Medina standing in for the rolling hills of Wakanda or the steps of the Sanctum Sanctorum leading down to E. 9th. With a little more infrastructure, it may have happened.

Cleveland natives and Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo said as much recently during a Q&A after a screening of the film at the Cleveland Cinematheque, adding that they would have loved to bring Infinity War to Cleveland. One of the reasons the brothers couldn’t is because it lacks a modern sound stage suitably for a film its size.

The Russos shot much of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Cleveland. If the right sound stage was available, they would have kept the film in Northeast Ohio longer.

The directors said the availability of state-of-the-art sound stages was one of the main reasons why nearly 40 feature films are shooting in Georgia. Georgia's Pinewood Atlanta Studios is the second largest purpose-built studio in North America, featuring 18 sound stages rang…

'Walking Dead' star Emily Kinney joins 'Anhedonia' cast

Emily Kinney, perhaps best known for her role as Beth Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, is joining Anhedonia, the new indie feature from Cleveland’s Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco.

Kinney got her start on stage, with roles in Spring Awakening and August: Osage County, before transitioning to guest roles on television and a star turn as Emily on Showtime’s The Big C.

Her breakout role would come as Beth Greene, Maggie Greene’s little sister, on The Walking Dead. Kinney became a fan favorite during a series of dramatic episodes in the series’ fourth season when Kinney’s Greene bonded with fellow survivor Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus.

Anhedonia co-stars Breckin Meyer and Giselle Eisenberg.

"To have the opportunity to work with such an amazing actress like Emily is beyond exciting,” says Swinderman. “It's also very exciting for the city and people of northeast Ohio to have three huge TV stars coming to town to work on such a wonderful project.”

Anhedonia tells the tal…

Cleveland indie nabs 'SNL' alum Abby Elliott, TV veteran Breckin Meyer

Abby Elliott and Breckin Meyer are coming to Cleveland. They are set to star in Anhedonia, the new feature from 1031 Films’ Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco. Filming begins May 1 at locations around Northeast Ohio.

Elliott, an alum of Saturday Night Live, is best known for her roles on How I Met Your Mother, Odd Mom Out, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It may not be Elliott’s first time in Cleveland, either. She played Lara in Fun Size, which shot in Cleveland in 2012.

Meyer starred as Jared Franklin on Franklin & Bash and is well known for roles in Road Trip, Clueless and Garfield.

Also joining the cast is Giselle Eisenberg, who stars as Sophia in Life in Pieces, and Cleveland’s own Debra Herzog, who had a supporting part on Outsiders and serves as a producer on Anhedonia.

Other local stars include Bryant Carroll, Allen O’Reilly, Jonathan Chiarle, and Katherine DeBoer. More roles will soon be cast.

Dark subjects, big questionsAnhedonia tells the tale of Casey (Meyer), who mee…