Three's Company, The Office, Ugly Betty -- did you know that many of television's successful series originated from shows that aired in other countries? As a cost-cutting measure, the networks have even brought shows that air in other countries to the primetime lineup so they don't have to pay those high production costs?
In Canada, Heartland is an incredibly successful drama series that has recently been creating quite a bit of buzz here in the States. I had the opportunity to chat with Heartland star Cindy Busby, a lovely actress who has captured the hearts of the millions of Canadian viewers and will undoubtedly become a household name here in the USA before we know it...
Q: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
Cindy: "I always loved being the person who attracted a lot of attention, so when I was in Elementary school, I tried out for the grade 5 play and I got in. My first performance was in front of the audience in this play and I just got bit at that point. After that, I was in all of the school plays and I decided that was what I wanted to do -- I couldn't see myself doing anything else."
Q: What sort of career path would you have followed if acting hadn't worked out?
Cindy: "I had people tell me I should always have another option and I would always just brush that off and tell them this is what I wanted to do. Them telling me that almost made me want to succeed even more. To be honest, I didn't really have another option; I thought about it, but never seriously considered it."
Q: Who was the first big celebrity you met?
Cindy: "Jay Mohr. I had a small part in a movie called King's Ransom and I saw him and thought where do I know this guy from? And suddenly I remembered he was Sugar in Jerry Macguire. I worked one day with him and he was really nice and funny."
Q: Were there any roles you turned down that you wish you hadn't?
Cindy: "I wouldn't say there has been anything I've turned down that I regret because In don't believe in regret, but there have been a lot of things I have auditioned for that perhaps I got close to and didn't get. I think everything comes to you as it's meant to."
Q: Tell us about Heartland...
Cindy: "Heartland is a very popular series of books by Lauren Brooke. It follows the Fleming family and Amy Fleming, who is the lead character, loses her mother in the first episode, who was a very caring sort of horse whisperer. Amy inherits that passion and power within her. The show follows their journey and passion for helping animals."
Q: And your role on the show...
Cindy: "I play Ashley Stanton, whose family is the opposite of the Fleming's. We're the rich family with the bigger everything. I'm the spoiled girl, the antagonist to Amy's character."
Q: Is it challenging to play someone so completely different than yourself?
Cindy: "She's definitely different, which I love! It is a challenge. Some scenes are more difficult to do than others, but I really enjoy the challenge. Everyone in the cast has been working together for so long and we're kind of like this big family and in the first couple of seasons, my character was a lot meaner, so Amber (Amy) and Graham (Ty) would always start laughing as soon as they yelled cut. We laughed a lot about that kind of stuff."
Q: The show is starting to pick up steam in the U.S., are TPTB going to give the show more of a push to bring in more viewers?
Cindy: "I think that's the plan. They hired a publicist in the States and they're making sure people are hearing about the show. When we first started, there was a fan base waiting for the show because they had read the books. It's one of those nice family dramas, and there aren't many of these types of shows on television these days. I think the show just sells itself because I think parents want to sit down and watch with their family and just bond over that."
Q: Did you read the books?
Cindy: "Yes, well I read the first two. We've taken the basics, the overall storyline and most of the characters, but we've also created a couple more characters. When you're creating a TV show, you only have 44 minutes to show a certain story, so it follows the books, but we've added a lot to create a different dynamic."
Q: Do you follow any TV shows on a regular basis?
Cindy: "I like a lot of shows that are in repeats like Friends and Seinfeld. I'm a huge Dexter fan. I've been watching True Blood a lot and I love Modern Family."
Q: Do you use Twitter or Facebook to keep in touch with your fans?
Cindy: "I have a Twitter account: @cindy_busby.
Q: Any projects in the works?
Cindy: "There are a couple of things coming up. In January, I have a sci-fi movie coming out on the SyFy network called Behemoth and I have a movie called The Big Year coming out sometime next year."
Q: Anything to say to the fans?
Cindy: "Thanks for watching and look for more Cindy Busby in 2011."