המסך המפוצל

Life on Mars

An interview with Alona Tal, Meg from \"Veronica Mars\"

מאת: איתן גשם & JW

פורסם: 22-06-2005
1 תגובות

How many Israeli actors and actresses do not dream, secretly, to make it in Hollywood? Apparently, very few of them. How many Israeli actors and actresses who already came to the city of stars, do not dream of achieving the much desired breakthrough in a very short period of time? Apparently, very very few of them. How many of them dream to land a role in a TV series on their first audition?
Oh, come on, this sounds like a script to a Hollywood movie! Well, apparently Alona Tal is living that movie, because that is exactly what happened to her.a

The 22 years old actress studied at the Thelma Yellin School of Arts in Tel-Aviv, and after completing her military service (In the Military Theater) she was chosen to star in Arnon Zadok’s movie “Being a Star” and then went on to star in two other TV shows: “Zimers” which was broadcast in Channel 1 and “The Pajamas” which was broadcast in the local Childrens’ Channel. In between, she got to record a duet with Israeli rappers Subliminal & The Shadow. Alona traveled to New York to meet with her sister, and there her path crossed with Wyclef Jean (The Fugees) and amazingly enough, ended up recorded a song with him. From there, the road to auditions in Hollywood was short, and Alona found herself auditioning for a part in a fairly new Television show named “Veronica Mars”.a

Veronica Mars is broadcasted in the national network UPN (now Wednesdays, 9PM / 8PM CE), and revolves around a teenage girl who solves mysteries during her school hours and helps her private detective father with his own work. The critically acclaimed show, created for itself a permanent and devoted audience during its first season, and even though the ratings weren’t very impressive, to say the least, the broadcasting network decided to order a second season, much to the delight of the show’s fans, not few of them are among this site’s surfers.a

Alona was chosen to play the role of Meg Manning, a smart, good hearted and exceptionally nice teenager, whose good qualities made quite an impression on Veronica, who became a good friend of hers. The character of Meg appeared in five episodes during the first season, and let us hope there'll be more to come.a

In honor of the Season Finale, recently aired here in Israel, and light of Alona’s recent and quiet success in Hollywood, we've contacted her hoping for an interview. Gladly, Alona is extremely nice, much like the character she plays, and answered our questions willingly and warmly.a

So, what does Alona have to say about her role in “Veronica Mars”, about what's going on behind the scenes of the show and about life in general?a

We want to thank Alona again for devoting her time and for her warm and kind attitude.a

Let us start from the very happy ending, 'cause it seems her road to stardom was fairly quick and amazing. It was a pretty short ride, right from the army's discharge offices to Sunset Blvd., where she got a hold of the "Veronica" script, and five or so auditions later, she was in. With Rob Thomas, series creator and executive producer, she met for the first time after a few auditions. He asked her about herself and they had a little bit of small talk before she went on to do the scenes. She found out the good news not long after she was finished with the auditions, and by then all kinds of rumors started flying by, saying the character of Meg was written into the show especially for her, and the one time only appearance was developed into a recurring status. Let's find out exactly what was going on.a

So how did you really get this great 'Veronica Mars' gig? Were you aiming for the role of Meg from the get go?a
The story about how I got the job is really long, so let's just say I did a good job in a few auditions for a different part on the show and I ended up with this one. A real blessing!a

Share with as, if you will, some audition experiences - how did you think you were doing?a
To be honest, it was one of my first auditions and I felt pretty good about the whole thing. I also got lucky, once again, and was auditioning for an amazing casting director that was making me feel good about my work. I was prepared and happy to be there and that shows. I hope... But for the record, many times I leave a room thinking one thing about my audition only to find out that the casting director thought the exact opposite. So you really never know.a

Were you a part of any other interesting auditions before the "Veronica" one?a
I think I had like one other audition before the "Veronica Mars" one... I was in L.A. two days! So I didn't really have time for many other auditions.a

Is it true that the character of Meg was not originally written for the show, but was added later on by Rob Thomas especially for you?a
I don't know if Meg was supposed to be in the show or not. All I know is that I got really lucky to be given the opportunity to be her.a

Was Meg meant to be a one time guest starring role for you, or did you already know you were returning to the show at the time?a
The role of Meg was supposed to be a one time thing and I found out that I was coming back a few weeks after I was done shooting the first episode.a

When did you decide to head to the states? Why now?a
I always had a plan, and in that plan I know I was going to leave for the states right after the army. I didn't plan on getting a show in Israel but when I did I was happy and so it took a little longer before I moved away to try and make my dreams come true.a

You've worked on sets before, here in Israel, and perhaps on other occasions had witnessed first hand how things work around here. What are some of the basic differences between Israeli productions and American ones?a
Well, the sets over here are just bigger and there are more people working around. That's simply because everything here has more funding. In Israel everything is smaller, and that allows people to become friends on sets in Israel. I miss that.a

When I first spotted your name on the credits at the beginning of an episode, I expected to hear at least traces of an Israeli accent, which I never heard, to my surprise. How did you get that flawless American accent?a
I have been learning to speak English for a very long time and I guess it (meaning the accent...) went away. Thanks for noticing. It means a lot.a

On the set, were they interested in your Israeli origin? What did you tell them about our good old country?a
Everyone is ALWAYS interested in Israel and the way of life over there. And I enjoy telling whom ever wants to know all that I can. I always tell people that they should go see Israel for themselves. And that way they can fall in love with it like I am.a

Shall we dive deeper into 'Veronica Mars'? We shall. Not before we'll mention that Alona emphasizes every chance she gets that this role of Meg is very close to her heart, and that she's delighted to hear that so many people here watch the show and like it just as much as she does.a

What was the thing you related to most in Meg's character?a
I liked that Meg is a good girl and even though she is popular she isn't shallow or mean. She is strong and smart and truly nice. That's hard to find in people, no matter were they are.a

Was there any specific scene you enjoyed doing?a
I enjoyed the dance scene (Episode 15, TVE), it was fun to shoot cause everyone was dressed up and we had real music playing so we got a little crazy. Funny stuff.a

How was the general atmosphere on the set? Did you befriend any of the cast and crew?a
When you're on a set you naturally become friends with the people who are working closest to you. In my case it was a few of the actors, the make-up artist, the camera director and many other people. The whole set was filled with amazing sweet human beings.a

The cast is pretty much made of fresh young actors, relatively new to the world of television. Did you find the experience of some of the older actors helpful?a
Experience is always a plus. In everything you do and also in acting. So, yes, the more experienced you are the more comfortable you feel.a

The show has a very unusual look, kind of different from other shows in terms of photography, even writing and directing. Was there a special feeling on the set, like you're all a part of something unique?a
Everyone loves the show and looks at their job as a very important part of making it as special and different as it is. So coming to work was a great feeling everyday.a

Most American television shows have a large number of writers. Did you get a chance to meet some of Veronica Mars's? Did they help guide you in regards to playing Meg?a
I've met several writers of the show and they are all nice smart funny people that give you a lot of freedom to do what you do with the characters.a

How creatively free are you in terms of sticking to the original scripts? Was there ever a time you actually got to change part of your text, or affect the way a certain scene was ultimately shot?a
I'm not in a position that I can change a whole scene, you almost never are. The writers have a job and you can ask to change a line or a few words and they will probably let you if they think its O.K. The trick is to make it work and seem as if it's your words no matter what they are.a

In tapings of Sitcoms, for instance, when the writers notice a certain joke isn't working for the audience, it is replaced and the script changes. Can an original script of an episode that you as an actor get right before shooting ever change? How and why can it happen?a
A script can be changed at any given time. I don't know why. The reasons change. But like I said, my job is to make it work no matter what.a

Anyone who watches the show probably finds it hard not to notice that Kristen Bell is in every possible scene each episode, which must mean she works her ass off. From what you notice, does she even have a personal life? Does she have time to tell you if she has a personal life?a
Kristen is an amazing girl that has been working hard to be where she is at. She works everyday ALL day, and so, she doesn't have time for much. If she isn't on set, she is out doing promotion for the show. But every once in a while she gets to go home and do her thing. You have to, or else you'll go insane. I really like her and think she's sweet and very talented.a

Judging by her public appearances, Miss Bell seems to be a very nice, intelligent, self-secured person. What don't we know about her that you do?a
Everything you said about her is true. She is really nice, very intelligent, and good at what she does. She is so great to have a conversation with. Because she has been around the world and had some great experiences in her life, that makes her interesting.a

All through the season there was a big doubt as to wheather the show would return next year. Did it affect your work on the set? What was it like knowing that any minute you might get bad cancellation news?a
Whenever a new show goes on the air no one ever knows if it will survive or not. And most of the people on this show have been doing this for a long time so they know that it's always a 50-50 chance that the show will be canceled. You just have to keep going and giving it all you can to make the show better than all the rest. And no, it didn't effect the work, but it did give us something to talk about.a

Everyone had been talking about the 'long leash' and the unlimited creative freedom and support given to the show by the broadcasting network, UPN. Was that the feeling on the set? Or were there frequent visits from Suits, demanding to be a part of the decision making process? What was your impression?a
I'm not in a place that I would know these things, but I can say that in such big productions you always have to answer to the people who are giving you the opportunity to do it.a

Even though the show is not a big hit ratings-wise, it has a very large, loyal fan base. How does if affect you? Do you get recognized on the street?a
I did get recognized a few times out here. It was so much fun and nice to see that people like what I do on the show and the show itself. I can say that being on the show has done nothing but good things for me!a

How long previous to the season finale did you know the true identity of Lilly Kane's murderer? Did you have any guesses? What were some of the other cast members'? How did you all feel about it?a
no one knew who the killer was! and everyone always tried to figure it out... there were bets happening but we all found out about 2 episodes before the end. i had no idea that it was him. It was a complete surprise!a

Do you ever watch "Veronica" on your free time? What is your favorite episode as of now?a
I do watch the show whenever I can and I have so many favorite episodes. Its like every time I finish watching I think "Oh! This is my favorite episode!" so it keeps changing. The last one was amazing!a

How do you feel about the first season? Would you change anything?a
I wouldn't change a thing about the season. i think it was exactly what it was supposed to be, great.a

So obviously, we did our best to try and find out what's in store for Veronica's second season, which starts filming around the month of July. It's kind of top secret, so we didn't get much, but that's actually a good thing, come to think of it. Alona did confirm she'll probably be back for her role as Meg, and that she's very excited about it. When asked about working on the set, she couldn't help but say she "can't wait to go back!".a

So, will Meg be returning next season?a
I think that Meg will be back in the next season but I can't give anymore info...a

What are some of the changes planned for season two?a
I can't answer that... All I can say is that next season will be just as exciting.a

Who would YOU, Alona, choose - Duncan or Logan?a
Neither... (Smiling) but that's just me...a

We simply gotta ask: Alyson Hannigan, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer''s Willow, appeared in a couple of episodes during the first season. Did you get a chance to meet her? Talk to her? What was your impression of her? And generally, what was your impression of some of the other well known and loved guest stars such as Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, Kyle Secor etc.?a
I got to meet many of the guest stars on the show including Alyson. She is a very down to earth person and seemed very nice. I can say the same for almost everyone. This show and its cast have such a good energy about them. It's remarkable.a

Do you get a chance to watch TV outside of work hours? Did you happen to catch some of the other new hits of this past television season, such as "Desperate Housewives" or "Lost", for example?a
I don't really get to watch TV much, but I do try to catch a few of the award winning shows. It's important to know what's happening in TV especially if its good TV like the shows you mentioned.a

Well, if it wasn't clear by now, the next couple of answers will probably convince you that Alona is a very fresh and enthusiastic actress, who really loves her profession and simply can't wait for the next "Action" call. A nice hard-working actress with no ego - lord knows that's one 'Veriaty' casting call Hollywood REALLY needs to publish. We wish Alona all the best, and hope that she'll find herself very very busy, come next Pilot Season…a

Are there any actors / actresses / creators / directors / producers you would have liked to work with in the future?a
I have such a long list of people that I would love to work with. But I would love to work with anyone who has an interesting project that they are passionate about. I love working no matter what.a

What are your plans for the future? Would you like to be a part of an existing show or a new one? Comedy or drama? Movies, perhaps?a
I don't have a "plan" for the future. All I know is I would LOVE to continue working, wheather it's on an existing show or a bran new one. Any kind of work is a blessed thing in this town. It's hard to do and when you do get to work, there is nothing better.a

A Big thanks to Yael Tsell for all of her help

To the official website of "Veronica Mars"a