Blog | ray ablack
- Posted on 10/13/2011 by Lisa
Degrassi Video What-now? Here's the deal: We're asking Degrassi actors to talk about their favorite episodes, and then we're putting those episodes online for you to watch.
Ray Ablack (Sav Bhandari on Degrassi) kicks it off with his Top Six Jake Epstein episodes. (Aww, mancrush!)
This week only: Watch the full episodes online in Ray's Top Six Jake Epstein Episodes playlist!
Do you share Ray's appreciation for Jake Epstein / Craig Manning? What are your all-time favorite Jake Epstein eps?
- Posted on 08/12/2011 by Mary
On the Degrassi set, toward the final days of Ray Ablack's reign of awesomeness, I sat down with Ray and Cory Lee (aka Ms. Oh). Who, by the way has a brand new super-super catchy single (featuring Shaggy) out called "Best Shot" (available on iTunes) and a new album on the way. You go, Ms. Oh. Anyway, interview!
Ray, how does it feel to be approaching your last day on the Degrassi set?
RAY: I don't know, I'm scared? I'm scared as hell. Right now scared is totally eclipsing excited, but I've also been really excited. I've started to re-do my whole wardrobe; this whole era of my life is ending. I'm graduating high school for the second time and graduating this section of my life. I'm ready to try and start a new one.
Any senioritis? You've been here and in this building for so long, ever get that feeling of like itching...
RAY: ...To leave? No. No-no-no. I don't ever get the feeling of itching to leave. More often, I might be done after like the third scene of the day, and then I'm waiting around here for free lunch. And then after free lunch, maybe I'll go kick it in Steph Cohen's office, sit and talk for an hour. Yesterday I came in early and just hung out for like an hour and a half. There's no me wanting to leave at any point.
What about... you know how with Senioritis, one of the symptoms is knowing you can't really get in trouble?
RAY: These last two days I definitely feel like that. We're downstairs doing these prom scenes; there are so many background actors down there and so many cast, and only two or three have lines, but the rest of us just have to frolic and mingle quietly. And I know it's annoying for the Assistant Directors to have to continue to tell us to be quiet, but they'll swoop around and see that our table is like: me and Samantha and Shannon, and they don't really want to yell at us. I've been yelled at, many many times over five years. But what I would have been yelled at for in the past, I'm not being yelled at for these past few days.
What are you going to do on your first day off?
RAY: My girlfriend and I are going to this really chic hairdressing place; there are two hairdressers there that I know are quirky and crazy, and we're just gonna sit down and say, "Do whatever you want." I've had to have my hair monitored so closely for the past five years, I'm ready to just do something nuts and crazy that's Not Allowed.
Tell us what we need to know about Cory Lee (aka Ms. Oh).
RAY: She always smells like Curious by Britney Spears.
CORY: (laughs) It's Jessica Simpson. But, same family of stars that make perfumes.
Did you guys know each other well before your storylines started... intersecting?
CORY: Actually I have an interesting story. When we did the opening sequence, it was the first scene we'd done together. And I was like, "Something is gonna happen here. This is foreshadowing."
RAY: Yeah, she put her hand on my shoulder. And Stefan [Brogren; director & Mr. Simpson] came over and was like "No, you can't put your hand on his shoulder."
CORY: "Teachers don't touch students."
Did either of you ever have a crush on a teacher in high school?
CORY: I think it might be more of a guy thing? I didn't have any crushes on any of my male teachers...
RAY: I totally forgot: Ms. Diaz. She was a science teacher. The last night of the school play, down in the basement there was a big dance for the cast and crew, and she was there chaperoning. And I asked her to dance with me, and she said no. But I had a huge crush on Ms. Diaz.
I can't believe she said no! Well, I guess I can...
RAY: I think she liked me, that's why.
CORY: [sad trombone noise]
- Posted on 05/30/2011 by Mary
Well, wait, one very important comment... these pictures were taken by our new friend Olivia Bee, who is 17, and who kicks copious amounts of ass, and ok, no more comments.
Oh wait one more: I interviewed Olivia about her experience at the shoot and life in general; I'll post it here soon.
OK shutting up now. Here.
Ray Ablack aka Sav at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot. Olivia has a funny story about this moment. Coming soon.
New character Imogen and Eli at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot
Drew, new character Katie, Marisol, and the back of Holly J at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot.
Why not... another gorgeous picture of Clare from the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot.
More pics to come! Promise!
And don't forget, the video will be shown during Bring It On tonight at 9p et. Which of your friends has the biggest TV? Go there and watch.
- Posted on 11/17/2010 by Mary
On top of playing Nicest Dude On Degrassi right now... maybe he deserves the Nicest Eyes title, too? Best Skinny Jeans Wearer? Here's yr pics, load up.
- Posted on 08/23/2010 by Mary
A bit ago I asked Ray Ablack and Charlotte Arnold (Sav and Holly J) some of your questions. Here's one for all the incoming freshmen out there. And really, it works for everyone in high school; it's never too late to take this advice:
I'm going to high school this year. So yes, freshman. Do you have any advice? - atlroxsox2
Ray: Enjoy it.
Charlotte: NOTHING is as important as it seems. Nothing that you ever experience in high school -- I mean the good times, yes. The friends you make. But the insecurity, the worrying about what other people think about you -- everybody is feeling the exact same way, and once you leave high school you'll be able to leave all of it behind and become whatever person you want to be. So use this time to like...
Ray: Enjoy it!
Charlotte: Enjoy it! Oh man, high school's so much fun.
Ray: I would redo it again if I could, would you?
Charlotte: I would absolutely redo high school if I could.
Me: Redo it differently, or just for fun?
Ray: I would redo it differently so that I could amp things up more.
Charlotte: Yeah! Like I wouldn't be as afraid to try new things, to make new friends, to go to that party where you're like "Do I know anybody there?" Yeah.
- Posted on 08/08/2010 by Mary
Who knows what's gonna happen with their characters Monday night (at 9p et!), but I do know that Ray Ablack and Charlotte Arnold have spent a lot of time around each other at work on Degrassi.
So I made them play a game... I isolated them and made them answer questions about each other to see how well they know their co-star. Results below:
HOW WELL DO RAYMOND ABLACK AND CHARLOTTE ARNOLD KNOW EACH OTHER?
Question 1: Which of these gum flavors do you think Ray/Charlotte would pick: wintergreen, spearmint, cinnamon, strawberry, or bubblegum?
Charlotte said: I feel like Ray might be a bubblegum kind of guy... ooh, this is tough. I'm so determined to win! Hmm. Strawberry. I'm just gonna go with my gut. Random, strange, strawberry.
BEEAAH. Correct answer: Spearmint.
Raymond said: Strawberry?
BEEAAH. Correct answer: Cinnamon.
ROUND ONE SCORE: Charlotte 0, Ray 0.
Question 2: What is Ray's/Charlotte's mother's name?
Charlotte said: Oh my God, oh my God. I doubt he knows my mother's name. I know a lot of Guyanese women go by Bibi? Maybe Bibi? It's not her name! I have no idea.
Raymond said: Louise.
ROUND TWO SCORE: Charlotte 1, Ray 1.
Plus one point for us because now we know that Ray is Guyanese and not South East Asian as commonly believed!
Question 3: What do you think Ray's/Charlotte's favorite pizza toppings are?
Charlotte said: Meat in general. Meat lovers.
BEEAAH. Correct answer: mushrooms.
Raymond said: Pineapple?
BEEAAH. Correct answer: onions.
ROUND THREE SCORE: Charlotte 1, Ray 1.
Question 4: What do you think Ray's Charlotte's favorite band or musician is?
Charlotte said: Protest the Hero.
Raymond said: The Distillers, or Brody Dalle.
BEEEAH: Correct answer: Leonard Cohen
ROUND FOUR SCORE: Charlotte 2, Ray 1
Question 5: What was Ray's/Charlotte's first role?
Charlotte said: Simba in the Lion King.
Raymond said: A McDonald's commercial. She was in a Batman toys McDonald's commercial.
BEEAAH. Correct answer: "My first commerical ever -- a little Degrassi trivia -- was with Jake Goldsbie [TOBY!]. I was 4 years old, he was 5 years old. We're little, I'm strapped in a car seat; it was for Tiger Toys, these little Gameboys, and I was like, "Mommy, i can do it!" But the McDonald's one was the one that Ray saw when he was an infant and still remembers! Aww!
FINAL SCORE: Charlotte 3, Ray 1
Charlotte is the champion! To celebrate, I'm putting up this picture of Raymond demonstrating the secret handshake he developed with Luke Bilyk (aka Drew Torres) on her -- it ends in a hug, because Ray is adorable.
- Posted on 07/16/2010 by Mary
Just a few more short little days until Degrassi: Now or Never takes over your summer nights! Are you prepared for the all-consuming madness? I think I am. I think I can take it. I'm trying to up my cardio just in case.
I went to the Degrassi set last week -- my first time! In nine years of writing about the show for this site! Here are some of the pics I managed to get my first day... I had a ton of other pics planned for the following day but spent it doubled over in pain in a hotel room instead (kidney stone, yay). Bummer = understatement of the century. Anyway, the first day was awesome enough for two:
L: New boy! Justin Kelly, who plays Jake -- you'll meet him Tuesday night. He's a doll. Here, he pulls on a pre-tied tie because he couldn't quite get the knot done himself. R: @jbdegrassifan95 and @LongLiveEclare tweet-requested pics of Munro and Aislinn together... here you go :)
Stefan Brogren (aka Mr. Simpson and the director of tons of your favorite episodes) was directing the eps they shot while I was there; it seemed like a remarkably calm and fun affair considering how much they need to get done every day in order to make sooo many episodes for the summer -- it could so easily be a stress factory. Stefan called me The-Mary, which killed me, and he saved me a nice seat right in front of the monitors which I was too shy to actually take up for too long, and I can vouch that he is in fact a righteous homeboy, as his office nameplate attests.
This is the Degrassi read-through room, where the actors first go through the new scripts together. And on the table is Panther, one of two cats wandering the office-y side of Epitome. Panther clearly feels that he deserves some time in front of the camera, and he is not wrong. The other cat, named Noggin, was more camera-shy.
@iTweetDegrassi tweet-dared me to go around the set posing like Munro in his Free the Children Haiti fundraiser video. Instead I got him to personally instruct me in the ways of the sassy lean and stare -- we're in Fiona's condo there, btw. Sorry about the quality -- so bummed that I didn't use my real camera for this one.
Last Christmas' Degrassi poster, personally desecrated by the cast in the Sunshine Lounge (which is the room that the cast hang in when they're not needed on set).
At one point I walked past the Sunshine Lounge and saw Ray Ablack full-on sunshine-lounging on the pool table, texting. In a tux. Totes regular times.
That's Aislinn Paul and Shannon Kook-Chun checking out Shannon's DSLR and talking about its tech specs, as they are both admitted full-on photo geeks.
Some other random observations:
- To those who don't already know: Shannon Kook-Chun (Zane) has a South African accent in real life. It's mesmerizing.
- Munro and Aislinn (Eli and Clare) both rock Birkenstocks IRL. I support this wholeheartedly, and I felt very vindicated about the time I put Birks in a Thing Du Jour and people thought they were lamerz. Triumph!
- Luke Bilyk and Alicia Josopovic (Drew and Bianca) have an almost supernatural simultaneous laugh thing going on -- they laugh the exact same way, at the same things, and at the exact same rate so it's literally like two voices doing the same laugh. They even switch speeds at the same time, like they move from "Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" to "HAHAHAHA!" at the same time. Occasionally there are snorts. Great minds laugh alike. Also, they referred to themselves as "Danca" rather than "Drianca" -- controversy!
- The lockers are all fully "dressed" on the inside (as in all look like a real student's locker inside, with pics and contents), but there's no particular locker that's always "Alli's locker" or "Adam's locker" -- they stand by whichever one works best for the shot they need. And the doors are compressed wood rather than metal -- quieter.
- There is gum on the bottom of the desks in Ms. Dawes' classroom. Most likely from students who used to get bored to death at them in a real school. Just think: those students had no idea that their desks were destined to end up under Munro Chambers' butt. What noble and unpredictable fate might your school desks have?
- Posted on 07/09/2010 by Mary
Hey all! So, good times with Ray and Charlotte (aka Sav and Holly J) in NY yesterday -- I still have a lot to transcribe and you'll see it all eventually but I wanted to drop two of their answers to your questions on them asap. 'Cause we're TEN DAYS from the Boiling Point y'all! That's like, an official countdown!
Facultybob asks: "Can you give me some shocking hints about what happens in Season 10? Is someone going to die? I'm really excited and can't wait."
Charlotte: Ok, what I'm most passionate about in all the story lines is sort of the gender identity situation which, we can't give too much away cause it's gonna unfold the way it will. But that topic I was really excited that they tackled.
There's also some other completely... like, even the most recent scripts we read, some of the areas they go to with Eli's character? I had no idea what was going on with Eli's character when I read the script. I was like, "Oh my god, this is something they sooo haven't tackled before."
And then just in general, everything has really been stepped up. Like right from the first episode -- Fiona's going through some really rough stuff. There's a lot of tension... I mean, that's why it's called the Boiling Point; there's tension building underneath the surface of every character. And it all comes to a head...
Charlotte: Cataclysmic is right.
Ray:: I like that word.
Chao asks: "Should I get a Mohawk?"
Charlotte (without hesitation): Yes.
Ray: Get what this... what is this called?
(Ray likes my haircut. We talked about it in Toronto. I have really asymmetrical hair, shaved and weird on one side and long on the other -- not totally unlike my avi hair -- which, Ray said earlier that as soon as they're done shooting this season he's going to do pretty much the same. - Mary)
Ray: I like it. Get that. If anybody's getting anything, get that.
Charlotte: Yeah, I like mohawks a lot. Is it a boy or a girl? Whether it's a boy or a girl, I think mohawks are really sexy so, go for it.