Detroit Free Press from ,  on July 7, 2013 · Page D2
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Detroit Free Press from , · Page D2

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Sunday, July 7, 2013
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m 2D WWW.FREEP.COM SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013 and what-not, it was almost as if he was doing monologues," he says. Koch's mother, Joya, says he started acting in community theater when he was 6 or 7. "As a kid, he was always the one making us laugh in the midst of tragedy in our family. He carried us through with smiles and laughter." Ooh, that's scary: Five chilling Stephen King adaptations "Under the Dome" fits nicely into the category of Stephen King-based movie and TV projects that rain terror and hair-raising VERY GOOD AT BEING VERY BAD Alexander Koch brings creepy menace to his villain role His interest in theater and choir continued through middle and high school. "I would move away from it, like, 'I'll be a screenwriter or something like that.' Every time I would take a hiatus, I'd feel a little emptiness. I'd feel a little stir crazy. So I would keep going back," he remembers. After being turned down by several theater schools, he attended Western Michigan University. While he was there, he was urged by one of his acting mentors to study at the Theatre School of DePaul University in Chicago. In 2012, after getting his bachelor of fine arts degree from DePaul, he made the move to Los Angeles. Koch had earned buzz on the festival circuit for playing a mysterious greaser in a short film, "The Ghosts." But he was new to the world of TV pilots when he auditioned for "Under the Dome." He credits casting directors Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas ("The Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad") with championing him for the role of Junior. "They fought so, so hard for me," he says. "They wouldn't let me lie down and not work hard. They were pushing me to the executives and stuff like that. They believed in me, so I got lucky that I went in for that audition." Unlike Junior, Koch has a gentle sense of humor that comes through when he describes researching the role. "I was like, 'OK, I'll just read the book over the weekend,' and then I saw that it was an encyclopedia," he says of its thousand pages. Koch is close to his tight-knit family, which includes his mom, sisters Ashleigh Koch and Michelle Stevens, brother-in-law Paul Stevens and 10-year-old niece Olivia, who has started a fan club for him among her friends. He had to miss the "Under the Dome" party thrown by his mom, who still lives in metro Detroit. It featured a screening of the first episode at Windmill Pointe Park's movie theater and a gathering for about 140 people with a dome-covered cake from Morning Glory bakery in Grosse Pointe Farms. "I guess I'm being sent a video of all the antics that went on, so I'm excited to see that," he says. After he finishes filming in North Carolina on the 13 episodes of "Under the Dome," Koch plans on taking a cross-country drive. "I'm going to stop in Detroit, stop in Chicago and then go back to L.A. and start auditions for more projects and continue from there," he says. Something tells us that Koch will be as busy with acting jobs outside the dome as Junior is now with his inside-the-dome schemes. Contact Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or jhindsfreepress. com A mysterious transparent dome descends on the small Maine town of Chester's Mill in "Under the Dome," which airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS. cbs By Julie Hinds Detroit Free Press Staff Writer Lots of scary moments happen out of the blue on the new CBS series "Under the Dome." Cows get sliced in half. Bullets ricochet against a seemingly clear blue sky. Hearts or at least pacemakers explode. But for guaranteed creepy chills, count on any scene involving Junior Rennie, a handsome teen who goes slightly psycho when a mysterious invisible dome lands on the small Maine town of Chester's Mill. Junior may look like a homecoming king, but his idea of love is locking Angie, the girl who's over her summer fling with him, inside a fallout shelter. As his fellow citizens begin to squirm under the tension of being inexplicably trapped, Junior's behavior is poised to go from bad to worse. But at least one person has sympathy for the character. Grosse Pointe Park native Alexander Koch, who plays Junior, sees a softer side to the village maniac. "The collar is a little bit tight on Junior in terms of how much pressure his dad puts on him," says Koch, 25, referring to Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris of "Breaking Bad"), a blustery, secret-bearing civic leader. Koch isn't the only one with Motor City connections on the series, which is based on the novel of the same name by horror-meister Stephen King who, with Steven Spielberg and Brian K. Vaughan of "Lost," is one of the show's executive producers. Two actors who spent time here as surprises upon viewers. Setting aside the more realistic adaptations of King works like "The Shawshank Redemption" Stephen King and "Stand By Me," here are five titles that are memorably blood-curdling. "CARRIE" (1976): Sissy Spacek became a star playing a para-normally gifted misfit in this blood-soaked drama that proved high school is indeed a nightmare. "SALEM'S LOT" (1979): Gen Xers are still sleeping with the lights on thanks to this mini-series about a town menaced by vampires. It starred a Hutch-tastic David Soul. "THE SHINING" (1980): Re-drum! Cinematic auteur Stanley Kubrick and lead actor Jack Nicholson found true art in King's page-turner about a ghost-filled hotel. "THE DEAD ZONE" (1983): Christopher Walken is haunted by psychic powers in this cult favorite with an apocalyptic plot twist. "THE MIST" (2007): Director Frank Darabont's overlooked film stars Thomas Jane in a deeply tragic portrait of how people react to a deadly, inexplicable attack. Julie Hinds Jack Nicholson in "The Shining." warner bros. High jinks and hilarity supposedly ensue. 10:01 p.m., NBC. Jane Lynch is the host of "Hollywood Game Night," a new series that has civilian contestants combining with celebrities like Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow in a spirited round of pop culture-inspired party games. 10 p.m., NBC. More absurdity is coming our way on Season 2 of "Comedy Bang! Bang!" In the opener, Scott welcomes Sarah Silverman, and Reggie takes the day 10 p.m., IFC. "Detroit 1-8-7" cast members are part of the ensemble: Natalie Martinez, who again plays a cop, and Aisha Hinds, who portrays a visitor stuck in town with her partner (Samantha Mathis) and daughter. But Koch's local ties go much deeper. He grew up in Grosse Pointe Park, graduated from Grosse Pointe South High School and attended Western Michigan University before moving away to pursue his acting dreams. Right now, he's getting exposure on a summer series that debuted to remarkably good ratings for TV's traditional off-season. The first episode of "Under the Dome" drew more than 13 million viewers on the night it aired, plus an extra 3 million or so through DVR and on-demand systems. Ratings for the second episode were down slightly, but it pulled in an estimated 11.8 million viewers and was the leader in the crucial 18-to-49 demographic among dramas in its time slot, according to Variety. For Koch, it's been like going from zero to 60 m.p.h., in career terms. "You wake up one day and everything's a little bit different," he says, talking about the calls and Facebook messages that have been pouring in. Koch is the son of late Wayne County assistant prosecutor Joseph Koch, a talented attorney who took on some of Detroit's most notorious criminals in court. With theatrical flair, his father prosecuted criminals like a robbery gang that killed a Wayne State researcher and his family, and teens from the suburbs who attacked Detroit prostitutes. "It was kind of my first introduction into acting, because I would go to the courtroom with him and watch him work," recalls Koch of his dad, who passed away in 2001 after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. "When he was presenting cases LANDMARK XSti&Sl TKQUII.A JlifJlMfff Shaun Evans returns as a young Inspector Morse in four new "Masterpiece Mystery!" installments of "Endeavour." First up is a case linked to the sudden death of an attractive young secretarial student. 9 p.m., PBS. Let the "Food Court Wars" begin. It's a delicious new series that pits two pairs of aspiring restaurateurs against each other, with the winning duo earning its own eatery, rent-free for one year. 10 p.m., Food Network. "Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls" is a new reality series that has the famed adventurer putting contestants through a rugged wilderness challenge in New Zealand. 9 p.m., NBC. off. has the buyers heading to Trenton, N.J. Chris and Tad find some fireworks there, but wind up getting no bang for their buck. 9 p.m., A&E. On " Two American Families," the latest offering from "Frontline," Bill Moyers tells the story of two families in Milwaukee struggling to avoid sliding into poverty. The program raises provocative questions about the changing nature of the U.S. economy and the fate of a declining middle class. 10 p.m., PBS. A new season of "Storage Wars New York" kicks off with an episode that Bad guys (and gals) had better watch out. " Beware the Batman" is a stylish new computer-animated series that has the DC Comics superhero returning in fine form to kick butt and do good. 10 a.m., Cartoon Network. Chuck Barney, Contra Costa Times In the comic-drama "Camp," Rachel Griffiths stars as a recently divorced woman struggling to keep a cash-strapped family summer camp afloat.

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