The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on November 19, 2006 · E2
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · E2

Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 19, 2006
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E-2 THE RECORD ENTERTAINMENT SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2006 Dorian Missick finds 'Degrees' of success On his first real acting job -playing a young Southern fisherman in a 1990 episode of "In the Heat of the Night" - Dorian Mis-sick was a fish out of water. "It was pretty funny. That show was shot in Georgia, and I was this kid from New Jersey. I didn't have the accent down," says Missick, who was born in East Orange and grew up in North Plain-field. "They said, 'You're like the most proper fisherman.' " (Eventually, "they" told him to just forget even trying to talk like a Southerner, he recalls, chuckling.) These days, Missick stars in a TV series that's much closer to home. The actor, who also has a thriving film career, plays limo driver Damian Henry on J.J. Abrams' new "Six Degrees." It's set and shot in New York City -a place not many degrees of separation from his hometown. "The part of North Plainfield where I grew up, the cultural background is pretty diverse there," he says. "It's kind of a microcosm of New York. It helped VIRGINIA ROHAN me to deal with a lot of different people and different cultures." "Six Degrees" is, in fact, about six very different New Yorkers who are gradually drawn closer by what ABC calls "a mysterious web of coincidences." 'Six Degrees' on break Although ABC recently benched the series, which has been struggling in the ratings against "ER" and "Shark" ("Men in Trees" will move into the 10 p.m. Thursday slot on Nov. 30), "Six Degrees" will be back in January. And Missick, who on the day we recently spoke was filming the series' 10th episode, insists that the hiatus is no omen. "No. no. It's actually a very good sign, because they want to relaunch it," he says. "I think we're going to go to a different time slot." Missick clearly loves playing Damian, who has a criminal past but is trying to make an honest living. "He's a good guy in a bad situation," he says. "He's got good intentions. He's made some bad choices in his youth, and he has had to pay for them. And now, he's trying to get back on the right track. I think everybody's kind of rooting for him. "This guy has a great struggle. Over the course of a season, you get to see the journey that this man has to go through, coming from the background that he comes from, and overcoming the odds and the struggles that it takes to overcome those odds, and trying to get his life back on track. From an actor's perspective, that's the best type of role you could have." Damian has gotten especially close to new friend Carlos Green, a Legal Aid attorney played by Jay Hernandez. "I think it's a great relationship. They're two guys who come from completely different walks of life, and each one brings something to each one's life," Missick says. "Jay's character is at a point in his life where he's kind of stagnant. He needs some excitement. He needs new life. I think Damian kind of represents that. He's a guy who has a different outlook on things, and he encourages him to take some chances." Six lives intersect "What Carlos represents to Damian is a more grounded guy. He's the only friend he has who's on the right side of the trades." At this point, all six characters have had "some sort of interaction," Missick says. But are they destined to eventually be- Rohan's riffs Regardless of where you stand in the Great Bo-rat Sagdiyev Debate - hilarious or horrendous? -there's one point on which we can probably all agree: The faux journalist's days as a television character appear to be numbered. The guerrilla-style antics of Borat - played by British comic Sacha Baron Cohen and first seen in America on HBO's "Da Ali G Show" - demand that most of the public not know his name or modus operandi. This was certainly the case in the United States before the heavily hyped release of "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." Tracking studies done by 20th Century Fox, in fact, indicated that only 27 percent of the audience was aware of the movie or the character. No big surprise, since only about a third of American TV homes have HBO, and "Ali G" reportedly drew only about 1 million viewers per episode. But now that "Borat" is the No. 1 movie in America - having already grossed more than $72 million here since its Nov. 3 release - what percentage of the American public do you suppose is still unaware of Borat? The ubiquitous entertainment coverage and the mounting lawsuits further elevate Borat's profile. At this point, is there anywhere in the world Cohen could take that particular act anymore? OK, maybe Russia, which has banned the "Borat" movie, for being "disparaging." HBO still shows "Ali G" repeats on some of its networks, but could they possibly make new episodes? (Another "Ali G" character, Bruno, sparked a fierce, multi-studio bidding war recently. The winner, Universal, paid $42.5 million for the rights to a movie about Bruno, the gay Austrian fashion reporter.) No word yet from HBO about whether we'll ever again see Ali G, Bruno or Borat - other than in reruns. come a close-knit group? "I think they're going to play with that level of interaction for a little while with us kind of being all in the same world. But it's not going to be 'Friends' all of a sudden," Missick says. "It's not going to be turning into six friends who live in New York. It's still going to kind of be about those six people's journeys and how they intertwine." Missick, 30, had his first brush with show business as a sixth-grader, when one of his teachers took him to an acting class, and he wound up landing a Coca-Cola commercial. "It was fun. It was something I was kind of good at. But I was more into sports and doing that type of stuff. Acting kind of took a back seat for a few years," he says. In the late '90s, Missick firmly took the proverbial wheel. His big break was the 2002 movie "Two Weeks Notice," in which he played Hugh Grant's confidant. "That was the film that got some attention within the business. That's when I got offers of other jobs," he says. Missick also played Samuel L. Jackson's son in "Freedomland" and appeared in the thriller "Lucky Number Slevin." And he's done two movies that have not yet come out. In "Premium," slated for late January or early February, Missick co-stars with Zoe Saldana, who plays his girlfriend, Regina, on "Six Degrees." Movie roles "It's about New Jersey, actually, and we shot it all throughout North Jersey," he says. "It's about a guy who grew up in South Orange, and Zoe plays my high school sweetheart, who comes back into town to get married. She comes to the gas station where I'm working, and I decide I'm going to try to stop the wedding - in like four days. He tries to rekindle the relationship, and during that period of time, he kind of learns about himself, and what he needs to do to become a man." Dorian Missick is the limo driver and good guy who has to pay for some of the poor choices of his past in "Six Degrees." Missick's other upcoming film, due in May, is "Mama's Boy," in which he plays the "deadbeat" friend of Jon Heder's ("Napoleon Dynamite") character - a 30-year-old guy who doesn't want to move out of his mother's house. "It's a straight comedy, along the lines of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin,' " Missick says. "His mom's Diane Keaton, and she starts dating Jeff Daniels. I work at the mall with Heder and I help him sabotage the relationship." Missick, who now lives in Brooklyn, intends to stay on the big screen, even if "Six Degrees" ends up lasting awhile. "Every break, I will be doing a movie - or two, if they let me," he says. "I'm a huge movie fan. I'm basically planning on working around the clock the next five years." E-mail: On Ice PBODUCED BIT F E L E N E C T Al H M E N T RINCESS WISHES r. 'ft Continental SM NOV. 21 NOV. 22 NOV. 23 NOV. 24 NOV. 25 NOV. 26 10:30 AM 11:00 AM 10:30 AM 10:30 AM 3:00 PM 3:00 PM 3:00 PM 7:30 PM 7:30 PM 7:30 PM 7:30 PM 7:30 PM NOV. 21 -26 Buy tickets at www.disneyonice.corn ticketmaster Ticket Centers, Arena Box Office or call (201 ) 507-8900, (212) 307-7171, (609) 520-8383, (845) 454-3388 For Information call (201 ) 935-3900 Groups (20) call (201 ) 460-4370 TICKET PRICES: $15.00 - $22.50 - $27.50 - $32.50 Limited number of VIP Floor and VIP seats available. Call for details. (Service charges, handling and facility fees may apply) 4 Candid camera in the Kalahari Meerkats' antics and struggles are captured in film series TV By JUDITH S. GILLIES THE WASHINGTON POST The children don't always do what they're supposed to. The adults sometimes fight with one another or with their neighbors. And there's always the threat of being swept off by a bird of prey or being bitten by a poisonous puff adder. Life can be tough in the Kalahari Desert when you're a meerkat, weighing about two pounds and standing just a foot tall. But there also are moments of tenderness, bravery and surprise. Animal Planet has scheduled a 13-hour marathon of all 26 episodes of "Meerkat Manor," which showcases the lives and antics of the 40-member Whiskers family, or "mob." University of Cambridge researchers have studied mobs of the little mongooses for almost 13 years, said executive producer Mick Kaczorowski. The furry creatures featured in "Meerkat Manor" live in a four-square-mile fenced area; MEERKAT MANOR MARATHON 7 a.m. Friday Animal Planet they're used to humans and cameras following their movements, but the production crew doesn't interfere with them. The Cambridge researchers, along with Earthwatch volunteers, named the animals and gained insights into their personalities. "These are incredibly affectionate and humanlike creatures, at least in terms of how they express themselves when getting along -and maybe when not," said series narrator Sean Astin. "There are all these real-life dramas going on." Astin said his favorite meerkat is Carlos. "He's a roving male from the Lazuli group, and he's looking for affection with a Whiskers female," Astin said. "He's kind of a playboy. That's funny to me." Kaczorowski cited Shakespeare as his favorite meerkat because "he represents the good we all want in humankind and comes to the rescue when you need him." Kaczorowski said he also admires Flower, the matriarch of the Whiskers group. "She's got such an incredible job to take care of all the broods, keep everybody under control," he said. "She has to lead them into battle, rescue them, feed them. She's about 6 years old and has had 15 litters so far. She's pretty incredible and still going strong." Naming animals can be a double-edged sword, Astin said: It's fun because it gives the creatures a human dimension, but there's a greater sense of sadness when they're injured or killed. "It can be beautiful, affectionate and heartwarming, but occasionally brutal, violent and dangerous," Astin said of the show. "TV is a window to watch these animals in a little patch in the Kalahari." Animal Planet is filming the third season of "Meerkat Manor," scheduled to premiere in summer 2007. The series regularly airs Fridays at 8 p.m. r P .js- V37 We use it at work and at play, in the car and on the plane. It's technology and it's changing constantly. HOT Keep up with it all in -Living every Saturday 9W 6 -1 Z j5M LlOul "T.Gl CUiE.ilC :;oct::ls l:vc ci-.k'i fcii'vnonl vsil Blend cil 17 Chasing SireeH in nidgBvvsoc 201 .251 A Jij

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