TV Tinsel: An unplanned career in acting turns out well for Elodie Yung

Hollywood weddings are often opulent productions. But not Elodie Yung’s. The star of Fox’s “The Cleaning Lady” which returns this week, Zoomed part of her nuptials.

How that happened she explains in her engaging French accent. Yung’s father had escaped the killing fields of Cambodia. Her mother is French, and Elodie grew up in Paris. Her longtime sweetheart, actor Jonathan Howard, is British.[

“It was during COVID, during lockdown,” she chuckles. “The cute part was we had another couple of friends (who) were here. Our parents are in Europe, my mom is in Paris, and his mom is in the U.K. So Jonny had his mom on his phone, and I had my mom on my phone, and they were all dressed up. They made an effort! And this is how we did it, which was fun.”

Like her determined character on “The Cleaning Lady,” Yung has always done the unexpected. She earned her master’s degree in law in Paris fully intending to practice law, but stumbled into acting.

“It was by chance,” she shrugs. “I did it for the money to be frankly honest with you. A friend of mine said, ‘Look, if you book a commercial and say you're an actress and get represented by this agency and get a commercial, you'll make a LOT of money. . .’ ”

At first she found the idea a little off-putting, she says. “I thought this is a little bit like making a fake CV (curriculum vitae) which, to me, was crossing the line of right-and-wrong. Then I did my fake CV saying I was an actor and got represented and NEVER booked a commercial. But I lied to this other casting director who asked me if I was an actor, and I said, ‘Yes.’ ”

The production company had been looking for an actress for the second season of a hit series and cast Yung. “And I'm like, ‘OK,’ and that show it started me — but after that I went back to university and finished. And it was a lot of back and forth. I was studying law and I was acting. I did this for a few years.”

She says her mother and father, who divorced when she was 11, approved of her performing. “My parents are very open,” she says. “It’s very interesting because they come from the working class. My mum, she worked her whole life as a cashier to a store equal to Walmart in Europe, and my dad, he went to university but with the genocide in Cambodia, he arrived when he was 27 and started working in a company that was selling pieces of computer — not at all in the arts. But they are storytellers, both of them.”

While she did well on the series, something seemed missing, she says. “I just found I was boring myself with my own acting and felt I needed to expand. I needed to explore different things. So I refused to do what they were asking me — to renew for a season in the series I was doing in France. And I said, ‘I need to go and do something else and study.’

“So I went and did little trips to London for like a semester at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) and studied Shakespeare and clown — and in another language. I just wanted to stretch my craft and learn new things and try a new language and wanted to get proper training because I had never done this in France. So I went to the U.K. for a few years, fell in love there, and I stayed there.”

Yung soon learned that most of the job opportunities were in the U.S. So she and Howard moved to Los Angeles to try their luck. “It was a little bit like ‘let’s go on this adventure together.’ ”

The adventure paid off. Yung snagged roles in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and portrayed Elektra in “The Defenders” and “Daredevil.”

But four years ago she gave birth to her daughter, Minavann, whom she affectionately calls Mina. “The instant she was born that is the shift of my life, for sure; that’s the moment I experience the deepest I could experience. I really reached something in my humanity that I’d never reached before,” she says.

“My baby was about 8 months, I was thinking maybe I don’t want to be an actor anymore. Maybe I don’t have the love for it, and you do have to have the love for it. But then it came back.”

She and Howard, who have been together for 12 years, share the workload and caring for Mina, she says. “I'm busy working right now so he’s home with Mina and in February he’s going to go on a movie in Europe and I’ll be the one cooking every Sunday. “

Guitar enthusiasts relish 'Songbirds'

B.B. King cherished his beloved guitar, ‘Lucille,’ Eddie Van Halen prized his ‘Frankie,’ and Willie Nelson adored his ‘Trigger'‘– guitars almost as dear to them as children. There’s nothing quite like a guitar enthusiast, and they’re sure to relish the prize-winning documentary “Songbirds,” now streaming via VOD on many sites. [

The film is about the Nashville museum that housed the world’s largest collection of vintage celebrity guitars as chronicled through the likes of such musicians as Vince Gill, John Schneider, Joe Bonamassa and the ever-eloquent Marty Stuart.

The sad tale is that the museum closed two years ago due to the pandemic’s devastating effect on the music industry, and “Songbirds” celebrates the treasures that it housed and the people who unearthed that treasure through their music.

Reba McEntire joins 'Big Sky'

Singer-actress Reba McEntire joins the cast of ABC’s “Big Sky: Deadly Trails” on Wednesday. She says she never dreamed she’d find herself wrapped in a mystery as a backcountry outfitter. “I surpassed all my wildest imaginations on about year-two back in the '70s,” she says.

“I'm a third‑generation rodeo brat. I grew up on a working cattle ranch. And to get to do the things I'm doing now in this TV show, I don't think anybody in their wildest imagination could have come up with this. I'm very grateful and thankful to be here.”

Of course, ABC is thankful to have her as she brings a cluster of new viewers to the series. Though she started as a singer, McEntire has emoted her way through dozens of TV shows, including her own, “Reba,” “Malibu Country” and recent shots on “Young Sheldon.” Even when she was singing, she says she always thought she was acting.

“When I sing a song, I am — in my mind, the video's running. And then when I got into shooting and doing videos, I loved it, and so I wanted to do movies. And that's when ‘Tremors’ came along. And then Kenny Rogers got me on ‘The Gambler’ movie. And that's the first time I met Rex (Linn, her sweetheart), was '91 when we filmed that. And so then the television show happened after I got to play Annie Oakley on Broadway.

“So I always thought I was acting. Even when I was out riding horses, I thought, I was like, ‘Riding a horse. Somebody's filming me I'm sure.’ I just loved it. I like being on stage. I'm one of four kids. I'm the oldest. I'm not the youngest. I'm not the only voice. So I was always vying for attention. Good attention. I got bad attention. So I always wanted to be in the limelight. I always love attention and ... it led to this.”

Actress craves change

Natascha McElhone is back on the big screen in “Carmen,” which arrives on VOD and theaters on Friday. She plays a woman who has devoted herself to tradition and service. When all her daily restrictions are removed, she embraces the world as she never has before.

The film takes place in sun-drenched Malta, an apropos place for heady liberation. And it’s a perfect part for McElhone who tells me, “Comfort terrifies me; there’s a lovely saying, I can’t remember who said it but ‘Comfort stayed as a friend and then became your master.’ I think if we get too comfortable, for me anyway in my life, I become complacent and start leading an unexamined life. I’ve no interest in repeating myself or getting comfortable. To me that’s the choice of becoming an actor. There’s jeopardy in that choice.

“To then jump into a familiar pool that you're always going to swim in where you know the sides and the back and the front, that doesn’t make sense. Usually the personality type that’s being drawn to you is something that’s high risk and may or may not work, is the one who’s full of adrenaline and you like change and not to repeat yourself. So to me it makes perfect sense that you would jump around and not get stuck in one zone and do only one thing. That would be death to me.”


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