5 Minutes with… Peter Fleming

Three-time U.S. Open doubles champion

Was there something extra-special about winning your own country’s championship?    

Yeah, of course—it felt great. Everybody knows the U.S. Open. You won the U.S. Open? Well, that’s pretty cool. There was a lot of pressure. It’s one of the two biggest tournaments of the year. In doubles, John [McEnroe] and I wanted to win. In singles, I don’t think it ever entered my mind that I had a chance to win, but I wanted to do well. It was a big two weeks.  

How did you get to know John and become his doubles partner? 

I met him when he was 12. We both were training at Port Washington. I’m four years older, so that’s a big age difference, but we were still quite good friends because he was definitely a precocious kid. He didn’t act like he was 12. The summer that he got to the Wimbledon semifinals, in 1977, we became really good friends and literally, we were hanging out every day. We both did well in doubles tournaments with other partners. It was kind of just an organic thing: Maybe we should try and play together. It seemed to be the most natural thing to be able to travel to the same tournaments and be in the same matches. We thought it would work out really well, which is what happened.  

When you were growing up in Chatham, it was the height of the tennis boom. What was the competition like at the junior level here in New Jersey? 

There weren’t a million future pros. The god of New Jersey tennis was Jeff Miller. Jeff grew up in Scotch Plains and he was beating the best players—the best men player—in the state at age 14. He was amazing. Jeff was two years older than me. I couldn’t have competed with him in a million years. I won the state tournament the year after he graduated, as a junior.  

When you joined the men’s tour after college, you were stepping on the court with players like Bjorn Borg, Guillermo Vilas, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase…how do you not feel intimidated? 

When I was in college I had the opportunity to play in tournaments with pros and I beat some top-ranked guys and lost close matches to other ones. Obviously you are nervous, but also excited to match skills with them. Then I became such good friends with John McEnroe and practiced with him every day for maybe two years. As he improved and suddenly became one of those icons, I would say C’mon, I’ve beaten this guy plenty of times. You know, so much of doing anything is about belief. Do you believe it can happen? Then it can. If you don’t believe it can happen, it’s not gonna. Plain and simple.  

Editor’s Note: Peter Fleming won 60 doubles titles during his career, including four Wimbledons and three U.S. Opens. He was the world’s #1-ranked doubles player in the mid-1980s and achieved a #8 world ranking in singles in 1980. Peter lives in England and works as a tennis commentator. He graduated from UCLA and is a member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. 

 

Mark Strong

What have you been watching during the COVID-19 shutdown?   

After finishing Tiger King, I sat down with my wife and sons and wrote a list of all the films they should have seen, and we’re working our way through  those in my DVD collection after dinner. I wanted to introduce them to things like Being John Malkovich, old war moves like Where Eagles Dare, Lawrence of Arabia and Bridge Over the River Kwai. Also on the list is Tree of Life, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love and Moneyball. We could never watch my own films—they would wonder what kind of narcissist I was.

What are you listening to?

I’m listening to a lot of podcasts, such as The Ballad of Billy Balls, which is set in the late-70s in New York and is about a girl’s attempt to discover a punk singer called Billy Balls. I’ve also been listening to Anton Lesser, who I played with at the Royal Shakespeare Company back in the 80s for Richard III. I also read the new Hilary Mantel novel, The Mirror and the Light.

What else are you reading?

I brought down a whole bunch of scripts to our little place in Sussex right on the edge of the Downs.  I always find reading for pleasure diversionary and not as profound as something I’m going to be performing on stage. I did enjoy the coming-of-age story my wife wanted me to read, called The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, about a college baseball player aiming for a national championship.

What do you miss the most?

I’m itching to get back to football with my friends in the garden. I play every Monday and Friday with the same guys I’ve played with for the last 17 years. I love the camaraderie and skill of six or seven a side. I’m missing it so much, because it makes my head feel right when I’m fit.

What will you be working on when things loosen up in the industry?  

There will be another Shazam movie—people are realizing superheroes can be funny, which is good.   I’m reading the script for Temple, as we are meant   to be working on the second series. I’m going to be doing Oedipus next year with Hellen Mirren, so I read that every couple of days to try and let it get under my skin.

Editor’s Note: Mark Strong’s acting résumé includes unforgettable turns in Zero Dark Thirty, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Imitation Game and the two Kingsmen movies. He also stars in the British TV  series Temple. This Q&A was conducted by The Interview People.

Tom Hanks

Suzy Maloy

 

How powerful can a book be?

A book can be the most powerful tool in the cosmos. A book can change lives. A book can be deadly. A book can lead others to make the world a better place. A book can start wars. Don’t take books lightly; weigh them with criticism and experience. Read the good ones. Use the lousy ones to level the bedposts.

Has your Hollywood life helped you to become a better student of the world?

Absolutely. I have always said that I might not have had the most formal education, but movies have helped me to study and to learn about history, politics and the arts. I will be forever grateful for that…I feel very fortunate because I get to study history while I am working. It’s almost better than just sitting in front of a book and having to study it. I do like to do that as well, but when you are learning it the way we do by visiting a lot of historical places, it’s even more fun.

Do your movies make people smarter?

I like the fact that [historical] movies make people smarter…we don’t see that too much in Hollywood these days.

Which role do you identify with the most?

That’s a tough question. It’s almost as if you are asking me which kid is my favorite. I remember Turner & Hooch the most because one thing after another went wrong. Try to make an emotional connection with a dog!

Forrest Gump is my favorite. I find him very inspirational. Why do you think it’s had such an impact on people? He lived at the speed of common sense. I think we’d all love to do that, but Forrest did it every day of his life.

What was it like to know that Toy Story 4 was the last Toy Story, the last time Sheriff Woody would be voiced by you?

It was a lot more emotional than I really thought. You know, when we recorded the last session, the whole creative team was there. It was a historic moment for all of us, and it was a very emotional one, as well.

Do you enjoy doing voiceovers?

I loved to be the voice of Sheriff Woody. He grew so much, and has become a lot deeper and profound than I thought he would ever be. He will always be a part of me now.

What advice do you give young actors?

Act at every opportunity. Be the person in the duck costume if that’s the only role open. 

 

Editor’s Note: This Q&A was conducted by Suzy Maloy of The Interview People. Suzy writes for several magazines and web sites. Recent interview subjects include Chris Hemsworth, George Clooney, Robert Redford, Don Henley and Goldie Hawn.

 

Morgan Freeman

You started in movies really late. Do you think it was good in a way for you?

Absolutely. I was 20 years on the stage in New York prior to getting the movie career, as such, though I did do television work, I did some movies. I think the training—both in the profession and in life—was to my benefit. When I was working in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the drug culture was booming and a lot of people didn’t make it through it. I was very peripatetic when I was young, back-and-forth cross-country, to New York to Los Angeles to San Francisco, trying to find the doorway, where to be able to get in. It’s just being in the right place at the right time.

Which is better, to be the President, to be God, or to be a movie star?

Movie star.

Why?

It pays. None of the rest of them pays. Not nearly as well.

What are the cons of being a movie star?

Well, first, it’s what I wanted from a very young age, I wanted to be in the movies. But as you start to watch your career go on, you realize that you didn’t want to be “star.” If you are a character actor, you don’t want to be a star, because you can’t be a character. A star very rarely gets roles like Quasimodo. Bob De Niro could walk down the streets unrecognized after he had done Bang the Drum Slowly, Godfather II and Raging Bull. He had done all these well-received movies, but he could walk down the street unrecognized. That’s character acting, when you hide, when you become the character, that’s the essential difference to me.

When you were a kid, did you ever dream about being the President?

No, I only dreamed about being an actor. When I was a kid, I went to the movies every day I could find enough money. President? CEO of something? No. Later on, I thought it might have been interesting to have been a racecar driver.

Is that on your bucket list?

I’ve done it!

Is there anything left on your bucket list?

I wanted to be a jet pilot. I wanted to be a sailor, a water sailor. I wanted to be a cowboy—I’m a good horseman, I love horses and live with them. And the rest of it is just to be here, to enjoy life.

When you play the President, do you take pleasure in it?

The pleasure is in working. Believing that you are the President or God or the devil or whatever, the only joy in that is bringing the character to life. I don’t get any personal sense of the power of God or the power of the President. Make believe is make believe. I hate for people to somehow gloss over that and say, “Oh my God! God just walked in the room!” Don’t do that. 

Editor’s Note: Morgan Freeman played the President in his most recent film, Angel Has Fallen, co-starring with Gerard Butler. He is due to star in four films in 2020, including the action comedy The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, with Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson.

This Q&A was conducted by Sarah Williams of The Interview People.

 

Timothy Olyphant
Lady Gaga

What is it about A Star Is Born that affected so many people?

It sort of reminds me of what my voice teacher told me many years ago. You never want the audience to be leaning away from you as you are singing at them, but rather that the audience is leaning into you because they want to hear you. I have talked to so many people about this film. I’ve gotten so many messages. The true star in this film is bravery…the true star in this film is perseverance. I think it’s the ability to go on when things are hard and I think that that is a tale that can be told forever.

The singer you play is so different from Lady Gaga. As an actress, how did you develop the character of Ally?

I wanted her to be completely different. What I did not have at my disposal—which I usually have—is the ability to do it all myself. I had to be collaborative with everyone around me and that ultimately stripped away all of the armor of characters that I’ve built before. So for Ally, yes it was for me beginning with not wearing makeup every day, not wearing wigs every day, dying my hair back to my natural color, taking cues from the costume fittings that we did, dressing like her on a daily basis, working hours in the studio on Ally’s music, working with [coach and adviser] Lukas Nelson and figuring out how Ally’s sound would transform as she fell in love with Jackson—and how she would sound with him, and then how she would sound later. So for me it was very much about finding a new character but finding it without all the armor that I had before.

How do you stay in the moment when you have so much to think about?

I learned at the Lee Strasberg Institute relaxation techniques where you sort of flop in a chair and you drop each part of your body, one at a time, and you really sink into the chair and you really feel relaxed. Also, being unafraid to really be in the skin of someone else. For me, that was the thrill in this, that I got to be somebody else—somebody else whose story is somewhat like mine but also so not. I was like, “I’m going to make it, I’m a singer, I’m a musician, I’m going to get this gig, I’m going to fake being my own manager on the phone and I’m going to pretend that I’m the hottest performer in town!” And the thing is that Ally is not like that. Ally was just so insecure. So I had to relax into a vulnerability that I am not normally comfortable with, but I was able to do that because of [director] Bradley [Cooper]. Bradley really made me feel comfortable. It’s about loving the skin you are in and having that self-compassion.

As a music star yourself, how do you think Bradley did portraying a rock star?

As soon as I heard Bradley sing I was like, “Oh, my god, he could be a rock star.” So I believed in him fully, right off the bat and I still do. He just did a tremendous job, the way that he portrayed a rock star with such authenticity. 

Editor’s Note: This Q&A was conducted by Samantha Fraser of The Interview People. Samantha has profiled a number of international celebrities, including Michael Bublé for the British magazine Sorted last December.

Christian Bale
Jodie Whittaker

Jodie Whittaker, the first actress to play Doctor Who

Was there a jar on the set where people had to pay a pound when they referred to the Doctor with male pronouns?

No, there wasn’t [laughs]. But do you know, I was guilty of it when I was auditioning. Trying to learn my lines, I kept going Ah it’s so hard because he says this line. And I thought, Man, we’re indoctrinated to not ever put ourselves a little bit higher.

How much of a “woman’s touch” do you bring to the Doctor?

I have never approached a role thinking How would a woman play this role?…because I just am one. And I don’t know if a guy has ever gone How would a guy do this scene? You just are, and it’s your point of view. Essentially, I suppose my energy and my approach to this is coming from a very instinctive place, which feels genderless to me because it’s never been necessarily ingrained in me that that’s a specific way that a woman behaves and a specific way a man behaves. The best thing about The Doctor is I’m not playing either [laughs]… I’m an alien!

Obviously, you are providing a great model for young girls watching the show, but what would you say to young boys who might be watching the series for the first time?

That it’s okay to look up to women, and that that is exciting and not to be feared. That’s the thing that we all feel—this is a show for everyone. When we were growing up, there weren’t necessarily people on television that looked like us or sounded like us. I suppose it’s just that your heroes don’t have to tick the same box. But it’s 2018, I mean the fact that we are having these conversations and also—as a woman being the front of a show—it will be really exciting when women aren’t treated as a genre, you know? Just as a cast member. If you lead a show, it doesn’t mean it’s “for women.” I’ve been thrust into kind of a genderless role, which is incredible. But also, you know, let’s not have this conversation in 2020, hopefully.

When you first found out you got the part, what was it like keeping that secret from friends, family…and the world?

It was particularly hard keeping it from your close friends and family. Knowing I was moving to Wales [where the series is shot], and getting the question Do you want to do that next month? I was, like, Er… I don’t know, I might be a bit busy. I just had to kind of make out that I had a lot of social events going on.

Were you nervous about fan reaction?

I’m not on social media, so I chose to think it was 100 percent positive and there were no negative comments [laughs]. But I think actually being the first woman to play the Doctor is incredibly liberating. With this role—and ask any of the previous Doctors—the rules are out of the window because the most wonderful thing is that you regenerate. So you can bring everything new, everything from previous, you can make it your own and stay loyal to it. Getting a woman doesn’t change that. 

Editor’s Note: Doctor Who has been produced by BBC since 1963 and over 800 episodes have aired. Jodie Whittaker is the twelfth Doctor Who. The sci-fi series has had a devoted, decades-long following in the U.S. and new episodes run on BBC America. This Q&A was conducted by Lucy Allen of The Interview People. When she’s not interviewing celebs you’ll find her and her dog, Cindy, on the beach in Santa Monica, CA.

 

Jodie Foster

You had a five-year absence in front of the camera prior to Hotel Artemis.

 

Well, I directed two movies and a whole bunch of television in between the last five years. I’ve been busy. That’s my priority, directing, and I’ve said that in my fifties that directing would take priority. I needed to really commit to that, but if I found something to act in that works, that’d be great.

 

The last role that you did in front of the camera was Elysium, which [also] had a class warfare theme. Is that a coincidence or is that something that resonates with you?

 

Yeah, it probably does. Income inequality is going to be a part of science fiction because that’s what we’re facing in the future…and climate change, problems with healthcare, no water in the sea, police brutality. These are all themes in Hotel Artemis. We’re looking at the next twenty-five years at what’s going to happen. That’s what science fiction is. It’s prescient about where we’re headed.

 

Why do movies depict such a grim future for humanity?

 

Well, we see it as grim. It may just be an evolution of where we’re headed. I mean, you look at The Matrix, right? That was a really prescient movie…people are like, Oh my God, this is where we’re going to be? That’s just crazy. But that is where we are now—I look at my kids on a Sunday morning and that’s where they are. And it’s okay. It’s just the evolution of our species. Technology has been a really, really fascinating point of departure of evolution for our culture.

 

How so?

 

Think how long it took for human beings to lose their hair on their bodies, right? We didn’t need it anymore because we got clothes. Well, it took about five seconds for technology and the digital revolution to change everything overnight. It took thousands of years for every other [type of] evolution. But digital technology has changed everything overnight—whether it’s the stock market, whether it’s the influence of media on our politics, whether it’s viruses, or algorithms—and how algorithms speak to each other—I mean, for science fiction it’s the best thing ever. Talk about being a working mom and raising boys. It’s just a great experience. I loved having boys. I’ve loved watching them. It’s fascinating to me because it’s different. Their puberty is so different. And I have such a close relationship with them. It has been really great for me in a way to come to really understand men, in a way, through them…it’s a beautiful bond. Yeah, the boy thing is special. 

 

Editor’s Note: This Q&A was conducted by Izumi Hasegawa of The Interview People. She was born and raised in the Shusse Inari Shrine in Shimane, Japan, where she received a Shinto priest certification. She works as a film journalist and owns Hollywood News Wire Inc. and runs WhatsUpHollywood.com.

 

Mädchen Amick

You had what most people would consider an unconventional childhood. Looking back, what did your mom and dad get right in terms of nurturing your talent and creativity?

They were incredibly brave. My father was a musician and he was the creative side of my parents, while my mom was more analytical. She was an office manager.

So two different parenting philosophies that came together. 

They loved and adored me and made me feel I could do anything in the world I wanted to do.

What were their aspirations for you?

My dad’s dream was that I might eventually join his band and that we could go on tour together. As much as I love music and have it around me—I married a musician and have musical children—I went into dancing and eventually found my way into acting. Because I was a methodical child when I went to them at 14 and said “I have a plan…I want to move to L.A. when I’m 16, do I have your blessing?” they knew I was serious and supported me. When I became a parent, I looked back. When my kids were 14 and 16, I don’t think I would have been comfortable with that.

Which of their parenting skills have you embraced?

My husband and I always encourage our kids to follow their dreams and their instincts. It’s more important for you to be happy than ”successful.” Find a career that feeds your soul and makes you feel good. That’s a thing that I definitely pulled from my childhood. 

You played Shelly on Twin Peaks as a young woman and now you are back in the same role, playing the mother of a young woman. Was that unexpected?

It was definitely a surprise that she was a mother of an early-20s child, who is following in her mom’s footsteps in an abusive relationship—and also to show that Shelly hasn’t emerged from that cycle, either. It was fascinating for me to see what David Lynch and Mark Frost wrote. Shelly has to think about what advice she would give and that fine line of protecting her without pushing her too far away. It threw me at first, but that story of the cycle that didn’t break…it is an important one to tell.

In Riverdale, you’re a different type of mom.

Yet she’s a mother in a similar way to Shelly, in terms of wanting to protect her children. She just goes about it in a completely opposite manner. Shelly is trying to keep her distance and show her daughter love, whereas Alice steps in every single time. She’s completely overbearing, a bull in a china shop—but with the same good intentions. 

Editor’s Note: Mark Stewart conducted this interview, which strayed into some fascinating territory after the allotted time. For 5 more minutes with Mädchen Amick log onto EdgeMagOnline.com.

 

Benjamin Hollingsworth

TV Doctor Benjamin Hollingsworth of “Code Black”

What kind of research is involved in playing the role of Dr. Mario Savetti? It takes a lot of hard work and preparation to get to a point where you can convincingly play a doctor on TV. We pride ourselves in our ability to portray the medical world as authentically as possible. I’ve probably done about 300 hours of medical training and boot camp. I understand how to work with a central line, intubation, chest tube, thoracotomy and just about every major ER procedure from start to finish. And I’ve actually gotten good at stitching. When people need their pants hemmed, I can suture to help save on tailoring costs!

In what ways is your personal reality similar to your Code Black character’s?

I live my excitement at work—which is something I think we share—and I also have a competitive nature…but, of course, I don’t save lives. Something else he and I share is that we don’t come from a super-wealthy family. I attended a prestigious acting school, but I had to work my way to get there with barely any connections, and I’ve had to fight for my roles—and I’ve had to really put in the work to get them.

What do you admire about him?

He has this ability to survive. Angels Memorial is one of the toughest places in the world to work, and he not only survives but he excels. I really admire his ability to handle just about every situation thrown at him. He’s very instinctual, which is what makes him such a good ER doctor. He doesn’t question himself. He works really hard to know what he needs to do and he’s good at doing it. That absence of self-doubt is one of his greatest strengths. You co-star in the upcoming action film Hard Powder with Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum and William Forsythe. 

How does being part of a cast like that help you refine your craft?

Any time you get to share the screen with such talented veterans, you learn. I have conservatory training. I spent three years learning a craft, but one of the biggest things I learned in theater school was that you never stop learning. So even now, a decade after graduating, I’m still going to work and learning from the best.

You did an episode of Degrassi about 10 years ago. Is that some sort of right of passage for Canadian actors?

Yes [laughs] this was my first role out of theater school. It’s definitely a Canadian rite of passage! Degrassi opened up a lot of opportunities. I made a lot of good friends and we stayed in touch. When I first got started down in L.A., they were also there and we would all get together. There were a lot of friendships that formed from the show. It was great. 

Editor’s Note: Editor-at-Large Ashleigh Owens actually spent a good 10 minutes with Ben Hollingsworth. To read 5 More Minutes with the Code Black star—and learn about his 2018 film projects— log onto Edgemagonline.com.

 

Jeff Hanna
Marcus Samuelsson

Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Why are you head over heels about cooking?

I love the creativity of cooking and eating. Cooking is very rewarding. What I love about it is that you can cook a meal and can share it, you can share where you’ve been on a journey, you can share where you’re going, you can share what you’re excited about. It can be spiritual; you can really bring your mood into the food. But it is also something that still is both a craft and an art. I practice cooking almost every day. It’s a combination of work ethic, craftsmanship, and artistry.

When did you realize you had the knack for it?

When I was a teenager. I started to make meals for my family and everyone loved my food, even the pickiest of eaters. My grandmother helped me find that passion and my parents gave me my work ethic. Working in France showed me what it would take, and then coming to this incredible environment here in New York City pushed me even more, working with the chefs from Harlem EatUp and other local chefs, like Jonathan Waxman, Daniel Boulud and Melba Wilson. They’re the ones inspiring and pushing me every day.

Is there a difference between cooking for Americans and Europeans?

I do believe that there is. In America, you have a multicultural culinary base with a variety of different consumers, which makes it more interesting. In America, the biggest difference is we have diversity. The bigger the diversity the more you have to take into consideration. Maybe there won’t be as much pork on the menu, maybe you have to think about more vegetarian dishes. You have to think about people’s choices in order to feed a more diverse nation.

What is your favorite ingredient at the moment?

I am intrigued by seafood, even the most simple, like soft shell crab. I also like rhubarb.

Are you head over heels for a particular cookbook?

White Heat is my favorite, by chef Marco Pierre White. He showed me a different path in France. And I love Leah Chase’s And Still I Cook. She is one of my mentors.

Julia Child said careful cooking is love. Do you agree?

I completely agree. It is a way of caring. I think it applies to everything we do. Everything that I know and every place that I have been has always revolved around cooking. Whether I am breaking bread with my family in Harlem or in Ethiopia, to me it is one in the same, and I love it.

How would you tailor a menu for the ultimate date night?

The menu would have intimate, shareable food. I’d begin with oysters. I think there must be champagne, definitely some bubbles. I love something that talks about a journey a couple has shared together, like the Caribbean—for instance, grilled lobster with rice. They’d finish with strawberries and buttermilk sorbet, to bring back some childhood memories.

Editor’s Note: Marcus Samuelsson is a favorite contestant and judge on cooking competition shows, and owns Red Rooster in Harlem. He holds the distinction of being the youngest chef ever to receive a 3-Star review from the New York Times. As executive chef at Aquavit, he was named the top chef in New York City by the James Beard Foundation. Editor At Large Tracey Smith actually spent more than 5 Minutes with Marcus. Log onto edgemagonline.com to learn more about Red Rooster and his life as a celebrity chef.

Vinnie Brand
Toks Olagundoye
Sister Rosemary Moynihan
Ryan Cannon

2016 PGA Championship Director 

How would you say the PGA Championship compares to other major sports championships?

It’s similar in that we have the best athletes in the world at their chosen profession who will be competing at the highest level of the sport. At the same time, it’s different in that the host venue is a tremendously important part of the story. Championships in all other sports take place on a field of play that is regulated. The Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club is unique among the world’s golf courses in its design, layout, and history.

How so?

The Lower Course at Baltusrol is a spectator course. While the scale is epic, the classic design makes it easy to traverse from the back 9 to the front 9. There are excellent vantage points throughout, and the golf course will present the players with numerous strategic options and opportunities to thrill us with their incredible talents. The beauty of the grounds is a joy to experience as the majestic trees will afford ample shade and opportunities to relax and soak in the unique atmosphere. And finally, Baltusrol is one of only four golf clubs in America to be designated as a National Historic Landmark

Do most fans buy tickets for one day or do they go for a package?

Attending on multiple days is by far the best way to experience the Championship. There is just too much to see and experience to fit into one day.  

What are some of the interesting things that happen in the days prior to the first round?

The players are more relaxed and will try to execute multiple shots on every hole. This provides a unique opportunity to take pictures, ask for autographs, and get a feel for the best places to watch once the competition begins on Thursday.  

What’s the optimal strategy, to follow a specific golfer or to stake out territory at a particular hole so you can see all the players come through?

I prefer to do a little of both over multiple days. There is nothing like following a player for an entire round and getting a feel for how they are playing that particular day. If they are at the top of their game, you can actually feel it—you can see it in their demeanor and in their eyes, and the player starts to feed off of the crowd’s energy. On another day, it is great to find a grandstand with a concession stand and restroom close by, so that you can watch all of the players come through. 

How many volunteers will be working the tournament and where do they come from?

We have almost 3,500 volunteers, including residents from 37 U.S. states and six countries outside of the U.S.  Almost 2,000 are from New Jersey, but we also have volunteers coming from Finland and even as far as Australia.

What differences will fans who attended the Championship here in 2005 notice in 2016?

There are new parking and transportation options. The merchandise tent on site will be larger and, frankly, worth coming to see all on its own. We have better grandstand options than before and there will be more concession stands with a wide variety of options to choose from. Children 17 and younger now have complimentary grounds access all seven days as long as they are accompanied by a ticketed adult, and we have complimentary Wi-Fi zones on the property. 

Log onto pga.com/pgachampionship for more info.

 

Richard Fernicola

Author of Twelve Days of Terror: A Definitive Investigation of the 1916 New Jersey Shark Attacks

A century after these infamous attacks, what is known about them and what is still up for debate?

The first attack occurred late in the afternoon of July 1, in Beach Haven. The second occurred on July 6 in Spring Lake. Both victims were men in their 20s and both were killed. On July 12, there were three victims in Matawan Creek, two of whom were killed. The third person survived with serious leg injuries. What is still up for debate is how many sharks were involved, what the species was/were and, ultimately, why this series of ferocious attacks occurred in a place where attacks had never occurred before and haven’t since. 

What were those 12 days of terror like for beachgoers?

People didn’t associate the water with dangers—they were more afraid of jellyfish, sharp stones and crabs. So the response to a predator attacking the limbs of bathers and killing four out of five people was what you might imagine it would be today. A shark attack is such a rare occurrence in New Jersey that I refer to the ferocity and frequency of these attacks as an “anomaly within an anomaly.” There was a fear of the unknown in nature and, as a result, there was a great reluctance to venture into the ocean after the attacks.

How did public perception of sharks change?

In 1916, a lot of people in the metropolitan area didn’t know what a shark looked like, or even have a grasp that there were multiple species. If an American bather spotted a shark prior to 1916, it posed as much of a danger as, say, a stray dog—certainly nothing life-threatening. The 1916 attacks baptized us to the potential danger of these predators if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The attacks also triggered what was probably the biggest shark hunt in history. People tried to catch and kill any large shark they could. When it became apparent that the attacks had ceased, that response changed. 

In the 15 years between the original release of your book and the updated 2016 edition published in May, people have become obsessed with sharks. That’s helpful to you as an author, but how do you explain it?

I will say I’m very, very surprised at the response to films like Sharknado. I’m even surprised by the perpetual interest in “Shark Week.” I believe that it’s a combination of things, including the growth of social media and the immediate news feeds that give you reports of shark attacks from very distant lands. You also, over the last 20 or 30 years, have an increase in wholesome and accurate education about sharks to a whole new generation of young people, mostly through aquariums and research programs. I hate to use the word “sinister,” but there is something diabolically mysterious about the general appearance and stealthy maneuvering of sharks that continues to fascinate people. 

So this summer, when people take Twelve Days of Terror to the shore, is it safe to put it down and go in the water?

Yes. Reading about attacks can sensitize you to the dangers of sharks, but that is completely unfounded, especially as it relates to New Jersey. The rarity of attacks in New Jersey should actually encourage someone to go in the water.  

Editor’s Note: Richard G. Fernicola is a physician specializing in post-stroke and post-injury recovery. The 2016 edition of Twelve Days of Terror is published by Lyons Press and hit store shelves in May.

 

Rich Sommer
Ray Liotta

How did growing up in Union shape you?

I’ve thought about this, growing up in the tri-state area. I was in, like, the legitimate suburbs. Union was a town of 50,000 and had small-town suburban dynamics. I know a lot of people don’t think of New Jersey like that. But then, we were also 45 minutes outside of the city. So all of the news we got was New York City news. We didn’t have “local stations.” We heard everything that was going on in New York. I don’t want to say that it was more sophisticated, but you “got” what was going on in New York. That had an influence.

How much time did you spend in the city?

A lot of kids use to go in. I didn’t. New York scared me. This was the ’60s and ’70s. I remember going to Port Authority. It was disgusting. Forty-second Street was really gritty, dirty, with all the porno places. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. But I do think by growing up so close to New York, with a suburban vibe, it gives you a little bit of everything.

Were you a Jersey Shore guy in the summer?

Oh, yeah! I started out as soon as I graduated from college. When I got on the soap opera [Another World], my friend Gene and I got a house. Yeah, we were in Belmar and Point Pleasant. We had another one across the street from that guy who used to own the Giants, Timmy Mara. We went to Long Beach Island a lot. So yeah, we used to go there every summer.

What is your most vivid memory of growing up in New Jersey?

Playing sports. Whatever the season was. All I did was play sports when I was younger. I lived on a dead end street. Now they call them cul-de-sacs, but they’re dead ends. We were always being active and playing sports there. We used to play softball, basketball, baseball all the time.

You’re shooting a series this summer and fall in New York with Jennifer Lopez. Any plans to visit the old neighborhood?

I’m here for six months, from May to November, so I’ll definitely go back.

Any go-to spots?

I’ll tell you one thing, I still go back to certain places for food. There’s a great place in Union called Peterson’s [now The Galloping Hill Inn]. It’s a hot dog place. And to this day, every time I go to visit Gene, we stop and get a hot dog. Whenever I’m in New York, I’ll go and visit my best friends since third grade, Gene and Jules. Gene lives right behind a school where we use to play soccer and basketball. The area still has a small-town feel to it, so it seems like the same place to me.

Editor’s Note: Ray Liotta narrated the eight-part AMC mini-series The Making of the Mob: New York, which premiered in June. He was also a member of the all-star cast of the 10-hour Texas Rising miniseries, which premiered in May on The History Channel. Robert Piper conducted this interview. For more of Ray’s memories, log onto edgemagonline.com.