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updated: 1/2/2013 3:12 PM

In Hollywood, suburban strengths shine through

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  • Fremd High School graduate Robert Lorenz directs Clint Eastwood in a scene from Lorenz's directorial debut "Trouble With the Curve."

      Fremd High School graduate Robert Lorenz directs Clint Eastwood in a scene from Lorenz's directorial debut "Trouble With the Curve."

  • Nick Celozzi

      Nick Celozzi

  • Katherine Cunningham.

      Katherine Cunningham.

  • Soprano Ailyn Perez stars in a concert staging of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" at Ravinia Festival's Martin Theatre in Highland Park.

      Soprano Ailyn Perez stars in a concert staging of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" at Ravinia Festival's Martin Theatre in Highland Park.

  • Wheaton native Jim Belushi declares that Gino's pizza is the best in Chicago, except maybe for Lou Malnati's. Or Giordano's.

      Wheaton native Jim Belushi declares that Gino's pizza is the best in Chicago, except maybe for Lou Malnati's. Or Giordano's.

  • Director Jay Chandrasekhar, who grew up in Hinsdale, makes a cameo appearance in his comedy movie "The Babymakers." .

      Director Jay Chandrasekhar, who grew up in Hinsdale, makes a cameo appearance in his comedy movie "The Babymakers." .

  • Mark DeCarlo

      Mark DeCarlo

  • Amy Carlson

      Amy Carlson

 

Even before we started our "From Suburbs to Showbiz" news team, we knew people from the suburbs were something special.

We quickly found out how right we were.

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Every time we talked to local people who've made it big in show business, we heard testimonials about the strengths and qualities that come from growing up around here.

It's not that they're any better than the others. It's just that ... well. hey, let's let our interviewees speak for themselves.

Comedian, actor, and "Windy City Live" contributor Mark DeCarlo, a Downers Grove native:

"There's a camaraderie. There's a loyalty. It's 3 o'clock in the morning and you're in jail, and you need someone to bail you out and come and get you. You call one of your Chicago friends. He screams at you on the phone. He comes to get you. You take him to breakfast.

"You call an L.A. friend. What do you get? 'Oh, wow! I can't. I got an audition tomorrow! I gotta get some sleep. Let me get back to you!' Chicago's real. You can't survive in a city this cold if you have no substance, you know?"

Rolling Meadows and Palatine native Robert Lorenz, director of Clint Eastwood's "Trouble With the Curve:"

"A modesty. A positive attitude. A desire to please. Those are characteristics of people who come out of the Midwest and you can spot them. The Midwesterners out there can spot each other."

Hinsdale native Jay Chandrasekhar, director, actor and Broken Lizard comedy troupe co-founder:

"If you hang around people from L.A. they're, like, used to having their city being maligned. Oh, it's so superficial! People have fake boobs! Nobody's honest! None of that is actually true in L.A. But if you talk to people from L.A., they're like, 'Yeah, yeah, that's true.'

"If you said that to people from Chicago, they'd take your head off! And think you were crazy for even saying that. You know what I mean?"

"Supernatural" producer/writer Jim Michaels from Arlington Heights:

"It's amazing how many people out here show up 10 minutes late! It drives me insane! People from the Midwest aren't like that. They show up on time. They're dressed to play, ready to go."

Actor and Naperville native Matt Armstrong, recently seen in "American Horror Story:"

"I would like to think of myself as a worker bee who does what he's supposed to and doesn't pull all the attention to himself. I just want to show up and do my job and then go home. I just want to make a living and still have a normal life. I don't want to be a big, fat TV star."

Elk Grove Village native and international opera superstar Ailyn Perez:

"Most of the sopranos and leading ladies can be temperamental and standoffish. People say I'm pretty down-to-earth, and I think that comes from growing up in Elk Grove Village. That Midwestern warmth, that politeness, I think that does set me apart."

TV and movie star Jim Belushi from Wheaton:

"Chicagoland has the best sense of humor in the United States. Absolutely. When you're training in Chicago as an actor and you're doing comedy -- like at Second City or at the Comedy Bar -- the audiences have a great sense of humor. You guide your material and your comic sensibility as a reflection of that."

Nick Celozzi, producer, actor, director, writer from Elmhurst:

"More loyal. More hardworking. More willing to pay their dues. More appreciative. It's true! I've produced and cast films. I can tell when someone comes in to read for a role if they're from the Midwest. They're more willing to work hard. They believe in putting time into a craft. I see a lot of people who don't want to pay their dues. They want to be famous real quick. I don't sense that with Chicagoans."

Award-winning "Glee" camera operator and Palatine native Andrew Mitchell, whose parents attended Prospect High School in Mount Prospect:

"There's a little bit of a Midwest feel in the family, a little bit of pride in where we came from, You try hard. You do your best. You stick to your guns. I think I got that from my Chicago-area relatives."

NBC-TV "The Playboy Club" actress Katherine Cunningham, an Elk Grove Village native:

"Community theater with my brother and sister, that was huge for me. I idolized my brother and sister. I still do. They're the most amazing people in the world to me. To do plays with them was probably the best part of my life."

Mount Prospect native and filmmaker Matt Glasson, director of "The Love Stalker:

"I think I have excellent core values. I know that sounds like I'm just feeding you a line, but I truly believe that. I went to church every Sunday at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Arlington Heights. I do believe that regardless of what ever religious affiliation you have, there are very good core values being instilled in the children who are being raised in the Midwest."

CBS-TV "Blue Bloods" actress Amy Carlson of Glen Ellyn:

"Glen Ellyn was kind of the idyllic setting to grow up. I loved it, It was kind of a perfect place to be a child. It was very safe, a beautiful community. Lots of trees. And Sean Hayes lived nearby. Our houses were a backyard away from each other."

Itasca native Duncan Rouleau, illustrator and writer for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, co-owner of Man of Action, a production house that creates comic books, graphic novels, movies and TV shows such as "Ben 10" and "Generator Rex:"

"It was a great time to be in Chicago during the '80s. It was a well-represented town in film and in TV. From movies like 'The Untouchables' and '16 Candles' and all the John Hughes movies and 'The Blues Brothers.' Bill Murray was at the height of his power. Chicago was the center of media in a lot of ways. There was a strong attraction to be a part of that."

• Dann Gire and Jamie Sotonoff are always looking for people from the suburbs who are now working in showbiz. If you know of someone who would make a great column feature, email them at dgire@dailyherald.com and jsotonoff@dailyherald.com.

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