News for 12/12/2005

Sci Fi Breathes Life into 'Night Stalker'

"Night Stalker," which lasted but seven weeks on ABC this fall, will get some new life next year thanks to the Sci Fi Channel.

The cable network has acquired rights to the entire series, which includes three episodes that never made it onto the air. Sci Fi will air all 10 episodes sometime next summer.

"Night Stalker" joins a roster of genre shows on Sci Fi that have been discarded by broadcast networks. The channel enjoyed success with "Firefly" repeats earlier this year and has also served as a second home for shows like "Now & Again" and "Roar" in the past.

The pickup of "Night Stalker" means that Sci Fi will now own both versions of the show. The network also airs episodes of "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," the 1970s cult favorite on which the new show was based.

The new "Night Stalker," which starred Stuart Townsend as Carl Kolchak, a reporter with a nose for the supernatural, and Gabrielle Union, had a rough go this fall airing opposite the No. 1 show on TV, CBS' "CSI." It averaged a scant 5.26 million viewers in its time on the air.

News for 11/15/2005

ABC Says Good Night to 'Stalker'

ABC is turning out the lights on its freshman series "Night Stalker," pulling the plug after six episodes that struggled to find audiences up against TV's top-rated series, "CSI."

Show creator Frank Spotnitz ("The X-Files") announced the cancellation on his blog ( Sunday (Nov. 13), and ABC confirmed Monday that the show was being pulled, effective this week. An expanded edition of "Primetime" will fill its 9 p.m. Thursday spot this week, with previously scheduled movies set for the two Thursdays after that.

"While I'm disappointed the series has come to an end, I am enormously grateful for the experience and the opportunity given me by the network and Touchstone Television," Spotnitz writes. After thanking the show's cast and crew, he adds, "It was a blast."

The news doesn't come as a big surprise -- "Night Stalker" was one of many series that have struggled on ABC's Thursday schedule in recent years. In its six weeks on the air it averaged just 5.2 million viewers and also struggled in the key adults 18-49 demographic.

Any show facing CBS' "CSI," which draws 28 million viewers each week, is fighting an uphill battle. But "Night Stalker," an update of the 1970s series that stars Stuart Townsend as ghoul-hunting reporter Carl Kolchak and Gabrielle Union as his skeptical colleague, couldn't break free from the pack behind NBC's "The Apprentice." Last week, it finished in a virtual tie with FOX's "Reunion" and only beat The WB's "Everwood" by a couple hundred thousand viewers.

Nine episodes of "Night Stalker" were filmed. At the moment, ABC has no plans to air the three that haven't been seen yet.

News for 11/8/2005

The following article appeared in the September 30, 2005 issue of Entertainment Weekly Magazine

News for 11/6/2005

'Night Stalker' Star Ends Marriage Union

LOS ANGELES ( Gabrielle Union, who just celebrated her 33rd birthday, unfortunately won't be celebrating her fifth year of marriage.

The "Night Stalker" actress and her husband of four years are splitting, according to publicist Lisa Kussell.

"The couple remains close and asks that you respect their privacy at this difficult time," reads a statement released on Monday, Oct. 31.

Union married former NFL Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Howard in 2001. Union hasn't had the best time of it lately. She was unable to hold her birthday party at the Hollywood nightclub Mood on Saturday, Oct.29 Her publicist at the time had claimed that her client was turned away because of racism, allegations that PR Firm BWR later apologized for.

Union stars as crime reporter Perri Reed in ABC's supernatural drama "Night Stalker." Her other credits include appearances on "Friends," "ER," "7th Heaven" and "Family Guy." Her big screen credits include "Bring It On," "The Brothers," "Abandon," "Deliver Us from Eva," "Cradle II the Grave" and "Bad Boys II."

News for 10/24/2005

A Bad Mood for Gabrielle Union

LOS ANGELES ( All Gabrielle Union wanted to do was party. Is that asking too much?

In an email circulated to publicists on Friday, Oct. 21, Union's rep warns off colleagues from doing business with hip Hollywood nightclub Mood. The star of ABC's "Night Stalker" was set to celebrate her 33rd birthday, hosted by Mood on Saturday, Oct. 29, but was allegedly turned away just a week before once the owner realized she was African American.

"I think you should all be aware of an incident that occurred with my client Gabrielle Union and the owner of Mood," reads the email from Holly Shakoor of BWR Public Relations. "Mood was going to host her birthday party which is a week away."

The message then goes on to say that David Judaken, owner of the hot spot, allegedly "didn't realize Gabrielle Union was black," but once he found out, he canceled the party.

"I thought she was the white volleyball player," Judaken allegedly told Shakoor, most likely referring to athlete/model Gabrielle Reece. "I don't want her kind of people in my club."

Judaken has denied the allegations, claiming that he instead booked another party that night and never finalized plans with Union. He is considering legal action for the bad publicity and would like a public apology.

The same day the email leaked to the press, BWR released the following statement: "The information you have received via email was inadvertently forwarded from an interoffice email. The interoffice email was relaying third hand information that we received regarding a client. This email was sent within the office and not intended to be forwarded outside of the company. It by no means reflects our official position on this matter. We expect this matter to be amicably resolved between the parties concerned."

Mood, a Balinese-inspired nightclub, features bamboo, batik and carved-wood accents. Some have described it as a temple representing "the conflict of religion and debauchery."

Besides starring as crime reporter Perri Reed in the supernatural drama "Night Stalker," Union has made guest appearances on "Friends," "ER," "7th Heaven" and "Family Guy."

She also has a successful film career with a resume that includes "Bring It On," "The Brothers," "Abandon," "Deliver Us from Eva," "Cradle II the Grave" and "Bad Boys II."

News for 10/10/2005

The following interview appeared in the September 2005 issue of Sister 2 Sister Magazine

News for 10/2/2005

Union Returns to TV in 'Night Stalker'

For The Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. -- OK, so she hasn't had the greatest track record with TV remakes. But Gabrielle Union says unlike the summertime big-screen flop "The Honeymooners," her latest project, a small-screen remake of the '70s cult TV series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," is different.

"It's not a remake, it's a `reworking,'" she emphasizes, laughing. "I've learned my lesson about remakes."

Premiering 8 p.m. EDT Thursday on ABC, the new "Night Stalker" picks up the saga of newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak, who investigates crimes connected to the supernatural.

Portrayed for one season (1974-75) by Darren McGavin -- whom we see for 24 hours every year on TBS as the father in Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" -- Kolchak now is played by Stuart Townsend ("The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen").

The series -- reminiscent of "The X-Files," on which executive producer Frank Spotnitz once worked -- adds a new twist, with Union's Perri Reed serving as Kolchak's journalistic sparring partner.

"I needed other people in the newsroom for Kolchak to interact with," says Spotnitz, "relationships that were going to drive these stories. And I wanted the competitiveness ... Who could outdo the other to get the story."

While shooting an episode recently in Pasadena, Union is relaxed and cool, despite sweltering heat and no air conditioning in her trailer -- her preference.

She's so blissfully chatty about the show and handsome co-star Townsend ("My girlfriends are always dropping by to visit the set") that it's hard to believe she almost passed on the series.

"Hourlongs are like doing movies that never end," says Union, who'd soured on TV dramas after her laborious stint on "City of Angels."

In the last five years, the 32-year-old Omaha, Neb., native has appeared in more than a dozen films, running the gamut from action ("Bad Boys II") to romantic comedies ("The Brothers"). But she felt as though she was "being put in the box."

"It's cool to be in the commercial movie box, but I wasn't getting the opportunity to even audition for more serious roles. I really didn't want to do TV," she says, "but my options film-wise were literally this actress' third best friend and like somebody's wife who you'd see twice."

Initially, when she got the "Night Stalker" script, "I was like, I don't get those sci-fi shows."

But at her agent's insistence, Union finally read it "and I was like, this is kind of good. Couple more pages, and I was like, this is really good!"

She met with Spotnitz and executive producer-director Daniel Sackheim. "They said, `When we think of Perri Reed, we think of you.' And I'm like, `OK, who else passed, because I know you didn't just think of me,'" she says, laughing.

"They're like, `No. When we thought about Perri Reed we thought about strength, and thought about you,'" Union says. "And they didn't say we have to change the writing because you're black. It was never brought up. Not once."

Spotnitz confirms: "Perri wasn't written to be anything other than a really smart, capable person. I think we're becoming more of a polyglot as a people ... and I'm eager to embrace that."

News for 6/20/2005

Union's Ready for 'The Night Stalker'

By Daniel Fienberg

LOS ANGELES ( The entertainment truism is that dying is easy, but comedy is hard. Gabrielle Union disagrees.

"Drama can feel like therapy, whereas comedy feels like there.s been a pressure and a weight lifted off of you," Union says. "You come to work and you laugh all day, you go home and you feel light."

Things are about to get increasingly dramatic for the 32-year-old actress, who is about to become a television regular on ABC's update of "The Night Stalker." Like the cult '70s series, "The Night Stalker" focuses on Carl Kolchak (Stuart Townsend), an aggressive reporter who investigates crimes that more-often-than-not have a supernatural bent.

Union's latest feature is "The Honeymooners," an adaptation of the classic television comedy in which she plays Alice Kramden, wife of Cedric the Entertainer's blustery Ralph. Rushed into a prime summer release date, "The Honeymooners" made only $5.54 million dollars in its first weekend, making it a relative disappointment. Things probably won't be any easier for "The Night Stalker," which has been plunked down on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET, opposite established ratings behemoths like CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and NBC's "The Apprentice."

In "The Night Stalker," Union players Perri Reed, an intrepid crime reporter who becomes an unwilling and unwitting partner in Kolchak's investigations of the unfathomable. Given that the update comes from "X-Files" veteran Frank Spotnitz, it isn't surprising that Reed and Kolchak instantly strike a familiar dynamic in the pilot.

"My character is the Scully, if you will," Union explains. "I don't believe and I offer a bit more of the comic relief, where Stuart's character is very dark and brooding so I am more the light, yeah, and if you will, I'm the lighter part of the drama."

Union's character is one of many alterations to the show's original formula, in which Darren McGavin's Kolchak was more of a world-weary loner on a one-man truth crusade. Like the main character's trademark Ford Mustang, everything in this remake has been made younger, sleeker and darker.

"We shot the whole thing on HD, so it kind of has that feel like 'Collateral,'" says Union. "It's real moody and dark and then here's my character, sort of bringing the light. But I didn't want to watch [the original] because it would sort of take me out of bringing it into 2005, because my character didn't exist."

The following article appeared in the July 2005 issue of Ebony Magazine

News for 5/19/2005

The following article appeared in the June 2005 issue of InStyle Magazine

News for 4/26/2005

State of this Union is good


Behind Gabrielle Union's sunbeam smile and Nebraska-bred sweetness is a brave actress. It's what prompted her to take the iconic role ofharried wife Alice Kramden opposite Cedric the Entertainer, as Ralph, in "The Honeymooners," opening in June.

And in "Neo Ned," a quirky indie movie showing this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, she plays a mental patient who avoids memories of sexual abuse by pretending to be Adolf Hitler.

Then she falls in love with a patient who's a neo-Nazi (Jeremy Renner).

"I read the script and thought, 'This makes me completely uncomfortable — that's a good sign,'" says Union.

Born in Omaha, the 31-year-old actress moved to California at a young age and graduated from UCLA intending to be a lawyer. But after doing some modeling, she happened into performing, and TV and film roles came quickly.

She played the tough squad leader in the cheerleading comedy "Bring It On" (2000) and was on the short-lived hospital drama "City of Angels" before becoming the first African-American love interest on "Friends" (beguiling both Joey and Ross).

On the big screen, Union says, she "ducked and rolled on the ground in action movies" ("Cradle 2 the Grave" and "Bad Boys II," both 2003) and did comedies like "Deliver Us From Eva" (2003) and "Breakin' All the Rules" (2004).

After "The Honeymooners," she'll be in the movie version of Augusten Burroughs' best-selling memoir "Running With Scissors."

"My work ethic doesn't allow for idle time," Union says. "I try to use my summers for something different, which is how I found 'Neo Ned.'"

Union connected to her character by reaching for painful memories of her own: At 19, Union was raped by an intruder robbing the shoe store she worked at in California.

"I had to draw upon it," she says unflinchingly. "I understood how far the mind can go to protect you from reality. I thought about the points where I felt the most out of control of myself, and when I didn't want anybody to be around me. It was hard."

"Gabrielle is tough but has this other side that connects to the slightly wounded and sensitive," says "Neo Ned" director Van Fischer.

She now works with community outreach programs in L.A. to help at-risk kids, and has lobbied the California state legislature to secure more funding for rape crisis centers.

"I first talked about it when 'City of Angels' was on TV. The show had a story line about a rapist," she says. "The number of women who came to me and said 'Me, too' was alarming and scary. I felt that it was a real chance to talk about something that matters."

Union — who married former Jacksonville Jaguars runningback Chris Howard four years ago — says doing "The Honeymooners" gave her a different opportunity.

"It's such a beloved sitcom, and the dynamic works today as it did in the 1950s.

"But it's one of the few comedies I've done where I'm the straight woman, without the punch lines. It's hard to set up jokes and not get a payoff!"

News for 3/16/2005

The following interview appeared in the March 2005 issue of Essence Magazine

News for 3/7/2005

Townsend, Union in 'Stalker' Pilot

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Stuart Townsend and Gabrielle Union are starring in ABC's drama pilot "Night Stalker."

The project is an updated take on the 1970s ABC series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," about a crime reporter who investigates supernatural phenomena. Townsend will play Kolchak and Union a newspaper colleague who partners with him in his endeavors.

Townsend's recent credits include "Head in the Clouds" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Union, most recently seen in the feature "Breakin' All the Rules" and HBO's "Something the Lord Made," next will co-star in "The Honeymooners."

News for 5/30/2004

The following article appeared in the May 2004 issue of InStyle Magazine

The following interview appeared in the May 24, 2004 issue of Jet Magazine

News for 3/23/2004

Gabrielle Union is 32 and Single

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Universal Pictures has picked up 32 and Single, a romantic comedy spec from writer Ken Rance that is being developed as a vehicle for Gabrielle Union.

The project tells the story of a New York businesswoman on the corporate fast track who has to earn her stripes by going to New Ulm, Minnesota, to oversee the closing of a factory. She ends up re-evaluating her big-city values in a fish-out-of-water.

Union next stars opposite Jamie Foxx in Breakin' All the Rules, due in theaters on May 14.

News for 3/16/2004

Rising New Talent to Represent the 'Face' of Neutrogena

Actress Gabrielle Union to Appear in National Advertising Campaign

LOS ANGELES, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- A leading manufacturer of premium skin, hair and cosmetics products, Neutrogena Corporation today announced that actress Gabrielle Union will act as the newest spokesperson for the brand.

"Gabrielle Union is a beautiful and spirited woman, who truly personifies the fresh, healthy look of Neutrogena and we are excited to have her join our team," says Neutrogena President, North America, Jan Hall.

Tall and stunning with a mega-watt smile, Gabrielle Union got her start just after college on the small screen, where she made her acting debut on the UPN hit comedy Moesha. Most people, however, will clearly recognize her from her 2001 role as a love interest to both Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer on the super popular comedy Friends. There, Ms. Union marked the first African- American love interest on the series, which garnered much positive publicity.

No stranger to Hollywood, Ms. Union has appeared in several popular movies, including Bring It On, Love & Basketball and She's All That. Within the past year, she worked along side LL Cool J in Deliver Us From Eva and co-starred with Jet Li and hip-hop artist DMX in Cradle To The Grave. Most recently, she co-starred with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Columbia Pictures' blockbuster hit Bad Boys II.

Next up, look for Ms. Union in Screen Gems' Breakin' All The Rules, scheduled to be released on April 30, 2004, where she can be seen starring with Jamie Foxx.

As a new spokesperson for Neutrogena, Ms. Union will be featured in both national TV and print campaigns. Gabrielle Union joins fellow Neutrogena spokespersons Jennifer Freeman, Mischa Barton, Connie Nielsen, Kristin Kreuk, Julie Bowen and Jason Taylor, each of who will continue in their role as Neutrogena representatives.

News for 1/18/2004

Something The Lord Made

By Jill Feiwell

(Variety) Mary Stuart Masterson, Gabrielle Union, Kyra Sedgwick and Charles S. Dutton have been added to the cast of HBO telepic "Something the Lord Made."

Production is under way in and around Baltimore on the drama, which stars Alan Rickman and Mos Def (Daily Variety, Nov. 4).

Directed by Joseph Sargent, pic revolves around Dr. Alfred Blalock (Rickman) and medical technician Vivien Thomas (Def), who partnered to pioneer open-heart surgery at Johns Hopkins U. in the early 1940s.

Peter Silverman and Todd Philips wrote the script. Exec producers are Robert W. Cort & David Madden and Eric Hetzel; producers are Mike Drake and Julian Krainin. Pic had been developed at Paramount for a theatrical release with helmer Mick Jackson and scribes Bryan Goluboff and Robert Kaswell attached.

News for 9/18/2003

Gabrielle Union: In Demand

From CBS The Early Show

Since co-starring in 2000's hit comedy "Bring It On," Gabrielle Union has gained a reputation as one of Hollywood's hottest rising stars.

In her latest film, "Bad Boys II," Union plays an undercover DEA agent who can't let two very important Miami cops — her brother, played by Martin Lawrence, and boyfriend, played by Will Smith — know her assignment.

“She's filled with intrigue,” says Union to The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler. As agent Syd Burnett, Union finds herself in deep trouble after investigating a ring of ecstasy smugglers. But with the help of her brother and boyfriend, the three bring the drug smugglers to justice.

And then, there is the personal aspect of the story. Syd Burnett wants to make her relationship with Lowrey (Smith) more public, at least she wants to share that with her brother (Lawrence). But Lowrey is “trying to keep it on the d.l. I think a lot of women have that problem,” Union explains, noting that d.l. stands for on the down low.

As for working with Smith and Lawrence, Union says, “I have never laughed so hard in my whole life. I just had the best time for five months.”

Even her husband Chris Howard, a former NFL runningback, did not complain as much about the kissing scenes she had with Smith. Union says, “Will is very sweet with his kisses. You also know that Jada is not having too much of that. But [at my other] other movies, he's been just mortified. I don't tell him until the premiere and he's sitting in the theater absolutely shocked and appalled.”

The actress has come a long way in her career. She was a college coed when she saw the first "Bad Boys" movie. Union says she never thought, as a student, she would be starring in the film's sequel.

So what is it like to be a young black woman in Hollywood these days?

“Tough. In a word, tough,” says Union. “You have to be resilient. You have to develop a very thick skin. And luckily, I have a good group of girlfriends, so we can get together and vent, other actress friends. We vent and complain and kind of pull faith and hope from one another and get out each Monday and hope that it gets better.”

She notes that the roles she goes after often vary. Union says, “Sometimes it's not even a role that's specifically written for a woman. It could be a role written for a white man or Asian man, or Latino. If it's something that I feel I could do well, I go after it. Especially if it's nothing that has to be gender or race specific, I'm all over it.

"It's a challenge," she adds. "We're toward the bottom of the peck order. I'm hoping if this movie makes money. Generally people respond to cash. If ‘Bad Boys’ makes money, they'll see the dollars and cents behind the diversity.”

News for 8/4/2003

The following interview appears in the August 11, 2003 issue of People Magazine.

News for 7/22/2003

'Bad Boys II' Actress Decries Violence

From The Associated Press

MIAMI - Gabrielle Union wants to know what this world is coming to when audiences laugh and cheer at a body being decapitated in the police thriller 'Bad Boys II."

"Where are we at in this society where they're like, 'Yeah! He was decapitated!'" Union told reporters. "I got a little nervous, but you kind of give the people what they want, I guess."

"Generally, I'm a romantic comedy, sort of Julia Roberts, kind of ... I like to leave the theater feeling happy and well-adjusted, not needing therapy, but that's just me. Apparently a lot of people like this kind of stuff."

Union can understand that director Michael Bay is giving people "what they want," but the level of gore and violence in the movie bothers her anyway.

Her personal feelings aside, Union trained hard to play DEA agent Syd Burnett.

"I met with an undercover cop, who's actually in the film," she said. "As well as a female DEA agent.

"As far as the physical side, I was working out two hours a day, five days a week. And then I joined the S.W.A.T. training with the boys and kind of got more proficient with weapons assembly, fast reloads and we did a lot of competitions. And I actually won a couple."

Union also wouldn't let Bay soften up her character.

"I think they wanted her to be a little more damsel in distress," she recalled. "And I made sure that she ... if she's a DEA agent, and this what she's done and this is how far she's made it, she's not gonna need this much assistance from her big brother. Let's make her a little more capable. And it wasn't a fight, they were, like, 'Oh, I get it.'"

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence's buddy-cop sequel debuted at the top of the box office last weekend with $46.5 million. They star as Miami cops trying to bring down a ring of Cuban and Russian mobsters smuggling Ecstasy into Florida in floating coffins.

News for 7/21/2003

The following pictures appear in the July/August 2003 issue of Movieline's Hollywood Life Magazine.