Justin Bruening and Kelli Williams Join AfterBuzz Sweet Magnolias aftershow

Justin Bruening and Kelli Williams dish on Episode 3 of Sweet Magnolias. What went into that Coach Cal shirtless scene?! You’ll only hear it here on AfterBuzz TV, the official home of Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias

Kelsey Meyer

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: May 19th, 2020 4:00pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

ABTV Loves Sweet Magnolias 

AfterBuzz TV is the official home for Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias After Show! We have all the insight and juicy behind the scenes details from the cast and crew themselves. Today we are talking about Episode 3, “Give Drink to the Thirsty”, and this is definitely one you don’t want to miss. We had one of the Town of Serenity’s finest gentlemen on the show, as well as the brilliant brains behind his every move. Justin Bruening who plays Coach Cal Maddox, and Kelli Williams who directed this episode, sat down with us and dished about everything. 

The six of us got together for a little Zoom interview and lucky us, these two were open and willing to discuss it all. Yes, even Coach Cal’s shirtless scene – don’t worry we will get there. Kelli, who has been an actor for 30 years, had her directors hat on for this episode. She notes that “working with actors is in my bones,” and this makes her such a beautiful director. She can read the actors and what they need, when they need it.  She’s been in their shoes. 

There was a lot of tension and friction in this episode, aside from the normal butting of heads, and that was something Kelli found really fun about directing this one. She even tells us that while filming that heated scene between Chef Erik and Chef Brad, the door actually broke, so they had to stop and make sure everyone was okay. Joking, Kelli says that the two actors were getting “real method”, but it made for a good dynamic moment. 

That wasn’t the only bit of strife in this episode, it was jam packed with it. Kelli believes that conflict is all part of entertaining storytelling and everyone needs some pushback when necessary. Justin agreed and loved watching this episode. He joked that he only knew his parts, so he has really enjoyed watching the show, and loved that scene with Brad, Dana Sue and Erik.  

Kelli mentions the other Sheryl Anderson series that she and Dion, who plays Chef Erik, worked on. They acted side by side as police officers and partners, so she said it was fun to be in a different position directing him, and was so excited when she found out he was playing this role. How cool, right?! 

This episode is big for Justin who plays Coach Cal. He has to get in between Bill and Maddie for the sake of Ty and his baseball team. Justin says this moment was tough, because Cal who is such a nice guy, has to do something that’s not so nice. As Justin puts it, he has to “tenderly and gentilly tell a pregnant mother to leave the place because [her] entire being is ruining [their] baseball game” and he says, “it’s a hard thing to swallow.” He then talks about how his character Cal is always trying to be the “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” giver of advice, and wants to simplify everything for everyone in this town of Serenity. 

Justin believes that is something really great about Cal. He chuckles though when thinking about how it can get weird when he has scenes with Chris, who plays Maddie’s ex-husband Bill. He said, “it’s like are we good? Yeah? Because I’m going to go make out with your wife now.” So uncomfortable, conflicting and it’s not really simplifying things, but conflict makes for great storytelling and great TV. This relationship between Cal and Maddie is starting to grow and blossom and it’s such an exciting story line. It creates so much tension and conflict, but you’re also rooting for them. Personally, I cannot wait to see what happens between them! 

Kelli adds that it’s fun to direct and watch the characters work with each other, such as in these scenes with Cal, Maddie and Bill. She doesn’t like to move a camera without reason, and says she sets up shots to create a mood to help the dynamic that’s there. Justin mentions how great it is to be working with Kelli because every movement, position, and direction has a purpose and motive behind it, it’s well thought out. 

Kelli believes that being a director is like being a mom and a therapist. Directors wear many hats and she learns from every job she does. You can be prepared, but everyday brings something new and there are often many unseen factors. Filming in Georgia, there were even days that they had to shut down because of lightning!! She says “we would literally be almost done and then all of the sudden there’d be lightning, and then we would shut everything down and move everyone to safety. Then you’d wait, and literally a minute before we’d start again, there would be another lightning storm.” How insane?! 

Watching the show you would have zero idea, everything looks perfect. Kelli gives credit to showrunner and director, Sheryl J. Anderson and Norman Buckley for creating an environment where everyone got along and “wanted to be there.” That positive environment plays such a vital role in how the show turned out. Lightning storm or not, everyone banded together to make it work. 

We couldn’t finish the interview without talking to Justin and Kelli about Coach Cal’s little strip tease, shirtless scene, in Maddie’s driveway. Kelli says that he took one for the ladies who have had to do scenes like that for centuries. Justin then tells us that the running joke on set was, “we don’t have anyone else to objectify, I guess it’s you.” Kelli laughed that yes, she kept apologizing about it and Justin reassured her it was okay and not the first time he has had to do this sort of scene. He then added that his wife went on the internet the other night and asked him if he ever wears clothes on anything he does, joking that he is “literally naked all the time.” Kelli and Justin have such a funny and playful back and forth banter when discussing this that it reassures  viewers that this cast is a family and gets along so well. They all have an incredible repor with one another that really translates onto the screen.

This interview and After Show was packed with so many little nuggets and insider tid-bits that when you watch, I promise you will thoroughly enjoy it. These two make you feel a part of their cast and their family. So a huge thank you to this dynamic duo, Kelli and Justin, for laying it all out for us here at AfterBuzz TV and not holding anything back. We are beyond appreciative of you two and what you brought to not only this After Show but also to Sweet Magnolias. Until we meet again, perhaps next time in Serenity? Who is with me?! 

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About The Author:

Kelsey Meyer is a Los Angeles transplant, hailing from rainy Seattle, and a current host and writer at AfterBuzz TV. She comes from a strong background in the entertainment industry and is a true pop culture princess. Her passions include Late Night, Schitts Creek and having a good glass of Cabernet while connecting with her fellow AfterBuzzers.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

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