Photo Credit: Jonny Marlow
We hope that you have been enjoying Disney+’s action-comedy series, Turner & Hooch. The series is inspired by the 1989 Tom Hanks fan-favorite film, by the same name. It follows U.S. Marshal Scott Turner, played by Josh Peck. In this series, Turner and his sister set out to solve the mystery of his father’s death. But he will have the help of his new trusty slobbery companion, Hooch. In case you haven’t checked it out yet, it has a great balance of action and comedy.
Turner & Hooch has recently introduced us to a character named Olivia, played by Cristina Rosato. She is an earnest and enthusiastic Oakland police officer from the Midwest. She’s got to be special if she is engaged to U.S. Marshall Xavier Watkins, played by Brandon Jay McLaren.
LRM Online’s Emmanuel Gomez recently had the opportunity to talk with Rosato about her role in Turner & Hooch. During the conversation, we talked about the nostalgic excitement of working on something near and dear to some people. As well as her chemistry with McLaren on screen.
We also took some time to talk about her children’s book that she wrote and published during the pandemic titled, A Hero Too with her cousin Lara Villani. This was in collaboration with Save the Children Canada. The proceeds of which went to the organization’s Emergency COVID relief efforts. Check it out below!
Cristina Rosato Interview
Emmanuel Gomez: So, Turner & Hooch is obviously a classic and in many people’s views. Especially with Tom Hanks as the lead, back in the eighties. Is that a movie you hold near and dear to your heart?
Cristina Rosato: Oh, absolutely. I loved that movie when I was little. I remember wanting to watch it every night before going to sleep, type of thing. Milk and cookies and Turner and Hooch. Yeah. I’ve always loved Tom Hanks, still do. And the movie with dogs and fun, I just loved it.
Emmanuel Gomez: Movies with animals always hold a special place in my heart.
Cristina Rosato: I know, right. It just gets you, it just gets your heartstrings. I don’t know, they’re just fun to watch. They just feel so pure. I think it’s the same reason I love watching, I mean, it’s not the same reason, but similarly watching children actors. There’s something so pure about them, I just love that.
Emmanuel Gomez: Absolutely. So, what are your feelings now, so many years later and being able to be part of this reboot on Disney Plus?
Cristina Rosato: It feels really special. When I found out about the project and that there was interest for me to be in it, I was just really excited to be a part of something that held such a special place in my heart. Hoping that this new series also holds a special place in the audience’s hearts, as well.
Emmanuel Gomez: Now, let’s talk a little bit about your character, Olivia. Tell us a little bit about her.
Cristina Rosato: Olivia is such a fun character. She is an Oakland cop, and she’s really girly and sweet, and kind of kooky. But when she needs to be a cop, she’s super tough and she switches into cop mode. She’s a really fun character to play because she’s just very bubbly, but also really bad-ass.
Emmanuel Gomez: She has to be, I think, if she’s engaged to Xavier Watkins. Am I correct?
Cristina Rosato: Yeah, exactly. I’m excited to see the fans reaction because I think they’re a really fun couple. I think they’re really, they’re kind of opposite. But they’re also so quirky and very fun loving, and I’m excited for the world to meet Xavier and Olivia.
Emmanuel Gomez: I’m excited to see that dynamic, as well. I’ve seen a couple of episodes already. Well, I am a Bay area native, so this is why I really enjoy the series, as well. I was actually born in Oakland, raised right next door in Berkeley.
Cristina Rosato: No way. I’ve never even been, I would love to visit. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.
Emmanuel Gomez: Great food, great place. I was going to ask you if you had a chance to visit Oakland or talked to any Oakland PD beforehand, getting ready for your role?
Cristina Rosato: I, unfortunately, did not. Normally, when I book something, I always like to do some research, like what you’re saying, beforehand. But this role, everything happened very quickly, as sometimes it does in the film industry. I booked it on a Friday and was on set on a Monday, type of thing. Yeah. Maybe not exactly the Friday Monday situation, but it was a very tight turnaround. And then, because, of course, of just COVID and the year, I wasn’t able to do as much visiting or research as I normally like to do.
Emmanuel Gomez: That is completely understandable. I do hope though, that you get a chance to get out there. They have some amazing food, amazing people, and it’s just a great culture.
Cristina Rosato: It’s definitely on my list.
Emmanuel Gomez: Tell me a little bit about working with the animal actor who plays Hooch. Did you get any interactions with him? Any fun stories?
Cristina Rosato: I didn’t have too many actual scenes with him, but he was in some of the scenes that I got, that I did get to meet him. I’ve spent more time with him between scenes. I would follow him around, so I could hang out with him. Like a creep. No, but a lot of the times, actually, they would have stand in dolls. If the camera wasn’t on the dog, they wouldn’t bring the dogs in unless the camera was on the dog. So, unfortunately, I didn’t have that many scenes with actual Hooch, because they save their performances for their close ups, like a real diva.
Emmanuel Gomez: That sounds great. So, I do want to switch gears a little bit with you, because in getting ready for your interview, I found a children’s book that you had written in English and French, A Hero Too, during the pandemic, that was for a good cause. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Cristina Rosato: Oh sure, I’d love to. So, when the pandemic hit in March, one of my best friends is my cousin Lara Villani from Montreal, which is where I’m from. She has a two-year-old daughter, and I’m Italian. I have a big Italian family, lots of little cousins and stuff. I was talking to my family and friends about how to navigate all of what was happening in the world with their kids. They were all stressed about how to talk to them about it. I don’t know, we just got inspired to write a book that helped parents talk to their kids about big feelings. Not that we’re experts on it, but we thought it might be nice to try to write something that kids can get some comfort in, and so could parents or caretakers or teachers or what not.
So, we actually consulted with some child psychologists, some people that work with children, to make sure everything was actually helpful, and not just for mental. Then we partnered up with Save The Children and had all the proceeds go to their COVID relief efforts on the ground, that was working around the world to help people that really needed it. The book was an ebook originally, that was downloadable for free, it was by donation only. And 100% of the donations would go to Save The Children. Yeah, it was an intense experience. I’ve never written a book before, but I really loved it.
Emmanuel Gomez: Well, you did a fabulous job. I really appreciated the perspective of also having to talk to kids about it, because it was hard enough for adults to deal with, let alone kids.
Cristina Rosato: Yeah so, we just wanted to do something. We just felt like we had all this creative energy and we’ve always wanted to do something together. So, we did that, and it was really lovely. Then I translated it into French. We’ve gotten lots of messages from teachers and parents saying that this book was their kid’s favorite book, and they want to read it all the time. So, that was all we needed.
Emmanuel Gomez: Awesome. Great job. Christina, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. I am very excited to see you on Turner and Hooch on Disney Plus.
Cristina Rosato: Thank you. I’m excited for the character to get introduced. Lovely speaking to you.