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AnnaLynne McCord Talks ‘Dial*,’ ‘90210′ and Celebrity Impersonators

AnnaLynne McCord has a beef with celebrity impersonators. She also likes to be on the forefront of new and emerging forms of entertainment, so when the ‘Dial*’ (‘Dial Star’) web series opportunity was presented to her, she said she was very intrigued.

In the AT&T and NBC Universal Web series that will be available across mobile and Internet platforms starting June 8, McCord plays herself and is also an executive producer on the project that finds her cell phone falling into the hands of an aspiring actress. The young actress, Celia, suddenly has all sorts of doors start to open for her because she has McCord’s phone and some private information that gets her into swanky parties and in front of the right industry people.

The project struck close to home for McCord. She said she has dozens of impersonators online and has even been verbally attacked by one. The ‘90210′ starlet chatted with TV Squad on all things ‘Dial*,’ how she reclaims her privacy amidst the watching eye of the paparazzi, her film work and of course what’s coming up for her character in Beverly Hills, Naomi.

What drew you to this Web project?
It was interesting when Universal and NBC first approached me, they came in and they had a lovely spiel. They were like, “Rosario Dawson has done this, this is the future.” I’m very on board with whatever is trendy and coming up next. I love the idea of everything heading towards the Internet with iTunes and all of that. That’s where it’s all going. I like to get on the bandwagon early, you know what I mean?

As far as the project itself, I was hesitant initially. I really don’t do the whole playing myself thing — that gives me anxiety to say the least. But it was cool because I was given some creative input and actually came on as an executive producer and took what they started with as far as ideas with everything like having my cell phone stolen and someone trying to impersonate me. We took it and added a different level because I’ve been dealing and I know a lot of other entertainers — actors, singers, what have you — personalities in the public eye deal with the issue of Twitter, Facebook fan pages and people impersonating us and speaking to our fans.

I’ve actually had someone on Twitter, someone who has my name right now, @AnnaLynneMcCord, curse at me and tell me that I’m a bitch and that I need to get off because I’m not the real AnnaLynne McCord. I’m like, “Um, OK, well can you please elaborate on what AnnaLynne McCord is thinking right now because she’s a little pissed as far as I know.” So this gets into something I know that my peers deal with. It was a kind of cool little venue and outlet for me in a way to kind of talk about it … Imitation is usually the highest form of flattery and I realize that. In this regard, it’s kind of impersonation. It’s stealing somebody’s identity and it’s really not cool. If you want to make a fan page, if you want to show your support, we’re so appreciative of that, but don’t impersonate me and don’t pretend to be me and talk to my fans as if you’re speaking on my behalf because that’s not fair to me.

You know, that was one of my other questions because I searched for you on Twitter [@IAMannalynnemcc] and there were tons of people pretending to be you.
Yeah, if you noticed I don’t even have my own name! I’m on there because it’s been a great catalyst for me to spread awareness about the great organizations I support and it’s been incredible as far as that. Obviously I was able to incorporate that into this piece on the web series, but yeah, it’s crazy! Like, can I be myself, please? Does someone out there already own my name on every different web account there is? It’s crazy.

Besides striking back a bit in this web series, how else do you reclaim your privacy?
Well, I leave L.A. as soon as I wrap anything. [Laughs] I’m like, “The show has wrapped, I’m out of the country.” As soon as I shoot something, I leave again the same night. L.A. is like so much more “here” than anywhere else in the world. I really do get a break as long as I leave here, but it is hard to retain your privacy. They found where I live, again. I moved out of my last house after dealing with paparazzi on my street. I found a pretty secure house and it’s been OK for the last year, but they found it too now and it’s hard.

On the one side I love to have the voice that I have, to be in a position where my voice can be heard and I can use it for things that I’m really passionate about like working with my anti-trafficking organization along with a couple of other ones I support. But, on the other side, when I just want to walk outside and not put concealer on that blemish that popped up this morning, it kind of sucks. It’s like you toss it up in the air and wherever it lands it’s kind of a good thing or a bad thing.

What’s ahead for your character, Naomi, next season on ‘90210′?
I wish I knew! [Laughs] That would be great because I’m starting back in a month so it’s very funny. Our showrunner just gave birth to her very first child, a daughter, and she’s been very busy with the pregnancy and we have not heard from her. [Laughs] We don’t know what we’re doing! We discussed sort of at the end — obviously with the finale that we had there was a discussion that kind of carried over into third season as far as how the finale was going to be shot and how we were going to deal with this particular issue [Naomi's sexual assault]. It’s another issue — as you can see, I like to be able to speak out about things and use the opportunity to be in the public eye and have notoriety in order to pump my issues, whatever they are.

With Naomi, she was raped in the last scene of the finale and for me it’s very important to reach out to my fans and let them know if they experience any kind of physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, that they need to speak up about it. I do think, given the conversation with the showrunner before the end of the season, that in the new season we’re going to see what happens when you don’t deal with it, when you don’t speak up about it. Naomi doesn’t feel like she can, she feels like she put herself in a position where she doesn’t have a voice.

As AnnaLynne McCord, I really wanted to stress that no matter what situation, no one deserves that to happen and if you can’t talk to anyone, find a way to contact me — not the people impersonating me [Laughs] — actually contact me and I will do something about it. I think that you’re really going to see throughout season three that she’s going to come from a different direction. I think you’ll still see the Naomi who’s flamboyant and covers her problems because she can’t let anyone know that she’s in pain or she’s hurting. That’s the way Naomi is period, you know? That will still be a part of it, but it’s going to be darker, she’s going to have to cover more. You’re going to see her act out — we talked about a variety of different scenarios so I don’t want to lead you in a direction and it be the wrong one — but, we talked about her acting out, her being a klepto, we talked about a lot of different things. I don’t really know in what direction we’re going to go, but you’re going to see her take a darker turn.

I was checking up on your movie roles: Are you in two movies with Val Kilmer and 50 Cent?
Yup, I am! Isn’t that hilarious?

I thought it was a mistake, but you’re all listed as different characters …
Yeah, it was so random … Basically, the project ['Gun'] is — Curtis Jackson [50 Cent] wrote it, starred in it and I play his love interest and then Val Kilmer was friends with Curtis’ character, Rich, for a long time and he went to jail for and comes back and they’re on the streets. Curtis wrote it and he knows what he’s writing about, he knows the streets and he’s really a great writer. He wants to start producing three or four projects a year. He’s really taking it seriously, he’s so humble and he really just wants to learn to be an actor and it was awesome working so closely with him.

Then, this other project comes up and it was so last minute. I was in Baton Rouge, I work in New Orleans building houses with an organization called the St. Bernard Project, it’s with families because obviously there’s still so much rebuilding ever five years after Katrina. I go down there whenever I can, I had gone down there to visit someone and I literally flew out at 6:30 in the morning on a Thursday and at Thursday by 3PM I had an offer for this part and by 6PM the next day I was flying back out to Baton Rouge and shot this project and they were like, “By the way, 50 Cent and Val Kilmer are both doing cameos in it.” … It was crazy to be a part of another project with them because they were working together.

You must get asked a ton of questions: What’s one question you’re sick of being asked and why?
One question I’m sick of being asked and why? That’s a good question. I think it really has to do with my personal life. It’s not really one particular question, but I’m sitting there and they’re asking me like, “What is your most romantic evening?” And I’m like, “What does this have to do with what I do for work? How does this validate any part of me having talent or whether I’m up-and-coming or not? Why does who I’m dating have such a baring on my image and my personality?” It’s not insulting, I guess, I’m just kind of looking for the right word, but it’s like, “Come on, you’re talking about me here. Let me be narcissistic for five minutes and talk about myself and nobody else.” [Laughs] That’s one thing that is mine that I don’t have to — that I get to be me 100 percent and I don’t have to be like, “Oh I hope they like me.” I get to be myself and goofy and everything, 100 percent across the board. Please don’t take that away from me. I think it would be personal stuff like that.

Do you have a guilty pleasure TV show that you love to watch?
‘True Blood.’ I don’t know if it’s “so bad,” but it’s naughty. I love ‘True Blood.’ I wish that I could give some of the episodes we shoot to them so they have more a year: “You guys need more than 13 episodes.” I love that show, I literally — I do not get starstruck, but Lafayette — his name’s Nelsan [Ellis] in real life, I should call him by his name, not his character name, I sound silly like a fan — he was in the same room and I was just like flipping, I was like, “Oh my god!” I had worse than the giggles. I was like, “That’s Lafayette, that’s Lafayette from ‘True Blood’!”

Watch the first two episodes of ‘Dial*’ here.

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