Your upcoming movie Bloom
- in a few words, what is it about,
and what can you tell us about your character in it?
I canít say too much! Donít want to get in trouble here, but what I
CAN say is that Bloom is a story about a young woman (Deann Baker [Deann
Baker interview - click here]) who wakes up in a motel room
covered in blood with no recollection of the night before and she starts
to see some very interesting changes. I play Keith, her brother who in
many ways is the polar opposite of her. He is more reserved, religious,
and conservative. They are at very different places in their lives.
character has been described as the "overprotective and conservative
brother" - so how much of yourself can we find in Keith, and what did
you draw upon to bring him to life?
actually a really interesting question for me. I guess I would start by
saying that I am probably the exact opposite of whatever might be seen as
ďconservativeĒ in many different ways, so right away that was a
challenge for me. When I first read this script, I didnít even think
about playing Keith. He just seemed so foreign to me and I wasnít
immediately on his side when I first read it. Also I think Travis Legge [Travis
Legge interview - click here] wrote
him thinking of someone who would be in their mid 30ís and I am 23 so
that just did not seem like an option for me. I was actually really
shocked when he offered me the part, I had auditioned for another role
(which is actually played by my best friend, the extraordinarily talented
Terry Bell [Terry Bell interview
- click here]) and I was really sort of not sure what I thought of the idea
of playing this over protective, religious character but I quickly agreed
because if it scared me a little bit, thatís usually the sign I should
go for it.
I think the main thing I was really able to connect with Keith
on is that I have two sisters myself. I love them with all of my heart and
would do absolutely anything for them. So I was able to put myself in his
shoes a little bit and lost all judgments I may have had for him myself
and just went with the most human element to it which to me was the
relationship between Lily and Keith. Not always perfect, not always
pretty, but they absolutely love each other despite their many
differences. You have to keep in mind that when playing someoneís
sibling, and Iím lucky to have experienced this in my own life, often
times itís about whatís not being said. Itís about whatís just
under the surface and what has been bubbling up for maybe years in some
situations. Deann and I were really able to communicate about the
relationship in great detail, so that was very helpful to me. I had to
remind myself that sometimes if your sibling says something kind of
terrible to you, often times itís said with an under layer of concern
about your director Travis Legge [Travis
Legge interview - click here] for a bit, and what was your
is great! We really get along on a lot of levels, not just creatively but
intellectually and morally we are very on the same page with things.
Thatís actually really important for me, itís really important for me
to be able to be comfortable with the director I am working with and to be
able to call him or her a friend. It took a bit of stalking on my part to
finally get an audition for him, but things have been pretty awesome
since. I think whatís great about what we did with Bloom
he was so very open to all of these ideas that I had about Keith, and why
he was the way he was. His input and Deann's really shaped who Keith became
and I am really thankful for the way he got to grow and evolve.
To what extent could you identify
with Bloom's horror theme?
horror movies. My mother and I would always go see horror movies when I
was growing up. It was our thing. She would actually take me out of school
in some cases and we would go see a horror movie. I will always remember
those times. As an actor I have to be really cautious of the roles I
accept because I do see so many really talented people sort of pigeonholed
in a certain genre, and that just canít be me. I have been really, very
fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on films of many different
genres, and plan on continuing to do so in the future. Bloom, for my
part in it anyway, was not a horror movie. Our scene was really about our
relationship and how we deal with each other more than anything else. So I
really loved that, too.
What can you tell us
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
can tell you I really lucked out here! My scene was inside, so I did not
have to bare the freezing weather on those late night exterior scenes. I
would have loved to have been on set more, but Keith only took about a day
and thatís what he needed. I really get along with Travis, Deann and our
DP Drew so that made the set really comfortable and it felt like just
hanging out with a bunch of my friends.
future projects you'd like to share?
have about 4 films in pre production right now that I would love to tell
you about but I am legally obligated to keep my mouth shut on. I can tell
you that this really fun anthology film I was in called Dead Girls
just got a pretty amazing distribution deal and will soon be available on
all major VOD outlets hopefully including Netflix! I can also tell you
that a brilliant, beautiful film I was lucky enough to be a part of called
Day 1, a Skibofilms production will be premiering later this summer
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
have always known I would be an actor. I just knew it. I was always taking
classes and doing school plays and started with community theatre then
after high school I did this really fun groduction of Salome at the
Boho Theatre in Chicago. After that I trained at The New York Conservatory
For Dramatic Arts, which specialized specifically in film acting.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
1 and Dead Girls, as I mentioned, are the big ones. Two extremely
different characters, too. In Day 1 my character serves as the moral
compass of the story. He is very conscious and has to be thinking on his
toes constantly with the crazy world around him. It was such an incredible
experience working on that film and was so very emotionally draining for
Dead Girls was just fun. I got to let loose a little
bit and play the not so thoughtful frat stud named ďMackĒ who spends
most his screen time drunk and hitting on everyone. Outside of that I was
recently in this short film, which was unfortunately a true story, about a
teenager who was bullied because of his sexual orientation and committed
suicide. Itís called Can You Hear Me Now and I won a Best Actor
award at the Prairie State Film Festival for my performance. I also just
recently starred in a short for The National MS Society called Marcus
Finds A Voice and I will post the link to that at the end of this
interview so you guys can spread it around.
How would you describe yourself as an
actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
think the biggest misconception about what it is to be an actor is that to
be a great actor you have to completely abandon yourself and become
another person. I think there is some truth to that. I think, and from my
experience this has been true, you really have to find that part of
yourself that connects with the character and elaborate from there. You
really do need to start from yourself, or your experiences in order to
really fully understand the choices your character is making and in order
to advocate for them you need to let go of all judgments you may have had
about them. I think I was able to find a common ground for Keith and I,
and in the end I was really able to understand him and his reasons for
doing things whereas before I kind of judged him and was maybe dismissive
(or indeed actresses) who inspire you?
question drives me crazy a little bit because there are so many actors
that I really look up to. Right now I would have to say my absolute
favorites are Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling and the late
Philip Seymour Hoffman. Also I have always had a James Dean/Marlon Brando
obsession that continues till this day. I think the main thing all of
these actors have in common is their ability to really connect with every
character they play on an emotional and physical level. Blue
Valentine is the best acting available in my opinion. The way Michelle
Williams and Ryan Gosling bring their characters to life, to me, is
nothing short of magical.
hard one! Blue Valentine, The United States of Leland, Funny Games
US, Half Nelson, Kids, Dogville, Death Becomes
Her, Melancholia and countless more. Basically,
anything that really makes you think and anything that will tear my heart
to pieces. Iím a sucker for emotional movies.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
and any other big budget, mind-numbing nonsense. Iíll admit Iím a
bit of a snob for the Indie films. The stories told there are more
relevant and less about how much money they can make.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Day 1 teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK2ybMNcLfo
Can You Hear Me Now? trailer:
Marcus Finds A Voice full
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
say you pretty much covered it!
for the interview!
Thank you so much for your interest in our
film, we really appreciate it!