Your new movie The Cabining
- in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell
us about your character in it?
follows Todd & Bruce as they try desperately to write a satisfactory
screenplay that will please their investor, Toddís wealthy stepdad,
Sarge. Bruce convinces Todd that they need inspiration and will find it at
Shangri-la, an artist retreat set out in the woods. They find the
inspiration theyíre looking for, but whether or not theyíll survive
long enough to complete the scriptÖ well, thatís another story.
uh well, where do you even start; heís very much a type-A personality
with hints of narcissism that are about as subtle as a jackhammer at
times, but underneath it all I always saw him as an eternal optimist. He
just believes that everything will work out and doesnít waste his time
with worry. Like he read a synopsis of The
Secret and said, ďYeah, that sounds good. Iíll go with that.Ē
Of course, Bruce has
made being a freeloader an art form, and therefore knows Todd will take
care of the ďresponsibility stuffĒ at Shangri-la. That allows him to
focus his attention on 3 things: Fun, hot girls, and fun with hot girls.
All the things a growing Bruce needs!
What did you draw upon to
bring your character to life, and how much of Bo Keister can we find in
Bruce really jumped off the
page for me. I could just feel it, and ideas for him began playing in my
head immediately. The script alluded to Bruce
not really having anyone in his life other than Todd, and itís clear
that whatever he had in the past is gone. Rather than get down about it,
he chose the opposite path. Thatís what clued me in to his optimistic
nature. He lives his life driven
completely by his desire to have fun, free from worries of the past. From
there, I just began adding layers, going with improv ideas on set that
worked, and let him breathe. But I think finding his optimism is what
really made the character work. He sort of becomes this loveable
man-child. You like him, but also want to strangle him at times.
As for the amount of
ďmeĒ in the character, I would say it depends who you ask! There are
certainly similar traits. I like to think that I share his optimism, but
Iím not nearly as narcissisticÖ at least I donít think I am! I can
relate to his party animal side too; a throwback to my college days. Even
today, at nearly 40, I can still raise hell with the best of them and love
having a good time. The one part I hope comes through, and that I
tried to consciously add, was an element of charm. I felt that without it
heíd come across unlikeable. Without that, Bruce canít ďget away
withĒ the things he says and does, so I knew that was going to be
paramount in playing him.
How did you get involved with the project in the
Kopera found me through IMDb, believe it or not, and called me about
coming on as an executive producer. He said there were a couple of cop
roles that I might fit, so I was eager to give it a look. He
emailed the script, and the more I read, the more Bruce just kind of
called out to me. It was a character type Iíd been waiting to play for
the longest time. So, I asked if the role was filled, which it wasnít,
and I asked for a shot. The rest is history.
What can you tell us about your
collaboration with the Kopera brothers, the driving force behind The
Cabining [Mike and Steve Kopera
interview - click here]?
Mike and Steve are just
amazing to work with on so many levels. They each know their own strengths
and weaknesses, as well as each others; just a perfect one-two punch on
set. You can feel the trust they have in one anotherís abilities, and
that provided a great tone for the shoot.
Mike is a terrific actor,
but heís also one of the best producers Iíve ever seen, hands down. No
matter what the situation, he seemed to flawlessly handle it, never
getting ruffled. Even if he did, it didnít show or carry over to set.
Thatís an incredible feat considering the number of hats he was wearing
throughout the shoot. Heís a beast!
Steve, as a writer, had put together a clever
script, but more importantly, as director, he had a very clear vision for
it. He knew exactly what he wanted from each of us, as well as our
characters, and communicated it well. As you mentioned in your review, his
directing style was very subtle. He trusted us as actors, giving us the
latitude to discover and create in the moment. That allowed the characters
we built to come alive, while Steve acted as more of a guide to keep us
within the framework of the scene. To me, thatís what great directors
do, and Steve is in that class.
Cabining being a slasher movie of sorts, is that a genre you can
at all identify with?
You mean aside from the two
dead bodies in my basement? Absolutely!
Iím a child of the
80ís, so I cut my teeth on all the classics. Jason,
Myers, all of them were part of my formative yearsÖwhich probably
explains a lot. Finding such a love for the
horror genre at an early age opened me up to exploring Hitchcock, Kubrick,
and others. If I hadnít been so into horror, I probably would have
overlooked them and I would have missed out on some great films.
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
It was just awful! Having
to go film every day in a mansion, on a beautiful lakeÖhow horrifying!
Nah, I know itís clichť,
but it was very much one big family. The majority of the cast were all
staying together in a huge house, so we were always together. I think you
really see those bonds and relationships translate to the film. Also, on the few nights off during the shoot,
everyone would get together over great food, adult beverages and guitars.
It was one of best shoots Iíve ever done and I canít wait to get
another one going with the same group, cast and crew, everyone was amazing
to work with.
projects you'd like to talk about?
Yes. I been very fortunate
to have several projects come my way and, like all actors, I hope it
Most imminent is a new
comedy/drama series called Assets,
which will start shooting in Georgia this fall. Iíll be playing
ďPeteĒ, the limo driver/bodyguard of the lead character, Quintessa.
Not sure if heíll be a series regular, but definitely recurring.
Iím also developing The
Lycanthropist with Blu de Golyer [Blu
de Golyer interview - click here] and David Mun [David
Mun interview - click here] from House
of Good and Evil. Originally, it started off as a feature film, but
the opportunity to turn it into a series came along and was more
appealing, so weíre getting that put together now. Itís going to be a
terrific new spin on the werewolf genre.
There are several other
films that are in various stages of development or pre-production too;
primarily The Puzzle Jug and The Tomorrow Saga. Lastly, Reunion
108, a baseball comedy I shot last year, has completed post and will
hopefully be premiering soon. Lots of great things going and I feel truly
blessed. Of course, Iím always looking for more, so fingers crossed that
the offers keep coming my way!
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
I grew up loving movies,
but being from a small town in Virginia, Hollywood was a pipe dream. So I
went to college to study criminal justice instead. I had myself convinced that
I was going to go into the Secret Service and guard the President one day.
No idea why, I guess it just seemed cool. Anyway, I came to find out that
my eyesight would prevent me from ever achieving that goal. It was at this
point that I had to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. The only other real love I
had was movies, so I did some research and my parents suggested I check
out Wilmington, NC. It was the 3rd largest film market at the
time, so I jumped at the opportunity. I drove down, checked it out, and
moved the following week. I didnít know a soul. All I knew was ďstart
with extra workĒ. Two days later, I was on my first set. From that point, I began
making connections and studying with my first acting coach. After a couple
years of busting my hump in classes, booking small roles, and getting in
the union, I took off to LA and trained my ass off under numerous coaches.
I moved back to Virginia to be closer to family
in 2006, after my first son was born. Luckily, thanks to the internet and
a team of agents that work their hearts out for me, Iíve been able to
work consistently and remain relevant.
Can you still remember your first time in front
of a movie or TV camera, and what was that experience like?
My first speaking role was
on, wait for itÖ a horror/comedy! I played ďJ.T. StricklerĒ in a film
called Vampires Anonymous. Funny
enough, Iíve never even seen the film. I remember being nervous at first, but I
eventually found my groove, and made friends that I still have to this
day. Honestly though, it was so long ago, I canít recall much else.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The
I suppose the most
recognizable role would be ďKip TylerĒ in Remember
the Titans. Iím the guy that breaks ďRevísĒ arm and talkís
trash to him, then ďSunshineĒ comes in the game and takes me out. Other than that, Iíve done several indie films
that are hopefully finding their way to distribution soon.
Where I Begin is one that comes to mind. Iím particularly proud of
my performance in that film, which is a gritty, southern drama. Iíve
done a boatload of commercials too, and I currently host the top rated
show on The Sportsman Channel, Gallery
of Guns TV.
You also run an acting school,
right? Do talk about that one if you can!
I used to run one. I really loved doing it and helping train beginning
actors. Both fortunately and unfortunately, I just got too busy with film
work to keep it going. I still coach privately as I have time, so itís
not entirely dead in the water. And Iím proud to say that I have several
students out there booking roles.
How would you
describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
I like to think of myself
as an everyman archetype, because my look is adaptable to numerous
character types, but my physical size usually puts me in line with playing
the bad guy. I think thatís why ďBruceĒ was such a must for me. He
gave me a chance to show Iím not a one trick pony. Donít get me wrong, I
love playing dark characters. Thatís my wheelhouse. Itís just nice to
find roles where I can show my range as well.
When it comes to technique,
I typically work from the inside out. A lot of actors wear a character
like a suit, whereas I like to let the character wear me like a suit. To
me, itís more about finding what makes the character tick internally;
the core emotion that drives them and why. Once I find that information,
the rest just seems to flood my brain. My big thing is that I never focus
on ďhowĒ a character acts, says a line, etc. If you understand the
who, what, why, and where of your character, how happens all by itself. My strongest attribute,
however, is probably my work ethic. That comes from my parents and my
upbringing, and probably the thing I love most about myself. I donít get
the whole diva thing. Youíve been hired to do a job that most people
would kill for, so knuckle down and do the work. As I like to tell myself,
ďFind another gear!Ē When I walk on set Iím
ready to go, and I give 110% every take, even if the camera isnít on me,
because it helps other cast members performances and the scene/film as a
whole. I believe thatís why so many directors Iíve worked with want me
on other projects. They know Iím going to bring that to set. No matter
how successful I may become, thatís one aspect that I will never change.
Actors who inspire you?
wow. Iím glad you made that plural, because Iíd never be able to
narrow it to one.
guess Iíd have to start with Kevin Spacey & Geoffrey Rush. Not
merely for the roles theyíve played, or how well they play them, but
more for the fact that they really had to fight to get their shot. Both of
them kept at it until their opportunity came, and when it did, they let it
rip. I think every actor dreams of that moment in their career.
As for others, Iíve
always admired Tom Hanks & Ed Norton. Tom Hanks primarily for his
ability to play such a multitude of characters; heís really a true
ďevery manĒ and he has the ability to make you feel every emotion his
character feels. Ed Norton has those abilities as well, but I love how
gutsy he is with his character choices. He takes risks on edgy characters
and makes them work, even when they should be unlikeable.
Lastly, Iíd say Anthony Hopkins & Meryl
Streep because, well, theyíre Anthony Hopkins & Meryl Streep.
HmmÖprobably my favorite, for personal reasons,
would be Big Fish. If Iím in
the mood for a laugh, This is Spinal
Tap is a great choice, along with anything from Monty Python or Mel
Brooks. Horror fave will always be the original Nightmare
on Elm Street, but Night of the
Living Dead is a close second. And, it may come as a surprise to some,
but Iím a huge fan of Richard Curtisí work. I love his character
driven, intertwined stories, like Notting
Hill and Love Actually, heís an amazing storyteller.
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
all honesty, I try to take away at least one positive from every film I
watch. Not sure there are any that I completely despise. If I donít like
them, I just turn them off. In some cases, the fact that I turned them off
and didnít have to finish watching is the positive that I take away!
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
have to send out some love to my family; my wife, Cyndi, my two boys,
Hayden and Seth, and my parents too. No way could I do what I do without
all their support.
to the kick ass cast & crew of The
Cabining, you guys rock! Love you all and canít wait for the sequel!
There WILL be a sequel!
Lastly, House of Good and Evil made it's Video On Demand
debut here in the US, so check with your provider and tune in!
for the interview!