Your new movie Point Man
- in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your
character in it?
is a story about what could have happened in Vietnam and
weíll never know...
Andre ĎCasperí Allen (and itís funny: I still dislike calling him
Casper from taking a method style of acting towards the character, as he
dislikes being called Casper in the film) is a strong, charismatic,
political dissident that has a heart for doing the right thing... much
like John Stewart from the Justice League, but heís definitely not a
hero, in perspective .
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much
Christopher Long can we find in Andre?
Taking a method style of acting to Andre Allen (because he was so
different from me) I wanted to create a whole new individual almost. So
months before shooting the film I would isolate myself (i.e. not take
calls from friends/family nor going out, dress in wardrobe during the
day in my home, sit in the dark and meditate on Hans Zimmer music and
focus on being in a war and fighting for people who donít accept me,
and other things about being in action that veterans taught me to the
best of my ability). Also, being as political as Andre was, I would
watch and listen to speeches of MLK and Malcolm X and pick up some of
their ideolology. Also, through mediation I would find Andreís voice
and subtle nuances that helped define him.
There isnít much Christopher Long in Andre! Haha. But I would offer,
having a voice and being content with being unique and different no
matter how everyone else carries themselves or believes is very related
to myself in real life. I love being unique and going Ďthe opposite
To turn the last question on its head, to what extent could you
identify with Alan and the shit he's going through?
I can definitely identify with the idea of being a victim of systemic
racial oppression, even discussing the existence of white privilege
I understand Andre not wanting to fight for a country that is fighting
to liberate another group of people while back in his own country
(during the 60ís) heís fighting to be able to drink from the same
water fountain as his white counterparts in the military. But I can
only imagine and live vicariously through the idea of actual war from
what veterans I know personally have gone through and not being an
With Alan being a Marine and the film being quite action heavy
to begin with, did you undergo any special training for your role
regarding that aspect?
To some extent, yes. The director, Phil Blattenberger, and production
mafe it mandatory that all acting soldiers undergo weapons training
with all time-period related weapons: having everyone wake up at 4am
EVERY DAY as if we were soldiers, carrying forty to fifty pounds of
equipment in over 100-degree weather, haircuts, and other small things
How did you get involved with the
project in the first place?
Itís funny talking about how I landed the role. I saw the
casting for this project (like most actors/agents find on professional
industry casting sites) and at the time I had braces, so my former agent
at the time didnít want to submit me because of braces not being
relevant to the time but also because I had auditioned for a Vietnam-war
paid short film right before
and didnít get the job.
But Phil (the director) sent me an automated audition invitation - which
I thought deemed me special but then I learned he sent the same message to
like fifty other actors, not including the 1000 others who submitted, and
I decided to audition even with the braces, because at this point (no
pun-intended) what do I have to lose, the director clearly sees my
braces. So after three rounds of auditions and callbacks I got the job.
What can you tell us about your director Phil Blattenberger [Phil
Blattenberger interview - click here], and
what was your collaboration like?
Phil was one of those directors that he would never ask an actor to do
something he wouldnít do. If we need to get in the water or mud for
a shot, he did the same thing. He was more fearless than us at times
and heís not even getting on camera! However, Phil exudes true
professionalism and compassion because he always made sure, not just
the main actors, but any extra or production assistant had everything
they needed and were comfortable to do the work. He really desires for
people to have fun doing the work on his sets! Also, Phil is extremely
creative as he could have sold the writing for
industry professionals but had a very unique vision and wanted to tell
the truth about African American
soldiers in Vietnam. I really admire his ambition.
I canít tell you enough how I loved working with Phil. I remember
calling him at least three times a week months before we filmed asking
about the character of Andre Allen, the story, and any directives. I
told myself, ďI know this guy is growing annoyed of me always
calling to talk about the scriptĒ, having a million other things to
do on the producing side. But he reassured me that I couldnít call
enough and we even conducted Skype sessions to work on scenes and
character traits to define this strong character. If I had an idea, I
never hesitated to collaborate with Phil about it because heís super
easy to talk to and sometimes heíd let me play with things that
werenít in his own vision that we kept in the film! It was an
Do talk about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The shoot was unforgettable and unlike many others. Sweltering
heat in Cambodia, and each main actor decided along with the director to
really get in the swamps of Southeast Asia. There wasnít any fake
make-up. Everything in the movie is authentic when it comes to our
environment. Even the grenades and a couple of the explosions were real!
Jacob Keohane (who played Silas Meeks) and I decided to play with method
acting, so even when we werenít filming we didnít talk to one
another (if it didnít involved the film) and if we did our words
werenít on the pleasant side... heís a constant professional.
Everyone on set knew what was involved to make this project and story
come to fruition so each and every individual worked extremely hard like
Iíve never seen on other multi-million Dollar sets. Even with all the
external environmental factors, our set was fun, energy was high, people
were working constantly and actually enjoyed being there. No one had
egos, it really felt like we were all one big family: and we still are!
projects you'd like to share?
I actually just finished the critically-acclaimed play, The
Philadelphia Story, as Maucaley Connor (Jimmy Stewartís Oscar-award
winning role) at Theatre Charlotte for three weekends not too long ago.
I went back to the theatre for a few months after finishing
refine some of my training but just landed an awesome new TV/film agent
in Atlanta so Iím super excited to land the next project!
What got you into acting
in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
Even as a kid, I had a very vivid imagination and lived outside of
myself. My momís friends would constantly ask her, ďwhatís wrong
with your son, why does he always look mad?Ē My mom would answer,
ďthereís nothing wrong with him, heís just busy believing...Ē
Always believing Iím a superhero translated into one day, one
semester before graduating college, thinking, ďmaybe I should try
actingĒ. I never thought Iíd do it because I was too busy wanting
to play in the NFL, playing football my whole life and growing up in
the powerhouse football city of Rock Hill, South Carolina made it hard
to do anything else. But I started like anyone else, doing extra
roles, standing in for stars on set while filming, then getting the
training I needed to do the dance.
I didnít acquire any formal training, I received even better... I studied one-on-one with Marilyn Carter
(The Prince of Tides) from
Yale Universityís School of Drama masterís program, who gave me
classical training and intensives in Shakespeare. Also, I train
currently with Lon Baumgarner, who teaches at the prestigious Alliance
Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Point Man?
Point Man, I had an extensive background in training. I
was able to grab a TV guest-star role in Homicide Hunter, a featured
dancer role in ABCís TV remake of
Dirty Dancing, and a couple of
local commercials (within my first year of acting), but other than that
I was training four to six hours every single day before auditioning
Point Man, so I was definitely ready for the big one.
would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
Iím an actor that loves curveballs, meaning anything can happen in
the moment or the director giving me something to do/say that wasnít
in the script or expected right before/during the scene.
I enjoy being able to play with things, words, props, etc. and allow
the scene to go in any which way unless directed otherwise.
Iím able to take a method approach to all my work, but now Iíve
learned an even greater technique of authenticity from my awesome
acting coach who taught Shakespeare in London long ago.
I take my craft very serious so Iím known from those who have worked
with me to tend to myself during filming, but when not shooting Iím
the happiest big kid. I strive to be the best everywhere I go and my
job is to make the directorís job easy.
Actors (and indeed
actresses) who inspire you?
Iím always ready for this one, ha!
Top 5 (not in this order):
Christoph Waltz, Denzel Washington, Emilia Clarke, Leonardo DiCaprio,
Viola Davis, Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding jr, Robert De Niro, Anne
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Iím such a big kid and nerd when it comes to this question. As an
actor, I love beautiful tragedies and acting: The Prince of Tides,
Terms of Endearment. I also love The Lord of the Rings trilogy,
True Romance, Million-Dollar Baby, Searching for Bobby
Fischer. But the kid in me, I still watch the Mask of Zorro, any of the
movies, and Rocky IV (my favorite one of that series)!
and of course, films you really deplore?
Ha! Iíll say recently I wasnít too happy with Glass or Replicas. I had high expectations for both of those.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
people and interacting directly! Itís
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Last quick story! So I wasnít using the restroom much my last couple
of days in Cambodia, from unknown causes, and so the night before
production and I planned to take a five-hour bus trip across the
country to Siem Reap I took a laxative so that by morning before we
left I would relieve myself. The laxative didnít work that morning
as it should have, so now Iím on a bus across Cambodia, Iím God
knows where with a laxative on my stomach and ready to let loose. We
didnít stop much and there wasnít a restroom on this bus. The bus
breaks down in the middle of nowhere with only a few houses in an
impoverished area and only a small corner store nearby. At this point
Iím bubbling on the inside and need to go. I get off of the bus and
as I reach the last step I trip and fall off the bus in front of all
of these Cambodians laughing at me. Then, I go to the store hoping
thereís a restroom and they donít have one! I ask the cashier do
they have any toilet paper I could purchase and again, no! They
donít even sell toilet paper, napkins, Kleenex, anything! I finally
tell the guy, ďI really gotta go, what do you have that I could use
to clean myself?Ē He doesnít speak much English and just points to
a roll of green trash can bags. We look at each other and Iím
looking like no way dude, Iím not using those. Moments later, I find
myself in the middle of Cambodia, behind some Cambodian civilians
ďhoochĒ on a tree, relieving myself then cleaning myself up with a
green trash can bag. WHAT A TRIP... at least I got to see Siem Reap!
for the interview!