Pop Culture Daily Interview
June 28, 2016
How did you get your start in acting?
I was always a performance kid, a tad day dreamy, and definitely very imaginative. I was in band and choir and did plays, and musicals and show choir all the way up through high school – I was that typical drama club/choir kid. Mainly because my prospects as a professional athlete were fairly slim (I wasn’t so coordinated with spherical objects!) and academics didn’t retain my attention in the way that performing did. So I decided that I would go to college, study theatre and make a career of it! I eventually signed with an agent during my senior year of college, went out on my first professional film audition and booked it! And I’m still after it today!
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Let’s see. In terms of actors? I’ve always respected Matt Damon and his work. He is a brilliant writer and a gifted actor, and I’m so inspired by the many roles he’s played. I imagine I’d like to have a career similar to his, eventually. I’ve also recently developed a deep appreciation for Eddie Redmayne and his devotion to character work. He commits everything to his roles and his performances are mesmerizing. And of course Leonardo DiCaprio. I mean, enough said there, right?
What can you tell us about your part in “Independence Day: Resurgence”? What was it like working on a film with big names like Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Vivica Fox, etc.?
I play Marley Sullivan, an Area 51 Weapons Tech Officer. I mostly worked with Bill and Jeff, and I seriously can’t compliment them enough. They were both so dedicated, hardworking and funny. And even in a limited capacity, I had such a blast working on the scenes with them! It’s also just really cool to be a part of a production of this size!
What about “The Space Between Us”? Who are you playing? Are action-adventure movies something you’re drawn to do?
I play an ER Clerk who is less than fond of his job! I share a scene with Britt Robertson, who plays Tulsa in the film, and it was great fun working with her! She’s very talented and super charming. The film looks like it will be great too! I’ve always watched a lot of action-adventure films but never really thought myself appropriate for the genre until now. I think I’d really like to take on a super-high-thrill-action-adventure in the future!
Do you have any other upcoming projects you’re working on?
I always have a number of original screenplays in various stages of completion tormenting and begging me to finish and produce them. Presently, I’m writing a couple of shorts and an original series. Hopefully I’ll have one of them in pre-production soon!
You’ve also done a decent amount of work in television. Do you have a favorite television role you’ve done?
The most memorable role for me was Jamie in Amazon Studios’ pilot of “Edge”, adapted from the western novel of the same name by George G. Gilman. Jamie is the younger brother of the title character who gets brutally tortured and killed by his brother’s military comrades over a stash of cash. It’s the inciting incident of the show and sets Edge off on his path of vengeance. It was a real challenge for me for many reasons. I had never done a western before and I was fairly new to doing my own stunt work. Shooting the entire sequence of the scene was quite demanding; it was a very long day, super dusty and hot, and totally emotionally draining. But it was so rewarding when I finally saw the finished product!
Do you prefer television or movies? Or are there other things you’d like to branch out and do?
I really don’t prefer one over the other. I honestly just yearn for compelling characters and captivating storytelling. I do fancy the idea of growing with a character over a number of episodes and/or seasons. As an actor, there is something attractive in widening a character’s arc over a period of time. But I’ve always been drawn to feature-length indie dramas. I sort of feel like that’s where my strengths lie: in drama. I also truly love the theatre. I’d like to get back to it when the right show/part comes along.
What are some dream roles or movies that you’d love to be apart of?
Someone asked me this question recently, and I’m going to give the same response in hopes that sending it once more into the universe will make it magically come to fruition! Right now, I’m a bit obsessed with the character of Tom Ripley from the Patricia Highsmith novels. He is such an unassuming and clever character with a surprising scariness about him. Sensitive and simple on the surface, yet cool and calculating underneath. Along with the book, I am a huge fan of Anthony Minghella’s 1999 film adaption of “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, starring the brilliant Matt Damon. Currently, a television adaption is being penned by “Luther” writer Neil Cross, produced by Endemol Shine Studios and spearheaded by Guymon Casady (a co-producer on Game of Thrones) of Entertainment 360. It sounds like they are attempting to combine all of the best elements from all of the cinematic and literary iterations of the story to make one brilliant and intense show. And I would be so unbelievably thrilled to play that role!
What about in terms of actors and directors? Is there a dream list?
Of course. It’s pages long and constantly growing. Right now, in terms of actors, a few are: Saoirse Ronan, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hardy, and Chris Pratt. A few directors: Luc Besson, Lars von Trier, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, and I think I’m required to say Spielberg, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to work with him?!
What are some other activities you like to do?
I really enjoy traveling to places I’ve never been and exploring new foods, cultures, peoples, etc. – I live for the high of adventure! I’ve been able to experience Costa Rica and Hawaii already this year, and the UK is up next – I’m stoked! I also really enjoy running and lifting; they’re my version of therapy.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I just hope that my work reaches people on the level that so many performances and stories have reached me. I hope that I never lose sight of why I do this for a living, why I tell stories: to connect with myself and others on a deeper level, to learn/teach about the human experience, and to collectively investigate what exactly it means to be human. That sounds a bit pretentious, but it truly is what motivates much of my writing and acting.