Posts tagged Actor
Breakout actor Ari Stidham stars as socially awkward whiz kid ‘Sylvester Dodd’ in CBS’s drama, “Scorpion,” airing Monday nights at 9/8c. Inspired by the life of present day CEO and eccentric tech genius Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gable), a charismatic Stidham brings ‘Sylvester’ to life as the “Human Calculator” in a team of brilliant misfit prodigies, recruited by Homeland Security as the last line of defense against a series of complex, high-tech threats around the globe.
The genius think-tank, known as #TeamScorpion was handpicked by “O’Brien,” (Gable) who has an IQ of 197 and is considered one of the smartest people in the world. “Dodd” (Stidham), a genius statistician is “O’Brien’s” best friend and right hand, who also struggles with OCD and anxiety. Working alongside team members “Toby Curtis,” (Eddie Kaye Thomas) a world class shrink and “Happy Curtis,” (Jadyn Wong) a mechanical prodigy, #TeamScorpion is tasked with solving the most mind-boggling national security issues, which ultimately comes naturally to them.
The multitalented millennial is no stranger to the television screen and is best known for his role as awkward musician “Ian Schonfeld” on the ABC Family drama “Huge” opposite Nikki Blonsky in addition to spreading his wings on a number of primetime hits including “The Crazy Ones” alongside the late, great Robin Williams, “Mike & Molly,” “Glee” and “The Whole Truth to name a few.
Born and raised in Southern California, Stidham harvested his enthusiasm for the arts at an early age and was nurtured by his parents’ love of music growing up. As a toddler, he immediately gravitated to the stage, starring in a number elementary and youth based musical theater and stage productions; affirming his innate star power and earning him an invitation to perform with the prestigious American Conservatory Theater (ACT) program in San Francisco.
Outside of acting, Stidham enjoys spending time with his family in addition to composing and scoring his own music under the pseudonym “DrTV.” He also enjoys writing short films and original content for his upcoming sketch comedy.
Fans of Brad Sherwood know him from his work on the hilarious improv comedy show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” He and his colleague from that show, Colin Mochrie have a comedy two man tour group called “An Evening with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.” Not only do these guys travel around the country to make audiences laugh, but they have traveled the world as well.
Brad and Colin have a TV special called “Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group.” I was able to talk with Brad about the TV special, improv, auditions, and traveling the world.
Art Eddy: You have a TV special called “Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group,” airing Friday, March 14th. Tell us a bit about the show.
AE: I am a big fan of the work that you and Colin do. I know you guys did some traveling around world for your show. What country surprised you the most with their interaction or response to the show?
BS: We did a tour of Australia recently, which was great. A couple years ago we went to India. We were even amazed that they wanted us to come to the country. They had watched “Whose Line” from the original British version years ago. So that was a regular piece of entertainment that they had. So when we got there they were excited and looking forward to it and got all of our ridiculous jokes.
AE: That is great to hear. When you guys do travel to different countries do you do any research about what type of comedy that country likes? Were you a bit nervous on how they might take the show?
BS: I think that what we got going for us is that our comedy tends to be situational, goofy, and character driven as opposed to cultural, political, or things dealing with pop culture. Sure we make a few pop culture references.
I think that is why we are so popular internationally. Not only can you turn on the show right in the middle of it and feel like you didn’t miss anything, but you don’t have to be up on American culture to get the show. That is why it transferred so well from England to the United States. It is just smart people being goofy.
BS: I am a fan of watching stand-up. I am just not a fan of doing it myself. I tried it a couple times and it was completely terrifying for me. It is just a scary monster of just throwing myself in front of an audience thinking that I had something prewritten that was going to make them laugh. That was too much pressure for me.
I have all the respect in the world for great stand-up. For example people like Louis C.K., Brian Regan, and (Jerry) Seinfeld. Those guys are just constantly funny and consistent. I saw stand-up when I was in college. I thought it was great. When I moved out to L.A. and got involved with an improv group. It felt like the heavens opened up for me and said, ‘This is what you were meant to do.’ I just kept doing and have not stopped since. I have been doing it for about 30 years.
AE: Well I can say for a lot of people that we are glad you choose to go the improv route. What is it about improv that you find the most challenging and also most rewarding?
BS: I really like doing the musical improv just because to me it is the hardest form of improv. I get to work at the top of my game. It really makes my brain work the fastest. I have to try and sing in tune. I have to make things rhyme. It has to make sense and it has to be about what the topic is. If you are spoofing a certain type of band or act then it has to sound like them. To me it is like the Sunday version of the New York Times crossword puzzle.
AE: You are great on the show “Whose Line is It Anyway?” How did you first get involved in that show? Did you have to audition for it?
BS: I did have to audition. It was very much like “A Chorus Line.” They just started with a bunch of people. By the end of the day there was nobody left. I was working with Second City out in Los Angeles and Ryan (Stiles) was working there as well. He told me that the producers for “Whose Line” were coming to see people. He had been the show for a couple of seasons at that point. So I went to the audition and got on the show and been doing it ever since.
AE: Who did you look up to in the comedy field growing up?
BS: For me it was the guys from “Monty Python.” I loved those guys. I was a little kid watching “The Carol Burnett Show” because it was funny and had sketch comedy. So guys like Tim Conway. The early days of “Saturday Night Live.” I really liked a lot sketch.
Really improv is basically sketch without a script because you are doing scenes. You are making them funny, but you don’t have a script. So our show is like an evening of “SNL.” And just like “SNL” sketches our scenes don’t have any endings as well.
BS: I don’t know. The entertainment business is like an evil pack of wolves. I like where I am kind of on the periphery doing my own thing. I get to perform all around the country. No one is in control of what we are doing. It is just us on stage. Both Colin and I love to perform live on stage and make people laugh.
There are other things that I would do, but right now I am really doing my favorite job of all time. It is live comedy performances and it being improv. I will ride this pony until it dies.
Growing up my music of choice was rap. One of my all-time favorite rappers is Ice Cube. From his work in N.W.A. to his solo career to Westside Connection I would listen to his albums over and over again. Not only did Ice Cube make a name for himself in the world of Hip-hop, but he started to work on the big screen.
Seeing him in “Boyz in the Hood” and “Higher Learning” I was able to see some of his acting skills. When the film “Friday” came along I became an even bigger fan of his work. “Friday” was hilarious and to this day it is one of my favorite comedic films. Cube would venture out into directing and producing shows as well.
Now Ice Cube is working with director Tim Story again in the film “Ride Along.” The film centers on Ice Cube’s character James Payton, who is a police officer. James takes his sister’s boyfriend Ben Barber with him on his patrol to see if he is man enough to marry his sister. Barber is played by the very funny Kevin Hart.
I had the great pleasure of talking with Ice Cube about “Ride Along,” Hip-hop, and if he prefers his rap career over acting.
Art Eddy: “Ride Along” looks to have the classic buddy type of film theme to it. You and Kevin Hart look hilarious together. Was this project something you guys talked about doing together?
Ice Cube: Yeah. This project has been on the shelf for more than ten years. It came across my desk years ago. My company Cube Vision, we had our eyes on it, but we never knew who was going to be the other guy. It fell to the wayside. Then my guy Matt got it to Will Packer. Will Packer loved it. He showed Tim Story, who just worked with Kevin Hart. That is how the team came together.
IC: Oh man. It is a dream. I worked with him before on “Barbershop.” He was a first time director. Even though he was such a cool dude to work with he was still learning the process. Now it has been years later and he has some great and big budget films under his belt as well as small budget films. He is a vet now. He is a pro at what he does. Working with him was one of the easiest and most comfortable experiences I had.
AE: Not trying to jump the gun, but will there be some deleted scenes on the DVD that you wish made it into the film?
IC: Oh yeah. There is always certain things that you wished was in the film, but tight is better than loose. We definitely used the funniest takes, but the other takes are funny in their own right. It will be cool to see how people feel when they see the whole thing.
AE: You came into the spotlight as a rapper. There is not that much laughter and levity in rap. Yet in films like “Ride Along” and of course classics like “Friday” you have a gift to make people laugh. Did you always have the comedic side to you?
IC: Always. Even when you listen to the music it is rough, but it still has a comedic element to it. It might be dark and twisted, but it still has that flavor. I think that is just part of how I grew up. Comedy was big. If you knew how to make people laugh you were loved in the neighborhood.
To me that is just as a part of the neighborhood as crime, violence and drugs. Comedy goes hand in hand with it. So I always have been funny. I always had funny friends. I am fans of pretty much everybody that I put in my movies. So it would be just like how I would hang out with some of my funny friends. I got pretty good timing. Out of my friends I was the funniest one so, but people might not know that.
AE: You are a rapper, actor, director, writer, and producer. Two things. One, how do find enough time in the day to do all these things? Second do you prefer one role over the others?
IC: To me it is a trip because I find myself sitting around and being like damn I am not doing anything. I need to get busy. I need to figure something out. I love to create. When you are like that you don’t really rest on what has been done. You are caught up in what you are doing. When things are done it is really in my rear view mirror. I am now focused on what I am planning to do. The process is what I have fun with just as much as the final product. That is what keeps me working.
The answer to the second question is that I love to do both. Both of them tap into different creative abilities. In music I can just do what I want to do. I can be creative or as uncreative as I want to be. For Hip-hop whatever I want to do I can do because I don’t have a label putting pressure on me to come up with a radio hit. That is freedom for an artist. That is fun.
For movies I have to be a team player. I have to make sure that this whole machine is working. You hire people who are better than you at what they do. You work with them, motivate them, and let them do their thing. You let them be part of a team. You have to be a master motivator, which is a whole new way to create.
AE: Is there one album in your great resume that you are most proud of?
IC: “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” was the most pressure I felt doing a record. Yet it was the most enthusiasm that I put into an album. I felt like I was creatively free of any shackles. It was my show. I could run it anyway I wanted to. I worked with some of the best producers that I have ever worked with. I can remember working on that album more vividly than any other album that I have worked on. So I have to say then it was “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.”
IC: “It was a Good Day.” Hands down. People have claimed that as my biggest hit. It is cool. It is such a dope song. It is done in the spirit of the movie “Friday.” You think it is bad in the neighborhood until you have one of those days.
AE: Yeah. Mess around and get a triple-double.
IC: Yeah. You know it happens. To acknowledge it shows me that I am true to what I am doing. I was not just doing a gimmick or sensationalizing things. I was trying to give people a slice of life. People sometimes go under the impression that I grew up with money or that I didn’t come straight out the neighborhood. I did. I know what it is about.
AE: Is there anyone that you would you like to have on your next album or work with on their next track?
IC: No, not really. I don’t think like that. I am just trying to be on my own page. I am not a super callabo guy. I grew up when a rapper can hold his own. He could hold the whole album. You didn’t need all these guest appearances or collaborations. You listen to Big Daddy Kane and that is who you heard. I am from that tradition. So I usually have an album that doesn’t have a lot of features.
“Language of a Broken Heart” is a new romantic comedy that is now out in theaters. It follows a guy named Nick looking to repair his heart after a devastating breakup. Nick is a best-selling author on love, and he finds his fiancé with another man. His heartbreak drives him crazy and he starts reflecting on his many romantic failures.
I was able to talk with the writer and actor Juddy Talt, who plays Nick in the film. The movie also stars Oscar Nunez, Kate French, and Julie White. Juddy and I talk about how he came up with the concept of the film and the process of getting the film from paper to the big screen.
Art Eddy: You wrote and star in the film “Language of a Broken Heart”. Tell me about the film and how you came up with the story?
Juddy Talt: This has been a long process. When I graduated at the University of Southern California I knew I wanted to make my own film. For this film it stems from a breakup. Well I should say a combination of a lot of breakups, but mostly on one that took some time for me to get over. It helps that I am a fan of movies like “Say Anything” and a lot of Woody Allen films. There are a lot of neurotic characters in Woody Allen films so that was something I thought about as I was doing my film.
I had a tough breakup so I decided that I needed to do a film about that. What did Henry Miller once say? It was something like the best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature. A therapist once told me the best way to get over a woman is to get under another one. To me that sounded as odd and inappropriate advice.
So I went with the film route. I wrote it from my experience and it came out pretty quickly. It is a highly fictionalized version of this breakup. I find that breakup stories are such a universally accepted topic and people can relate to this story. My character has a broken heart, but you see him go through things that are sad and humorous at the same time. When I was dealing with a break up in my real life I looked back and thought there was some funny things I did. My dad even told me that I needed to get laid. It is funny now as I reflect on that and I think people will see the humor in what my character goes through in the film.
My character goes home and repairs his relationship with his mother and viewers start to see that this broken heart keeps on going around to different characters in the film. We have been getting great reviews so far and I am pleased with the viewer’s reaction to the film.
AE: Since you wrote the story for the film, did you feel that acting in that role was easier than other projects that you were in before?
JT: I would say yes and no. I think it is very easy in a sense since you have been with the material for so long. Yet that can be a big downfall because you can hire an actor who brings something to the script that you never thought of before. It is fun when an actor comes and surprises you with a new take on the role. I have similarities to this character obviously. Yet this character is very obsessive and very neurotic and I hope that I am not like that in real life. (Laughs) The jury is still out.
AE: The film also stars also stars Oscar Nunez, Kate French, and Julie White. Were you part of the casting process to get these actors?
JT: Absolutely. When I was in Los Angeles I got Ronnie Yeskel to be the casting director for the film. She is a well-known casting director and she responded well to the script. I was very much involved with her in casting for the film. We read with Kate (French) and Lara Pulver. Then we read with Ethan Cohn, who plays Cubbie in the film.
For Julie White and Oscar Nunez they were just straight out offers. We really wanted them. We were about to start shooting the film and we didn’t even have them yet. We shot the film in New York and in Dallas. We heard that Julie was in Dallas so we thought that this was our chance to get her for the film.
Two weeks before we started filming in Dallas we started stalking Julie since she was in Dallas. We knew she was at her mother’s house. We wondered if we should just show up at the house and just drop off the script. The funny thing about the whole stalking Julie thing was that it goes right along with a scene in the film. The main character’s ex-girlfriend says to my character to stop stalking her and stop leaving notes and things on her car and house. My character then says something like what is the difference between stalking and being romantic. Luckily Julie liked the script and we got her for the film.
AE: How long did it take to bring the film from concept to screen?
JT: It was pretty long. I also produced it too. I was out there raising a lot of the money for the film. Even once I had the script I would say that it took about a year to a year and a half to start filming. I was also trying to get another project off the ground at that time. I switched my focus to this film because the other one was starting to get really expensive.
Yet overall all after the script for “Language of a Broken Heart” was done we were able to start shooting in a year or so. Now the film is in select theaters and that was not an easy task, so I am happy that it is in theaters.
AE: Do you preference of acting or writing?
JT: Every day I can wake up and write. It is a great way to get out what I need to get out. I really enjoy writing. I grew up on the stage acting. I did a bunch of community theatre growing up in Pasadena. I continued with that passion as I grew older. I love the both so it is nice to be able to do both.
AE: Are there any type of stories you would you like to tell that you feel the film industry has not touched on yet?
JT: Definitely. I think that this is a good starting point for me. This film doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It is a very poignant little film. Viewers really responded well to it so far. If you go on sites like Fandango you see that audiences are really behind this film and are encouraging people to go check this film out. I don’t have a big marketing budget so word of mouth is great.
For me, I love to mix comedy and drama. It is a tough thing to do, but I want to keep on making films like that. I want to show people how life is and that there will be good and bad times in everyone’s life. I love films like “Almost Famous” and “Say Anything” since the blend drama and comedy is done so well. Even in stories that are tragic I want to show some sense of humor in part of that story. People will walk away from those films saying that is true to life. That is what I want to do in the future.
Logan Miller started out as a child actor on a few shows like “I’m in the Band” and he voiced the character Nova from the animated series “Ultimate Spider-Man.” Now Miller can be seen portraying a sex crazed maniac in an independent film called “Plus One” that premiered at SXSW this year. Before the party of the century for a group of college freshman, a small meteor hits earth and instead of any physical damage, the meteor causes molecular damage and every person develops a duplicate of themselves. It’s up to ‘Teddy’ to band everyone together and save his friends from the potential threat of the duplicates.
Miller was also on NBC’s “Grimm,” Adult Swim’s “Children’s Hospital” opposite Rob Corddry, Michael Cera and Megan Mullaly, and more. I was able to talk with Logan about his current projects, SXSW, and his career.
Art Eddy: You were at South by Southwest promoting the film you are in “Plus One.” Tell me a bit about the film and your role.
Logan Miller: The film concept is one that you have not heard before. It is a very crazy sci-fi thriller mixed with a teenage party movie. This small, small meteor comes to Earth and is very insignificant and it doesn’t affect anyone physically. It has this electric current that creates a tremor in the time space continuum. This causes everyone to have duplicates of themselves, but it is not just duplicates. It is you but you in an hour from that past. So everything you duplicate does you already have done. Add that with a sex crazed party movie and you have a great time at the movie theater.
AE: How did you get involved into this film?
LM: I auditioned my ass of for it. I started with some tapes and then I flew all the way to New York. I then flew to London to test for it and then went back to L.A. to test for it. I was definitely committed to do this project. It had been something that I had never done before and it was a branch out of my previous work. I think this is as fresh as you can get. I really wanted to grab a hold of this role immediately and it worked out to my benefit. I think we have something here in the film that we can be proud of.
AE: Wow that audition process you did alone should be made into a movie.
LM: (Laughs) Right. Once I flew to London I told myself if I didn’t get this role I would be very upset.
AE: So you were showcasing the film at this year’s South by Southwest festival? Did you get a chance to meet some cool actors or musicians?
LM: Well I was very busy promoting the film so I didn’t have a chance to meet some of the people I wanted to that were there at the fest. It was great and I had a blast. I am actually from Texas so I knew a lot of the cool places to take people when I had down time. The vibe of the fest is great. I love the collection of Indie film makers and great music melded together. It is really a fun, fun town to lose yourself in and I really enjoyed my time there.
AE: Do you have any other projects that you are currently working on?
LM: I have another movie called “Deep Powder” that just got accepted to the Tribeca Film Festival. I also have this movie called “Night Moves” that Kelly Reichardt directed that also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Fanning, and Jesse Eisenberg. That movie is actually coming out in the summer. I am trying to finance my own short film. It is called “Risen.” You can check it out on my indiegogo website.
AE: You also voice the character Nova in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series. For you what are some differences between live acting and voice acting?
LM: Voice acting I wouldn’t say is ten times easier, but I will because it is. It is so much fun. We do the show like an old radio show where we all get together and voice the show. We have such a blast doing the show. You just show up and read your lines and you can be as comfortable as can be and you don’t have to get any makeup on for voice over work. It is great.
AE: Are you a fan of comic books? Did you know a lot about the character of Nova before the series?
LM: Of course. Well I didn’t know too much about Nova, but I read up on him. I know he is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. I am glad that film is coming along and maybe I can play him in the film. It would be an awesome role to play.
VIKINGS is a new show on the History Channel that takes a look into the world of the Norseman and how they learned to travel to different places looking for treasures to bring back to their people. The series looks at how they worshipped ancient gods like Odin, Thor, Freya and Loki.
The main character Ragnar Lothbrok played by Travis Fimmel feels that he is a direct descendant of the Norse god Odin, who, as well as being the god of warriors slain in battle, is also the god of curiosity. The nine part series centers on the curious and compelling Norseman who is always looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to conquer.
Lothbrok has a family and is a farmer, but he is deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of his local chieftain, Earl Haraldson, who is played by Gabriel Byrne. Haraldson continues to send his Vikings raiders east every summer, to the Baltic States and Russia, whose populations are as materially poor as themselves. VIKINGS looks at Lothbrok’s stand against Haralson and his mission to go west and explore new lands.
I was able to chat with Travis about the show and talk about his character and that he hopes fans will love the show as much as he loved filming it.
Art Eddy: First off can you tell me a bit about your character Ragnar and what viewers can expect from the show?
Travis Fimmel: Well Ragnar is based on a historical character. He is very adventurous and he is one of the first people to sail west and discover England and do what Vikings do when they discover places. Say good hey to the ladies and beat up people.
AE: Your character is based on the real life Viking leader Ragnar. What type of research did you do for your character?
TF: Well I was very lucky, the writer and creator, Michael Hirst is an amazing guy and he gave me a lot of information. My job as an actor is to make it relatable to the audience. He has got a family, brothers, and he had got his wife and his children and has the same conflict that any family does even in this day and age.
AE: Ragnar’s brother, Rollo seems to be a wild card in the show. He takes whatever he wants and he looks to have eyes for Ragnar’s wife Lagertha. How would you describe the relationship between Ragnar and Rollo?
TF: It is a real power trip between Ragnar and his brother Rollo. Both of them want to be the leader, but there can only be the leader and that causes conflict between them and jealousy. You know I am sure at one stage they certainly will be against each other.
TF: We shot in Ireland for five months. It is an amazing country and it is so beautiful. Very bloody cold there man, very cold. The people were amazing. The crews are amazing. It was a really good experience. We all enjoyed making it, so hopefully the audience will sure enjoy watching it.
AE: You challenge your local chieftain Earl Haraldson, played by Gabriel Byrne, who always wants to travel east, while you think going west is the way to go. Why is Ragnar so curious about the east?
TF: He is so curious. He thinks he is a direct descendant from a god named Odin, who was a god of slain warriors and curiosity. Legends say that the god Odin killed himself just to see what death felt like. Ragnar has that same curiosity about stuff. Nothing is good enough for him. He wants to know what is out there. It is not just for the raping and pillaging stuff. He wants to learn about people and the gods they worship, what the look like, and their customs. He is just a curious person and his curiosity doesn’t end.
AE: I love the character Floki, who is played by Gustaf Skarsgard, and how he sees himself as the Norse god Loki. Gustaf seems like he would be cracking people up on the set. How was working with Gustaf and shooting the scenes with him?
TF: He is just a great actor in a role that he was playing. He is a funny guy and he made a great character and he is very interesting to watch. I think my character really enjoys his company so you will see plenty of Floki.
AE: In one of the upcoming episodes you guys raid a monastery in Lindesfarne and these monks get a firsthand look at what the Vikings are all about. You also save the life of Athelstan played by George Blagden. What does Ragnar see in the young monk to save his life?
TF: I think they definitely will and they do actually. He is very intrigued by Athelstan the priest. George is a great actor. He can learn so much from him. He can learn where the other settlements from the priest. The priest is a wealth of knowledge for him and it would have been silly for him to kill him.
AE: What can we expect to see in future shows of the Vikings series this season on the History Channel? Will there be a second season?
TF: There are nine episodes. It really keeps building. It gets better and better and I look forward to seeing the finished show. For the second season I don’t know. That is the producers job and I stay out of it.
To listen to the interview, click here.
VIKINGS premieres Sunday, March 3 at 10 p.m. (ET) on the History Channel.