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Future Man

Wingman Wednesday

Kevin Caliber

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Photo By: Status PR

It was recently announced that, in the near future, the world will be getting more “Future Man.” With a second season of the whacky time traveling series now on the horizon, we decided to revisit the Hulu comedy, and in doing so, make the show’s card carrying bro our very own wingman.

Kevin Caliber, a United States Marine Corps veteran who is also a fitness model and stuntman, stars in the series as Blaze, the 80s BFF of Derek Wilson’s Wolf. (Check out our interview with Wilson here.)

We recently sat down with Caliber to discuss his unexpected journey with the character, menacing neon outfits, and why fans would be lining up for an 80s style Wolf and Blaze sitcom.

 

TrunkSpace: “Future Man” is an extremely unique show that strikes a unique tone. Was it also unique for you in terms of the experience?
Caliber: Yeah. It’s one of those projects that as you read the script, you had no idea where it was going. Not to say that with every show you could tell that, but a lot of the times, whenever you read scripts, you kind of have an idea of where it’s going. You have an idea of the character developments. “Future Man” was one of those that, as you read it and as it goes along, they take it to places that you didn’t expect because they’re going to the far reaches of their imagination to get there.

TrunkSpace: And comedy must be so hard to read on the page, too, because unless you’re in the room with the creative team, it’s difficult to fully absorb tone, right?
Caliber: Absolutely. It was not until the first day on set because for me, I did episode 9 without doing a table read. They brought me right onto the set and I had no idea exactly what they were going for. In the script it says something like, “Oh, a couple of menacing guys come up,” and then we see the outfits that we’re wearing. It’s hard to be intimidating wearing shorty short hot pink shorts. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Well, menacing in the 80s, right? (Laughter)
Caliber: (Laughter) Right. 80s tough guys.

Whenever I came back for the next episode, I went in for the table read, and that was the first time that we really get the chemistry of everybody saying it aloud, and you get the tone of the story as a whole, and now you’re kind of seeing where it’s going. So you see where the comedy is, and then even between the table read and whenever it does come to shooting it a couple weeks later, the script has changed because, obviously, they make changes all the way up until being on set. And they were such a funny comedy team to work with, that they would come to me between takes and give me different things to say. You would hear a laugh come from off-camera and I’d go, “Okay, I guess that was a good one.”

You’re always curious to see what they’re going to use because I’ve improvised before on sets, but that one, it wasn’t so much me improv’ing but them kind of improv’ing what I was doing and then making it up on the spot. I’ve never had a chance to work with a group like that.

TrunkSpace: In comedy, sometimes working on the fly is where the best material comes from because it’s a springboard for instantaneous laughter, which signals if something is working or not.
Caliber: Absolutely, and as long as you don’t fall victim to strictly trying to make the people in the room laugh… that’s when you kind of can get meta, and now you’re just trying to make each other laugh as opposed to what will translate.

I hear about some of these methods of the editing process that they go through with these tests (screenings) and then they show you the same movie or the same scene eight different ways because they filmed it every which way, just to see how crowds react to it. Well, what’s making the people in LA laugh doesn’t necessarily make…

I’m from Missouri so I go back to Missouri and I’m cracking jokes and people have no idea what I’m talking about because I’m speaking in LA language.

TrunkSpace: You have to go back to Missouri in your menacing “Future Man” outfit. (Laughter)
Caliber: (Laughter) Yeah, that will really throw everybody off.

I was an athlete and a little bit of tough guy growing up – just a good ol’ boy from Missouri, and then I joined the Marine Corps. I was just a down and dirty type of guy. Now some of the stuff that people see me in, and how I end up getting dressed, they’re like, “Whoa, when did you become such a little pretty boy?” And I’m like, “No, I’m still the same guy!” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So when Blaze first came into your life, did you know he would be a recurring character or did that sort of grow as the episodes went on?
Caliber: I did not know. Originally I thought it was a standalone from just that one episode. Even going into the audition, it was strictly as a day player, and then getting on set and working and then getting to know the writers… Kyle (Hunter) and Ariel (Shaffir) were there every day… I got the call again and then again. They were like, “I want to add you to this, can you do that?” I was on set, sitting behind the producers’ row, and one of the producers turns around and gives me a look. He says, “Hey, you got one more episode?” I was like, “Of course! I’m here for you! Add me to every one. I love this!”

Photo By: Status PR

TrunkSpace: What’s cool about that is that Blaze probably wasn’t defined as a character when you first read for him, but he grew into his own as you were working on him.
Caliber: Absolutely, and it wasn’t until I got the script for the “Beyond the TruffleDome” episode that you actually really get to know Blaze. And as I’m reading it – I was sitting on my couch with my girlfriend reading it – and I’m really excited. And then, spoiler alert here, as I’m reading it, I’m like “Oh my God, I’m a prostitute!” (Laughter) “Oh my God, I’m a drug addict!” (Laughter) “Oh my God, I can’t read!” (Laughter) “Oh my God, I’m homeless!” (Laughter)

It was just taking it to the next level, and that’s what made me laugh so much. Whenever I told anybody about it I was like, “It’s the 80s and we end up becoming coke heads because that’s what the 80s were,” and people would be like, “Aw, man, so they must have made you up to really look bad and really strung out?” And I’m like, “Oh no, they made me look gorgeous!” (Laughter) I’m like this prostitute druggie, but I’m still rocking supermodel status.

TrunkSpace: You kept it together. That’s what they did in the 80s!
Caliber: (Laughter) Yeah, exactly. I was Wall Street!

TrunkSpace: The 1980s was the era of the sitcom, and after watching Blaze and Wolf together, all we could think of was that a spinoff sitcom needs to happen!
Caliber: Oh my God! I can’t help but go down that rabbit hole every now and again. Whenever I get tagged in something on social media, on Reddit, on Twitter and Instagram, anytime that something is posted, that seems to be a recurring thing that sticks out to me. Every time I get the, “We need more of this! You glazed over it too quick! What happened in those years?”

I love all of the characters. Josh (Hutcherson) did an amazing job carrying the show. He was so fun and he was one of those guys that just laughed about everything along the way. He still couldn’t believe what they were having him do, and he was one of the producers on it, but you can tell he was all-in. And then of course, with Tiger and Wolf just killing it. But the consensus seems to be that everybody really loves Wolf, and I’m so happy for Derek. He was such a good sport. Such a cool guy. He brought it. He really brought that character to life in a way that was so unique and fun while still being… his innocence. He played it so well. I’m really happy that Wolf was the one that really kind of stood out to so many people.

TrunkSpace: Well, and Wolf couldn’t be Wolf without having a bro in his life like Blaze. Safe to say that everybody needs a bro like Blaze in their lives?
Caliber: Oh, absolutely!

Catch up on season 1 of “Future Man” on Hulu and look for season 2 later this year.

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Wingman Wednesday

Robert Craighead

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We’re living in the present while embracing the future… “Future Man” that is.

Our favorite new janitor-turned-action-hero sci-fi laugh fest is continuing to draw viewers in with its unique POV since first premiering on Hulu in November. Robert Craighead plays Detective Vincent Skarsgaard in the streamable series, and in doing so, delivers a charismatic performance that helps to round out the distinctive comedic world that “Future Man” resides in.

We recently sat down with Craighead to discuss the most exciting aspect of the character, how he felt he was the perfect fit to play Skarsgaard, and the reason why he tends to be cast in authoritative roles.

TrunkSpace:Future Man” is a unique cup of content tea. There’s certainly nothing else like it out there right now. When you’re starring in something that has such a specific tone, does it allow you to take a different approach towards your performance, either in finding the character at the outset or through the work itself?
Craighead: Fist of all I am a huge fan of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as well as the writing team of Ariel Shaffir and Kyle Hunter. I loved “Sausage Party” and “This Is The End” I have seen a hundred times, not to mention all their other films! So, I already had a feel for the style of humor that was called for in this production. When I read the first script for my character it seemed like it was such a perfect fit for me that I fell in love with Skarsgaard immediately and relished bringing him to life.

TrunkSpace: How did the project first come into your life and could you see the vision for what it would end up becoming it those early days? Was that reflective in the scripts and rehearsals?
Craighead: When I first met with the team of Dorian Frankel and Sibby Kirhgessner Casting, we had so much fun playing with the character and putting it on tape for the producers and the network that I felt I had pretty much captured the essence they wanted for Skarsgaard. I was originally slated for two episodes but as we were filming and having fun developing him, Ariel and Kyle just kept coming up with more and more ideas and storylines for Skarsgaard. I was thrilled to be extended to six episodes and they were open to my suggestions as well as my off-the-wall humor. (I guess we were just in sync.)

TrunkSpace: For those who have yet to binge their way through Season 1, can you tell us about Detective Skarsgaard and what his journey is? In addition to that, what was it about the character that you were most excited to sink your teeth into?
Craighead: The way I see it, Detective Skarsgaard is a cross between Nick Nolte’s Detective Cates in “48 Hrs.” and Stacy Keach’s Sergeant Stedenko in “Up In Smoke.” A hard nose cop who is like a dog with a bone, he is set on getting his man and will go through hell or high water to get him. I think for me the most exciting aspect of the character’s journey was his loyalty to his partner and the guilt he carried over his death. Finding the humor in that and consistently driving that point and keeping it funny was a challenge in itself, but I was given such great catchphrases by the writers it helped in keeping Skarsgaard fresh and original, albeit somewhat clichè.

TrunkSpace: You started acting professionally long before streaming platforms became a viable distribution option. Has the way in which people consume content via these options, such as the case with “Future Man,” changed the experience for you as an actor? Does acting feel different in 2017 than it did in 1997?
Craighead: Yes, I have been around awhile, I guess. (Laughter) When I first started, there were only three networks and movies were only shot on film. However, I love all of the opportunities that are available for everyone in the film and television business today. There are so many more platforms for young actors and filmmakers to be able to hone their craft and develop an audience without relying on the big studio projects to get them there. As far as this changing my experience as an actor, does it feel different? No, not at all. The process is still the same and I am grateful there are so many more options available today for me as an actor.

TrunkSpace: In “New Girl” you played Sergeant Clarke. In “Too Close to Home” it was Sheriff Mobley. And now in “Future Man” it’s Detective Vincent Skarsgaard. Why do you think you have been cast as so many authoritative figures? Do you think it is at all reflective of who you are or how people view you?
Craighead: Well, I guess I have to attribute that to the way people view me on first impression. I have a very distinguishable voice and my body language seems to exude confidence and authority. However, I also play a lot of abusive assholes and despicable characters as well – for example, in the soon to be released western feature film “Painted Woman” I play kind of a Harvey Weinstein of the 1890’s.

Craighead with Derek Wilson on the set of “Future Man”

TrunkSpace: Another throughline we noticed in looking at your overall body of work is that you have appeared in a number of horror films, dating all the way back to the early days of your career with “Cujo” and “Return of the Living Dead.” Is horror a genre that you feel comfortable performing in and do you feel like it is a genre that comes with a built-in audience? From an outside perspective it feels like horror fans are willing to try out new material more willingly than general movie-going audiences.
Craighead: Yes, I have done a few films of the horror genre, but usually ones with a comedic tone or tongue in cheek. Horror fans are amazing – they are extremely loyal and remember every detail of every character including dialogue if they really like a movie. Also, even if you haven’t done a horror film for years, they will still be thrilled to see you again and welcome you with open arms.

TrunkSpace: You’ve played dozens upon dozens of characters over the years, both on camera and on the stage. Is there a particular character who has stuck with you throughout your career that you wish you had more time to explore?
Craighead: Recently I completed two seasons as a series regular on Tyler Perry’s “Too Close To Home” as Sheriff Mobley, kind of an incompetent law enforcement of a small town in Alabama. We were just starting to get into some different levels of the character that made me excited to imagine where we might go with him. He was kind of a know-it-all but also a town flirt with the ladies and brought in some comic relief for the show, but I could also see the possibilities of some dirty dealings going on for him with some bad guys coming up. So I was very disappointed when the show was not picked up for a third season. It left some stories untold.

TrunkSpace: You’ve also been pursuing country music, recording and releasing a number of songs and recently performing live to a sold out crowd. Is your singer/songwriter focus one that you see as a second career path or is music a hobby that you just can’t stay away from?
Craighead: I started performing country music about four years ago because I was doing a world premiere musical on stage with a live band and people encouraged me to give it a shot. It’s always been a love of mine and I have always sang for fun with family and friends, but this show really hooked me. It was about country music and songwriters and featured 17 of country music legend Paul Overstreet’s hit songs. Paul and I became good friends and one day he said, “Let’s record some songs.” So I went to Nashville, we went into a recording studio, and we did! Although, acting is and always will be my greatest passion, I gotta admit, I sure do enjoy playing “country star” every now and then. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Has the love for music always been a part of who you are? When did you pick up your first instrument and did someone in your life serve as a catalyst for inspiring that level of interest in you?
Craighead: I have always been a fan of music in any form , rock ‘n’ roll, classical, jazz, but country music, possibly because of my Texas upbringing, has always held my heart.

TrunkSpace: In addition to acting and music, you have also written a feature film called “Catch a Fallen Star,” which is currently in pre-production. Can you tell us about the project and what the journey has been like to bring it to life?
Craighead: This is a story I have had running through my head for about 15 to 20 years and finally sat down and put it to paper last year. I was inspired to get it done while working with Paul Overstreet, because it is about a country music singer songwriter. It’s a story about a man who has the world by the tail and then loses everything including his family, and after 25 years in prison, struggles to rebuild a relationship with a son whom he has never known. Paul has agreed to write the songs for the movie and we’ve already laid the tracks for a couple of them.

TrunkSpace: You seem to continue to pump diversity into your career, both in the characters you take on and in the overall work you do. How important to you is it to continue to diversify your creative output moving forward?
Craighead: I think that may just happen naturally – it’s not something I deliberately set out to do but subconsciously I think we all look to find diversity in our lives. I would like to continue to find interesting characters to play and also move more into producing and writing my own projects as well. So in that aspect, yes, I guess it is important to me.

TrunkSpace: You’ve accomplished and taken on so much in your career so far, but is there anything that you’d still like to tackle? What are some of your bucket list items that you’d like to check off?
Craighead: Ooooh, my bucket list is long! A few of the things I would like to accomplish though are at some point soon being able to have my production company move into producing and creating our own movies and television shows as well as writing and recording more country music.

Season 1 of “Future Man” is available now on Hulu.

Check our our exclusive interview with Derek Wilson of “Future Man” here.

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Wingman Wednesday

Derek Wilson

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Photo by Brandon Hickman/Hulu – © 2017 Hulu

Weird gets a bum rap.

In high school, individuals labeled weird are often cast out, but years later, go on to do great things with their lives.

A lot of food that kids call weird when they’re just beginning to discover their taste buds end up becoming the sweet and savory staples of their adulthood diet.

And television shows far left of the procedural center may not be embraced by the “mainstream,” but it’s those series that go on to become the groundbreaking trendsetters of tomorrow.

One of those weird but wonderful programs is Hulu’s “Future Man,” a sci-fi/comedy mashup that follows a janitor’s journey to save the world. Executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the series strikes a very unique tone, but it’s star Derek Wilson, who plays Wolf, that makes us howl in delight.

Weird has never been so entertaining.

We recently sat down with Wilson to discuss portraying the most “badass warrior in the history of the planet,” why it took some time to get comfortable in Wolf’s boots, and how airing on a streaming platform meant getting away with far more than they ever thought possible.

TrunkSpace: Here’s what we love about “Future Man.” A promo exists where it says, and I quote, “It’s never too early to talk to your janitor about herpes.” That’s not a promo you’d see a lot of series rolling out.
Wilson: (Laughter) Right. Yeah, it’s pretty specific I guess, and random at the same time.

TrunkSpace: What first drew you to the series? Was it the tone? The premise? Something else entirely?
Wilson: It was, I think, the character, even though I didn’t really fully know what we were going to do with it. Evan Goldberg called me when I was shooting “Preacher” for them and said, “We’re about to shoot a pilot. You’ve got a couple weeks off from ‘Preacher.’ The character is the most badass warrior in the history of the planet. He lives in a sewer, and he eats garbage and rats, and oh, he’s from a video game.” I was like, “Yeah, that’s cool. Let’s do that.”

I didn’t know the tone. I didn’t know really what it was. I got the script, and I thought it was funny, but didn’t really put it all together. Even the first night of shooting, Seth (Rogen) came up to me and was like, “It’s a crazy character. Let’s just kind of rehearse in front of the camera and figure this out. We don’t really know either, so let’s just figure it out.” There’s a couple scenes in the pilot where it’s just trying to figure out something, the tone of it, and who this character is, and how far we can go.

Then when we went to series, it continued to develop. Even the first few episodes of the series, we’re still trying to figure out the tone. We had great moments in those first few episodes, and they’re good episodes, but we really started to find the tone and find our groove, as a whole – the writers’ room, the cast, everybody – in about the fourth episode, I think, which is pretty normal for a show. But this one especially, it’s just so… I mean, it’s a big swing.

TrunkSpace: Like you said, finding the point of view of a series can take some time, especially when you’re trying to have as unique a POV as “Future Man.”
Wilson: Yeah, you just have to dive in. I would come home from work shooting those first few episodes and talk to my girlfriend like, “Man, I don’t know what I’m doing here.” The character, it’s all fish out of water, so it always feels awkward. You don’t know if you’re nailing it or what. But it ends up, it just kind of works, especially for where the character starts to go about halfway through the season, and through the end. You kind of have to have that setup to go there.

TrunkSpace: Is there pressure involved playing, as you put it, the “most badass warrior in the history of the planet?”
Wilson: The three months before we started shooting, I definitely was in the gym as much as possible. (Laughter) During the pilot, my body was wrecked from doing all the fight training, because I just wasn’t used to that. I would go home and take Epsom salt baths every night. I was wrecked. I knew I had to be in good shape for this, because we have a great stunt team, but we do learn it all. We do as much as we can. I was in better shape by the time we got to Episode 2, which was shot a year after the pilot, because I had to be.

TrunkSpace: Was it one of those moments where you start to realize that your body has muscles in places that you didn’t know it had muscles, simply because new areas are sore? (Laughter)
Wilson: That’s right. I remember during the pilot, my hip flexors were so sore, because I was doing so many kicks, which I don’t do any sort of martial arts or anything. So yeah, little muscles that I never really thought about that much, but it was good. It was good prep.

TrunkSpace: For an actor, was it a bit of a best case scenario to be working on “Preacher” and then have the creative team from that instantly think of you for this? That speaks volumes for that work you were doing.
Wilson: Yeah, it was amazing. I was in my house in Albuquerque shooting “Preacher.” It was a crazy day, because I still needed to make a little self tape to show to the people at Hulu, who didn’t know who I was. I was having technical difficulties. It was a really stressful day. Evan was like, “You gotta get me this tape in 45 minutes.” Three hours later, my internet is down, and I’m scrambling. He was calling me like, “Dude, you gotta get it to me. You gotta get it to me.” But it worked out, and I got it to him. (Laughter)

Two days later I was on set shooting this thing. It was crazy. Then I went back and finished “Preacher” that season, so it was nuts.

TrunkSpace: Is shooting a series for Hulu similar to shooting a series for a network? Is it paced the same?
Wilson: The pace of it was crazy, just because the production is huge. We shoot two episodes in 10 days. I know it’s only half hour episodes, but if you’ve seen the show, it’s a large production. People have said, “It’s got this cool low budget look.” Well, it takes a big budget to achieve that, and a lot of time. We were shooting really long days. But also, the big difference I noticed was the presence of the Standards & Practices was not as present on this, because it’s a streaming platform. We got away with a lot. They just kept saying nothing as we did the most outrageous things. Our scripts were turned in and the writers were like, “Oh, there’s no way they’re going to let us do that.” Then they’d just never say anything.

I know there were some nerves about the James Cameron episode. Even though I just watched it, and it… it’s not a send up of James Cameron. I really think it’s a tribute. It’s funny, but I think it’s very honorable. But maybe I’m just trying to be nice. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So is it safe to say that “Future Man” couldn’t exist in its current form on a network, even cable?
Wilson: I can’t imagine. I really can’t imagine it. Yeah, I can’t imagine it anywhere else to be honest.

It’s just the right time for something like this. The right time and the right place.

Season 1 of “Future Man” is available now on Hulu.

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