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Trunktober: Community

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Pictured: Donald Glover as Troy — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: Community

Episode: “Epidemiology”

Directed By: Anthony Hemingway

Starring: Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash

We Watched On: Hulu

Trunktober Approved Because: One of the best ensemble casts in television history, “Community” started off as a much different show than how it ended. Originally more of a “traditional” sitcom, the writers began to hit their irreverent stride by Season 2, which is where this Halloween-themed episode first appeared. The premise: tainted food at the community college leads to a zombie-like outbreak, complete with all of the genre cliches that we horror fans are all-too familiar with.

Biggest Scare Laugh: A giant flesh-eating banana. Can you peel that!

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Wingman Wednesday

Harley Graham

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The eerie new series “Light as a Feather,” which premieres Friday on Hulu, has more going for it than your average, run-of-the-mill episodic horror story. According to star Harley Graham, who plays little sister Lena, the 10-episode first season has struck the perfect balance between jump scares and that squirm-in-your-seat uneasiness that makes a thriller so thrilling.

It is refreshing to see a production that falls into the thriller genre not fall into the trap of relying totally on jump scares because there can be so much more to a show/movie,” she says, eager for audiences of all ages to discover the series.

We recently sat down with Graham to discuss her own love for the genre, why her character is going to put viewers on edge, and the reason she is living the spookiest of all seasons right now.

TrunkSpace: Your new project “Light as a Feather” centers on some mysterious happenings that occur after a group of teenagers play a seemingly innocent game of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. That’s a great concept because it’s a game kids have been playing for generations at parties and sleepovers, so it’s relatable to multiple audiences. Based on what you know of the project having been involved in it, is the series one that teens and older generations will both enjoy, and if so, why?
Graham: Obviously, the show is centered more towards a younger audience, but I think it is something that adults can enjoy as well. There are so many factors that go into making a show great. Teens and young adults are going to gravitate towards the characters and the plot more so than their parents while adults are going to be able to appreciate the cinematography and the natural, professional acting that is a center-point in the creation of this production.

TrunkSpace: People will turn out for horror because they’re fans of the genre itself, and because of that, it seems like audiences are more willing to try something new from that world than say comedy or drama. Do you feel a series like “Light as a Feather” has a bit of a built-in audience, especially in the month of October where people are looking for seasonal scares?
Graham: I think that this is going to be a great show all year round, but I think that premiering around this spooky season does add to the experience of watching. People are just naturally more inclined to seek out a good scare this time of year. There is so much more to the horror genre than the scares. Our show in particular has so many other elements and we cover so many topics in this show that anyone can find something that they like.

TrunkSpace: Are you personally a fan of the horror genre, and if so, what are some of your favorites?
Graham: Oh I am the absolute BIGGEST fan of thriller/horror movies. My mom and I love watching the newest spooky shows and movies really late at night so it’s extra scary. My personal favorites are old, cheesy horror films like “The Blob,” “Mars Attacks!,” and “The Birds.” When it comes to shows, there are so many great ones out right now like “American Horror Story” and “Castle Rock,” which was also created by Hulu, but I tend to gravitate towards the old ’90s shows. “The X-files” is one of my all-time favorites. Spooky Mulder and Agent Scully are I C O N I C. I could go on forever.

TrunkSpace: Circling back to “Light as a Feather,” what can you tell us about your character Lena and where she falls into the overall story?
Graham: Lena is a character much younger than her counterparts. She is the typical, eavesdropping little sister, which I have totally mastered being a younger sister myself. She joins the series fairly late and is the sort of “messenger” that brings information that is helpful to the protagonists. The creep factor that comes with her really adds something to the character that isn’t seen with the others. The way that she presents herself gives the viewer an uneasy feeling, maybe that she knows something we do not.

TrunkSpace: Having shot the series and been involved in the process of seeing it all come into fruition, what are you most looking forward to for audiences to see and experience when they sit down and watch it October 12? Is it filled with jump scares or more uneasy scares?
Graham: I think that “Light as a Feather” has struck a perfect balance between your basic jump scares and the creep factor of the whole show. It is refreshing to see a production that falls into the thriller genre not fall into the trap of relying totally on jump scares because there can be so much more to a show/movie. The editors really utilized all that they had to create an environment in the show where you are immersed in the experience of it all so the spook is really genuine. (Personally, I jumped a few times during the premiere and I am not one who is easily scared.) What I am most excited for people to find watching this show is the relationship between the viewer and the characters. We have such diversity among the characters it is easy to fall in love with one, if not all of them.

TrunkSpace: The series will stream on Hulu. As an actress, how exciting of a time is it given the current television landscape and not only the quality of content being produced, but the quantity as well? Are there more jobs available now than when you started your career?
Graham: The “new media” world has really expanded what an actor can do as well as the experience of shows to viewers. I often fall victim to the “binge watch and eat everything in my house” shenanigans when a new show drops. I think that this new form of enjoying television allows viewers to connect with characters and form relationships with the shows that they may not have been able to watching a show from week to week, maybe missing some episodes here and there. I think that this change makes an actor’s job a little more important because now their purpose is not just to be a character, but be a character that other people find themselves in.

TrunkSpace: We know you spent some time working on soap operas in the early days of your career, including “Days of Our Lives” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Given the breakneck pace at which those series shoot, did those early jobs serve as a boot camp for what to expect on set?
Graham: Being on a large, multifaceted, professional set for the first years of my career really gave me the experience that I am able to take onto any set I go on. Being a part of such a large production while I was just starting out as a young child gave me professional tools that it takes other actors years to develop. Learning how filming works at such a young age gives me an advantage because I now have a better understanding of how to be a fundamental part of a set dynamic.

TrunkSpace: What job have you learned the most from, the one that you find yourself still applying the lessons from, even with the jobs you tackle today?
Graham: Working with amazing directors is one of the best learning experiences an actor can have. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with not one, but two directors whose reputations precede them. On the set of “Chasing Mavericks” I worked with both Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted. Working with Curtis was so wonderful because he is a director that works very closely with the actors and knows what he wants. Working with him specifically taught me about how creating relationships between a director and actor can bring a film to the next level. After Curtis suffered from medical issues during filming, Michael had to take over. What I remember most about him is that he had a strong presence on set and knew what he wanted which made for a seamless transition from director to director. It is so easy for things to get hung up when there is a big change like that, but he was very professional coming into the middle of all the madness.

TrunkSpace: You also do voice over work, giving life to Princess Clio on the series “Sofia the First.” Was voice work always in the plan or did it come about more as a happy accident?
Graham: Voice over was not something I anticipated of my career, but I was never opposed. Voice over is really an awesome job to have because what you look like does not limit your opportunities, it is just how you sound and, how you guys so wonderfully put, “give life” to a character. Sometimes, voice over can be even more challenging than on-screen acting because you cannot rely on your facial expressions to help convey emotion, all the nuance and feeling must come from your voice. “Sofia the First” has become an especially meaningful project recently as we were just awarded a Sentinel Award for diversity in our cast. I was asked to present the award to our writer and story editor Matt Hoverman and Michael Stern. They made an amazing speech about how our work can have an impact on our viewers and the world around us. I hope that I will continue working with people who understand the importance of our work. “Sofia the First” was not my first job with voice over work and definitely will not be my last.

TrunkSpace: You’re still at such an early stage in your career and have already accomplished so much. Where do you hope to see your career go in the next five years? What would you like to accomplish next?
Graham: Currently, we are in the spookiest season of all… college app season. The goal I am focusing on most is getting into a college with a good drama program. I would love to utilize the experience of a college campus to further my education in my profession. Of course, I would love to work through my semesters and I am applying to colleges that will work with me so that I can continue my career while I am studying. When it comes to professional goals, I just want to continue to work with casts and crews that love what they do, because one of the best parts of the business is the people you connect with on set and off.

Light as a Feather” premieres Friday on Hulu.

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Trunk Stubs

Trunktober: The Monster Squad

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This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: The Monster Squad

Directed By: Fred Dekker

Starring: Andre Gower, Ryan Lambert, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Ashley Bank

We Watched On: Hulu

Trunktober Approved Because: In our neighborhood, you were either a “The Goonies” fan or a “The Monster Squad” fan. You couldn’t be both. (Technically you could, but that would ruin the point we’re trying to make!) Obviously, “The Goonies” is a classic, but for us horror-loving, Universal monster-adoring weirdos who spent the better part of our summer vacations searching local lakes for Loch Ness-like serpents, this coming-of-age story with a creature feature twist was everything we ever wanted and more. Thank goodness that we had HBO and it played in regular rotation for nearly all of our adolescence!

Biggest Scare: Not so much a scare as it is a scar. (Emotional scar!) There’s all this talk in the film about wolfman nards, but in the end, it’s Dracula’s “dork” that is revealed in half man/half bat form. Blink and you’ll miss it. Seriously… blink!

Bonus: Check out our interview with Ryan Lambert, aka Rudy, here!

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Wingman Wednesday

Mark Hildreth

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Photo By: Style Militia

The scope of television has changed dramatically in recent years. Nowadays every new series is more ambitious than the last. Hulu’s latest offering “The Looming Tower” is no exception.

Based on the book by Lawrence Wright, the 10-part miniseries spotlights the events that may have inadvertently lead to one of the most tragic days in the history of the United States, 9/11. Starring Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, and Alec Baldwin, the drama zooms in on the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA and puts a human face on those who were unable to steer the country away from disaster and how that failure directly impacted them.

We recently sat down with Mark Hildreth who plays FBI counter-terrorism agent Gordon Wright in “The Looming Tower” to discuss the flawed heroes found in the series, why there always needs to be some creative license taken when dramatizing a real life event, and how he had a hand (or voice) in one of the most underrated Saturday morning cartoons of all time.

TrunkSpace: Before we get into the meat and potatoes of why we’re chatting today, we have to mention… we were pretty excited to see that you were a part of “Camp Candy” back in the day.
Hildreth: (Laughter) You know that show? That’s so funny.

TrunkSpace: Not only do we know that show, but we’d go so far as to say it had one of the greatest opening theme songs of any cartoon of the 80s.
Hildreth: And one of the greatest actors! I never met John (Candy) when we were doing that because we weren’t recording in the same place. He was somewhere else or he was working on something.

That’s funny. Thanks for saying that. I did a lot of that stuff – a lot of cartoons, especially when I was a little bit younger. We’re going back to the 80s now. Holy shit.

TrunkSpace: We’ll flash forward to the present and your current project “The Looming Tower.” With everything that’s happening in the world of politics here in the States, it seems like a very timely project.
Hildreth: Yeah. It definitely takes a very sober look at what was going on around 9/11, and how we in the U.S. were involved and were part of that whole scenario. I think what people are going to find probably the most moving about it is that it takes a look at it in a really human way. It really centers around Jeff Daniels’ character, who is the head of the comparatively small FBI counter-terrorism unit, back where it starts around 1998. Small compared to now because now it’s massive. And Jeff played it beautifully. We worked together a bunch, and it really gets into his character. He’s a flawed hero.

It’s not like “The Looming Tower” is going to paint the Americans as some kind of, speaking of the 80s, 80s superhero who has no warts at all. It also really gets into the humanity of those guys, and what it is they were up against, what they were dealing with, which they obviously didn’t even realize in some ways.

TrunkSpace: In many ways, it’s a road map of how we got to where we are today.
Hildreth: That’s right. It gets into the history of the whole situation, which goes back obviously decades before 9/11 actually happened. It doesn’t pull punches. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a dark project because it actually has a lot of humor, and like I said, a lot of humanity, but it doesn’t pull punches about how we got ourselves there.

TrunkSpace: Is there a certain level of delicate handling with material like this even when it’s being dramatized, not only because of the nature of the story but because the people you’re spotlighting were in fact real people?
Hildreth: Of course. We had some of the guys who were there on set with us. In fact, some of the guys who were actually there worked on O’Neill’s team, Jeff’s character’s team. They were actually in some of the scenes with us. Obviously it’s a dramatization, and I think there’s always that when you’re making the “based on a true story” movie. It’s still a movie. There are certain liberties taken for the sake of telling the story.

There was a lot of reverence on that set. And I gotta say, Jeff Daniels is as much of a pro as anybody I’ve ever worked with. It’s always the guy who’s number one on the call sheet, the guy who’s the star of the show, who always sets the tone, whether they know it or not. Jeff is such a laid back guy. He’s a good ol’ boy. He’s a Michigander, he’s a blues musician, he’s just got such a deep soul that guy, and that’s the tone that was on set. It was set all the way down from the producers to the directors. And we have some of the best producers and directors working in the business making the show. These are people who are very thoughtful. This is not tabloid television. We took the subject very seriously, and I hope with a lot of compassion for all the people who were involved on every side.

TrunkSpace: Having those guys in the scenes with you must be such a great tool for ensuring that, even though dramatized, you’re getting the tone and energy of the room right?
Hildreth: I had a moment where we were working on one scene and we were all sitting around a boardroom with Jeff’s FBI team. It was my first day on set and Jeff has a team of six or seven FBI counter-terrorism officers, which I’m one. We’re shooting this scene and we go to lunch. We’re sitting around a table in there with a couple other actors, and we’re talking with this one guy who is sitting with us, and he’s like, “Oh yeah, this was like this, that was like that, can you believe this is now this way.” He was kind of, you know, shooting the breeze about the content of the scene. The guy starts talking like, “Oh yeah, of course, this was like this, that was like that…” and I was like, “Wow, he knows a lot about this.” So then he’s like, “Yeah, when John O’Neill said that to me…” and I was like, “Uh, what? What did he just say?” I didn’t even realize he was actually one of the guys who was there in that room that we were dramatizing. You stop and you go, “Wow, this is a person that actually lived through it.” It brings a level of authority and honesty to the series.

TrunkSpace: And is your character Gordon based on a real person?
Hildreth: My understanding is that my character was sort of an amalgamation. His story is basically that he is a former Top Gun pilot who has graduated into this role in the FBI, and there are a few characters like that where we created an amalgamation of different people who might have been there to be able to show the different sides – the different ways that people were dealing with this. That is the human side of how this all went down. It’s easy to see when you think of the FBI, the CIA, as like a bunch of guys – men in black who are not real people. These are people. These are people with lives, with families, with emotions, with their own personal biases. That’s what “The Looming Tower” gets into, I think, in a really moving way, is how the human beings who were doing their best to deal with the reality of the situation back then failed, and how that turned into 9/11.

TrunkSpace: We started this conversation talking about “Camp Candy.” When you first started your career, especially in television, could you have ever imagined a show like “The Looming Tower,” with a cast and creative team involved like it has, existing as a series?
Hildreth: I guess there was a Golden Age of Television, so I’m not sure what this is. The Platinum Age? I’m not sure. It’s a real good time for TV. I’m not that old, so I sound a little bit out of place putting it this way, but we used to talk back in the old days, like in the 80s, about how it was like a pipe dream. Like, “Imagine if we didn’t have to wrap everything up in a half hour or an hour? Imagine if we could have a show that went on and on, and instead of making a two-hour movie, you could make a 10-hour movie, or a 22-hour movie?” That seemed like a far-off possibility, and now not only are we making serialized dramas and series like “The Looming Tower” where you get to really delve into it, into a story, and really get into the nitty-gritty of what goes on with the characters in a way you never did before, we have some of the best actors in the world working on television.

Getting to work with Jeff Daniels, Alec Baldwin, and Peter Sarsgaard… and we have producers Danny Futterman and Lawrence Wright who wrote the book that “The Looming Tower” is based on, a wonderful writer… it’s such a privilege as an actor. It’s the type of project you were sort of dreaming about, that you were hoping one day in the distant past that you’d get to do, something not only with such good people but with something that explores something important. It’s great.

The Looming Tower” premieres February 28 on Hulu.

Hildreth can next be seen opposite Christina Ricci in the Lifetime movie “Nellie Bly,” set to premiere later this year.

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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

Angel Parker

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Photo By: Riker Brothers Photography

There is an entire generation of pop culture fans who have grown up on Marvel characters being mainstream relevant. Big brand anchors like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Thor have dominated theaters, owned the toy shelves, and conquered the world of licensed apparel, but a fascinating shift is occurring. Many of the lesser known characters and titles within the Marvel Universe are receiving their own time in the spotlight, from upcoming films based on Black Panther and Captain Marvel, to a television series based on the New Warriors set for a 2018 release. One of the more highly anticipated live action takes on a lesser known group of characters was “Runaways,” which made its debut on the streaming platform Hulu just days before Thanksgiving.

 

 

We recently sat down with series star Angel Parker, who plays Wilder family matriarch Catherine, to discuss the multigenerational appeal of “Runaways,” the big themes tackled throughout Season 1, and how a non-mutant can compete in a mutant-filled world.

TrunkSpace: Your new series “Runaways” made its debut a little over a week ago. As an actor, is there any better universe or ongoing franchise to be involved with right now than with what Marvel is doing on both the big and small screens?
Parker: Yeah, it’s definitely where you want to be right now. Now they have something on almost every platform – film, TV, streaming – it’s incredible the amount of work that’s available that’s challenging and fun and cool and badass.

TrunkSpace: And for the most part, their characters and stories are emotionally grounded in reality, but still have a sense of that heightened reality that allows viewers to escape as well. That must allow you to be able to do things performance-wise that you can’t do in other projects?
Parker: Exactly. You don’t get to deal with a dinosaur in your day to day life or in most shows. (Laughter)

You also don’t get to work with such a huge cast and have so many storylines and to be able to connect to other worlds and other characters. It really is kind of cool that we get to tell this story. I love the fact that it’s on Hulu, basically television, because you get to tell the story and you get to really dive into it. It doesn’t have to fit into a two and a half hour movie. We’ve got 10 hours to play with this first season, so it really is an opportunity for you to learn about all of these families and dive into their world.

There’s six runaways and five families in the pride, plus the leaders of it, so it really is a lot of story that can be told. There are so many different ways that we can go about it. We really dive into it and the history of it in Season 1.

TrunkSpace: Hulu released three episodes out of the gates and then took a more traditional roll out approach with the remaining episodes, debuting one every week thereafter. That seems like a smart plant to hook people and build anticipation for what’s to come.
Parker: It’s very exciting. By Episode 5 (debuting December 5), which is one of our hugest episodes besides the season finale, people are going to be hooked. I think you’ve just got to find the show. If the show is good enough, you’ll find it. That’s kind of the new world of television is, it’s not what network and what time, it’s what show. I’ll find that show wherever it’s at.

TrunkSpace: And with something like “Runaways,” it comes with a built in audience with eyeballs that would find it no matter where it was.
Parker: Yeah, there’s the die hard fans of “Runaways” that are going to be so excited for all the things that we made sure are in our show. There’s going to be a lot of new things that just fans of Marvel in general are going to be excited about, with the special effects and with the action elements and with the diving into the stories and the villains and the good guys versus bad guys. “Are they really good? Are they really bad?” All those elements that are in every Marvel production are in our show. Then there’s just the young audience that is going to dive into young teenage drama and the fighting against their parents that everyone can relate to.

I have an 11-year-old boy and he’s read the comic. He can’t be more excited. All of his friends are excited. He’s in the 7th grade. It’s hard to find a show to watch with your teenagers that you don’t want to shoot your brains out. (Laughter) There’s going to be a lot of parents that are sitting watching this show and going, “This is good.” You see the story of the parents and the Pride and the sacrifices or the compromises that they’ve made that got them into this situation where they are sacrificing humans and are pitted against their own children and having to make decisions on who lives and who dies. Those are big, big themes. Then, just because Marvel’s got its paintbrush on it, we’re going to look cool the whole time and say cool things at the right time. (Laughter)

They’ve got some fantastic actors. The adults, the parents, we’ve all been doing this for almost 20 years. We’re all ready for this moment. Really, every actor, you look across the room, especially in big circle scenes of the sacrifice, every character is fully, fully realized and has all their thoughts and their opinions about why they’re here in this moment. It’s very fun to play.

The teenagers are just as great. These are not kid actors, these are actors – young actors. They really bring it. It’s not only well acted and well produced, but it’s a show that people are going to want to watch just because you’re going to want to understand the twists and turns and dive into the universe. “Where does it connect? How does it connect?”

Then there’s tons of little Easter eggs for the die hard fans just to make you jump up and squeal.

Photo By: Riker Brothers Photography

TrunkSpace: So much of what we see from Marvel in film and TV in terms of their characters have been around for decades, but what’s nice about “Runaways” is that many of the characters are relatively new in the grand scheme of the universe itself. That in and of itself should make the show more accessible to viewers who may find the history of Marvel kind of creatively daunting?
Parker: I think one of the reasons that the “Runaways” comic was written was for that age gap of a younger audience that was looking for something, but didn’t want it to be over their head or want it to be about things, issues, that relate to their life. You want to see yourself as a protagonist in a lot of things that you read. Kids are going to find that fascinating.

And when I say kids… there are some big themes. There’s a gay character. There’s death. There’s possible suicide. There’s all of these different big themes that are in our show that teenagers are dealing with. It doesn’t talk down to them. That’s the one things that I know about having an almost teenager is, talking down to them is the first way for them to shut down. Kids are smart. Kids figure things out.

To dive into that world and have a hero or maybe not a hero that you’re rooting for, it’s the best part of television. The best part of going into a fantasy world is a world that you could possibly see yourself in or hope to be in or dream and imagine to be in. It’s very cool.

TrunkSpace: In the original comic series, the kids were all offspring of villains. Is your version of Catherine Wilder on a similar villainous path?
Parker: Season 1 is all very much connected to the original source material of “Runaways.” Yes, a lot of them are descendents, but they don’t know. The kids don’t know in the beginning what powers they have or what control they have over outside elements. As an audience, we get to see them discover these elements.

Now, the Wilders don’t have powers. That will have stayed the same. The Wilders lead the group and Alex, who is our lead played by Rhenzy Feliz, he does not have any powers. I think that that makes a great protagonist because you’re like, “What are you going to do in this world when someone next to you is glowing? And another person next to you has a dinosaur. And another person next to you has this special weapon that they can do all these things with.” It’s like, “Okay, what can I do? What do I have?” What they have is their brain and their leadership skills and the qualities of survival. That is also very cool.

To be a non-mutant, if you want to use that word, in a world where people do have powers or special abilities or special strengths, you have to find your own strength and your way to navigate through that world. That’s the exciting thing about following Alex Wilder in this story is, how is he going to fight back? Even when we get to our season finale, it’s like, “What do you bring to the table?” He goes, “I bring this…” Those skills are just what an average human being has, which is their power of negotiation and their power of street smarts, if you could call it that. The Wilders, Geoffrey and Catherine, we have to navigate that world as well and lead it and lead it with other people following us or not following us and being able to come out on top, which is what the Wilders do best.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, what was your favorite thing about Catherine and getting to bring her to life?
Parker: She’s very savvy. She’s very sexy. She’s smart. She is a lawyer, which I have played before, but she gets to do it in such a big way. She makes some major decisions that affects people’s lives and has to reconcile that and still go through with it. That was the element of playing a “villain” that was really, really exciting to me. But then down to small elements like the length of her ponytail, which was something that was in the comics and was drawn so beautifully. The tiniest details are added into Catherine Wilder. And then something as large as, she’s leading the Pride and the sacrifices she’s making for her son and risking her life in many ways, those are the dark elements that are directly in line with the comic as well.

It’s also a multifaceted character I get to play. I get to play mom, wife, lawyer, villain, and doing those at the highest level because she’s an excellent wife. She’s an excellent lawyer. She excels at everything that she does. When things start to go wrong in our world, that’s something that Catherine does not do well with. Everything that Catherine touches succeeds. When things start to rapidly go wrong and her son’s life is in danger, you get to see this woman who’s always had her life put together and has been able to handle anything that’s thrown at her all of the sudden is at a loss.

It’s very exciting, the journey that Catherine gets to take from beginning to end.

Parker and Ryan Sands in Runaways. Photo by Paul Sarkis – © 2017 Hulu

TrunkSpace: You starred in “American Crime Story” The People v. O.J. Simpson” last year. When you were shooting that, did you have any idea that it would become the water cooler show that it ultimately became?
Parker: We knew we were making something great. We took a lot of time and care with each of those things. Everyone was very well researched. We’d all watched the trial. We would watch the scene before we shot it. We had read every book written about our character, every book written about the show, and then had experts there at all times. We knew we were making something special. We did not know that the audience would love it so much. We did not know that it would be that water cooler, “I can’t wait for Tuesday night” kind of show or that we would win the Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series or that all of those actors would be able to take home the Emmys as well. We did know it was good. We did know we were honoring the story, but we didn’t know the success that it would have.

Also, we didn’t know if people were ready to hear this story again. A lot of people said, “I lived through it. I don’t want to watch it again. Why would I want to watch that story? How are you going to tell that? What’s the truth? Is it just going to be some popcorn story about ultimately these two people losing their lives?” It was about the trial. It was about that shift in culture in Los Angeles and America. Our show started with scenes from the Rodney King beating. I’m glad that that set the tone for where we were as a society for this trial to even take place and for the outcome to be what it was. That surprised us that people were ready for it.

New episodes of “Runaways” arrive each Tuesday at Hulu.

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Wingman Wednesday

Havana Guppy

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Photo By: James Branaman

With Season 2 of the Hulu dramedy “Shut Eye” set to premiere on December 6, we are once again reminded of just how lucky we are to be living in a time with so much fantastic storytelling available for download into our content-hungry brains. Starring Jeffrey Donovan and Isabella Rossellini, the dark crime caper is an underrated streaming option that plays out for viewers like a caffeinated “Ray Donovan” in the seedy world of storefront psychics.

We recently sat down with new series regular Havana Guppy to discuss if she shares the same rebellious streak as her character Drina, what she has learned about herself in working on the show, and how her ideal career would play out.

TrunkSpace: The latest season of Hulu’s ‘Shut Eye” premieres in just a few short weeks. In terms of your character Drina, what are you most excited for viewers to see in terms of her journey this time around?
Guppy: I’m really excited for the audience to see a different side of Drina, and really see her grow into herself.

TrunkSpace: Did the material you were provided for Drina this season allow you to stretch yourself in a way that you have yet to do in the past with previous projects? Was there a particular moment or scene where you felt you had to step out of your comfort zone and by doing so, it paid off?
Guppy: A lot about Drina is very similar to myself. Sometimes I’d read a scene and I just knew exactly how she might feel. There are moments where I had to be very vulnerable, which can be scary. But once the scene was over, I felt very relaxed and at ease.

TrunkSpace: What was it like to learn that you would be a series regular heading into the latest season?
Guppy: It was so exciting. After I heard the news, I frantically called my mom, my dad, my grandma, and my sisters. It felt like a dream come true.

TrunkSpace: What do you personally love the most about the series? Is it the premise, the tone, or something else entirely?
Guppy: I really love the tone of the show. I’m a huge fan of dark comedies, so “Shut Eye” really hits the mark for me. I’ve loved being a part of it.

TrunkSpace: Drina is a bit of a rebellious soul. Was that a personality trait that was easy for you to tap into? Did you have a rebellious period in your own life that allowed you to relate to that aspect of your character?
Guppy: Drina is definitely rebellious. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever gone through a rebellious phase, but I am a teenager, so I found it pretty easy to tap into that edgy teen mindset.

TrunkSpace: There’s an incredible list of talent involved in “Shut Eye,” most notably, Isabella Rossellini, who plays your grandmother. Are you viewing your experience on “Shut Eye” just as much an education as you are a job?
Guppy: Working with Isabella has been a dream. Just working with her alone taught me so much. And yes, working on the show really felt like an amazing learning experience. I’d forget it was my job sometimes. I had so much fun, and met some amazing people.

TrunkSpace: Sticking with the idea of absorbing knowledge on set, what have you picked up from other people, either firsthand or through osmosis, in these early stages of your career that you think you’ll carry with you moving forward? What have you discovered that you couldn’t have learned in a classroom?
Guppy: I’ve learnt a lot about using my voice. I’m pretty shy, so when I have an idea about my character or a scene, I often would just keep it to myself in fear of being “wrong.” While working on the show, I’d watch the cast work through the scene, put their ideas in, and ask questions. I realized I have the power to do the exact same thing. I felt my confidence grow immensely.

TrunkSpace: As you look forward, what kind of career do you want to have? If the path was yours to pave, how would you shape your journey as an actress?
Guppy: In a perfect world, I’d have a busy acting career, working in the best projects, all without fame. That’s my dream.

Photo By: James Branaman

TrunkSpace: We read that you were first drawn to performance at a very early age. Do you think being an actress was part of your destiny or was there something or someone in your life that helped to steer you in that direction?
Guppy: My parents are a big reason I started acting so young. Even if they hadn’t been so supportive, I know I still would have ended up acting. It’s always been something that I was drawn to.

TrunkSpace: Speaking of those early days, we also read that you were convinced that you were Boo from “Monsters Inc.” when you were three years old. If Pixar came to you tomorrow and said, “We’re doing a sequel that focuses on a grown-up Boo, would you like to voice the character,” would that be the ultimate, dream-come-true gig for you?
Guppy: Oh my gosh that would be crazy! I’d definitely do it. Three-year-old me would be so proud.

TrunkSpace: In all seriousness, so much of the industry, at least on the film side, is overwhelmed with big brand characters and existing content, either reimagined or via sequels. If you could choose any character from any universe to play on-screen, who would it be and why?
Guppy: It would be exciting to one day play a princess in a fairytale, such as Snow White. It would be a lot of fun, and very different from what I usually play.

Season 2 of “Shut Eye” premieres December 6 on Hulu.

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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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Wingman Wednesday

Jake Busey

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Photo By: Dana Patrick

Jake Busey works a lot, and when he’s not working, he’s thinking about work. That tireless desire to hear the words “ACTION” may stem from the fact that, as the son of legendary actor Gary Busey, he has seen the inner workings of the entertainment industry since he was a kid. In fact, he admits that being on a movie set is the one place he feels the most comfortable, and it’s a comfort that has lead to countless memorable performances, from the murderous Johnny Bartlett in the extremely-underrated “The Frighteners” to bug-hunting soldier Ace Levy in the cult classic “Starship Troopers.”

Busey can currently be seen in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” and in the new horror/comedy hybrid “Dead Ant.” Season 2 of his Hulu series “Freakish” kicked off this week as well, and for those who love a vintage franchise reborn, he will be starring in Shane Black’s “The Predator,” due next summer.

We recently sat down with Busey to discuss his definition of “favorite movie,” how he refuels the mental tank, and why he’s had to be a salmon who swims extremely hard upstream.

TrunkSpace: We spoke with your “Dead Ant” director Ron Carlson recently. We have to say, that sure looked like a fun character to play.
Busey: “Dead Ant” was a hoot. We really had a good time. We really enjoyed filming that. It was quite the bonding experience for the whole gang.

TrunkSpace: An end user, the viewer, sees a film and that’s what they remember, but for actors, the experience is probably where you draw your memories from, right?
Busey: That’s very true. In fact, I wrestled with that for many years. I would have fans ask me what my favorite movie that I did was, and so I would think about trips that my wife and I took in New Zealand – my girlfriend at the time. We spent two weeks traveling in New Zealand while I was doing “The Frighteners,” then we went to Fiji for another 10 days about a month later. And then of course, the culture and the people – and so I think about “The Frighteners” in a very good way.

Then I think about “Twister,” when she got in her Jeep and drove all the way from LA because we didn’t have money for a plane ticket, or a rental car in Oklahoma, so she drove her Jeep out during “Twister.” Then when I booked “Starship Troopers” and bought a brand new Dodge truck, she drove that out from LA to Wyoming for the whole filming. And then I put her in the film – she was a stand-in for Denise Richards. That was a real bonding experience for all the people there, and to have my girl with me was fantastic.

And for about 15 years, I was always answering people in regards to my experience of making the film. Then one day it hit me, “Oh no, they’re wanting to know what my favorite film that I did was on the screen, because that’s what they’re awareness is.” It was a big moment of revelation for me.

TrunkSpace: When looking over your filmography, which is filled with project after project, we’re struck with just how consistent it is. Are you someone who loves the work, loves to work, or a combination of both?
Busey: I think you have me at a loss there, because I don’t know the difference between loving the work and loving to work. I mean, I don’t know the difference in distinction.

For me, I love being on a film set, that’s my favorite thing. That’s where I feel most comfortable and if there was ever a place where I didn’t feel like I needed to be somewhere else, it was a film set. Sometimes you’ll be somewhere and you’ll get that feeling of some sort of sixth sense where something kicks into your brain and you go, “I feel like there’s something else I should be doing,” and then you wind up calling your loved ones or whatever, and as it turns out a friend of yours was in a car crash. Nine times out of ten, it’s just you sort of having a nagging feeling like, “I’d rather be somewhere else.” Besides from my kids, when I’m on a film set, the point is, I never have the thought, “Oh, I should be somewhere else.” I just feel completely at home.

TrunkSpace: With that said, do you feel like it’s important to refuel the mental tank between characters?
Busey: Absolutely. One of my very favorite quotes in the world was by a guy that you would never guess, from the 1960s, and he had a quote that was basically, “It’s an actor’s duty to seek out more of life than life puts at his feet.” And you have to experience a lot of things in your life, because in order to portray different characters, you need to have a wealth of experiences to draw from. Somebody who is a sheltered homebody would not make a good actor because they don’t have anything to draw from except for their own small little world.

My mind just never stops, and I never stop moving. I’ve been told it’s because I’m a Gemini, I’ve been told a variety of things, but I’m always creating something. I’m always thinking about something. I started a motorized bicycle building company. I am a pilot. I’ve now dove head first back into something I was very involved in when I was in my late teens and early 20s, which is desert racing. In fact, I’ll be racing the Baja 1000 this year, which is November 19.

So I’m always busy, I’m always thinking, and I’m always auditioning for more films. And by virtue of that, I’m always acting.

Busey in The Frighteners

TrunkSpace: Outside of film, you’ve also been working in quite a bit of great television, from “Ray Donovan” to “Freakish,” which just kicked off season 2 on Hulu. From a character driven content standpoint, how much has TV changed from when you started your career, and is it creatively more appealing to you now than it was then?
Busey: You know, there’s a lot more available now than when I started. Interestingly enough, when I was beginning, when I was coming up, and also when I was a child – I spent the 70s and the 80s on film sets with my dad. As a film actor, that was De Niro, that was Jon Voight, that was Al Pacino, that was… I don’t know, I could go on. Clint Eastwood. The list goes on and on. But TV, you didn’t want to be Ted Danson, and quite frankly at the time, neither did he. And you didn’t want to be Tom Selleck. He was so pissed off that CBS wouldn’t let him out of his contract to go do Indiana Jones, and Harrison Ford got the role, and he couldn’t do it.

Back then TV was subpar – the craft of it. Film was considered artistic and television was considered second rate. If you did TV it was just a career suicide. You wouldn’t get let back into the world of great filmmaking, with Scorsese or something. And now, everybody has a home theater system, and the internet has turned streaming into a possibility, and everything is all based on home viewing, and laptops, and we’ve got a lot of content now – you don’t even say film anymore, because it’s just considered content. It’s all shot for a tiny screen, for being on the telephone.

Nowadays, there’s only two kinds of films. There’s 100 million dollar spandex movies, and then there’s the tiny, tiny low budget independent films that may or may not get distribution. Film has kind of become a little bit of a wasteland for actors.

TrunkSpace: In a way, the two mediums have kind of flip-flopped.
Busey: Yeah. If you’re doing movies now, unless you’re one of those top 20 people that are in those spandex movies, you’re like slumming it really. No one will outwardly admit it, but if you take a meeting with somebody – a new agent, or a new manager or PR person – and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m doing a lot of independent films,” one might assume that means you’re working and that’s a good thing, but really what the other people are hearing is, “Oh, he’s slumming it in independent film land.” So yeah, you’re exactly right. You said it the best. It really has flip-flopped. Look you’ve got Meryl Streep doing television.

TrunkSpace: Anthony Hopkins!
Busey: I mean, it’s crazy. The world has really changed.

I’ll tell you what, I’ve got a lot of friends who are actors that are my age and we share in a unique thing about being Generation X-ers. There wasn’t as many of us, so we were never the popular majority. So I’ve got a lot friends, including myself, that never quite made it over the top of that multiple million dollar spandex movie for their characters, and you’re kind of caught in this lurch, by virtue.

When I was starting out in my early 20s, I couldn’t get hired. Everybody that was being hired was in the previous generation. They were all like 30 years old. It was Charlie Sheen, and Kiefer Sutherland, and Christian Slater, and those guys who were working. I was a youngster and couldn’t get hired, and then when I was in my mid 20s I really started working a lot. But then, by the time I hit my late 20s and early 30s, then all the young 20-somethings, and I guess the early Millennials – the earliest of the Millennials – took over. Ryan Phillippe, and Timberlake, and all these guys came up.

So, caught in a generational sort of wasteland has been an interesting way to forge a career. And plus, I’m a unique looking guy, so I’ve really had to be the salmon that has to swim extremely hard upstream to even keep working in this industry. And I love it, I love working, but I will not tell you that it’s easy, that’s for damn sure.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned “The Frighteners” earlier. We were all chatting about that film internally here, it being October and all, and the consensus was that it is an extremely underrated film. Had that been released today, particularly with the way that tastes have changed and the horror/comedy hybrid film genre is more accepted, it might have had a completely different lease on pop culture life.
Busey: Oh true, yeah. This movie “Dead Ant” that I did, it is wholeheartedly what “The Frighteners” was going for back in the day. It is comedy and horror combined, but I remember at the time, I got a lot of criticism because critics didn’t know how to interpret watching a film that had comedy and horror. It was like, taboo.

TrunkSpace: And when it opened, it was up against “The Nutty Professor,” so you’re automatically losing half of your comedy-loving audience to that film.
Busey: Yeah, exactly. And how do you market that? But I think today’s audiences, I think with the internet and everyone being so involved and connected on the World Wide Web that we’ve got going, I really do think that people are certainly not as close-minded and a lot more accepting of multiple genres mixed together. Because quite frankly, when you sit down and you get on YouTube, and start bouncing around, there’s a million different things going on within five minutes.

TrunkSpace: And at the end of the day, life is all things. Life is not one genre.
Busey: Certainly true. And that was one of the things that I was bummed out about when “The Frighteners” didn’t do so well. It was panned by the critics for being funny in the beginning, and scary at the end. It’s like, this is a good film – its own unique entity.

“Freakish” season 2 is available now on Hulu.

“Ray Donovan” airs Sundays on Showtime.

Featured image by: Dana Patrick

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