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Entries in Actor (176)

Tuesday
Aug012017

Call Answered: James Kiberd: "The Crusade of Connor Stephens" + "All My Children"

James KiberdI am a huge All My Children fan and I love getting to catch with AMC alum, so needless to say, it was an honor to get to interview actor James Kiberd, best known as "Trevor Dillon" on ABC's All My Children from 1989-2000 (the uncle to "Hayley Vaughn," played by Kelly Ripa). After almost 11 years of not being able to act, James Kiberd is making his triumphant stage return in the Off-Broadway play The Crusade of Connor Stephens.

In The Crusade of Connor Stephens, extreme loss shakes a Texas family as it comes to terms with a tragic act of gun violence. In the midst of widespread media attention, their story becomes an allegory for the national debate over religion, tolerance, and the seedlings of hate. With humor and resilience, they will confront the ghosts of the past and discover the brutal universal truths that define the American family in the 21st century.

The Crusade of Connor Stephens will play through August 6 only! Click here for tickets! 

There will be a special live streaming on Thursday, August 3 at 8pm! Click here for more info!

For more on The Crusade of Connor Stephens be sure to visit https://www.crusade2017.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to be an actor? Gee it’s almost 40 years ago. Grants in support of my art making (I am a Painter) had lead to some expertise in arts management and a consultation for Joe Brancato’s Penguin Repretory. He asked me to audition for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I said to myself…Acting? Phony Baloney! But, I knew I wouldn’t get it, so why do it. Then, I imagined that some day, I could be comforting a disappointed daughter after being turned down for a role she sorely wanted. "Honey, Dad auditioned for a role once and didn’t get it. I know how you feel, you’ll be ok." Only, I got the part…and, sadly, not the daughter.  My life was forever changed.

As a painter, you spend 12-15 hours a day alone. For years on end. You are the center of that Universe. Not so as an Actor. It’s about the other person! OMG! Relationship! Something at which I was totally inept. But, my God, I needed it so! Joe Brancato kept me working as an actor and brought me into the "wild unknown," with a sure and steady hand. Over the years, I returned to Penguin to some great roles on that delicious stage.

My working relationship twixt graphic art and acting is keen. There is a solid "click" of recognition of "rightness" when working with Art’s physical materials. Not so with Acting, however, where impulses, emotions, relationships, bring ever changing moments different from every moment that came before, especially in front of an audience. My thrill is to bring the "click" to the acting and the emotion and impulse to the art. Serious Fun.

2. You are currently starring in the new Off-Broadway play, The Crusade of Connor Stephens, about a Texas family who suffers extreme loss as a result of gun violence. What made you want to be part of this show? As you may or may not know, 10/12/17 will be the 11th anniversary of the stage injury that took me out of commission for years. These past 10 years has been spent trying to find a way back to functionality through four operations. So, on May 9, 2016 (my hip replacement day), I woke up in my hospital bed to find a new play script forwarded to me by an actor I know and respect, Ben Curtis, with a request for me to read and consider the key role. I was astounded! Reticent - no terrified - to even consider it. But, I told myself, "it came to you - read it James." I read it. Enthralled, I asked my wife to bring me "Lear" - the next role I wanted. After I read it, I went back to Crusade.

Through the haze of the drugs, I found a profoundly disruptive play, lead by one of the most soulfully despicable characters ever written. A play that hangs our era in it’s own noose of contradiction and ultimately shows us a way to redemption. Though terrified of this challenge; I just had to play this part. This was worth getting out of bed for! Could I do it? I can’t even walk! Rehearsals were starting in four weeks! I started writing the producer/director/ writer, Dewey Moss to let him know I was interested. I told him I wanted to audition so we all would know what we were getting. He offered to drive out of NYC to meet & audition me in seven days - my first day out of rehab.

Saturday at 9am, I met him at the door - asked "Coffee?" "No." "Water?" "I’m good." So, I handed him the script as he came through the door and started the scenes as he found his way to a chair in the kitchen. No small talk. 20 minutes later, he was doubled over in between tears and laughter. "You have no idea how I have been trying to figure out ways to tell you how you are just not right for the role. It is such an impossible challenge…but you're perfect! Now I have to ask you - will you do it, really do it? And why? It's only a festival - three performances - and a lot of time and effort to rehearse in the city. Why would you want to do this?"

"I am doing this for me - me alone - not to get another job (as actors will do) - not for notice - not for PR. I want to see if I can still act, if I enjoy it, if I can pull off such a wickedly ambitious role.

First, my old friend, Bryan Cranston, saw the Festival Performance and compared this piece to All My Sons by Arthur Miller. "It gives us the picture of our times and the ethics, morals and values we need to live by. There is great humor, pacing, tension and passion wrapped into a compelling story."  Then, Crusade won all of the main Awards in the festival, so we were off to the races.

Dewey’s play sears a brand in the side of the times asking Americans to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth—what we kill for, what we live for, how and why do we pray?

James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland3. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic of his you are glad you don't possess yourself? Strong, relentless surety and promulgation of his truths. Passion.

I am staggered how people hate him so. Perhaps because he so resonates our current leader…though "Big Jim" is much more rigorously trained in his thinking. At the same time, I have had audience members claim he changed their point of view.

West of NJ to California he could be seen as a hero. The play is so well-crafted, that the points of view could shift according to the community where it is performed.

His is a "truth not tolerance" position. Furthest from my own position.

4. Guns have been killing people for years, but it seems we hear about a massive shooting somewhere almost every day of our lives. How do you feel this show will either help someone who's been affected by one of these deadly shootings or perhaps change the way someone feels about instilling stronger gun laws? Wow! That’s an impossible question because it doesn’t involve common sense. In my experience, the only time people really take gun control seriously is when they get shot in the face. Any and all assumptions we maintain about positions on these issues only become relevant when we have direct experience of the event, its horror and the people affected. We Americans need to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth; what we kill for, what we live for, how and why we pray? These are not issues that merely decorate the glorious tree of America. No, No. These are the "divers-est" roots that grow that tree strong. The healthy conflict of ideas and passions that are the very roots of our Constitution. America needs the feeding of face-to-face compassion, humor and brutal talk - - that is our America. Crusade brings all these issues forward in an almost sporting event immediacy. A prize fight for the Soul of America.

James Kiberd and Ben Curtis in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland5. How do you find the resilience to get through rough times in your own life? Having been disabled for the past 10 years, this is a question to which I have too many answers. Really listening to what the body is saying is both complex and simple. But of paramount importance. Having had four doctors tell me I am fine when I sure didn’t feel fine, I finally found whiz bang PT at West Side Dance in Lincoln Center who could tell me why and what was so dysfunctional. Two years of hard work, 21 exercises a day brought me a new me. Also, Alexander Training is an truly liberating process.

My wife keeps joy in my life. And she reminds me that our dogs (born in our house) have opened my heart, my garden teaches me each day (humility) and nature so soothes and inspires me. I have learned, finally, that The Dark Funk changes when I move - yes physically move.

6. In this show, the family confronts the ghosts of their past. What is one past ghost you've confronted? PTSD - always needs to be respected and tended. My father - a WWII vet never dealt with his PTSD and passed it on to his family. This is something I share with my Crusade character.

Kathleen Huber and James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland7. From this confrontation, the family discovers the brutal truth that defines the American family of the 21st century. What is the most brutal truth you've discovered about yourself that you fought so hard not to believe? I think more than one brutal truth is discovered in the play…I‘ll say again, "We Americans need to meet each other face-to-face in a conversation over who we love, what we do with guns, what is fact, what is belief, what is truth; what we kill for, what we live for, how and why we pray?  These are not issues that merely decorate the glorious tree of America. No, No. These are the "divers-est" roots that grow that tree strong. The healthy conflict of ideas and passions that are the very roots of our Constitution. America needs the feeding of face-to-face compassion, humor and brutal talk - - that is our America. Crusade brings all these issues forward in an almost sporting event immediacy. A prize fight for the Soul of America.

I am not sure how to answer this question without sounding full of bull. But I asked my wife and she immediately said it, "Honey, for some reason, you don’t feel worthy of love." I am still working on it. My Alexander teacher, Judith Stern, noticed a couple of things immediately when we started. When she would work with me, she noticed that my eyes were always moving. This was me trying to remember and analyze the experience I was having. She suggested that I could either have the analysis or the experience but not both. That I could allow myself to just have the experience and begin to trust that. She also noticed that when she encouraged me to see, take in what was around me, that I would look. What happens when I "look" is I focus hard and tend to thrust my head a bit forward which moves the head out of alignment and breaks the easy flow of energy in the spine, triggering "fight or flight" response. This kind of "looking habit" usually arises in a child when the person who was to nurture that child was in fact dangerous to that child.

And ………………………………………

Common Sense

And …………………………………..

The parts of me that I share with Trump. He reminds me every day of the selfish, thoughtless, small minded, fatuous, un thinking, pompous, lying, lazy glutton that I could so easily become.

James Kiberd8. I can't do an interview with you without asking about your time on one of my favorite soaps, All My Children. From 1989-2000, you played "Trevor Dillon," uncle to "Hayley Vaughn," played by Kelly Ripa. First, why did you want to be part of the All My Children family? What was the best part about working with Kelly Ripa? Can you tell us one fun juicy tale from your time on the show? Kelly was an unspoiled bundle of life and joy that I wanted to play with. Whatever I could share with her was immediately soaked up and made her own. The intimacy we had was blood family in nature. Just that matter of course kind of thing. She told me right away that her dream was not so much the acting but to be a talk show host! Well Well Bang Zoom Hip Hip HoooRaaay!

Why AMC? and Juicy? Here goes! A five day gig turned into 11 years. I had been developing a character in experimental theatre from my sense that by the year 2020 America would no longer be a "White" society. That we needed to encounter other world/third world cultures—their morals and ethics. On the morning of my first day after having come home during the night from a trip, I asked my wife if she liked my "look" for the part. In her sleepiness she said "What’s with the beard and the pony tail? You look like a pirate! AMC won’t go for that! "That’s what I want!" said I. She joked, "Then you need an earring." I grabbed one of hers, poked a hole in my ear, went off to AMC with my bloody booty."  At first, they wouldn’t let me in the building - so scruffy was I. Ha!

After camera rehearsal, I got called to the the producer’s office (Felicia Behr). I walked in saying, "I know, cut the hair, shave the beard, axe the earring." "No, No, NO!" she said "Would you be interested in a three year contract?" "I have to think about it" said I. The next day I suggested that I write a background description of the character I would like to play for the writers to consider. To my surprise, she said great.  When I submitted a 22-page document detailed to costume, set, lingo, accent and music, she was surprised and then sent it to the writers. Couple of days later, she told me they loved it! And would go ahead with my character as presented. Six months was my first contract. I wasn’t sure they, AMC, would or could really do it.

Well they went along with my creation! All the names I made up for the characters on the show, the wild outfits ,the Runyonesque lingo and the other world values. At my first public appearance the first audience question asked was "What planet is this guy ("Trevor"/my character) from? I knew we all were on to something special. The shows rating went from #7 to #2 rickety split and I was having some Serious Fun!

Katherine Leask and James Kiberd in "The Crusade of Connor Stephens", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland9. Since 2001, for the most part, you have focused on stage/film work as opposed to TV. Why did you choose to focus more on the stage and film? What do you get from this work that you weren't getting from TV? Acting Chops. Bad ass scary adventures. Every day I give up what I know for what I might discover. (me). You can’t do something that you don’t know, if you keep on doing what you do know. (FM Alexander).

AND my new agents in LA gave me two pieces of advice….

1) Lose weight and whiten your teeth!

2) And if you really want to act you need to find away to do some theatre. We would love to see you acting.

Well, I invited them to come see me about four months later. I was opening as "Gabbo the Clown" in Merchant of Venice on a Friday Night , Saturday 10am was Henry IV Part I, 2pm Henry IV Part II, 8pm Henry V. They didn’t come. And told me they couldn’t work with me as I was to busy doing theater an not available for TV!

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Joy. (which means doing what my wife, dogs and garden tell me to do) My acting. My art making. My Garden. My dogs (they are major hunters and need a lot of clean up) Spinning! House keeping, Friends…..Have you read Twyla Tharps books?

Friday
Jul142017

Call Answered: Facetime Interview with "Conversations in L.A." Emmy nominees Anne Marie Cummings & Gustavo Velasquez

Gustavo Velasquez & Ann Marie CummingsLive from The Algonquin Hotel in the heart of NYC's theatre district, "Call Me Adam" chats with Emmy nominees Anne Marie Cummings & Gustavo Velasquez about the Digital Daytime Drama Series Conversations in L.A.

Conversations in L.A. tells the story of "Michelle," a 40-something menopausal woman finding herself falling for "Gus," a hot 20-something millennial. This series defies boundaries, from the way it's filmed to how it's executed. It's a show about love, relationships, growing-up, finding yourself, menopause, & mid-life crises.

Written and directed by Anne Marie, Conversations in L.A. has earned three Emmy nominations: Lead Actress (Anne Marie Cummings), Lead Actor (Gustavo Velasquez, in his acting debut), and Supporting Actress (Vanita Harbour).

For more on Conversations in L.A. and to watch Season One visit http://conversationsinla.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on The Algonquin Hotel visit http://www.algonquinhotel.com and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

"Call Me Adam" video interview with Anne Marie Cummings & Gustavo Velasquez:

Friday
Jul072017

Call Answered: Paul Dooley: Movie Dad

Paul Dooley"Steven Keaton," "Mike Brady," and "Dr. Cliff Huxtable" are just some of the most famous TV dads. Paul Dooley has played "dad" to some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Molly Ringwald, Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts. He's made a career out of playing the father role and now, he's written a show all about being Hollywood's most famous Dad!

Movie Dad, brings Paul's reflections on a 60 plus-year career to the Theatre West stage in Los Angeles. Paul shares his lifelong love of comedy and Buster Keaton in this intimate evening that chronicles his journey from a small West Virginia town with interweaving elements of vaudeville, silent film, clowning and stand-up. Paul also offers audiences an insider’s look at what it was like to be part of Robert Altman’s legendary stock company.

Movie Dad will play Theatre West (3333 Cahuenga Blvd West, Los Angeles CA) through July 23. Click here for tickets!

Dennis Christopher and Paul Dooley in "Breaking Away"1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Believe it or not, the first person to inspire me to become a performer was the silent movie star Buster Keaton. Many people think of him as someone who falls down, does a lot of physical comedy—but the truth is, he’s a wonderful actor and I still love him. This is all in my show, including the interesting story of how I finally met him.

2. Your big break came, after 25 years in the business when you starred in Breaking Away and you became an overnight success. What was it like to all of sudden be the toast of the town after working for so long in it? I read five pages of the BREAKING AWAY screenplay, I thought the writing was fabulous, and I knew instantly that the character was just like my own Dad. So I played it just like him. And have played Dads like him ever since. Receiving recognition for a role that meant so much to me personally was incredibly fulfilling.

3. You are well known for playing the "Dad" role to some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Molly Ringwald, Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts. As you started to get cast in these kinds of roles, did it ever bother you that these are the roles you were getting or were you just so happy to be making it, you felt, if this is how I'm meant to do it, I'll take it? Playing Dads is never a problem for me. I am a Dad—I have children of my own. Playing a Dad comes naturally to me.

4. You've played so many dad roles that now you created a one-man show about it called Movie Dad which will be in LA this July. What made you decide to write a show about your time as one of Hollywood's most famous "Dads"? Many people over the years have said to me: Why don’t you write a book? I always said—if I wrote a book, and folks read it and laughed, I’d never hear the laughter. So I decided to put my story on stage.

5. In putting this show together, what did you learn about yourself and your journey in Hollywood? I learned I was way too old to memorize 90 pages of a show.

Paul Dooley and Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride"6. While writing Movie Dad, what part made you laugh out loud with good memories and what part got you all choked up because it was just such a rough time for you? Many parts of the show brought back fond memories of funny things that happened to me and to family and friends of mine—there are also dramatic moments that were tough to relive—but you have to come see the show to know more—

7. Prior to making it in Hollywood, you had a wide variety of jobs from working as a clown, entertaining kids at birthday parties with magic, juggling, and cartooning skills. During this time, did you ever consider giving up your dream of acting or did these gigs give you the drive to keep going? I only thought about quitting every single day. But as time went on, each new job encouraged me to keep trying. Also I didn’t have any other talent!

Paul Dooley as a magician8. In addition to film, you have had quite a stage career from understudying the original "Felix" in Broadway's The Odd Couple, opposite Walter Mattau and The Three Penny Opera alongside Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life) and Bea Arthur (Maude, The Golden Girls). Can you tell us one story about your time in each of these shows? I understudied Art Carney who was the original "Felix." Eventually I took over the role and played it opposite Walter Matthau. It was incredible to watch Neil Simon the writer and Mike Nichols the director craft this play together. Once during a performance Art Carney accidentally dropped a tray full of food and drinks onto the floor. Immediately all the actors jumped up to help pick it all up. Carney ad-libbed: "Leave it. The cat will get it." The biggest thrill doing THREE PENNY OPERA was listening to the great Lotte Lenya, Kurt Weill’s widow, sing "The Black Freighter." It was mesmerizing.

9. You were also the co-creator & head writer for the Emmy award winning PBS children's show The Electric Company (one of my favorites!). What made you want to create an entertaining/educational show specifically for children? If you can even choose one, what was your favorite segment to write? I personally loved Spidey Super Stories. The people at the Children’s Television Workshop actually chose me. I was recommended by Carl Reiner. My favorite characters that I created for the Electric Company were: Easy Reader (played by Morgan Freeman) Julia Grownup, Child Chef, and the word detective Fargo North—Decoder.

Paul Dooley and his wife Winnie Holzman10. You are married to Winnie Holzman, who created the series My So Called Life and wrote the book to Broadway's Wicked. With both of you being so successful, how do you balance work and marriage as well as fatherhood? We’ve been incredibly lucky—when one of us was busy, the other was often free. And Vice versa. So with our daughter Savannah, there was usually one of us who able to spend time with her. Either way, my relationship with Winnie has worked out perfectly!

11. In looking back over your career, what are you most proud of? What are you most ashamed of? What do you wish you did differently, if anything? Every triumph, and every failure—has contributed to the whole and I learned from all of it. So I would do it all again.

12. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Becoming kinder to everyone. Being generous and understanding. And making every joke I think of just one percent funnier.

Paul DooleyMore on Paul:

1977 was a big year for actor Paul Dooley. That’s when he was "discovered," and after twenty-five years in show business, became an "overnight success." 

It all happened when legendary film director Robert Altman caught him on stage in the Jules Feiffer comedy Hold Me. Altman, who had achieved fame with Mash and Nashville, signed Dooley on the spot to play Carol Burnett’s husband, and the father of the bride, in his upcoming film, A Wedding. After another starring role in Altman’s A Perfect Couple, Paul landed the part that would change his life forever, in the unforgettable coming-of-age classic Breaking Away.

His hilarious portrayal of the long-suffering Dad earned him critical acclaim, and set the stage for another triumph, in the beloved John Hughes comedy, Sixteen Candles. As Molly Ringwald’s distracted yet sympathetic father, Paul endeared himself to an entire generation of young people. 

Since then, he’s played the father of some of our finest actresses, including Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts (Runaway Bride). In addition to being Hollywood’s favorite Dad, Paul has become one of the busiest actors working today; creating one memorable character after another in such films as Popeye, with Robin Williams, where he appeared as the hamburger-loving "Wimpy," a part Dooley says, that he played with relish. Other films include Paternity, with Burt Reynolds, Kiss Me Goodbye, opposite Sally Field and Jeff Bridges, Happy Texas, with William H. Macy, Insomnia, with Al Pacino, and Waiting For Guffman and A Mighty Wind, both with Christopher Guest.

Paul has received two Emmy nominations for his work on the small screen: as the out-of-the-closet father on HBO’s Dream On and a memorable feisty judge on The Practice. He starred in his own TV sitcom, Coming of Age (CBS), which kicked off a series of recurring roles on other TV shows, including ER, Grace Under Fire, My So-Called Life, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Once and Again and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Despite appearances, it didn’t happen overnight. Upon graduation from West Virginia University, Paul headed for New York City in a broken-down 1948 Dodge, with just fifty dollars in his pocket, and nothing to lose. To pay the rent, he worked as a clown, entertaining kids at birthday parties with his magic, juggling, and cartooning skills. Luckily, one of his college chums was none other than Don Knotts. Already a working actor, Knotts convinced the producers of a new children’s TV show that Paul would be perfect as a comic cowboy.

Next came the New York premiere of Kurt Weill’s masterpiece, The Threepenny Opera, a job procured for him by another friend, John Astin, who was appearing in it, along with Charlotte Rae and Beatrice Arthur.

Paul's love of comedy led him to develop an act as a stand-up comic, and after several years of playing nightclubs, he landed on The Tonight Show. From there he joined Second City, the famous improvisational troupe, where his fellow actors included: Alan Arkin, Alan Alda…and several other Alans. Improvising became Paul’s passion: "I love the freedom of it. I can be doing a Shakespeare parody one minute and playing a five year old kid the next. I make my living doing movies and television, but improve I do for my soul."

While at Second City, he met director Mike Nichols, who was about to being the original Broadway production of The Odd Couple to California. Paul was cast as one of the poker playing buddies, and received kudos when he replaced Art Carney as "Felix," playing opposite Walter Matthau.

The Second City actors were suddenly in great demand on Madison Avenue, their improvisational wit beginning to change the face of commercials. Teaming up with fellow writer-performers Andrew Duncan and Lynne Lipton, he formed a company: All Over Creation, and over the next ten years, Paul appeared in over five hundred TV commercials, and nearly a thousand radio spots.

Eventually deciding to use his comedic talents "for good, instead of evil," Paul became the co-creator and head writer of The Electric Company, the Emmy award-winning children’s program on PBS. Throughout all this, Paul continued to perform onstage in New York, including his much lauded portrayal of Casey Stengel, in a one-man show about the life of the eccentric baseball coach.

Paul shares his home in Los Angeles, as well as his computer, with his wife, Winnie Holzman, also a writer: "My wife is very talented. She created a wonderful television series, the highly acclaimed, My So-Called Life, and the Broadway musical Wicked." In 2013, they co-wrote and produced Assisted Living, a touching and funny play that premiered in Los Angeles.

Last year, Paul created and starred in a one-man show, Upright and Personal, about his 60 years in show business. It ran for several months at Theatre West in Los Angeles and was such a success that he decided to bring it back for a second year this July.

Paul has four children: Robin, Adam, Peter, and Savannah; and is the proud grandfather of three. "Looks like this father thing is working out," he says with a smile.

Friday
Jun302017

Call Answered: Marc Jordan Cohen: Daddy Issues, a web series

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Allan MaldonadoAs a spin instructor Marc Jordan Cohen inspires me. I have been taking Marc's class at CYC Fitness on and off for several months and I can guarantee you, not only has he helped me get in shape, he has left with lots of food for thought. When I found out Marc was writing, producing, and starring in his own web series, Daddy Issues, I immediately said to him, we must do an interview to promote this!

Daddy Issues is a web series about three friends who start an escort business. It's a show about resilience, love, family, and learning to accept yourself and those around you for who they are. It's about relationships, connection, and finding hope within each other.

I saw the pilot episode and could not be more passionate about a new project. Daddy Issues is sure to be a great series. After the first episode, I wrote Marc and told him how I wanted more! Marc was already one step ahead of me. He put together this great Kickstarter campaign to get the rest of Season 1 made! So, let's help Marc continue to make his dreams come true and allow me to watch more episodes! Donate to Daddy Issues' Kickstarter here!

For more on Marc be sure to visit http://www.marcjordancohen.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/writer? I’ve been performing since I was seven years old. I wouldn’t say anyone inspired me because it was something that I had to do. We had a family friend growing up that owned a community theatre, and they were looking for boys for a production of The Princess and the Pea. My dad took me to watch a rehearsal and I knew immediately that I wanted to be on that stage. Ever since that show I knew this was what I was put on this earth to do. As a writer, my mother is my daily inspiration. She is a painter but with metaphors, alliteration and memories. She’s currently working on her own memoir and we often bounce ideas off each other and she is my main editor and critic.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti2. You are developing a web series called Daddy Issues, with each episode being about 10 minutes in length. Why did you want to make your own web series? What do you like about this short format episode? After graduating NYU, I needed to take a break from the theatre world and figure out what I wanted. I went on a few auditions after the summer ended, but I felt unfulfilled. I felt stuck because I don’t have representation and I wasn’t excited about any auditions. So I started writing as my secondary creative outlet. I’ve always been told I should create my own content and I wasn’t going to wait for someone to hand me a job, so I made my own. Daddy Issues is simply what was born out of free writes and my childhood experience.

With the need for instant gratification and the short attention span of my generation, I believe that this short format or web content is the best and most pleasing way to digest entertainment. I mean, look at Vine and Youtube–people would rather watch 6 second to 3 minute videos than an hour drama. Even with Netflix, people are eager to binge and be done with a show as fast as possible.

3. To create a 10 minute episode, how many hours of filming does that come out to? How hard is it to cut those hours into 10 minute episodes? Has there been a scene you really wanted in an episode, but because of time constraints, you just were able to get it in there? It’s crazy to think that one 10 minute episode, at least this first one, was filmed over five days totaling roughly 12-14 hours. I didn’t have to cut anything for time constraint (yet) because I write the scripts to be around 10 pages in screenplay format which comes out to be exactly the length I want it to be.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti4. After watching the pilot episode, I love the complexity of the series, the multi-layer story lines. You did a great job of setting up the characters and their starting points for this series. The end of the pilot episode, definitely left me wanting more. What made you want to create this show? Why did  you title it Daddy Issues? Thank you. That was the goal! Each episode following, especially the first three, leave you with a bit of a twist or question mark over your head. Originally, it was very autobiographical and too personal. It was more of a therapeutic experience for me, and it still is, but I added the plot of an escort business as a layer to remove my life from the show. I titled it Daddy Issues because it immediately has people asking the question, "What is THAT about?" and it’s also the connection that unites "Matt," "Destiny" and "Danny." I wanted to create something that resonated with everyone. We all have daddy issues, as I like to say. But, I also wanted to write something LGBTQ+ focused that doesn’t center on sexuality being a problem. So many shows have the "gay best friend" trope, or the designated "sassy black friend." Gender, race, sexuality, etc. isn’t the focus. Ultimately, this show is about people discovering who they are by connecting to each other and learning from one another.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti5. You will be releasing the first episode of Daddy's Issues on Father's Day. Then you will be doing a crowd-funding campaign to film the rest of the season. Why are you choosing to go the crowd-funding route to make this series? How do you feel the crowd-funding will make the series more special as opposed to seeking out private donations? First off, I’m nervous to be asking anyone to back this project. There’s always that little voice telling you you’re not good enough, that people won’t like what you’re doing, etc. but we all have that voice. So, I had to silence it and just go with my gut. I believe we all can relate to this show in one way or another, and I want everyone to feel a part of this project. Having it funded by people who truly want to see it come to fruition will keep the passion in my passion project. If I just had someone throw money at it, it could possibly be blown up to a mainstream level that: 1. I’m not big enough for and 2. could lose creative license to. It’s also uplifting and validating to see people engage with the series before it exists and to see their excitement of what's to come.

6. Let's play with the title of the show for a bit. What are some of your "Daddy Issues" from childhood, but now as an adult, you were able to resolve? Well, not to go too into it, but they’re definitely addressed in the show. I wasn’t always close with my dad. We didn’t understand each other growing up and I think it had to do in part with me being uncomfortable and confused with my sexuality. But, as I grew up and learned to love myself, I’ve become closer with him and realized there are just some things he won’t ever be able to understand about me, as a gay man. He’s never been marginalized his entire life, as a white cis heterosexual privileged male. I’m not sure I’ve been able to "resolve" the issues I have, but this show is one way I continue to work through them. My awareness of my "issues" are more important than the actual solving of them I believe, otherwise my job as a creative human would be complete, right?

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti7. In the first episode, your character seems to be joining the world of escorts. If you were to bring this into reality, in what instance do you think you would sell your body or soul to someone else? Oh wow. Well, personally I’m not sure I would ever physically sell myself. Luckily I’ve never had to contemplate it. I do know people that have had to, and I respect them so much for their shamelessness, strength and tenacity to survive by whatever means necessary. I don’t think I would ever sell my soul because it’s too sacred, and I’d rather struggle for my goals. However, if Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to pay me, I wouldn’t complain.

8. At the end of the pilot I get the feeling some kind of deal is being made, though I don't know what the deal is in the show because so far there is just the pilot episode. If you were to make a deal with the devil, what kind of deal would you make? Jake Gyllenhaal’s hand in marriage. Kidding aside, I’d probably make a deal to always find happiness everywhere I go even through the most painful parts in my life. I know that doesn’t sound like something the devil would provide, but truly all I could ever ask for is to find positivity and hope daily, through all the stress and anxiety of life, I’d take the deal, whatever it costs.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Alisha Siegel9. There is a great quote during the premiere episode you say at the end of your spin class (which I think you've actually said in your classes). You say, "All great changes are preceded by chaos." What change or changes in your life were first preceded by chaos? One of my favorite Deepak Chopra quotes. I feel like I’m in the chaos right now. It’s partially why I included that quote in the pilot as a reminder to myself to keep pushing through. I'm doing all of this on my own–writing, acting, directing, marketing, scheduling (with some help from a few generous friends), but it feels like a tornado. So, I’m trying to stay focused, meditate and repeat that mantra to myself.

10. In addition to being an actor/writer, you are also a spin instructor. How do you feel acting/writing has influenced your style of instruction and then how does being a spin instructor help your acting/writing? A very interesting question! At the source of my being, I’m a performer. When I’m teaching at Cyc, I’m center stage of the Richard Rodgers theater giving my best performance sometimes 12 times a week. I think the most important thing that they lend to each other is that the show must go on, I must write, I must act, I must fake it till I make it. Even when I don’t feel like teaching, or I’m having a shitty day, I remind myself at least one person is depending on me, or needs me to better their day. I’d say writing and acting is what influences my teaching style because it is self reflective and for my own well being. That’s something I always make sure my riders know–that this is their time, their workout, and to find the joy and excitement rather than punish themselves or do it for anyone else. The most important relationship you have is the on with yourself and as Mama Ru says, "If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else?"

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? My patience. Like I said before, my generation is all about instant gratification and I’m always trying to get to the end result, but I need to be better at living in the moment, working through the struggle, and bettering myself one step at a time. I find I am happier when I focus on the one task in front of me rather than inducing myself with the stress of what’s going to happen 3 months from now.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Brian BriganttiMore on Marc:

Marc Jordan Cohen recently graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway with a BFA in Drama. He’s been performing since he was seven years old and has always known his purpose was to lead a creative life and connect with other people. From the serene shores of Newport Beach, California, Marc always strived for the fast pace of New York City his entire life. There’s an energy fueled by the determination of the city’s people that lend him to feel more motivated and excited to create. Currently Marc can be found performing on a different kind of stage instructing indoor cycling at Cyc Fitness. When he’s not on the bike, he’s writing, creating, and planning what’s next. Right now, it’s his new web series Daddy Issues. He hopes to one day marry–I mean, work alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.

Thursday
Jun222017

Call Answered: Malcolm David Kelley: "Detroit," "Lost," "Antwone Fisher"

Malcolm David KelleyMalcolm David Kelley has gone from Lost to Detroit, traveling between television, film, and music. His first major acting role was that of "Young Antwone" in the Denzel Washington directed film Antwone Fisher. He then got Lost on the ABC Emmy Award winning drama, but eventually found himself on TeenNick's Gigantic, where he met his future singing partner Tony Oller, who then formed the group MKTO.

Now Malcolm is returning to the big screen in the highly anticipated crime drama DETROIT, based on the The Algiers Motel Incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. DETROIT hits theaters on August 4th!

For more on Malcolm be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become an actor? I started acting when I was five years old. Just watching TV and kids in the McDonald's commercials having fun, I told my mom I wanted to do it. She found my managers, we had a meeting, and I ended up bookin' a McDonald's commercial. Then just growing up and continuing to act, I grew more in love with it. Watching Denzel Washington in Antwone Disher, direct and play in a movie, really opened my eyes on the many things you can do. So just then I was inspired to accomplish a lot in this industry.

Malcolm David Kelley as "Walt" on ABC's "Lost", Photo Credit: ABC2. Your first major acting role was in 2002, in the film Antwone Fisher, directed and starring Denzel Washington. What did you learn from working with Denzel Washington? Do you still keep in touch with Denzel today? I was born in 1992 lol so I was 10 going on 11 I think. As I mentioned a little in the answer above working with Denzel just opened my eyes to do so much. He was very involved in the audition processes all the way through. He is a great director and gets his vision across. Watching him direct made me realize that was something I wanted to do.

3. In 2004, you were cast as "Walt" on the Emmy Award winning ABC series Lost. What did you like most about your storyline? I loved working on Lost and going through that whole journey. From a pilot and not knowing where the show could go and then it turning into one of the biggest shows that still can be appreciated 10 plus years later is amazing. Working with that cast and me being one of the youngest cast mates there I just learned so much and soaked up so much from everyone. Loved my story line and how I can make things appear with my mind lol.

Malcolm David Kelley4. Let's just play with the Lost title/theme for a bit. If you got Lost on an island, how do you think you would survive? If you're being Lost was a choice and you could only bring five things with you, what would you bring? I think I would survive ok. lol Even though I hate bugs, I would get used to it lol. Eating salmon lol and fresh fish and fruit. The five things I would need on an island are my girlfriend, clean water, and my speaker.

5. What is one funny story from your time on Lost that you can share with us? One funny time is when we were shooting the pilot on the beach and their were wild hogs running around and I remember they caught them and we ate them lol.

6. In 2010, you appeared in the lead role of "Finn" on the TeenNick program Gigantic. In 2012, you and your former Gigantic co-star Tony Oller formed the pop duo MKTO. How long after meeting, did you you decide you form your own group? What has been the best part about working together and what's the most challenging part? Well while we were filming the first season and after we put songs on YouTube and fans loved it and our producers we signed to saw it, we met with them, cut some records, and then met with some labels ended up with Columbia Records. "Classic" went platinum. I will never forget that and the work we put in and meeting so many great people touring Australia and New Zealand and all of the U.S. and more. Can't wait to get back out there and just being on stage period and being on stage with Taylor Swift in front of 60k people.

7. Your newest single is "Hands Off Your Heart/"Places You Go." What are some favorite "Places You Go" to Eat? Relax? Exercise? Get Coffee/Tea? and Be A Child Again/Forever Young? What are some reasons you'd ask someone to take their "Hands Off Your Heart"? Hawaii definitely is a place I can go relax, eat, and exercise on the Basketball court. Def be a kid again lol. So many memories from filming Lost.

Reasons I would ask a girl to take her hands off my heart are not loving me how I love her or knowing we won't work but it might be right in the moment.

8. Up until now, you're career has been film, television, and music. Do you have any aspirations to come to Broadway? If so, would you want to star in a musical or play? If it had to be a play and musical from the current season, which ones would you like to be part of? I was so close to doing a play while being in my acting class but I ended up booking something so I didn't get to do it. It's on my bucket list to get on stage and do a musical or play. I remember my cousin doing The Lion King and Keke Palmer doing Cinderella. I went to see her as well and I have always admired the craft. As far as what play, not sure, but I like to play, have fun, and push boundaries, so you never know.

9. On August 4, you make your big screen return in the highly anticipated, DETROIT. The American period crime drama based on the The Algiers Motel Incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. How do you feel this film relates now to the trying times we are living in where that moron of President is dividing this nation further and further apart, but the citizen's of the world are trying to keep it together? I feel everything happens for a reason. I'm just glad we are coming together realizing we have made progress but we have much more to do. We are being heard without having to rebel as we have in the past which has turned into some rioting. This time peace is a part of American history and some may know or may not know and as people we are strong enough to understand this movie has so much relevancy to today.

10. What did you learn about yourself, life, and those that supposedly protect us from making this film? Well for the people who protect us, I know sometimes they can abuse their authority as we are being victims to seeing this in real time. I think we need to have our communities' voices heard to stop this. So we need to have a conversation on protocol. What this film did for me is just enlightening me on this particular story in Detroit and reading up in other cities and my home town L.A.

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I want to improve on perfecting my crafts. Especially when people try to make you pick one thing. I want to put the work in to be respected at both.

Malcolm David KelleyMore on Malcolm:

At 25 years-old, Malcolm David Kelley is a veteran in the Entertainment Industry. Malcolm’s first major acting role was in the 2002 film Antwone Fisher starring Denzel Washington, where he played "Young Antwone" -- he was five. His next film role was You Got Served, in which he was cast in the supporting role of "Lil' Saint" where Malcolm played a boy fascinated with the world of street dance who gets caught up in gang mentality, with tragic consequences. The film, starring Steve Harvey, Lil’ Kim and B2K, opened at #1 and grossed $40 million.

In 2004, he was cast to play "Walt" in the ABC’s Emmy Award winning TV series Lost which became a huge cult success. Following his departure from the main cast of Lost, Malcolm appeared in several television roles, including the recurring character of "Benjamin Cooley" on Saving Grace, guest appearances on Glee, My Name is Earl, Law and Order SVU, Bones and dozens more. 

In 2010, he appeared in the lead role of "Finn" on the TeenNick program Gigantic. In 2012, Malcolm and his former Gigantic co-star Tony Oller formed the pop duo MKTO were signed to Columbia Records. The duo's debut self-titled album, was released on April 1, 2014 and spawned the hit single, "Classic" which reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. MKTO recently released, "Hands Off My Heart/Places You Go" and are currently on tour.

On August 4, Malcolm returns to the big screen in the highly anticipated, "DETROIT." The American period crime drama film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal based on the The Algiers Motel Incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest citizen uprisings in United States history. The story is centered around The Algiers Motel Incident, which occurred in Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 1967, during the racially charged 12th Street Riot. It involves the death of three black men and the brutal beatings of nine other people: seven black men and two white women. The ensemble cast also includes: Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski, John Boyega, Laz Alonso, Kaitlyn Dever and Algee Smith.