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OK, ok. All right. OK, let's do the show. Lock the gate.
All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fuck next? What the fuck? What's happening? How's everybody doing? Are you OK? Are you be honest with me because I am definitely not OK. I mean, I'm not really bad, but I'm not OK. I've had enough of this shit. I'm done with it. How many times have I said this over the last year? When is the year anniversary of lockdown?
Soon, right? Any day now. God damn. And I want a vaccine.
Look, today on the show I talked to Jake Gyllenhaal.
You know him from Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, Nightcrawler. He's been doing more stage acting of late and he's nominated for three Tony Awards this year.
Great actor. That kid. Can I call my kid? I think he's young enough. He's younger than me enough for me to call my kid. I had no idea what to expect to never do. I never do.
And it turns out he didn't know what to expect out of me either. And it was a nice conversation. He's a nice fella that Jake Gyllenhaal also.
I'd like to give you a heads up. I just today and I'm recording this yesterday, I talked to Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy for an hour, had Eddie Murphy's face right in front of mine on screen for an hour. And we hashed it out.
We did the comic talk thing. We talked about the old days. We talked about doing the standup. We talked about Pryor, we talked about the movies.
We talked about being a star.
We we did the talk, me and Eddie Murphy. And I got a beautiful big laugh out of them right out of the gate.
It's it's interesting with the zoom and just in general, actually, that's that's that's that's a good point. Mark, why don't you talk about it?
It's interesting because before the plague. When people would come to my house, which is what was the what was required of them to do the show was to come to my house. This house and the old house is that I'd have that moment where I had answer the door.
I'd get there. If they came with people, I'd give them a soda or water or coffee or tea.
Let me use the restroom, have a little chit chat, not too much, but sort of get grounded or get connected in the way the two humans get connected for the five to ten minutes before we get out here and get on the mikes.
So there's a lot of a sort of a small talk and hey, how are you is and what's going on? What was the drive like? What kind of shoes are those? Where are you at with that thing? Everything all right? A little of that. So there's some ice breakage going on. You ease into the conversation out here. That's how it was in the old days. But now with Zoom, it makes it a little tricky because, you know, I get on and we make sure the tech is working.
All right. There's a few bits of chit chat and as people get set up, but usually you're kind of going in cold and you don't know what the connection is going to hinge on or whether there's going to be a connection or whether things are going to start cooking or whether things are going to like just be kind of a trial.
All that shit aside, when I'm doing the zoom, you know, I got it. I got to figure out how to get in pretty quick. And I got to be honest with you, it was very rewarding when Eddie Murphy got on and I took I took a shot at is where he was sitting and man, big laugh from Eddie.
And it was exciting, but more than getting the laugh as a comic, which is great. It was that. OK, so now we can have this conversation. You know, he knows I can do that. You know, I'm not afraid. I'm a comedian. I made him laugh and now he's like popped him open. And here we go. Broke the ice, huh? That's right.
That's what that's what you use comedy for sometimes. Remember you marginally funny people maybe to say, well, funny thing go funny thing to say to break the ice a little something. Get a little bit you do to break the ice. Do you folks if you have thirty three minutes you never have to worry about a break in at home ever again.
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All right. But you know what's amazing about this downtime, about this plague time, about, you know, all the fucking you know, I'm fortunate that I'm not freaking out about money, not freaking out about my health.
I'm sad, but some things are in place, but you know, what's amazing is that with all, even though I'm working, I'm busy. But I'll tell you, I'm still putting stuff off. I mean, what is it? Almost been a year. I got shit in my house that I need to do and I want to do the minor shit, little things, organizing rooms, going through shit, putting that thing up on the wall, doing doing that thing that needs to be done outside, getting that thing done in the garage, whatever the fuck it is.
There's still a bunch of shit that I am putting off. How is that even fucking possible that I'm going to get through the year this and we're going to get back to some semblance of, you know, social engagement, of being able to go do things? And I'm going to say, like, God damn it, why didn't I get that done right? Why didn't I get my office fucking set up at my house? Why don't I get rid of all that shit?
Why not get rid of those books? Why don't I get that switch put in the wall? Why didn't I fucking fix that goddamn thing in the garage? I'm going to get through a year of this and still have shit I haven't done. Why shouldn't I read all of those books that I have been putting off reading my entire life? Why didn't I fucking learn how to how to play chess, why didn't I figure out how to become a baker?
Why did I not create a rocket that we could all go up in and travel to outer space together? And why didn't I cure covid on my own? Why didn't I make a movie? Why didn't I write that script? How come my novels not finished? What have I got to show for myself? I have a few pages and a small notebook. I wrote a song. I talked to some talented people. I processed my shit. I did not learn how to bake a bread, many people did.
There's just some shit I'm still putting off, and you know what, I'm going to go ahead and beat the shit out of myself for that. You know why? Because that's what I do. That's part of my job. What do you do? I'm a clown and I kick my own ass. You.
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Why didn't I read Gravity's Rainbow during lockdown? Why why didn't I buy new sheets? Why is that light bulb still out for a year? Fucking hell, man, I think I'm getting a kitten. It seems like we're moving towards fitness for Buster. I'm saying it's for Buster. What if Buster doesn't like it? You know, I mean, Buster's kind of a bruiser, he's kind of a bully, that fucking cat, but I've decided that I should have two cats primarily for him to, you know, I'm so I can't tell you, man, projecting onto pets is especially now that I'm basically alone in the house, just sitting there looking.
And I'm like, why are you sad, buddy? Were yet you bummed out? Are you mad at yourself that you didn't read Gravity's Rainbow during lockdown? Are you pissed off that you you didn't finish that, you know, scratching up that fucking couch this time, man? Are you are you mad if you've got, like, a profound catnip problem and you're fucking half out of it all the time, does that bother you? Are you sick?
Do you need me to take you in?
I have I can't tell you how many times in my life I've taken cats to vets where there's nothing fucking wrong. But what what I think there's I remember bringing a monkey to the vet once because I decided he wasn't shitting and I brought him to the emergency vet because I decided it was problematic and he was going to somehow die from not shitting. And I brought him there. And as soon as they got him out of that cage and they put him on a table, he shit all over everything.
So I guess taking him to the vet worked.
I it cost me probably two hundred dollars for him to shit all over the vet. But I've decided that Buster needs a friend and I've got one lined up that I think I'm going to call Mingus. Why not get a kitten during lockdown and might happen.
I had dreams about Lynn the other night, and they come and go, but I, I'm trying to relish in them and enjoy them as opposed to wake up.
Sad to challenge, but it is always good to see her, so Jake Gyllenhaal is nominated for three Tony Awards this year, won for Best Actor in a play for his performance in Seawall Life. But he's also nominated as the producer of Sea Life and also Slave Play, which are both up for best play. This is what he's doing. Aside from starring in films, aside from being a movie star, he's a theatrical producer and stage actor and I talked to him.
And we got to know each other. This is me and Jake Gyllenhaal. My one issue is I'm going to take some very long pauses for dramatic intent and emphasis, and if you cut those fucking pauses, then no man, because they're just going to be asking me a whole interview for long pauses. I just want so please just don't cut them. Every answer is going to be an ellipses bill for you. Just just wait. You're going to take a nap through most of it.
So it just is going to be a cruise control for you, Mark. Yeah, well, let me get comfortable. I got pillow.
I just, you know, looking man, if you if you want to, you can edit this later, you know, let us know if the pauses weren't long enough. If you want Brendan to lengthen a pause.
You know, we I was talking to a Jodie Foster about, you know, Fincher. I talked to him for like two hours and and like an hour or two after he talked to me.
So I wasn't good enough, you know, maybe don't put it out like I feel like I could do better, but I swear to God. So I'm sitting on this fucking Fincher interview with the assumption that someday we'll continue the conversation. And that was years ago.
You're not going to continue it. You're going to redo it.
I guess you're just you're going to experience the exact same thing all over again.
I just shot a movie on film and we did not have the luxury of take. Why did you do that?
I don't know, man. They say, look, it was the middle of covid. Some director wanted me. He really wanted me to do this role. And he had 19 days to shoot a feature and he was shooting on film.
So I was like, yeah, yeah. I mean, you had to. Yeah. Maybe one to three takes. That's it.
Well, there is something to that. I will say there is something to like to knowing there is a finite amount. Yeah. With which they can actually record what you've done. And there's like a I think that that anxiety is, I say of an anxiety. I think it's sort of it's it's exciting.
You know, it is. You got to show up. You've got to do it. You know, when you have it in your brain, it's like it's not even on video and you can just do a million. You're sort of like, can we just do that again? Just for me? Thanks.
Totally. No problem. I do think it had I think I think the digital age is extraordinary as it is has has led to, you know, kind of a bit of wandering.
You know, what you also like a bit of it's a certain type of productive laziness, almost like, you know, you you can just keep trying, you know, even half assing until you stumble on something.
I think it's sort of fucked up writing, too, because I don't know, maybe maybe I'm being a stickler.
But the idea of, like, cutting and pasting, you know, no one had that like major novels were written with white out, you know, I mean, my mother is a writer and I remember being on her typewriter as a child.
And one of the things I loved to do was type nonsense and wait it out. Right? Right. That's right. That's what I did. I would just type a bunch of different letters. Right. And then I would decide to just sort of erase half of what White-Out was the coolest thing on a typewriter for a long time.
And it's probably one of the select tricks I had the built in white out thing. Oh, yeah. No, she had the only the best of the best. Yeah. But that's is not that's a weird thing though, because like when you think about shooting on film, it's like you've really got to show up all in ready for work. Like I'm not saying that you don't usually, but there's more at stake and like the process of it. And I think that when you wrote and you knew you had white stuff out or if you wanted to rewrite a page, you had to rewrite a page.
You know, there was a moment where you when you realized you had misspelled. Yeah, no, know, that was a moment that was a legit moment. Yeah. Now it's just taken away from you immediately. Yeah. You don't even know you've misspelled. Yeah. There's this false sense of ego. Well you're writing, you know, you write and all of a sudden it's auto. Correct.
And then when it really comes down to I don't even know if I know how to handwrite anymore, I don't know if I know how to, but I'm having trouble with words.
I could not fucking figure out how to spell sociable the other day. Like, I really could not figure it out. I didn't understand sociable. Right, right. Basically, there's no L in it.
And I was like and it really stumped me. And I felt like, why am I do I have Alzheimer's or is it just this a product of my time? Well, yes.
I mean, I think it's a product at the time. I'm going to tell you that I'm going to take you. Right.
I appreciate that. Is this a medical call? This is good. You want to. I have some other problems. So you want to make you feel better about the others.
Shit. Isn't that sort of what a podcast is about? Yes, it's about making me feel better. Jake, I appreciate you going after doing so. Do you have allergies? Yes.
Are they fucking with you now? Oh, not really. Do I sound stuffy? No, I think I have allergies have been diagnosed. I was looking for a little diagnosis. Yeah, no, I'm just I'm definitely allergic to dust. Oh, dust. But not like seasonal. That's seasonal, too. Yes. Yes, I have it. My grandfather was asthmatic and had a lot of allergies. I think I've I'm not asthmatic, but I definitely have that genetic thing.
Yeah, it is. It is.
I also believe it's epigenetic. We could get into that.
OK, where epigenetic means that learned. You learned your allergies. What does that sort of sort of.
I don't don't please just this is where it really goes off the rails. But I, I it's, it is, it is sort of that I believe I guess I should say that you can have allergies and I think you can sort of get through them. Maybe, but I'm not a really I haven't yet gotten through mind.
You know, I think they're resolvable through through sort of focus, maybe, maybe analysis, meditation, mindfulness.
Yes. Some of them, like, you know, they go away.
The guy that was just on my producer, Brendan, he had a peanut allergy all his life and it went away. Yeah. And we were producing radio back in the day when it happened. And we would do a segment of him eating things with peanuts in it for the first time in his life.
Oh, my God is the best thing in the world.
Did he does he enjoy peanuts now? Yeah, I think so. How could you not? Well, I don't know.
I mean, maybe you're allergic to it and it tastes and, you know, like it. I don't know.
I think he had a good time, I think. And I mean, maybe he'll message or we'll get confirmation. But can you imagine eating a Snickers bar for the first time? Oh, adults. Oh, my. Oh, my God. It's the best thing in the world I know, but it's not as good as when you had it when you were a kid.
There's no I guess my mom was kind of weird about sweets. So the same with mine. He oh, hey, Brendan. Just so he texted me love peanuts. I eat peanut butter every day, every day with a vengeance.
So I want to talk to Brendan about that. But he came in our second version of this.
But this is the second day when you tell me I can't run this one. And you'd rather have Brendan involved with the next one.
You can't run this one, Mark, are you?
And what is that? Is that a real home that you're in? It doesn't seem there as much decor there.
I'm staying in a home. I am staying at home. I'm right now, I'm I'm I'm filming a movie, actually. Oh, really? This is not my this is not my home.
Oh, you're doing it with the covid protocols zone one zone to mask up. It's intense. Zone a zone be. Yes. On a zombie. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it gets a little sloppy after a while.
Doesn't it look like we're doing it or we're not doing it.
We're I mean it's weird this guy and as an actor in it it does get confusing. You know, it depends on also the process. If you're if you're in it and you have your you have your mask off and then there's a little space between takes, it's it's very hard. I've been having difficulty because my my wardrobe and this is not like some fantasy world I'm in, it has no pockets. Normally you just take your mask off. You put in your power, right.
Yes. And you take it back on. You put it back out of your pocket. Yeah. Right. Yeah. But I have no pockets. Right. It's been finding places to put flesh mask because I don't want to waste masks, you know, I mean, you just, you know, with your sides, you know, put it through it.
That's that's like you you're littering. It's I wouldn't be able to keep track, you know, where sites go.
I don't you don't you ever have the many sides that you just stick in the drawer when you're at the desk.
Know I know my lines top to bottom. Do you know? I don't that's not true. But he use the big sides of the many sides.
You get used to many sides, right? I'm I am actually.
I have terrible eyesight. Oh, so you guys go I'm a big sports guy. And I also I also find they're better when you're in a rough spot to refer to quickly. Maybe sides are harder for you.
Like where are we. What. No, what. No. Yeah, but it's also it's like you're searching through little dots.
I mean it looks like just little dots and you've got a market and then I want that. And now they're weird with sides too. Like they got the guy that being a bag they've got to be yours. And really.
Yeah that's like I like I'll have my own side. I like to mark my side, like, you know, with the highlighter.
I still do that. You still highlight.
I of course I don't think that there's this one. Oh oh oh. I was like oh wow. This is yeah.
Oh yeah. Well do you use all different colors on one script.
Well, I found these ones and what I found really great about them. I do use different colors, but I what I thought was this is obviously podcasting opened here to see this, but. Oh yeah, it's called a clear view.
So you can see the word as you oh, it's got a little magnifying glass in the actual. No, no, no, no. It's just it's just clear. Oh, I, you can see the words as you highlight, there's a little lens within the.
Point of the market, what's this movie, man? What have we come to? Is that the name of the movie?
The movie is I mean, it's called it's called Ambulance Ride.
And you're. And what was it? How do I am I can I pitch this?
I don't know. Are you allowed to. Is it.
Who's directing it or Michael Bay.
Oh, that's big. What action is it. An action ambulance movie.
Does the ambulance flip and turn many times?
Well, it definitely turns out it's not it's not a movie where the ambulance just goes straight. No, it just is a chase, though.
A chase rolls.
I mean, it never royal. It doesn't have a role. I mean. Well, yeah, I don't want to spoil it. There's some big that's some plot.
That's a plot point, but it's called an ambulance. So I think it's safe to go ahead and say it involves an ambulance.
And, you know, it's called ambulance, not an ambulance, which would be an amazing title. An ambulance. Yeah, an ambulance.
And you never leave the ambulance. It's just the back of an ambulance. It's like a Pinter play, but it's in the ambulance. Yeah.
Yelling Men in the back of an ambulance.
I mean, sort of it's it's one woman, two guys, and that's. Yeah, yes. That's what it is.
Did you ever do any Pinter plays. Never. I've never done of intraplate. Holy shit man. Have you seen the homecoming.
No. Oh my God. That's just Biomax.
Just like it is like a full the full spectrum of toxic maleness from another time. And it's English toxic maleness.
Well, there are there are many playwrights like that you could go through and and claim that. Sure. Pinter definitely. Yeah.
And which is share you're this like you are now nominated in a couple of different categories for theater. You're like you're like a bona fide theater guy now for real.
You you get to like you get to claim that you get to I'm going to say it right now.
I'm probably going to say it again and again when I introduce you bonafide theater guy, Jake Gyllenhaal.
No, but I mean, you you're up for producing and you're up for acting.
I mean, and the thing that you produced was like some real kind of provocative, ballsy art that must have taken, I mean, to do sort of play into what was the process of choosing to produce and getting involved with that, because it made a lot of waves. And it's so exciting to know that that kind of theater, not only is it being done, but it was popular. Well, it was simple.
I saw it off Broadway. Yeah, it was extraordinary. And. You know, I think my producer and I, her name is Reeva Markhor, we just. You know, one of the things that I feel is like theater is my love, it has been since I was a little kid.
And it you know, I not only I mean, you can talk to pretty much any actor who, even as a child, was at first was performing on the stage, you know. Yeah.
So is that what you were you started on stage? Not professionally, I didn't. But yes, I my children's theater. Yeah, I was doing everything I was doing had when I was a kid, it was like I did children's TV. Yes. Well, here in L.A.. Where'd you grow up? I grew up in Los Angeles. Yeah. And there was like a children's because I've talked to a lot of actors that did that. I mean, you know, some children, singers were really kind of like the real deal.
I mean, you you worked you learned, you did things.
I mean, I don't know why, but I I grew up I was always sort of taught by my family. And whatever it was that you chose to do, it had to have sort of a craft, you know.
Really? Yes, you're right. You were taught that like because your dad was a director, right?
Director. My mother was is a writer.
And so they were big on, like, learning the thing.
Well, I think I think most of all, they were just my mother in particular. Both of them were education of any kind was very important. Yeah.
You know, knowing the history of whatever it was you were doing and learning from the classics and knowing what came before you, you know, really.
So, yeah, I mean, I don't know that that to me was that that was always that was always sort of part of it for us.
But when you grew up, though, you thought about the stage more than you thought about, you know, film because I mean, you were doing both. I guess you did film pretty early.
Yeah. I mean, I don't know how how much I was thinking about the medium, right?
Yeah. Yeah. Certain age. You weren't like that at seven. You weren't saying like I just want to do theater.
I like gratefully I wasn't one of those kids. Yes. But I, but I, I just knew I had it gave me so much joy. Yeah. Oh yeah. And I also knew like I sort of I was super stimulated by the thrill and the, the intensity of.
Yeah. You know, of an audience to me. The live audience. Yeah. Yeah. And it didn't though. It made me nervous. It did. It also it was something else. It's sort of something inexplicable. I can't figure it even to this day. I can't really explain, you know, it is such a crazy craft. I mean, you know, to to somehow enjoy being in a spotlight where you can see nothing. Yeah.
And sort sort of see the other actor you're working with. Right. And like and have an audience responding this in this blackness like. Yeah. You can't even, you know, that that sort of thing isn't there. It's, it's not for the faint of heart. And it's a very odd process. It's just so strange. And to actually enjoy something like that, it makes you a very odd person. Yeah.
Well, it's so heightened, you know, that whole sort of being on stage with other actors and and. Well, yeah. I mean, I guess it is most people it scares the shit out of. But you can also see just in the way you explained it, how it would be completely addicting and in enchanting. Like if you've got the thing for it, then you know what? Why would you ever want to stop doing that?
Well, it's interpreting something great. Yeah, I think there's anything better.
I mean, there's you know, the only time that I've ever felt oddly comfortable was when I had music underneath me. You know, when I had a downbeat. I did like I remember doing a concert at City Center of Sun, the park with George. The show that I did. Yeah, we eventually did on Broadway.
But and, you know, when you're doing this concert center city center, they're readings basically where you rehearse for four days and then you and you have the script in front of you sometimes, you know, half your it's one of those nightmare dreams, you know, half your lines.
Right. Right, right. And you have the script with you. And I remember not being nervous before I went out in front of, like 5000 people at City Center. And I that made me freak out. Oh, really? You know, just sort of being like, I feel comfortable. This is odd. I don't know what's going on and how did it go?
Shouldn't feel comfortable. It was great. I mean, we took the show to Broadway, so it went well.
So that was a big musical. And musicals are this whole other thing. I like musicals. I don't go to a lot of musicals. I've never been in a musical. But any time there are people singing and dancing, I get moved to tears. Even if it's not sad.
I just I don't know why there's just such output a human output vulnerability, because it's I it's brave. Yeah. It's brave to be that vulnerable. Yeah, exactly.
We kind of all I mean not all of us but I, I'm so desperate to try and be open even though most of the time, you know. I'm a pain, you know. Yeah, so want to be that when you're sitting in the dark and you're watching somebody be just so vulnerable and all right, it's just it's inspiring and it's really moving. And I you know, it's also a you can feel the Camaro, you think about it, but you can feel the community of particularly musical theater.
There's just such a deep support.
When I did when I was doing that show I was talking about before, you know, we had so many swings, you know, as we moved into, like the actors who come in and out and on stage.
When you doing a play? Yeah. No music. Right. You have understudies, but very rarely do they come out. Yeah, right. When you're doing a Broadway musical, people are interchanging parts constantly.
I mean because there are other factors. There's like there's voice. There's dance. Yeah. Injured. Something happens, you know.
And so there the level of skill it takes, you know, people know three or four parts at a time whether playing one other part.
And then one night someone comes in and they're playing the other part, you know, and someone else has moved in for them and the right before the show, everyone is so loving and supportive of the people who are coming in to play these parts. Yeah, they are just buoyed up by the cast. I didn't experience that as much in plays like straight actors don't have the same kind of. Yeah, like just full hearted. Like I'm going to give you my everything tonight because music does something to people.
Because it's the collaboration is literally you're singing at the same time you're engaged in the same piece of music where unless you can look at a whole play as a singular piece, I think most actors in plays, depending on what their character is, they're kind of selfish animals, you know, and you're just looking for that, that you just want to be present for the other people, the other actors in there in your moments.
But I would imagine with singing, it's sort of like we're singing, you know, there's nothing else.
You know, you're we're obviously we're present.
We're but I think silence has a lot to do with it, too, with, you know, musicals, with.
Well, what you notice, I feel like when you do a play is that you can hear the audience so much more clearly.
You can hear when a cell phone goes off, you hear when somebody is doing something, you're coughing up music.
Oh, yeah, we're doing a musical. You can't hear any of that stuff unless there's a there's a sort of like an ebb in the music. You can't hear any of that that stuff. Yeah. So so there's a sense of when an understudy comes on to play a role in a moment.
And when I've had to cover something for someone, there's this silence is never ending. There's no music on either side.
It's just you with lines. You kind of know.
You know. Right. You know.
Yeah, I don't know. And I guess other people be more scared of a downbeat and music playing and a 22 piece orchestra behind them. But I think the silence is actually more terrifying.
No, silence is horrible, especially if you own your brain. Oh, yeah.
And in that moment where you're like, I could fuck up, like where you just want to disappear or cry.
Yeah, yeah. But then if you cry, ones like oh I know. Wasn't in play and had nothing to do with you wrote a choice. What a choice. What a choice. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. It was a choice because I didn't know what the lines were and I was truly sad in that moment.
So, so that's interesting to me that you find, you think of theater as being sort of part of your DNA from when you were a kid.
So when you're put in a position to be able to produce things, you know, you connect with it directly like that.
Well, yeah, the company that I that I started this is like six or seven years ago now. We started to produce the things that I was in. It was just such a wonderful process. And so then we started thinking, well, let's find artists that we love and want to support and and try and bring their stories to the stage and then bring those stories if they're already on stage to a larger audience.
And that was really the goal with slave play was this. There was this incredible piece of work. It was challenging. It was provocative. And I thought, you know, when I finally met with Jeremiah Harris, who wrote it, you know, his his goal was to bring a story like that to a larger audience and to do it in a way that was authentic and his own.
And, you know, the way I look at theater, particularly Broadway, is there's a kind of I don't know, there's there's there's there's a way in which it's always been done.
And that's beautiful. But we're a much younger company. We're pretty ambitious, and we just wanted to break it open. Yeah. You have a certain number of theaters. There's a set schedule all the time. You know, the same kind of five or six producers are putting things in. Yeah. At different times. And I was just thinking I'd love to mix it up and be a part of things to do. And when I saw Sleepless, I said maybe we can help them and.
Jeremy was like, I would love that, you know, it just went along with the spirit of his show to have a younger group of producers, you know, bring it there.
So that was slightly and I just it just shocked me and hit me in in a way that I, I want theater to do. I mean, I remember walking out of the show for the first time in. Thinking this is why I go to the theater and I haven't felt that in a long time. This one sounds like one of those things where, you know, there's provocative is one thing, but something that kind of pushes buttons to the point of being controversial is not something you necessarily see on Broadway.
Hmm. Yeah. I mean, you're dealing with race. You're dealing with sex. You're dealing with relationships and all in wanting for me about.
Right. Yeah. Well, when you're dealing with. You know, I remember when I saw fun home, for instance, you know, the shows, I remember when I saw fire at the Public Theater, which is an incredible musical. And I remember not knowing anything about actually Allison Blake told it's based on a graphic novel, and I remember I didn't I didn't really know her work the time. And I walked in the public theater and I saw this piece and it you know, I walked in sort of hesitantly.
I was alone. I was told to go see it by a friend. So it was wonderful. And I was sort of unsure the first five minutes. And then after the first five minutes, I ended up sort of weeping through the entire show all the way home. And the show is about a.
A gay female cartoonist whose father was gay and who never, never came out and ends up killing himself, and she ends up telling a story about her own journey through all those same questions through him.
Now, when you hear that, you go, you know, how is that fully relatable to a wider audience?
It was all about family and all about the secrets that we hold from each other, the fear we have within our families, not just the secrets of sexuality or whatever it might be, the secrets that we just the ones that feel so big to us, but would be so small to other people that when you told us someone else, they what, though?
It's a big deal. Just just just tell your dad just, you know, whatever it might be.
And it hit me so deeply in my in my heart. And I felt that way about slave play that somehow I when I when I watched it for the first time, I thought, I have so much to learn. I see the world in a particular way because of my my position. And and it was just it was it cracked me open and. Yeah. So when you say it's not just provocative, when I say provocative, I mean that, I mean it it, it like knocked at my heart and it made me say like, hey, you got a lot of shit wrong here, you know.
Right. And also you're on the right track, you know, and if there was a there was a thing about it that I wanted other people to feel I hoped other people would feel. And as a producer, I think that when you get that feeling like you do as an actor, you watch a performance and you're envious. You wish you were in that show. Yeah. You know, right. Yeah, it's the same thing. It's like you see the show and you go, I want to be a part of this.
How can I be a part of this? I was just lucky enough to get in in a space where I could.
And the one you acted in Seawall a life. I watched a bit of a monologue on that guy's radio show.
Oh, right. Oh right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. On on on NPR. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean that that show was a long, long journey and one that. I would say was I did a show called Constellation's written by Nick Payne, who about six years ago maybe Mörner, I don't know, time as time has bought. Yeah, it's hard to know. Every day is a week.
Yeah. Know or every week. Is it something. Should we get into that or anyway. Only if you can. Only if it's epigenetic in terms of arsenic.
I'm really glad we didn't follow that one. I close that door. I think God. But I. But Nick is a beautiful playwright. I've done two of his I have two of his shows. And while we were doing this other show, I asked him how he came up with the idea of it, because constellations, the show that I did was about a love story taking different universes. And we were like 75 scenes over 90 minutes of a love story between two people.
And I was and it was ultimately about different universes in which a couple splits up, where a couple comes back together after splitting up, where she passes away. There's a lot a lot happened. Yeah.
And he said I I was inspired when my father died about the idea of, you know. Quantum theory and the idea that there are other there are potentially other universes.
And it gave me comfort to think that my father and I existed. We do still exist in another another universe.
And so he said I wrote this thing that I actually performed and I'll send it to you, which is how I first was inspired to write. And he sent it to me. And it was about his the passing of his father.
And it was just the most one of the most incredible things that I've read. And over five years after we finish that show about every six months, I would ask him, can I just do this in a black box somewhere? Yeah, can I just perform this? Right. And he said he said no. Over and right to personal. Yeah. Yeah. And and I think, yeah, I just felt like out of character, it's like, why would you do it?
It's just me and then it's me.
It's talking about the experience of losing my father. Yeah. And and it was it was cathartic. And it was important for me to to write and express. And he actually performed it at like at the Royal Court upstairs in a small theater. I think three nights he performed it. You just read it from a piece of paper and that was it. He had it, expunged it, and that was done. And I just couldn't stop thinking about it.
And then, like, after a few years, I just came back to him and he finally sort of started thinking about it. And then weirdly, this convergence of Tom Sturridge, who's a wonderful actor, he wanted to do this monologue by Simon Stevens, and they have these similar themes. And Simon Stevens and Nick Payne, the both of the authors are very close friends. And so all of a sudden, Nick said, oh, maybe, maybe it could work, maybe.
And then he started to rewrite it and he started to rewrite it about the birth of his daughter.
We had just had a year prior and the death of his father and how the two of those things sort of came together in his mind at the same time and. We just started working on it and worked on it over a year and worked on it over a year at the public theater really, or six months when we provided the public theater and then brought to Broadway. And it was just one of these experiences of like.
Talking to people about life and death, right? Yeah, and it kind of bounces back and forth between the experiences like that monologue that I thought you did like 10, 12 minutes. But that was. Yeah, but that wasn't a compilation. That was a chunk of the actual piece, right? Yeah.
And oddly, on on NPR, in a show like that, like feels like someone's doing a piece on NPR. Sure.
It's like it was like a you know was like a story being told like yeah it did seem like that.
Like you just said, who's this guy talking about this thing. Why do you keep bouncing back and forth from birth to death?
Yeah, it's like this second part of this American life, you know.
But but but it but in in the context of the like, the realness of theater, it gave a kind of sacredness to the real like them on the mundane kind of I love that what it is where you can take a room like that, where you could take one of those giant theaters that was built to house spectacle and make it an intimate space.
And all of the emotions that come with that, that's the best.
That was like I spent a year doing that. And the stories that came from people are the reason why we just continued to do it, because we would go backstage after the show. Yeah. And normally where people go like, oh, please, like, yeah, sure, I'll take a picture. However, you know, you'll sign your playbill. You know, there's that exchange. It was like. It was a it was an experience where people come back and they would just share their stories of relationships with their parents or the loved ones, loved ones, they've lost grief and grief and grief.
But joy, I mean, like all of it together in a space. And it just created this community of people. I mean, and then we would have these talkbacks after the show, which we did really, you know, two times a week.
We were we were doing these talkbacks where people would stay and.
And it was like it was some of the the best times as a performer that I've ever had was being able to it was a it really.
And thinking about how. We don't have ceder right now. Yeah. It was exactly the reason why I do theater and I never knew it, you'd never get that kind of interaction. Particularly because you're very rarely I mean, you do because you just stand you maybe not symbolic for me. Usually you're just pretending that they're not there. And in this piece, you were speaking directly to them. So the mandate from our director was anything that happens, you roll with.
And also like it striking me as you tell me about it, that that is the necessity. That is why theater is necessary, was, you know, if you don't even if you don't have that dialog or that talk back after the show, the sort of intimacy and the visceral nature of of of people performing whatever piece it is, is it's moving in in an essential kind of human connected way.
And I don't think, you know, I think when people talk about theater of the vitality of it or why it's necessary, culturally, that is what it is.
It's that it's that dialog.
Right. Yes, and and I think it has become. Elitist and in in Broadway and Broadway in particular, I think there's an issue with the nature of the amusement park part of it and also the nature of subscribers.
It's an it's an old timey thing. Yes.
And and the audience is older. The audience is not always multicultural, you know. Yeah, it is. It is. And so it's true. Expanding that expanding that audience is so important because I think the authors and the people who are coming up, the things that they have to say, you have to earn the audience in a way that in a lot of ways in movies you don't. And I think the author's coming up. What they have to say is it's just like right now with it gone, the importance of it.
Yeah. Of community and being together is is. I could last it could last for me, I'm lucky I could, you know, movies have paid my way.
Yeah, like but the community of theater is is life changing.
Like, I've heard people talk about movies that changed their life. Theater changed my life. And there are shows I see I've seen that have changed my life.
And also like, I think, isn't it the world of theater, especially in New York, when you really think about it, is is it's it's a whole community in and of itself. It's it's small, but people have been in it for a long time. And, you know, there's actors that, you know, almost do theater exclusively there. Certainly people that work in the theaters on all levels that have been doing that for years, that there is a dug in world of theater that is a lot warmer and a lot more inviting and a lot more sort of grounded in its own community than film.
I mean, you know, you do films like, you know, you see a gaffer and you go, yeah, dude, you were on that.
Hey, man, what's up? But but it seems that more so than not, when I talk to actors who do movies together, even if you spend a year with these people, you leave and that's it. You know, totally. It's done totally. You know, you're not you're not hanging out.
And also, I think there's just the nature of the schedules. Great with what? Theater. Theater?
Like, you know, rehearsals are usually, you know, what, nine, ten o'clock till five right now.
And and and then when you finally in the show, you do the show, you know, you do the show, you you get there six, seven, maybe, you know, on Tuesdays and Saturdays you're doing matinee and evening performance, but your whole day is taken up. But like the rest of the days, you have your day and then in the evening you have this thing you're doing. Yeah. And and do something to look forward to.
There's a sort of profound sort of like inconsistency to the schedule of making movies that is like, you know, there's just no there's no real consistency.
You don't know you don't know when you're going be like we're going to need you today to do the thing with the hat. Yeah. And everybody needs to be there to work, particularly the actors. Everybody needs to be there even if they're only in a scene or two. If you're there for four scenes, you need to be there every night. You need to be there every night at the theater. Yeah. And then a movie they'll call you in like, you know.
Well, the whole thing about like, you know, just me being sort of green at it, like in trying to appreciate the process. I mean, you've been doing it since you were movie actor.
Green. Yeah. You're not green at movies. Yeah, I am. I've only done a few. You know, I've you know, I've haven't been acting that long, you know, really. I mean, I did go I did my show, but I haven't been in that many movies. You know, Jesse Peretz is a good friend.
Oh yeah. Jeff Jesse's great. Yeah. Jesse and his cast iron pans in his New York attitude. Yeah. I love Jesse. Yeah. And he likes his cast iron man.
Hey, who doesn't love it. Lasted a long time I'm sure.
Man you got it. Fetishized cast iron. I'm in and out of that. I do, I do do it. I have I have a pretty deep relationship with the cast iron right now that I.
Well, it's clear, you know, you're making that. So it's very recently. You care about it recently. Seasoned cast iron and put. There is. There is. Yes but but but but talking about the.
So I mean you're acting when you're a kid, you're in your parents movie. Did you train to act at some point in any real way.
You mean do I go to school for acting or whatever, you know, I mean, did you learn to act at some point outside of just experientially. Oh yeah.
Well, I mean, when I was when I was very young, I would go to this place called The Young Actor Space and Studio City. Right.
I started sort of there was never any formal training, but I did go to classes. I took classes. But like those kind of classes you take at school and OK, but I never went to an acting school. I have had to learn. Sort of more technical things about acting and how to survive as an adult actor. As I could, you know, from from people in on, I'm sure, picking up books. Yeah, like picking up books, reading, reading different ideas, sort of getting into the different ideas of.
From people who have been to school for like who like who have you worked with where you're sort of like picked up, you know, sort of tricks that because I think the question I'm sort of beating around the bush here is, is that there's a tedious element to film and television acting. There's a lot of waiting around. The takes are quick.
You know, you have to be aware of a lot of things to make the take resonate as best it can. And on some level, as an actor, it seems like if you don't look at it correctly, it could be fairly unsatisfying.
Well. I mean, man, is it a great job? I'm sure there's a lot of there's a lot of tedium that I would prefer not to, of course.
Yeah, I mean, I guess that's a given. I'm just saying, like as an artist, as some guy who I just talked to about theater with for a half hour, you know, because I'm sorry about that, but I don't know.
I love it.
But like for me, like, I just recently realized that, you know, when you do a scene, when you've got to shoot, when it's action, that, you know, that has to be the thing. You know, you can't sit around bored or, you know, you learn how to use that free time. But the thing of acting in a movie, it's in these pieces and you've got to show up for those pieces. And as an artist, they you want them to be satisfying.
Yeah. I mean, I think that's a skill. I think it's a skill that I'm is not my strongest skill. I much prefer a like a long endurance rather than I do a. Right. Yeah. And I use that like metaphorically as an as an actor. Like, I figured I was speaking.
I do like I it's very it's a very difficult skill to come in and like kill it in a little space. Right. And I've developed techniques to try and do that, to give a director what they need. And speaking of being on film, you know, it's like the digital part of it has been helpful because you can kind of do a series. Right, like that. Kind of lets just keep rolling and I'm going to do that same scene again.
Can we just go from the I'm getting the energy up. Can I just start from the beginning. I'm in it now. Yeah. Yeah.
So but yeah. I mean those skills I've watched so many actors and what they do over the years, I've mimicked them, I've mimicked their behavior before, takes some of those things have worked for me. Some of them haven't gotten me in trouble. Some of you know like.
Yeah. Like you can watch somebody rile themselves up and they can you know, they can, like, get really frustrated or get their mind right now.
I remember beautiful. I mean, there's so many so many actors do some crazy shit man like, you know, to get themselves into a scene. Yeah, I do remember watching, like, being kind of in awe of watching Heath Ledger, like, you know, and and how he would he would get himself into a scene and. I you know, I worked at a young age with Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter and all of those out of all the actors you can name, I could see them really putting a lot of whatever it is into getting ready to do it.
Well, I remember, Dustin, which movie remember it's called Moonlight Mile. I remember Susan telling me. I remember Susan telling me before you have an emotional scene, you should drink a lot of water because tears really do dehydrate you, you know, and these are the things you pick up where, like, I'll never forget, you know, like I will. And like, I'll drink so much water before an emotional scene to people like what's wrong with him.
Like, I don't I won't cry. I will cry the whole scene. I'll just drink water. You know, it's just like something that Susan Sarandon told me.
Or in case you cried, you wanted to be filled up. You wanted to. Yes.
Yeah. You know, full tank. Full tank. But I think that, like, I would watch Dustin get physically like he would he would get his energy up, like he would actually get his blood flow.
Yeah. Which is something that I didn't even understand at the time. You know, I didn't even get. Oh, right. This is this is your instrument. Sure. Which is which is a very typical thing you would learn in. Right.
Acting class, which I did.
Do you know, you do warm up exercise and things like that. But that was like I remember him doing sort of. Push ups and running in place, getting ready before sometimes just a regular scene where you walk through, you know, having that stuff going through, being a light flowing. Yeah, yeah.
You know, those are two good lessons yet work, you know, get yourself worked up a little bit and drink a lot of hydrated.
But I guess what I mean, is there anything else that I know present to be present?
I don't know what that means. That's I think I think it's it's. I for a long time, I really love the idea when you talk about being present, I love the idea of actually being present to the things that are going on, you know, that you can't.
And that was it was cool about the theater piece that we did in the seawall. Life thing was things happened.
And you have these classic stories of all these wonderful, incredible legends of the theater telling like some woman opening her, you know, butterscotch candy that like they're not going to start until she finishes that wrap, you know, like, you know, Padilha poun, you know, like going in like taking the taking the pack of gum out of the woman's hands, you know, and saying, like, you're destroying the sacred space.
But like what I think is cool is responding to the present of what's happened. Right. You know. Yeah. The audience is with you or even if you're in 17th century France or some shit on stage stuff's happening out there in the audience. And it could be inspiring, you know.
Yeah, even. Yeah. When you're on a stage, you feel I mean, if you're at all attentive, which I am hyper attentive, you you feel almost emotionally connected to that crowd.
I can feel a crowd easily.
I mean, I know when I look outside, like before I do a show at a theater, I'll go on to the theater before the crowd comes in just to sort of assess the space. But when they come in and I'm looking from the backstage, I'm like, I know exactly where the pockets are. I know where there might be resistance. I know where there's a problem, you know, sometimes. Do you project ever do you focus all the time on confined yourself?
Like being like I project. I project all the time. That's it's part of my genius. Is that is that that like I like even when I come in to interview someone like you, I'm like, I'll have decided who you are.
And then we just sort of course we'll just sort of battle back from that.
You don't think I didn't know that I was very present at the top of this interview. I understand. I understand.
I talked to your sister. Did you hear me talk to your sister? I didn't. Oh, yeah.
She's she's she's pretty. She's very cool and like sort of like earnest and kind of like and a little intimidating with the earnest good.
I'm glad she intimidated, you know. How are you how is she not intimidated everybody, isn't it?
Well, she's happens to be pretty brilliant. So no, she's great. But yes, she's she is my sister and she's a really lovely voice. Yeah. Great voice. Like, yeah, it's a very soothing and really smart. And it was it was great. It was a great it was a great talk. But this is going to be intimidated.
That's OK. It's OK. It's OK. You get there.
What I'm you know, we didn't I don't remember laughing a lot. And when we've had some good laugh, I remember I remember the intimidation sort of stifled the laughter part.
I just had to deal because I have a lot less interesting things to say. I don't know. So I just had to use humor as a kid. I like it. That's basically.
So when you talk about Heath preparing like that, that character was so repressed, compressed and sort of smoldering in a sort of strange, sensitive way. What do you remember him doing it for, Brokeback?
I remember I remember really beautiful things about in, um, telling me early on that, you know, the character was very sensitive to light, you know, and sound that they're just sensitive to this, really. And that defined it the. Yeah.
Like the shape of his character from very early, he decided that ah Ang Lee decided that.
He decided that he said on. And so, you know, I think this idea of this I really reveled in that always this idea of this sort of. The sort of quote unquote, kind of stronger version of the two of them, you know, the sort of typical male version of of the of the sort of opposing kind of ideas that Áng was going for in that movie. I really have observed so many wonderful actors.
Amazing to me. That to me is what the like outside of the movies I've done or the things I've been outside of any of that. It's the ability to be around those people that have has been so incredible as I look back on the things that I've done so far. I just can't believe the presence I've been in. Yeah, and it's when you're in it, you I mean, I don't know about you, but there are moments where you're in a scene with somebody or if you're lucky enough, just to be doing off camera lines with somebody you respect.
You like to see work where you can just really take it in.
It's fucking astounding because it's such a yeah, it's such a heightened moment when they go action, you know, and like the way that, you know, the silence all of a sudden, all of a sudden this thing happens. And I don't know, anybody can really know it.
And in theater, you know, people witness it with you.
But when you're doing movies or TV and sometimes where I'd be working with, you know, Betty Gilpin or somebody, you know, like, I would just be looking at her going like, oh, my God, she's really doing it, you know, like, that's my favorite thing.
My God, he's yeah.
He's really doing it. He's saving the world is good.
But, you know, it's exciting to see it, you know, as a fan or as somebody who wants to be moved, like, I would find myself in scenes that weren't even sad. Again, it's a human thing. The vulnerability thing. We're like, I'm getting choked up and it's not even called for. So I'm like, I'm fighting back tears and I'm supposed to be doing something funny. But I'm so engaged in the humanness of the situation that, you know, you get overwhelmed.
I do think that the best filmmakers are the ones who they're all different kinds who are the best, I think, who do incredible work. And like sometimes you just don't know. It's such a weird thing, you know, as an actor to in a film, you just the thing I've learned from stage so much is that, like I said, I asked if you projected on. Yeah. The audience because so often you think things suck and like people come off.
And that was amazing. I know you have no idea ever. So I've given up over the years on even thinking anything works. I just do what I can do and hope for the best. I literally close my eyes and throw the dart right and go like, you know, I've done this for a couple of years. Pretty much know where the bull's eye is. If I get it anywhere in and around that good, I'll be here.
And also, you don't want to deny people their experience, you know, just because you didn't feel, you know, it was your night or your scene or your movie. If somebody loves you, you've got to let them have that, you know, you want to be that guy. Thought you were great in that. Like, now I don't know what night you go, you know.
Yeah, well, by the way, come on, you have to you have to have done that.
That's like that's so that's such a that's that's a classic old stand up. Oh, Seattle. Yes. Well, you know, there's you ever heard that joke?
There's there's several angles. I don't know how people tell the joke about the comic. Like, you know, he's he's in a town where he's doing a week at the comedy club and, you know, he's at the mall, you know, like on the Saturday after the Friday show, just walking around and some girl walks up to him and says, man, you were great last night.
You just you were so hot and funny. And I'd really like to hang out with you tonight if you have time. And he goes, what show? First or second show?
I mean. Right.
That's about sums it up. Yeah, that about sums it up. The actor's life.
I mean, in truth and true. Yeah. It's like if only they knew what a narcissist they were telling was, you know, is it narcissism or is it just like horrendous insecurity.
I mean, I mean on some level, like, you know, it is selfish, but I mean, you know, you do have certain feelings about, you know, when you felt like you connected and there is, you know.
Yeah, but those things are just not like they just don't matter. You're right. It just doesn't matter. Like the number of times I've come off of the preview period in theaters and I love the most. And it's like there are a number of times I came out of a preview going, like, we knocked that out, like that was great.
And the director comes back and goes like it was way too slow, you know, and you're like what I like. But I was indulging every possible feeling like, isn't that what it's all about? The audience was so bored. Oh, you're just please, you're not telling the story, you know, and then you do it the next day, you're like, fine, I'll pace it. And it's like such a sort of like technically well done right in time thing on a Saturday.
And the director comes back and is weeping and you go like, I hate my job. This is what is this like? There's nothing in it for me. You know what? You hate your job. You succeeded at pretending that is the job. Yeah, that's the thing. It's it's like, well, just let me indulge, you know. Right. I mean, there is a I think that there is something that's so humbling and wonderful about that because in the end, story is king, right.
Story is quite like and and that's the thing that I've learned as best as I can, is you service that story, you will bring people joy, you will bring people discovery. And if you can, when you have an opportunity, pick the right authors, because that's really the job. It's like you pick the right author, you pick the right as an actor.
Yeah, but I mean, yeah, then then then you're just sort of you're in service of that thing. Yeah, that's true. And that's it. I mean, but it is sort of that. And you better love the music you're singing. Yeah. Right. Because and and if you don't then, you know, you better be able, you know, you better be supporting a life that you love, you know.
Do you feel like you shifted to like that?
There was like once you started to really focus or once you did Sunday in the park there, was that the thing that opened you up had you kind of exhausted yourself with movies at that point?
I don't think I'll ever be exhausted by movies, but I know. I think I just hit a point. Where I asked myself what I really love and I've always loved. And had a I think, a skill enough to do. Musical theater live, right, and I think that form of storytelling has always been my love, right, eye telling, acting through music, I think is the strength that that does bring me joy.
But I also think I'm something about being able to communicate through that. That way. I've always felt. But I always felt people told me, oh, you have all these amazing opportunities like you can be in film. And, you know, like, why would you why would you want to do that? You have this blossoming career in movies like Go for It. This is the thing. And I. Well, yes, you're right. And then and I felt like I should be embarrassed of that or something like I like, oh, you know, and so many people tell me, like, I hate musical theater, you know?
And so you go like, oh, yeah, you're mad. I mean, you're almost like a closeted musical theater.
Oh, are you kidding me. Like appreciator, like desperately in love with. Let's just be I'm going to be like so I so I think that at a certain point in my life maybe just getting older, I was like, okay, fuck whatever he says, I don't give a shit like this brings me joy. I'm going to I'm going to die one day, like, what am I doing? I'm going to do this.
And so I just said and I also met this incredible person, Jeanine Tesori, who happened to write Furnham is the composer, is an incredible musical theater composer and composer.
And she was like she she they were doing Little Shop of Horrors with Ellen Greene, the original Audrey at City Center in New York City. And she was like, well, you play Seymour in that. And I was like, absolutely not. You know, like I was. And she was like she just spent so much time convincing me that I could do it, that I finally was like, fuck it, I'm going to do this.
Yeah. And and it was the best experience I've ever had. Like, I was so mind blowing to be on a stage with Alan Green, who originated a part that like no one else can, you know, she just she just she's the OG of Ogg's.
And she, you know, being up there with this incredible cast performing, that was when I was like, you know what, I want to do more of this. You know, let's let's try it. And Janine has been my you know, my my teacher and my my guide and and guru and friend through so much. She she brought Sunny in the park with George to me. And and then, you know, we're doing the movie Fun Home and so.
Well, that's good. Then you can do the other stuff too.
Now you've done now you just sort of broadened your heart and and impossibilities of employment.
Yeah. Both I like that. Yeah, you're right. It's basically about employment. Yes.
But it just opens up a whole new path that you happen to love. It doesn't diminish anything, but I imagine it it fills in a gap that wasn't there, fills in a compartment in your soul that wasn't there.
I mean, you know, obviously you're great at movies and you've done great work.
But, you know, having the courage to to sort of follow through with the musical thing, despite the judgment that you thought you would come out, you just because you love it so much and then having the opportunity, it must make you feel like a whole person as an artist, you know, is that is that how you felt?
About getting into movies and like when you did. Yeah, I remember watching being like, he's fucking great. Oh, that's nice. Thanks. And and and so distinctive.
Like when you're in that the first time you show up in that show, it's like it's like boom.
Like you're. And by the way, that was like if you wrote that out, what I just said, I would sound like a fool, but I probably sound like a fool without writing it. But you were just like, boom, you were there. And and I. And do you feel that way about movies like do you feel like this? You love it.
Well, this last one was the first time that I chose to do something that was scary to me. Like because it's not like I'm getting a lot of roles, but usually if they want me to be in something, it's to be the cranky, neurotic, amped up, whatever, you know, sort of like Sam Sylvian Anglo or whatever. But this one, the guy really liked the work I did on my show. He liked the way that I was emotional in my face.
And this guy that he wanted me to play was this relatively earnest, somewhat kind of beaten down a bit Texan guy who had been sort of humbled by life, but definitely not neurotic or necessarily self aware or angry or anything.
I was I had to be Texan and I told the guy said, like, I don't know, you know, I don't know about the accent. He's like, well, work around that. I might.
And but then, like, in my mind, I'm like, but this challenge yourself that you wanted to try to do it, do it, you know, meet with the dialog, coach a dialect coach, figure this shit out and just commit and then. And so I did. And I was very proud that I did. And the guy was happy. I mean, that ultimately, that's all.
Like you said, you're servicing this thing and the director is doing this thing. And I needed to show up for work because he only had 19 days. And I'm working with Heavy's man. You know, Andrea Riseborough.
Yeah, of course. She's the other person like me and her mostly.
But that is very helpful. When you have someone that you have actors like, yet there's also you're like, yeah, I guess.
Yeah, right, right, right, right, right. They can carry me. Yeah.
But they, but they elicit or they elicit a real response or they listen to something that's like that, that is you know it's, it's, it's that terrible cliche, tennis metaphor. But it's true.
But my point being that this was the first time that I felt like, you know, I showed up with a craft in place with choices, you know, and taking a risk for me and really engaging in the work of acting. It was really the first time that I had the freedom of mind in the lack of fear to feel that. So. Yeah, yeah.
Did you feel like you, like, pushed through your, you know, the accent thing and.
Yeah, you know, I just figured out, you know, like, I guess like any actor does, you know, I figured out, well, how do I get into this? How do I get into this guy? You know what?
You know, what can I rely on as a tool to show up for these scenes in the show up emotionally? How do I you know you know, the dialect coach had written out some words, you know, a little primer of how to say, yeah.
So like, you know, in my trailer, I just run through those and plant the thing and then let it go.
I'm sure I'm sure there's the accent's not perfect. But look, man, I did a little research and I watched some big fucking actors do accents and no one holds it perfectly.
No, I mean, and that's the thing is I think it's all in a certain way a kind of performance, like even the the the sort of stringing through of rewrites, you know, like a career is. That is right. And there are people who spend so much time curating that. Yeah. You know, just like obsessively picking and and that's become the sort of idea of what a great actor is of like curating it to the point of, like, obsession.
And I just think, you know, I hope all those people are having fun, you know, because, you know, weirdos who will also because it's a great job, like I mean, it's a great job in that it's a great job to have fun and to to to to explore things inside yourself, those fears.
And when you connect in a scene, you know what I mean? That was the thing about working with Andreas. Right. She's one of these English kind of like, you know you know, here I am, like, you know, doing everything.
I'm wide open, you know, and I feel myself getting choked up. And she's like, Oh, that was good. Yeah. Was that right?
Yeah, I am like, did you feel that you just fucking with me. You did. You did. Didn't you feel that. You had felt that right. You know I didn't say that. But that's what you walk away. It's like, well I felt it.
I don't give a shit, you know, I was there if she was pretending, fine, that's American versus the British.
Kind of like that is the age old. The age old. You know, we're just we're just this weird mess and then they're just so put together and kill it every time.
We're just like sloppy Joes, wild to watch her work know because she was playing this broken down Texan woman, you know, and.
Yeah, I mean. Andre, who I've known a bit from, I we've just kind of became friends because he did my podcast like he's he's intense.
But but yeah, I mean, I, I dug it and it made me want to do more.
It made me it's like going through that first obstacle of of taking real risks, you know, initially with my show. And it was basically some version of me and Sam Sylvere was kind of me with no self-awareness. And then, you know, to to continue to to try to get better at it. I'd like to have the opportunity. So. So that made it much more engaging to me.
You know, you seem to me it's funny because I don't I didn't know you until. Yeah. But like. You seem to me actually be so different from the characters that I've seen you play like you're actually a very like a very, very well set. Your characters aren't kind hearted because I think like but they but they're like I mean, I'm sure you can be aggressive. She can't be. But but you don't. I mean, Brandon, you don't have to come in right now.
But I, I do. I'm full grump. I'm a recovering he's he's like I'm not allergic to peanuts but I'm fuckin allergic to Mark. No, but like there, there is there is something to like. What's really wonderful is like your essence coming out, you know, that's another thing you can explore. It's new, you know, that you didn't know, you know. And then also people's assumptions.
Like I just like I mean, it's just so funny over a long period of time playing roles, how people perceive you, which is just not you, which is also that struggle. It's like you kind of go, I'm not the character that I played at night. Right. Think I have like I have there are aspects that I understand or that I learned about, about myself that are so interesting to me. But I'm not that guy. Right.
And when you know and I think for a long time, people are like, oh, he's really good at that.
And then when I first started is just like, oh, he's he's a doormat, you know, he's an emotional doormat, you know, like somebody actually, I quote somebody when I said about me early on and then you do other things and they just think you're the absolute opposite.
I mean, my sister spoke about times where people would say before this movie secretary she did, where they're like, oh, she's not sexy enough or so.
Right. Right. And then after that movie, it was like she's too like sex.
And it's so funny because the people that see these things, they do nothing.
But it's like it's it's also understanding that that when you watch something we don't know people, you know, you watch a new act. You sure you know nothing about.
You don't you don't know who they are then you know other people's stories over time. You're watching stories, stories of. Yeah, that's true. But yeah.
But did you know like I mean I like I just spoke of my small experience at that, but did you see things that would, you know, be different enough for people to judge you differently. Every choice you made around jobs from roles I think.
No, I think I would I kind of would say yes, maybe, but also.
You're challenging certain things, yes, and then you get like, oh, I've done this thing and then something comes, you go every kind of fun to do. Oh yeah. Yeah.
That people have asked me over the years things like, what's the character you've always wanted to play and or is there is there a person in history you've always I'm like. You know what, and I listen to actors great, all the great ones, let me just say this, all the great ones are like Winston Churchill or like, you know, whatever it is, it's like who I like playing anybody.
But there are people who are roles. They've always been. But I'm not that guy. I'm like, yes, you send it to me. I read it. I like it. I'm going to I'll try and fit in it, you know. Does the suit fit? You know, I don't know how you feel in your life and in the work that you've done. I want to do things that doesn't necessarily have to be acting. Yeah. And more and more, it actually isn't acting.
What is it?
Producing a restaurant or creating more restaurant work?
Yeah, no, I mean I mean, I do love to cook, but I, I, I think we go through different stages in our lives and I think in those stages in our lives, we all question things that we've done in our work and our job and and in our in our life.
And I think I'm sort of at a place where I've had incredible opportunities, a ton of luck. And and I just I. I think I do want to explore other avenues, that's part of what getting into producing has been for me, that's sort of the step, you know, and and then I think more and more trying to create myself.
You know, I love acting, don't get me wrong. And I but I have always, ever since I began, loved watching the other actor cross from me more than playing the character that I'm. And as much as I love the characters that I've played, the thing that has fascinated me and then I've been in awe of are the other people across from me, which I'm starting to kind of take into account and starting to understand that maybe it's something else that I want to do more.
Maybe it's directing, maybe it's writing something for someone. Maybe it's that, but. That, to me, is where I, I, I find myself moving. Have you done some of that? Have you done some writing of stage pieces? Yes, yeah.
Yeah. Not stage pieces I write in and them and more screenplays. I love the I love puzzles, you know, and and they find great joy in the like.
Insular, isolated space, that is, you know, it's really is yours and having been an actor for so many years, you're coming in at the very end, right? And you're interpreting somebody else's stuff. And there's just something so personal and private about being alone and it can just suck. And no one's watching. Right. That I just I just love. So it's great.
So, I mean, it must be thrilling to be nominated for a Tony for producing. I mean, that's got to be encouraging.
It's thrilling being nominated for a Tony for producing and for for acting.
You know, that's like a that's it's just pretty fucking cool, like of all of the things that's cool. And I'm not really a big sort of awards person. Right. I but I that when I when I heard about that, I was about the acting, Tony, I was thrilled. Yeah. Yeah. The acting, Tony is just a thing. Sure. And it's great. And so I was. I was. It's a community that I love so much and for so many years, I have like like, you know, wanted to be a part of and not to say that being nominated, that makes you feel like you are.
But I think that I finally, over the past few years, have really felt like it's a community that I love and will give to and that gives back and I know I will have for the rest of my life and I will give back to for the rest of my life. And like the first show I ever saw, I wanted to be up there and a part of it. And just to think I don't know what heart we talked with a horror story, I was thinking, you know, every time before I walk out on stage what I think about if it's in a professional sense, I think about like when I was in high school or something and I walked out.
The feeling is literally no different there. It's just like all those people paid way too much money to come see. Right. So like you have such a deep obligation. But that difference between play as a kid and play when you're doing at that moment there is it's just like everything converges on this point and it gets real.
And and and and that that to me like I will never get over.
Yeah. It just, it will never get old. And so yeah. I mean I like also see I also also the horrible made me think like it's also great to just be a producer of a show and be sitting there in the audience opening night and be like hey, I get to read the reviews and like I didn't have to go sweat and perform up there. It's pretty. Yes.
And now you got both of those things going well and also. Well, good luck with the movie.
I hope you win. Is good talking to you. Nice meeting you. Same as fun.
I am a fan of yours. I, I, I really think you're a wonderful actor. Thanks man. You're you're not as good as of a podcast or radio host, but I think you're a good actor and. Well good. And just keep trying. Don't I mean just, just keep trying you know. I will in all things. No, but I really thank you for having me on your show.
It's great man. It was great talking to you. I'll see you around hopefully.
Yes, I hope so. OK, but in person, for fuck's sake. That'd be great. All right. All right, man. Bye. There you go. There you go, go watch some Jake stuff. We'll see if he wins a Tony. As I said before, he's up for three of them, best actor in a play in a couple of a couple of production Tonys as well. Seawall a Life is the play he's up for, for producer and best actor and also slave play, which I'm sorry I missed.
Are we ever going to get to go to a theater again? Huh? And don't forget, soon you'll be asking what the hell happened to Harold Heaven now streaming on Paramount. Plus, for heaven's sake, a true crime documentary series so mysterious it can only be solved by two comedians. In 1934, Harold vanished from his small Canadian town. Now his great grand nephew, Mike, and Mike's best friend, Jackson, will go to hilarious lengths to solve the case.
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