Tag Archive: star trek into darkness


 

darkknightdetective

In my actor/writer/producer cycle, 2016 has been a writing year.

But not all that long ago, I was asked to come in and read for a Shakespeare play.  I’ve had a monologue from Othello in my utility belt for years; this was the first time as a professional someone asked to see it.

Earned a callback but the part in that production ultimately went to someone else.  I wasn’t remotely upset. Like I said, I’ve been focused on other things this year.  More than that though, just knowing I have my Shakespeare strong enough to book now gives me a lot of confidence for the long term.

(While I’m talking about it, there’s a great piece in the Atlantic this week about what ‘Method acting’ means right now in Hollywood.  I’m a Method guy myself so I don’t agree with all of it.  But I think it’s a fair critique to say for every Heath or Denzel who goes away to learn accents and skills so their characters instincts appear ‘natural’ by the time the audience sees it, there’s a ‘Tropic Thunder’ element that’s been attached to Method acting too.  And there’s no doubt in my mind the most likable and respected actresses we have couldn’t get away with half of the questionable behavior some of the guys get away with and we’d write it off as ‘they’re just so into their craft and their character, you have to take this as part of it.’  Anyway…)

Beyond writing, 2016 has always been designed for me as a year for the detective work.  I’m ‘active’ obviously, but most of my time has been spent doing research.  Who’s working on what? What agencies represents who? Who doesn’t get along with each other? How does my brand fit into all of this? (I’m already sick and tired of that word but, business.)

My Method lets me play several different things well, but some parts just naturally fit better. Starfleet Captain? LAPD Detective? Morgan Freeman? The handsome black professional in an interracial relationship?  I’ve played all these men and played them well.  Crack dealer? Car jacker? The heartthrob who has at least one scene with no shirt on? I…can play these roles too.  But it’s rarely what I project or what people see when I walk into the room. (And just so we’re absolutely clear, I’m cool with a lot of the guys who play these roles, so this isn’t a disrespect thing.  My point is Philip Seymour Hoffman, rest his soul, had a nice long career playing all the parts within his type and Channing Tatum is having a nice long career playing all the different parts that fit his type.  There’s room for all of us.)

I didn’t come into this ‘artform’ thinking that I’d need the analytical part of my mind as much as I do, but…business.  Like most things in this town though, you hang around long enough, you figure out what your place is.

I’ve found mine.

 

sweetlougarner

As promised, here is the backstory for the character I play (uncredited) in Star Trek Into Darkness: Starfleet Captain ‘Sweet’ Lou Garner:

‘Sweet Lou’ earned his nickname not as a ladies man, but for being one of the best pool hustlers ever accepted into Starfleet.  It is one of the great ironies of his life that he only joined the Academy after losing a game to his cousin Uhura, who knows most (but not all) of Sweet Lou’s tricks.  First cousins on they mama’s side, Uhura was happy to see Lou’s naturally analytical mind used for something more productive than running tables and taking Social Security checks off old hustlers in Wyandotte.    Sweet Lou’s aunt asks if he ever sees Uhura with any nice young black men, but Captain Garner wisely plays the dumb role.  He’s not old school like the generation before him.  Besides, everyone in Starfleet knows he’s had a Ferengi or two, who is he to say something?

More than anything though, Captain Garner and Spock hit it off pretty quickly.  Two minds that love to look at problems and probabilities and the different angles you can use to try to solve them.  Spock gives Sweet Lou ideas about places he hasn’t traveled to yet; the Captain tries to introduce Spock to the idea of being ‘smooth’: neither is overly successful yet, but they appreciate the effort to be amiable for Nyota.

So that’s that.  I’d say more about the scene, but this is a spoiler free zone.  Next week, I start talking about my June project.  Have a good weekend!

 

stintodarkness

As I started writing this, it became so ridiculously long that I figured it would be best to break it up into two parts.  Today I’ll cover the experience of what my first ‘franchise’ was like…

Like any other gig, you get a ‘you fit the description’ notice, you put your name in for it.  This one was immediately different: ‘Big Sci Fi Project X’ or whatever code name they were using.  You get the call to come down to the Costume Department for a fitting.  OK.  You sign an NDA as soon as you walk through the door, so naturally your curiosity goes up a little more: ‘What big films do I know about shooting in town?’  You go through a hallway and the Assistant Dresser asks you to semi strip down to get your measurements.  OK.  Now I was called in for the ‘Guys in Suits’ group, but getting an up close look at my frame (humblebrag), the Assistant says, ‘No, you need to be in uniform.  Go over there.’  Uniform?  OK.

So it was as I was getting sized up with the other military/cop prototype guys that I get a pin with the emblem on it.  That emblem.  Now keep in mind, we were told not to talk about it, but this was the moment where a few of us made eye contact with each other and made the ‘Oh shit, I’m doing the sequel to Star Trek?  Oh shit, I’m going to be a member of Starfleet?!?’ Face at each other.

The set itself was like any other set I’ve been on, but (as you can imagine) a thousand more moving parts.  The sequence I was part of is an IMAX sequence, so all the main players were there.  J.J. (Abrams) gave us an overview of the sequence we were a part of before handing the actual miniscule directions to a group of Assistant Directors.  For the homies who have been asking me about Zoe, all I have to say is ‘Yes.’  Beautiful face, tiny in physique, ‘one of the guys’.  You come correct, you ‘might’ have a chance.  For the record, I was a couple of rows behind her all day, so our only direct interaction was when she asked for a makeup check, spotted me in her mirror, then asked J.J. ‘Who is that brother in the back looking like a young Denzel from A Soldier’s Story?’  OK, I made that last sentence up, but my vanity believes everything before that.

So that’s the setup for those of you who may be looking for me: IMAX sequence where Captain Kirk is addressing Starfleet featuring all the cast.  I don’t think that spoils anything.

Tomorrow I’ll give you the backstory I created for my character.  (Come on, ya’ll know me…)