Will Rothhaar [Interview]

Today’s interview subject is with a cat that has appeared in just too many specific projects that I have loved over the years that I couldn’t reach out and try to have him on the site. We will go through most of them in the questions below, but in synopsis: he was a child in one of my favorite comedies of all time, he appeared in a production that stemmed from the View Askewinverse that we have covered so extensively in the past, and he is a newly acclaimed R&B singer. When considering these things alone, how could we not have him on the site?

Will Rothaar would rightfully be considered a natural born star, as he was practically born into the world of entertainment. It seemed only apparent and obvious that he would become a part of the creative world. And in his time, he has put out some amazing work that is definitely worthy of an immense amount of respect and praise. And that is what we would like to do here today as we share some amazing words with the brilliant actor & musician himself. So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the great Will Rothaar!

You have been acting since you were just a child. In fact, one of my first memories of your work would have to be when you portrayed a young Woody Harrelson in one of my favorite comedies of all time known as Kingpin. So what made you decide to get in this business? And when did you realize that you wanted to play pretend for a living?

Hey! First off, thank you for having me in for an interview! I appreciate you. 🙂

So actually, both of my parents are actors and directors. I grew up in the theatre in a small town in Pennsylvania. My Pop directed most of the shows and my Mother performed in most of them. When I was 4, my Pop was directing a production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. He told me he had a role for me and asked if I wanted to do it. It was “Sonny” one of the No Neck Monsters. At this point, I was already changing costumes 6 times a day and dying upstage, so I jumped at the opportunity.

My parents then decided they wanted to do film and TV, so we all moved to LA. After they were set up, the opportunity presented itself for me to possibly pursue acting professionally. What I love about my parents, is that from day one, this career, this life, it was never forced on me. They were always kinda like:

“This is what Mom and Dad do, if you want to try it out, you can, but the second you stop having fun, at auditions or work, just run the other way. It’s not worth it if you don’t love it, and it’s okay if you don’t.”

In fact, they were so hell bent on me being a kid and growing up at my own pace that they implemented some pretty strict rules for me and my representation:

1. Go to public school all my life, education.
2. Be a kid. Be in a band, scrape my knees, climb some trees, fall in love, act a fool, be myself.
3. No being a series regular until I was out of high school. I could leave for 3 months to shoot a film or a couple weeks for a TV show, but they didn’t want me growing up on a set.
4. Don’t be a dick. (Everyone should implement this lesson for their kids. :-))

And I think because it was never forced on me, I still truly do love it.

… And whenever I encounter fellow actors who are taking themselves too seriously, I say to them:

“We get paid to play pretend and dress-up… Stop taking yourself so seriously.”

In 2002 you appeared in the directorial debut of actor Jeff Anderson that was also hilarious entitled Now You Know. How was your experience on a project of this nature? Do you recall any fond memories whilst working under the guise of Jeff?

Haha, WOW! This is a throwback question! You know, I worked one day on that project and it was a whirlwind. Had a BLAST though. Jeff was fantastic, and hilarious on set. He also employed quite a few people from the Clerks universe, which was so much fun for me as I was a big fan of the movies from that universe growing up.

You had a nice run on the hit series Grimm a while ago, a show that I am always intrigued about as it is filmed in my home region of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Portland, Oregon. So how was your experience working on this set? Did you enjoy your time in the PNW?

Oh MAN!!! This was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in a set and on location. Everyone that worked on that show is a GEM. It’s always a pleasure stepping onto a set that has been running for a while. It’s like a well oiled machine.

No bullshit, no time wasted, and the vibe between everyone was so sweet.

I think my favorite part of that was when my Mom booked a big guest star on Grimm a few months later and I was able to tell the crew to take care of her, and all the various amazing things to eat/drink/do around PDX.

Which brings me to THAT!

Whew… Portland man… I fell in LOVE hard with that city. I just loved the vibe in every respect. I love how environmentally conscious everything is. I mean from the kind and quality of the food you buy, to every restaurant having a compost in addition to trash and recycling. I loved all of the options and range of food that there was. I’m a huge foodie, so I was in heaven. Sometimes, I’d just walk out of my hotel and pick a direction. Then I’d come across some bright, pretty lights outside some spot, and I’d just grab a bite. Never disappointed.
I’m also a huge beerhead, so obviously that was a fantastic journey as well. Love a place that takes pride and meticulous care with their beer. And the biggest thing I fell in love with in PDX…? THE PEOPLE.
I literally never met one rude, abrasive, “too in a hurry to talk to you”, person. Everyone is so sweet and helpful.

If I asked where one restaurant was, they’d ask me to get my phone out so they could give me 10 other things to do whilst in town. I couldn’t get enough of that. I’d just ask questions on the street so I could get the lovely response.

And of course I have to ask about your work on Battle:L.A. Damn that looked like it would have been quite a thrill ride and a whole lot of work to do. So how was that experience for you? What was the set life like on a film of this magnitude?

Oh Man, that was one of the wildest experiences I’ve had on set.
We shot that film for almost 5 months. 3 weeks of boot camp with some of the most talented and respected Marine Corps Sergeants in the film industry. They got us in shape and on point very quickly and made sure we were trying our best to do the Corps proud. And I think we handled it.

I made some friends and family ties on that film that still remain strongly in place today, and I’m extremely proud to call them all my brothers/sisters.

In your personal opinion, how does stage work compare to working on the set of a film or television series? What sort of things do you prefer about working in the theatre as opposed to other works?

Ahhhh, tough question.

They are two different animals honestly. They share the same DNA, but yield a different experience and reward. You do a play, you are gunning for 6 weeks of rehearsal, and then you get out there, in front of X amount of audience members, and you can’t mess it up. You lose a line? You keep pushing and figure it out up there. And know that your fellow actors have your back and y’all are gonna look after each other, no matter what.

You do a movie? You may travel somewhere you’ve never been. You get to work with a bunch of amazing new people. You form a family. And not to say this doesn’t happen in the theatre, it absolutely does… But something about making friends when you’re shooting at 4:30am after you’ve been working all night. Everyone getting slap happy, walls coming down, everyone joined together in the push for this product y’all are making together. It’s pretty special.

If you were given free range to perform any historical figure in American history, alive or dead, who would it be?

Well, I’ve already had the lovely fortune of getting to play Lee Harvey Oswald in Killing Kennedy for National Geographic Channel, so that kinda tops the charts for me at this point. I had so much fun running with that opportunity, and so grateful I was given the shot.
If there was anyone else I would like to play, it would be Eminem. I know he’s not exactly a historical figure in the conventional sense, but he certainly is a historical figure for many of my generation. As a kid who grew up listening to all kinds of music, hip hop at the forefront, Em changed the way the landscape looked for lyricism, and commentary, and unabashed directness. I like that. He added to the fire that makes me proud to be a poet.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Man, I wish I knew! The past few years have been slow for me acting-wise.

The most recent project I have coming down the pipeline is that I’m playing the villain in the reboot of Benji…. You remember Benji the dog from back in the day? Yea, they’re rebooting that, and it’s gonna be a blast.

Not your Grandmother’s Benji.  Definitely darker and more grimy whilst maintaining a PG rating. Blumhouse really allowed Brandon Camp, (our director and the son of Joe Camp who created the franchise back in the day) to have free reign and run with exactly the movie he wanted to make.

I respect that. In this day and age when Hollywood is so hands-on as far as the money people go, it’s nice to work for people that allow you to create without muddying the water too much.

I’m also a fledgling singer! I released my first album last September under the stage name Willy Lamar. The album is titled “That Good Love EP” and is available on Spotify/iTunes/Amazon. I’m playing one show a month until the end of the year, and starting work on my second album as we speak.

For more info on show dates and news, check out WillyLamar.com .

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Lunch with my Mama today…

She’s a helluva woman. 🙂

Check out this video of Will performing at The Study in Hollywood on August 2nd, 2016, and head to willylamar.com to pick up his new EP:

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/181855565″>Willy Lamar sings &quot;Good Love&quot; @ The Study, Hollywood on 8/2/16</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user56391948″>Will Rothhaar</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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