Bruce Langley [Interview]

 

The level of excitement that I have for sharing this incredible interview with you all today is on par with the level of excitement that I have for the return of the absolutely brilliant series in which our subject is a major element, and extremely important character. I am talking about the great young actor Bruce Langley, and of course I am talking about one of the best (amongst the vast amount of) series available now, the television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Bruce Langley brilliantly portrays one of the series’s most intriguing antagonists, Technical Boy. In my mind, and probably should be everyone’s, Technical Boy represents the most sincere threat to any belief in what the old gods have to offer. Here I am spilling these words onto a MacBook for you all to enjoy, while my 11 year old daughter sits 10 feet from me, eyes glued to an iPod. Case in point: how are we to believe in anything real to life these days? But, that’s a whole different tangent, really.

It is suffice to say, Bruce Langley gives an absolutely incredible performance as the manifestation of a truly real threat, and a delightful update to even the concepts that Gaiman introduced to us 20 years ago, when the internet was still a little scary and we weren’t entirely sure what was going to come of it. And now that we know, it’s actually even a hell of a lot more scary. And thanks to the amazing acting chops of the likes of Bruce Langley, we have even more to be afraid of. So thanks, Bruce!

In all seriousness, Langley is an absolutely brilliant performer that we are so excited to have with us on our digital pages. He joins our old friend Chris Obi as cast members of American Gods to grace our pages, who ironically both happen to be British. I mean, hell, they invented acting, and if the recent viral sensation of Americans remembering that Christian Bale is also a Brit is any clue, we probably need them to come on over and show us how it is done for real. I personally am very thankful for this. Yet no matter where they are from, I am so excited that there is such talent as Bruce Langley out there to keep us entertained and possibly teach us a lesson about life, love, and what it means to vape in the back of a limo with an incredibly dope hairstyle.

So with that, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely amazing actor, the great Bruce Langley!

 

******

 

What was it about acting that initially interested you, and drove you into the world of performance as an occupation? 

Hard to say really. I got the lead in the school play when I was 5. It was a production about a cavemen befriending dinosaurs through chocolate. Yep. It was called Choc Rock. I played ‘Chip’. ‘Chocolate Chip’. Interesting to consider as I think I may have gotten the role due to my speech impediment. I couldn’t pronounce my ‘R’s; they came out as ‘W’s. With the main song going ‘Choc rock, choc rock we love choc rock’ for me it was ‘Choc wock, choc wock we love Choc wock.’ According to reliable sources it was ‘fucking adorable’.

If I were to hazard a guess I would say that early experience counted as a win for me. One on which I doubled down. I’m sure my mum would tell you I had performative tendencies before then.

I have been insatiably curious my whole life. Indeed one of my first memories is of sitting on my grandad’s knee being told war stories. I loved them. I would see them as he told it. Imagination, creating and telling stories has been a huge part of my inner chorus of conversations as long as I can remember. 

Your performance as Technical Boy in the Starz Original series American Gods was absolutely phenomenal. While Technical Boy can be considered one of the villains on the show, I am curious to know if you might be able to think of some redeeming qualities that audiences should think about whilst watching the show? Should we have some sort of pity for Technical Boy? 

I would not deem to tell anyone what to feel about any of the deities on AG. They are avatars of our own belief. Condensed and distilled humanity. If there’s something people don’t like in any interaction of any of the characters I would think that is a greater reflection of a part of themselves they are adverse to acknowledging. With that said, I would find it important to highlight the potential loneliness associated with being worshiped. TB is elevated from humanity, separate from it and also generally shunned and despised by all other deities. Even those supposedly on ‘his side’. Constantly achieving, adapting, updating, so fundamentally aware that to stagnate for even a moment would mean obsolescence. Death. I would think many people today can and do relate to that feeling typically associated with constant engagement with technology. Addictive engagement. A dopamine leveraging randomized reward systems. Anxiety, pain and a fundamental empty feeling left from the in personal and human connection we are retreating from. Who needs fulfillment when you’ve got engagement? TB is the manifestation of a consciousness in pain. I could talk about this ad nauseam, trust me I have a lot more to say on this subject. What I will say for now is this, to everyone operating in the world today. Take care of yourself, your health, mental and physical. You’re not as alone as you think you are. If you feel like you need it, ask for help. 

 


How much time would you say you spent in chairs getting those incredible hairstyles of Technical Boy done? What sort of process did that entail? 

An abundance. Usually hours per doo with the occasional hat related exception. For example the look from the bone orchard (101) initially took 3 hours but we got it down to 2 by the end. Cornrows? Time killers. A major shout out of respect to the hair team. Artists to be sure. In season 1, I spent my first couple of weeks being played with by the hair and costume teams. Trying to find what felt right, and we did. That’s an important thing to highlight; the hard work and undeniable results from hair, makeup and costume. They worked and work damn hard and are rarely acknowledged. Thank you gang, love you. Indeed to all the crew.

The looks of all the characters don’t just happen. Furthermore they contribute so much to the final product. When I would put on the right costume with the right hair and makeup it would just fit. Deliberately vague choice of language there as the feeling was so all encompassing it felt somewhat ethereal. TB would be looking back from the mirror and I could taste it.

You are a wonderful addition to the obviously incredible cast of American Gods, probably one of the best I’ve seen in so long. In your professional opinion, what do you believe is required to create a great set dynamic between actors? Are there any sort of unspoken yet agreed upon ideals that performers follow to eventually make something as phenomenal as American Gods?

It has to be a safe place to fail and take risks. To play. Without that there would not be the freedom to truly create art organically. Major shout out to Bryan and Michael for creating a home environment for us to play in. We have become a family as a cast as time has gone on, due in no small part to or double dads.

Furthermore, Ricky has set, and continues to set, an outstanding tone as the Number 1 on the call sheet. He’s in nearly every day, long days, lack of sleep, still having to train in the gym regardless of our wrap time yet he infallibly raises the energy of any room he’s in. He looks out for us, makes us laugh. In a sense he’s the big brother of the whole cast and crew and I can’t thank him enough for watching out for our gang. He took me under his wing from Day 1, the read-through of episode 101 and has made sure I have someone in my corner since. 

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any historical figure in a biopic, who would you like to take on? 

Well not a biopic per se but Richard the 3rd at some point later in my career would be a total joy. Similarly Macbeth (somewhat sooner than Richard) and Hamlet (somewhat sooner than Macbeth). Most definitely lago, oh dear lord yes please. I would relish the opportunity to play with Shakespeare whether on stage or elsewise. The work is simply beautiful, art. 

Returning to the parameters of the question. I don’t know. This is a wonderful query that I wasn’t expecting. I shall think on it then take steps to prepare for said eventuality.

Bruce Langley and American God’s author Neil Gaiman

 

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

Look into the RCT. Robin cancer trust. A great charity that might save your life or someone’s you care about. One of their campaigns is called ‘Talking Bollocks’ another ‘You’re Not Overacting’. Germ cell cancer is a right bastard and a 30 second self-exam could change the direction of your time on earth. 

Look into it: @rctcharity on instagram and Twitter. ‘The Robin Cancer Trust’ on Facebook. 

Another thing to plug; if anyone reading this feels inescapably alone, you’re not, ask for help, take care of yourself.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My mum got a new bird feeder for her birthday from my sisters and I. It has ‘fat balls’ that apparently the birds love. Especially the packaging detailed that blue tits and grey tits were fond of them. 

She posted a picture on the family chat of the feeder up on the tree with the caption: “Fat balls awaiting tits. Thank you xx.”

Outstanding. Well played Mum.

 

Watch for Bruce in Season 2 of American Gods, March 10th on Amazon Prime Video.

To learn more about The Robin Cancer Trust, visit therobincancertrust.org.

 

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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