Greg James [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And a happy Friday to you all! Today’s interview subject is a fantastic actor that I have admired for quite some time, and I am surprised I didn’t think to contact him sooner! It’s been almost two years since I first admired his role in the indie horror, Besetment. And then I knew of his work on the brilliant series, The Drunk Series, which our dear friend and contributor Chris Eaves worked on. But, it the last proverbial straw was when I saw the great Greg James in a brilliant little indie film Zilla and Zoe, which we covered recently, that I realized that I NEED to get this guy on the site. And lo and behold, he was kind enough to share a few words with us here today!

And what a damn fine interview we have to share with you all today! Greg is a genuinely nice guy, and a wonderful actor. He is not only one of the best performers to reside and come from our beloved homeland of the Pacific Northwest, but he is just an absolutely brilliant talent in the world of acting and should be admired as such! And if I am being frank here, it was definitely Zilla and Zoe that set me off to loving this man’s work. Kind of a spoiler alert, but in the words below, Greg will mention a certain publication that would dare say a foul word about his performance, or the writing of the character, and I honestly could not disagree more. Greg was the voice of reason in this film, which can often be a very difficult role to pull off, admittedly so (as if I know anything about acting). And I think that he did an absolutely incredible job! I implore you all, as I did last month, to watch this brilliant film. And I implore you all to enjoy this absolutely amazing interview we have here with the brilliant Greg James! Enjoy!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you have had since a youth, or did you simply find yourself in this world one day?

Back when I was a toddler, and we only had the 5 tv channels, I’d stick my nose up to the screen and would literally repeat the lines the actors said. I was mesmerized. But never did I think I could be one myself. It wasn’t until early high school when I got talked into playing a bit role in a musical, that I got the bug. This was all to my parents’ chagrin, since they’d have rather I stayed playing baseball or worked at being an auto mechanic or something.

 

What was your very first paid gig in the world of acting? And where there any sort of lessons learned on this specific project?

My first paid gig was working a summer doing a murder mystery show on a Portland cruise ship. I played both the female killer AND the detective who solves the case. That was a silly and exhausting show. I then did my first commercial right around that time, and made twice the money in two hours than I did that whole 2-month show run. It didn’t take me long to phase out of theater, but having that background has been really helpful to me and directors who prefer them longer takes ha.

 

I understand you are based out of my favorite city in my favorite region of the country, also my homeland, the great Portland Oregon. I have some great friends in the film community around there, and have enjoyed so much of the great work you all are doing. So I am curious to know what your thoughts are on said community? What do you believe it is that sets it apart from other areas?

 

As a lifetime Portlander, I have developed somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the community. As a young indie artist, it has been a perfect plays to get my feet wet. If you have the desire and even a speck of talent, there are opportunities to play in the northwest with other hungry filmmakers. Some know what they’re doing, others are still trying to figure shit out, but the worst (and there are sadly many that fall in this category) are the ones that don’t know their shit, are unprepared for the tasks associated with the craft and merely “think” they know what they’re doing even though they don’t. Despite that, Portland gives everyone license to experiment and permission to fail, and every now and then, gems sprinkle out.

 

 

One specific project that you were wonderful in was the fantastic family comedy Zilla and Zoe. I absolutely adored this gem of a flick. I am curious to know what drew you to this delightfully zany story? And what are your thoughts on the final product that was released to the world?

 

I fell in love with this quirky comedy from the moment I read the script. But, because of the long commitment and restrictive budget, I told Jessica (the writer/director) I just couldn’t do it. However, she encouraged me to audition, and when I met the two co-stars who were to play my daughters in the film, I fell in love with them and our chemistry right off the bat. Then, it was about adjusting priorities and creating strategies to do the film. And once that ball got moving, I became desperate to play the role. Good comedy is difficult to find, and I just felt close to the character. Overall I’m very happy with the film, and it makes me smile every time I see it. I read an LA Times review that felt my character was too cruel, which I found to be a kind of silly critique. It was more a dagger thrown at the writing, but without my character being conflicted throughout, it would’ve made for a pretty boring, saccharine presentation. So yeah, I’m happy with it. Plus, I don’t swear, kill anyone, drink or do drugs, or get naked in it – so I can actually share it with my family without blushing. So that’s a win!

 

You have also done some amazing work in one of our favorite genres around here at TWS, which would the world of horror. Specifically, you worked on the film Besetment, which we happened to showcase in 2017. It was also pretty wonderful, and you also worked behind the scenes on this one too. So how do you enjoy working in the world of horror? Is there anything about working in this genre that sets it apart from other genres?

 

I loved Besetment! What a quirky horror Brad Douglas created, and such a hoot to be a part of. Playing that sheriff character alongside Hannah Barefoot was a blast. So much so, I worked with both her and Brad again as the lead in his follow-up film Between The Trees, which also released recently on all the VOD platforms. My very first film I acted the lead in was a horror back in my early-20s, called The Dividing Hour, which garnered global attention and was featured as a top-25 cult film on Roger Ebert & The Movies in 1999. As long as there is some “story” there, I love a good scare – especially when there are heavy doses of comedy splashed in.



 

And of course there is The Drunk Series! Can you tell our readers a bit about this show, and how it works? It is truly original and hilarious, by the way!

 

This was one of my favorite projects of all time. From the wacky mind of director Chris Wilson was this series of different genre short films that were all based on the premise of being written drunk and acted drunk. And we’re talking close-to-blackout, about 12+ shots of vodka drunk. I’ve never acted in anything where I had absolutely no knowledge of how it was going to be until it was released. I can tell you I showed up to a set, but beyond that, the rest is a fog. But what a fun group of people I got to play with. I will forever both be embarrassed and blessed by the wonderful, albeit sloppy and unhealthy, experience that it was.

 

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

 

First, been awhile since no one asked me about my small role where I had a nude sex scene with Reese Witherspoon in Wild, so thanks for that. Recently I’ve had a couple recurring appearances on CW’s Dynasty, which I’m hoping to return to Atlanta for its third season. Still the constant hustler, I encourage everyone to follow my exploits on my acting site www.thegregjames.com and find my acting page on FaceBook.

 

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My 8-year-old girl getting to ride a “real life” unicorn for her birthday and my 14-year-old boy making the All-Star baseball team but fracturing his wrist prior, and saying: “Even though it sucks I can’t play, it’s really not as bad as I thought to break something.”

 

 

As an added bonus, here is the first episode of the aforementioned The Drunk Series. I really loved this project so much, and not just because our very own Chris “Microreviews with Eaves” Eaves was a crew member. No, Greg and the gang killed it! Check it out!

 

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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