In its review of Jolene, the New York Observer said Jessica Chastain “not only holds her own corner of every scene, she’s the only thing you want to watch.” And that was before she suddenly became the most known unknown in the business and instantly labeled as one of the finest actors of her generation. Listen in as Chastain talks with Off Camera about her Julliard audition (the phrase “an interesting choice” comes to mind…), her forensic approach to character study and why preparation is something best done in moderation. That, and how a sex change courtesy of Interstellar Christopher Nolan and a little movie parlor game called The Bechdel Test inspired her never to look at a script the same way again. She’s an artist who not only prepares to be surprised, but always to surprise – and one we couldn’t wait to talk to.
Captaining the Enterprise is one thing. Captaining a career that moved a warp speed from relative obscurity to leading man/action hero status requires navigating a universe of a different kind. It can be puzzling to go from not wanting to act at all to landing on Planet Box Office with very little experience to make calculated career decisions and deal with the ensuing fame. But Pine has done so while maintaining both a demystified view of his profession along with an almost boyish delight in his art. He talks to Off Camera about the early career decision that put him on the track to leading manhood, his thoughts on privacy (his own, and the nation’s), and how he gets through the still-awkward business of being an “actor”. He also shares his passion for photography and angles with our host for a free camera.
Jason Sudeikis switched schools to play basketball and found the stage. He worked his ass off to audition for Blue Man Group (three times) and didn’t make the cut. He finally condescended to audition for an acting gig on Saturday Night Live (read on, it’s complicated), but was hired as a writer instead. But we can all agree that things turned out okay for Sudeikis, who’s now enjoying plenty of screen time in films like We’re The Millers, Horrible Bosses and the upcoming Fletch Won, while in many ways remaining “a 15-year-old kid who doesn’t know anything.” He tells us about his career trajectory, couch surfing and why this issue of Off Camera may be the last one Tom Brady ever picks up.
Jon Brion might be the most hyphenated man in the music industry. He’s definitely one of its most gifted. The musician-producer-songwriter-film scorer-hamburger connoisseur (a lesser known talent) is the mad genius behind a who’s who of recording artists and the oddly engaging scores to films like Magnolia, I Heart Huckabees and Punch Drunk Love. In this issue, Brion talks about his one-man campaign to get out of school and on with life, creative problem solving, and the value of the occasional public face plant. We also hear the story of the gig that started it all: his vaudeville-for-the-musical-Mensa set show at Largo. [Insider bonus for Off Camera fans: If you’ve watched the show, you’ve already heard some of his finest work.]
If ever someone was predestined to become a living surf legend, it’s Laird Hamilton. Growing up on Maui, he had to be dragged out of its famously treacherous Pipeline repeatedly – as a 5-year-old. Attempts to tether him to the shore failed as spectacularly as any attempt to contain his spirit and his drive to do things no surfer (or at least any sane one) had ever attempted before. In this issue, the sport’s elder statesman-philosopher talks about life as an outcast, conquering fear (as hard as it is to believe he has any), and how to pick out a dad on the beach if you don’t already have one.
After an amicable split with Simon Dawes co-songwriter Blake Mills, Taylor Goldsmith’s genius song crafting shines in Dawes, the band whose North Hills debut was hailed by AbsolutePunk as ” the sound of something truly astonishing beginning to take shape”. Already a musical old soul at 28, Goldsmith discusses the authenticity and evolution of his songs three albums in, working with a few fellow rock poets you might have heard of, and his love hate relationship with the city that’s been indelibly linked with his sound. Anyone who’s intrigued by the creative process could spend all day talking to this guy, but even an hour’s conversation left Off Camera completely inspired – we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same.
Jeff Bridges could’ve just as easily been a musician, painter, photographer or sculptor as one of the best actors of our time. And so he is all of these, because he has the wisdom – and the talent – to not choose between them. He’s arrived at a point in his life and career that affords him unique perspective that comes from a truly collaborative spirit, keen observation of his fellow humans, and the value he still places on a childlike approach to his craft. All of which makes him one of Hollywood’s rarest breeds – an actor sans angst. The dude just…is. Jeff Bridges goes wide on character, storytelling, his multiple artistic pursuits, and the importance of checking your phone book for aliens.
Judy Greer. You may not know the name, but you definitely know the face – you’re probably just not sure where from. The answer is, everywhere. The actress, whose screen credits total well into the hundreds, has made a career of being one of the most successful best friends and sidekicks in the business, and it turns out her journey is just as instructive and – and more entertaining – than most of her A-list colleagues’. Greer drops in to chat about everything from her Midwestern roots and her own star crushes (the woman hearts everyone), to aging in Hollywood, the nature of art and the passion project that fulfilled her lifelong dream of exploring public restrooms. Engaging, enthusiastic and always game, she makes us wonder if being America’s Sweetheart doesn’t pale in comparison to being America’s Best Friend. One person who’d agree? The incomparable and shadowy Dean Johnson, whose name will not be mentioned in this interview more than 18 times.