Support Indie Flix speaks with actor Graham Jenkins, star of The Box (written and directed by Sasha Sibley).
We'll discuss his experience on the set of The Box, and what he has in store for the future.
Q: Thanks for joining us, Graham. What can you tell us about the character you play in The Box? He's an actor with a lot of issues, right? What's the story there?
A: Thank you. Glad to be with you. Tyler is a collection of various performers and situations within his field. He definitely has some issues. I think people will sympathize with most of them, despite Tyler being a bit austere, however, the psychological issues are distinctive to him and his narrative.
Q: Was there anything about the character of Tyler Stevens you connected with personally? -- Apart from the fact that you're both actors, that is.
A: I mostly connected with his ambition. It can obviously be double edged, but that relentlessness was something my younger self would have identified with and attempted to emulate.
Now, I have more of an appreciation for balance, for recovery, and how they can improve art while still holding onto that constructive aggression.
Q: What's the biggest similarity between you and this character, and what's the biggest difference?
A: Definitely the ambition and unfortunately some of his anger that comes with a combination of youth and lack of success or at least the idea of it. However, I do not share his reflex to push people away or remain emotionally distant. He’s inexperienced, so I think his fears get the better of him.
Q: The Box was written and directed by Sasha Sibley. Did you know Sasha prior to signing on to this project? How did you two connect?
A: I did not. We met through the audition process and developed our working relationship from there. Sasha is an incredible writer/director. His vision for the project, especially with it being his first feature, gave me a lot of confidence in him as well as the crew and cast he put together.
Q: I read that you've been practicing martial arts for over twenty-five years and that it's the primary influence on your performance style. What is it about the physicality of martial arts that inspires your acting prowess?
A: I believe there are a lot of parallels between the two when it comes to the mindset and process of either discipline. I’m not a competitive person, but the creativity they share, the ability to be in the moment and react, to listen and adapt is paramount to how I like to work after the research is done.
It’s complicated because if your artistic process comes from a different place, all that can tend to sound cursory or unrelated but martial arts have more to do with dance and expression than any other sport; it’s those naturalistic, unique aspects that come through, not the competition or violence.
Q: Would you like to elaborate on your workout routine and how you maintain your discipline?
A: Absolutely. I think training routines should always revolve around the individual’s interests, functional movement patterns, and longevity.
For me, that involves a primary focus in MMA skill work followed by movement patterns that reinforce those abilities. Explosive work like sprints, kettlebell swings, medicine ball slams, and power cleans. Lots of mobility and/or yoga helps as well as recovery days.
The reason to find and focus on personal interests allows you to enjoy developing and maintaining a routine. Most workout programs and companies unfortunately weaponize certain lifestyles for profit and that’s lame. Find an activity with movement that you love and pursue it. We all get old and die. I just want to die with an interesting skill set and without back pain.
A: Who's your biggest influence as a performer and what is it about that influence that triggers your aspirations?
A: Viggo Mortensen and Christopher Walken have been longtime influences on the characters and films I tend to gravitate towards. They always showcase equal parts intensity, warmth, and authenticity. Additionally, actors like Christopher Abbott and Lakeith Stanfield are my gold standard for the kinds of stories I strive to be a part of. They are all fearless and perpetually inspiring.
Q: I took a look at the trivia section on your IMDB page, and one of those factoids stated that you considered being a cartoonist before pursuing acting. Is that true? If so, how would you have approached that career?
A: It is true! That began and ended somewhat quickly after I started to understand the methodical process (and my own lack of skill) that it required. I think that if acting didn’t hold my interest, the cartoons might have turned into a career of painting or writing as I would still want to work within imagery and word but would eventually know how poor my illustrations were.
Q: How has this last year been treating you? Some folks have been struggling and others have been thriving in all this COVID madness, and the entertainment industry has been hit in a variety of ways. How have you adapted to this whole new world?
A: It has been relatively positive and negative. The most difficult aspects of the past year have been due to the spotlight on our political system and how little we’ve come in progress but that focus also has encouraged more voting, more voices, and a greater movement towards human rights, so it’s a balance.
I’ve been able to work on a few projects, build a few skills, and dive into more writing. All of which I’m grateful to have had the time to do.
Thanks so much for visiting with us, Graham. We wish you the very best in your future endeavors.
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THE BOX is Available from Midnight Releasing, CLICK HERE FOR ALL AVAILABLE STREAMING CHANNELS
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