BLAKE COOPER GRIFFIN
Blake Cooper Griffin @blakecoopergriffin
Photography by Mila Zvereva @mila_zvereva | Grooming Elisa Lara @glambyelisalara Styled by Sky Naval @sky_is_dlimit & @stl_rtists | Cinematography/Editing by Evan Galeano @evan_galeano | Interview by Ashira Provost @_ashiraprovost
1. When did you start the acting profession?
I started acting as a little kid — in my backyard. I would memorize books my parents read to me before bed. They thought I was a genius because I would recite the story word for word while looking at the pages of the book; so, it seemed like I was reading as a four year old. Nope. Just memorizing. I would then turn those stories into plays where I would act out all the parts. I would use our deck as a stage. But I got serious about acting in college when I went to a Drama conservatory — the North Carolina School of the Arts. Right after graduating, I moved out to Los Angeles and started auditioning.
2. Who do you consider iconic directors? What makes a great film?
There are so many. Mike Nichols comes to mind as one of the greats. From The Graduate to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, he possessed an astute ability to create real, raw human relationships. That’s what I want to see when I go to the movies. I want to get caught up in the relationships I see on film—the relationships that characters have with others and the relationship the characters have with themselves.
3. Tell us about the process of getting cast for Beerfest; how was the chemistry on set?
I was cast in Beerfest: Thirst for Victory a couple days before shooting began, so the casting process was super quick. I had to jump right in when I got to set. I think that’s good sometimes because you don’t have time to get in your own way. This movie is all about fun and my character Scott is a goofy, hilarious, ‘heart on his sleeve’ kind of guy; so, working off impulse really suited the project and the character. I was lucky to work with such a talented group of people as the Beerfest cast and crew. It’s pivotal to the story that we have the chemistry of people who have known each other for years. I think we achieved that because we all just focused on making each other laugh. Laughing really brings people together.
4. Do you feel that the film industry is a direct reflection of society's values?
I can’t speak for the film industry as a whole. I think work needs to be done to lift new and diverse voices so that new stories can be highlighted. The film industry has a great power — the power to bring issues and circumstances that people face to the forefront. Through storytelling we can do so much. We learn more about the realities and the struggles of other people. Storytelling has the power to promote empathy— that’s a big reason why I am constantly excited about the craft of acting.
5. Would you ever consider directing or producing a film?
Yes. An actor is responsible for his or her piece of the story through character. The director and producers must hold the entirety of the story. I’d love to explore those avenues someday. I also like writing. I’ve been collaborating with my talented actress friend Kim Shaw; together, we’ve been developing content about a story we want to tell.
6. What things do you do to keep evolving and growing within the film industry?
I focus on growing as a person. There’s a direct correlation between evolving personally and evolving as an artist. I read things that interest and challenge me, I watch the news, I volunteer when I can, I keep regular coffee dates with friends, I listen, I love my family, I love my dog, and I try to have patience with myself, others, and the world.
7. Woody Allen or Steven Spielberg?
Steven Spielberg. I just re-watched E.T. for probably the fifteenth time last week.
8. How do you feel about under representation within the film industry?
Under representation is still a big problem. And while I’m heartened when I see progress, there is clearly much more that needs to be done. I hope that the industry keeps evolving— all people and voices should be represented in storytelling. Art has the great power to move us forward, to unite us, to teach us— which is why it’s so important that everyone have a seat at the table. We can learn from each other.