Photography by Jose Gallo @jayroosterdude |Grooming by Paige Davenport @paige_davenport for Exclusive Artists using Bumble and Bumble and Glossier | Styled by Evan SimonitschInterview by Ashira Provost @_ashiraprovost
What originally inspired you to take on an acting career?
Acting became an obsession at a young age. My dad used to write scripts for my brother and I and we’d make our version of movies and shows. That, along with all the old classic films he’d watch with us, gave me a real sense of passion for acting. I used to say lines over characters in movies after watching them once; I’m sure my parents were annoyed but maybe a little impressed (haha). When joking around or messing with people, I would regularly see how far I could believably take things, and I still think that was the beginning of Acting 101 for me. My mom was a singer and was in the Miss America Pageant, so I grew up hearing incredible stories and learning about her passion for the arts. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I knew from a very young age that I was gonna do something artistic or athletic when I grew up, and that mentality stuck with me and lead me to a career in acting.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an actor?
The biggest advantages of being an actor are, for one, you get to be creative for a living. We get paid to do what most of us actors love most in this world and couldn’t live without. I think actors are fortunate to consistently practice the art of make-believe; because of this, we’re able to hang on to those playful, kid-like emotions and feelings that I see a lot of people lose or let go of over time. My other favorite part is being in a position to make an impact on people. It’s really cool when you’re able to give fans of a show or movie a personal experience. You have the ability to make someone’s day or give them a story they’ll hang onto for a long time, whether it’s at a premiere, walking down the street or volunteering for a cause. Actors are often in a unique position to make some kind of difference on some level. The disadvantages are abundant during the years it takes to actually become a working actor. The side jobs and lack of money or steady income… the concerns of if you’re doing the right thing with your life… the thoughts of, “How long is this gonna take?!” No matter how much you believe in yourself, this is a business, and you need to be not only talented artistically but well-versed on the business side. There are a lot of factors that go into getting those “big breaks” and there are a lot of heart breaks along the way. You have to be a business man/woman as well as an actor and I hadn't planned on becoming both. You have to work tirelessly to have a career in this industry. Oh, and good luck planning a vacation for quite some time!
What are you proud of?
I’m proud of where I’ve gotten and the honest relationships I’ve created over the years in this industry. This career path has turned me into a more neurotic person who is most content when I’m working; but sometimes I have to sit back and look at how far I’ve come, even just for a couple minutes before I go back to worrying about what’s next.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
I’m greatly influenced by my family and friends. They’re who I spend most of my time with and I’m very lucky to be in good company. On the film side, I’m influenced by so many amazing actors and actresses who’ve spanned generations. From actors like James Stewart to modern day performers like Matt Damon, Meryl Streep, Christoph Waltz, Denzel Washington, Mark Rylance and so many more.
What were the biggest struggles you had to face to get to where you are?
This can be a cut-throat business and there definitely are some struggles. It’s not always about being “the best” or working the hardest. There are so many variables that come into play when casting a role or getting an opportunity to take that next step. You have to have the talent, but then you have to be ready to take hits you never expected. You "need to have the right representation to get the big break but so often you need the big break to get the right representation." It's a catch-22 and in my case I just had to keep plugging away to beat the odds. I had to more or less make things happen on my own. That’s not to say I haven’t had some help along the way, but I really have had to fight for myself; and I’ve learned that doesn’t go unnoticed as I gratefully watch my team and my advocates build. Going through this journey, I’ve tried to stay sincere, remember that I’m in it because I love it and keep grinding. A lot of hard work and getting blessed with opportunities to collaborate with wonderful, talented people both internally and artistically, has landed me where I am now.
How was your experience working in Venom?
It was an incredible experience. I was amazed at the amount of artistic freedom we were able to have as actors. From the direction of Ruben Fleischer to producers Matt Tolmach, Avi Arad and Amy Pascal, to the incomparable Tom Hardy… Venom was a uniquely collaborative on-set process with an array of crazy talented people. I shot the first week of principal photography, so my first scene was the first scene Tom shot as well and it was really cool watching him “find” Venom. His generosity and openness to improv and exploration from an acting standpoint made for a genuinely great chemistry and experience. It was a set that I couldn’t wait to get back to the next day.
Are you a Marvel fan?
Absolutely. Marvel is one of the greatest cinematic universes in history and I grew up reading Marvel comics and loving certain characters. I’ve actually had some close calls on the Marvel front before getting Venom. When I first moved to LA I was very close to booking a role in The Amazing Spiderman. In the end I didn’t end up getting the role, but funny enough, about a year later I played Thor in a Dr Pepper Avengers commercial along side Stan Lee, and now here I am in Venom. It doesn’t always show up the way you originally want it to, but when it does show up it’s easier to understand the journey.
What was your favorite part of filming XOXO?
First off, I’m a huge EDM fan, having been to several EDM festivals including three EDC’s before I got that role. There are certain things you audition for that really resonate with you and that role and movie was one I really wanted. The coolest part was that we got to shoot at real EDM festivals for a year and a half and I got to bring my brother and his girlfriend, also avid EDM fans, to one of those festivals. Depending on the event, we had close to free reign and got to go where we wanted and do what we wanted… others, not so much! Director Christopher Louie would send me into the masses with a sound guy and a Go-Pro and tell me to stay in character and have fun. Well, I did it. I was hugged, kissed, robbed (yes, robbed by a security guard) and briefly fought… all while everyone there thought I was on a massive amount of drugs; and when I told them I was shooting a movie and the guy with the head phones and sound equipment was part of the film crew… half of them still didn’t believe me. But hey, I was really living in the moment! It was an epic experience.
You’re recording a Pop/Electronic album with producer Taylor Sparks, how is the album coming along?
It’s going great! Taylor Sparks is an immensely talented producer and his resume reflects that having worked with artists like Julian Martel, Pharrell, Aaron Reid, Neon Hitch and Azelia Banks. He’s got a really unique style, a great ear and is brilliant with pop and electronic music. I always hear what I want in my head from a production standpoint, but I’m not a producer so I leave the technical aspect of recording to the pros. Taylor and I have a great chemistry and similar taste, so it really works out well. We’ve been working on this project for a couple months now and we just dropped our first single, ‘Everything About You,’ available everywhere.
Tell us about your single "Everything about You"?
The song is the first single we released under my new Scott Deckert solo project. I co-wrote the song with a very talented song writer named Alexa Michelle. We top line wrote it over producer Taylor Sparks’ production. I had spent a couple months in the studio with other writers and came up with some great material, but after coming back from filming a new show and having to take a break from music, Taylor and I were sitting in the studio trying to decide if we wanted to go with one of the earlier songs or keep writing to see what would come from it. We decided to keep writing. Alexa came in and the three of us knocked the song out in a couple hours. Taylor spent a little more time on the production and we knew right away that was the first single. You can find it here-https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/everything-about-you-single/1438738358
Do you have a dream role you would like to play?
I would love to play as many roles depicting true historic events as I can. I love encompassing different personalities and becoming a different person, so diving deep into a character is the ultimate for me. I want to get to the point where I go to extremes to get to the dramatic head space I need to be, whether it involves body transformation or extreme mental challenges. I would also love to play an astronaut, a sociopath, a soldier or veteran, and Tom Hanks’ role in Forrest Gump and Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything hits very close to my heart. My mom’s a physical and occupational therapist and I’ve been fortunate to grow up learning from and spending time with people of all walks of life and circumstances. Those two actors did their roles justice. Those are dream roles.
What goals you want to accomplish by the end of 2018?
Well we’re only two months away so I better get a move on it! I’m getting ready to head to a location shoot to start working on a show in a couple weeks, but aside from that I’m constantly pushing for bigger and bigger things in my career. Some of my goals are on the business side of the industry, both from an acting standpoint as well as producing, and I want to accomplish everything I can on the music end in the studio before the end of the year.
What new projects are you working on?
I have a couple of awesome projects coming out next year that I’m really excited for everyone to see! I’ll be able to announce them soon. What I can say for now is that one of them is a “bucket list” show for me and you’ve most likely already fallen in love with it. Another is a new show from the creator of one of the most popular Netflix series; and on a slightly different path of passion, I’m acting in and producing a pilot called ‘Open Til’ Close’ with some people who were involved with ‘Workaholics,’ created by Mark Stockwell, Jr and Nick Kipley. So exciting things are coming in 2019!