I recently got the chance to talk to Alexander Bedria about his role in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. Here, Alexander talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Alexander. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’.
My pleasure, Matt.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is a re-imagining of the origins of the iconic hero, delving into areas as yet unexplored on film, such as who Peter Parker’s parents were and what secrets his father carried that tie directly into Peter’s fate.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character is a SWAT officer under the command of Captain Stacy, played by Denis Leary. Though the police are essentially ‘good guys’ in the film, Captain Stacy considers Spider-Man to be a dangerous vigilante, so we’re going after him just as seriously as we are the story’s actual villain.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It was really a case of the stars aligning on this one. I had read a few months earlier for Francine Maisler – casting director for ‘The Amazing Spider Man’ – for a role in the Brad Pitt film ‘Moneyball’. I didn’t get that role, but the audition served as an introduction to that office. Also, for ‘Spider-Man’ they brought on a casting director named Andy Henry as an associate, and I’d read for Andy multiple times previously. When the character breakdown was released, my manager made a pitch, and they brought me in for an audition. Typically with a film of this kind of audience expectation, the details and title of the project are kept a secret, even to the actors auditioning for it…but it was clear to me what it was for, and that was definitely exciting. I did my audition, felt good about it, and put it out of my mind. Then, a few weeks later, I got the call that I landed the role. That was quite a feeling.
Honestly, as actors we rarely know the exact reasons we get (or don’t get) a job, but I’m imagining all of those elements came together in some way to make it happen.
How would you say this film is different and unique to the original trilogy?
I think Marc Webb has carved out a new universe for Peter Parker in the way that Christopher Nolan did for Bruce Wayne. There’s a verisimilitude in this film that makes it feel more grounded and real, both in the relationships and in the spectacle. Even Spidey swinging through the cityscape just feels more real and dangerous. But what really surprised me was how emotionally affecting it was. I welled up during a few moments of the film…I really felt for Peter and everything he had to emotionally endure.
The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan and Campbell Scott – with Marc Webb onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
In the script, my scene was a pretty brief and straightforward dialogue exchange with Denis Leary, informing him on some bad stuff going down on the streets of Manhattan. On the day, however, I find out that there will be an actual helicopter landing during the scene, and moreover, Marc Webb had decided that I should be the one that loads Captain Stacy into the chopper, which would then take off. I had to be briefed by the helicopter and stunt experts on how to properly close and latch the chopper door – (and to also avoid walking into the rear propellers). Needless to say, I didn’t want to be responsible for Mr. Leary falling out of the sky, so I paid close attention to those instructions! Denis was very generous though, relaying Marc’s direction to me in between takes as the helicopter was incredibly loud and all of us could barely hear each other.
I loved ’500 Days Of Summer’, so I was ecstatic to work with Marc. I remember when we were about to start shooting that scene, and he’s standing in the middle of a sea of crew members, stuntmen, background actors and a live helicopter…just staring downward, deep in thought. Like the eye of the storm, completely calm, setting up the scene in his mind. He even said to me “say it how it feels right” allowing me to play with the dialogue and change or add bits to feel more natural. That’s a pretty amazing amount of trust to give a young actor on a $200+million movie. He’s a cool dude.
I didn’t get the opportunity to work with Andrew or Emma, other than a brief moment where I had to run through a scene she was in, but I think they’re both extraordinary actors. They both gave wonderful performances in this film.
Let’s talk a bit about you Alexander. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’ve always loved films. I could trace my life back through the movies I grew up with in the way that many people do with popular songs, but it never actually occurred to me that I could pursue this career till I took an acting class in college. From that moment on though, I was hooked. If being ‘bitten by the bug,’ is the clichéd expression, I was gnawed by a giant one. Acting became an obsession, and I did it wherever and whenever I could. Theater, classes, student films, independent films, workshops…I lived in Daytona Beach, Florida at the time which was hours away from any acting opportunity, but I’d happily drive two to four hours regularly for non-paying short films, play rehearsals and performances, or – if I was lucky enough – an audition for a paying commercial. I didn’t care though, I was doing what I wanted to do, and I felt like – little by little – I was getting somewhere.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
For actors, I’d say first you need to build a craft of acting. Whether that be through acting class, community theater, or a repertory program…you need a solid foundation of training to start. If you live somewhere where this just isn’t available, get together with a few friends and regularly put up some scenes. Anything that lets you act. Once you’ve come to the realization that there’s nothing else you’d rather devote your life to, you can start thinking about moving to LA. Before you do though, I’d recommend reading every book and blog (there’s quite a few) on the realities of life as an actor in Hollywood. Do your research and be prepared. That’ll give you a leg up upon your arrival.
We live in a unique time now where film making has opened up from just being a tiny little club where an elite few get to play to anyone being able to do it. HD cameras have gotten incredibly cheap and there are countless websites, YouTube videos, books, and tutorials that teach how to properly light and record audio on the cheap. Hell, you could film a short on an iPhone! The point is, film stuff! Websites like YouTube and Vimeo have made the world a lot smaller, and allows people outside of Los Angeles to play their hand at making movies and blasting them out to the world.
What’s is currently on your I-Pod right now?
I’ve been listening to a band called The National. The movie ‘Warrior’, one of my favourite films from last year, ended with their beautiful, haunting song ‘Today’. If cassettes still existed that one would definitely be worn down.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Marlon Brando, Stephen Hawking, and my late father. I’m a big science and astrophysics nut, would love to see where that conversation would go. Maybe we’d unravel some great mystery of the universe. I hear Brando was quite entertaining in private life, among friends. Maybe squeeze an anecdote or two out of him. And I’d love to have my Dad there, because he’d enjoy the company as much as I would.
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
We’ve got some beautiful hiking trails here in LA, whenever I feel the need to get some fresh air and a little solitary time. You can quite literally sit on top of the city and see all of it, all the way out to the ocean. It’s pretty serene…and not a bad workout either.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I’m incredibly proud of two short films I recently wrote and produced, the first – ‘Politico’ – in which I play a democratic political strategist who has an encounter with an old flame who happens to be a conservative journalist. It stars myself and Jessica Barth, who just had a hilarious breakthrough performance in Seth MacFarlane’s feature ‘Ted’.
The second is ‘Palmyra’, a Roman era period piece set in ancient Syria, where I play a Roman soldier on the run from his command, fighting for his life in the desert. The response to these little projects has been overwhelmingly positive. They can be found at http://www.alexanderbedria.com
I also did a nice guest spot on Shonda Rhimes’ hit show ‘Scandal’ for ABC which should be re-airing soon. Other than that, back to the auditioning grind, looking to land the next opportunity!
Thanks for the interview!