I recently got the chance to talk to Alex Quijano about his role in ‘Larry Crowne’. Here, Alex talks about what it was like working with the legendary Tom Hanks and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Alex. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Larry Crowne’ was released in cinemas on 1st July 2011 and is doing well. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, what is the general plotline of the film?
Basically it’s a recession story. About re-inventing yourself and moving forward in life when things don’t go your way.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
It’s not a huge part anymore, but Larry works at a U-Mart and I’m one of his team leaders.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I had to audition like everybody else. Thankfully I have a relationship with the casting directors so they called me in. This is the kind of project that people come out of their shoes to try to be a part of. It’s not often that you get to be a part in a film written, directed and starring a movie legend. I was really blessed.
How would you say this film is different from other comedies released this year?
In the last few years, many of the comedies made have been a little over the top / fantastic. ‘Larry Crowne’ has comedic elements in it but isn’t written as a traditional comedy.
The film stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Sarah Mahoney – what was it working with the cast and crew on-set?
Unfortunately I didn’t get to work with Julia Roberts. Hopefully some day soon. As far as working with Tom Hanks, it was an absolute dream. He has always been an idol of mine since I was a kid, so it has been and will be one of the most special moments in my life. On set, he is a true professional and I learned a tremendous amount just watching and getting to play alongside him.
The film revolves around Tom Hanks’ character going back to college – if you could go back to college again, what subject would you like to learn?
Business!! I have a degree in Biology so the business world and handling the business aspect of acting has always been a learning experience for me. If anything, I’d love to go back for more accounting and marketing classes….unless I got to go to RADA.
Let’s talk a bit about you Alex – what made you want to get into acting in the first place?
During my Freshman year in college I needed to take a minimum of 12 units. I already had 10 units – in science and math – and I needed to keep my mind from exploding, so I signed up for an acting class (I also played baseball for my college team and that counted as 1 unit). It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a class. Towards the end of the quarter the teacher asked me to try out for one of the school plays, but I had to turn him down because I was already committed to the baseball team. At the end of the quarter, he told me that I should really think about making this a career. That always stuck with me. Towards the end of my junior year, I was working an internship at the University medical center in the emergency room. I was coming home at about 4am and I just realized that I didn’t want to be a doctor. I made the decision right then that I’d finish my degree and baseball and then move to Los Angeles to pursue acting. A year later, I packed up my truck and moved to LA with $750 and no idea what the hell I was getting into. Thankfully it’s worked out.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the TV industry?
Work hard and don’t give up. If you really want to pursue acting, take it seriously. This isn’t a job, it’s a career and a passion. The mistake that most actors make is that they sit around and wait for things to come to them. You have to be proactive and work at your craft EVERY DAY. This is not a job for the faint of heart. It breaks you down and can really take a toll. One way to counter that is by making your acting the only thing that can’t be questioned. It’s like anything else you do in life. If you don’t work hard, make it a priority, and practice, it won’t happen for you. The party will always be there, but your career won’t.
You‘ve had guest roles in TV series such as ‘No Ordinary Family’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Monk’ and ‘CSI’ – which has been your favourite TV series to work on and why?
‘Criminal Minds’. I loved everything about it. The entire cast and crew were fantastic and it felt like we were all in it together. I was also killed in the show and I’d never had squibs put on me before. It was amazing!
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
The withholding of $800 million dollars to aid Pakistan. Just wondering what the implications of that are going to be. How will it affect our already tricky relationship with a nuclear country that has shown some instability.
What does a Alex Quijano day usually consist of?
Waking up, reading the paper or watching BBC News, tea, gym and then auditions / reading / rehearsals, hanging out with my dog and continuing to push myself towards success.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
Thankfully I have a few commercials running right now. That’s kept me going during our slow time. As I write this, I’m getting excited for the start of episodic season. Hopefully this will be another successful year that only moves me forward.
Thanks for the interview Alex!