I recently got the chance to talk to Brett Rice about his role in ‘Super 8’. Here, Brett talks about how he got involved in ‘Super 8’ in the first place and what it was like working with Dennis Quaid on a recent project…
Hey Brett. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to me about your new film ‘Super 8’.
For anyone who hasn’t had chance to see the film yet, what is the general plotline?
The general plotline of ‘Super 8’ is about four kids who decide to make their own movie and use their Super 8 camera to shoot the film. A bizarre train wreck is captured on their camera which releases a creature, and wreaks havoc in the town. I like to think of this movie as “E.T. on Steroids”! It is a marvelous thrill ride, with a great twist at the end.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character is Sheriff Pruitt, the small-town Sheriff , who has too much to do when confronted by my deputy (played by Kyle Chandler) to strange things going on after the train wreck.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I got involved in this project by sending a taped audition to my manager (Todd Justice) in Los Angeles. A month later I got a call letting me know that I was going to be doing the movie, and was going to working with JJ Abrams. I was absolutely floored, because I am a huge fan of his work! When I met him he was kind and gracious with a mind that never stops working.
I’ve heard this film being compared to stuff like ‘Cloverfield’ – obviously another of JJ Abrams projects – and also Steven Spielberg‘s ‘ET’ – how would you say this film tries to be innovative?
The innovation of this film seems to be the way JJ has taken most of the best of Spielberg, and his earlier work and then taken the next step of filmmaking that was only logical. JJ’s mind is constantly working on a scene in his head, trying to make it more interesting and better. There is a scene in the movie where a pack of dogs come running out of a field….in the original script there were no dogs! JJ just came up with the idea and suddenly they were brought in that night and were in the final edit……it is one of the funniest scenes in the movie…Brilliant!!
The film stars Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths and Ryan Lee – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? It must have been great to work with JJ Abrams, who is foremost recognised as one of the best directors of the 21st century…
The truth is – they were all wonderful to work with and I would work with them again if I were asked. Elle Fanning looked like a real pro on set and never complained, even when they were running around in cold weather, at night, and getting chased by a creature they couldn’t see!! I got to sit down and talk a little with Kyle Chandler. I was surprised to find that he and I are from the same general area and played golf at the same courses in our younger years. We had a good time together. He is such a laid-back congenial gentleman who has made a big name for himself with the TV show ‘Friday Night Lights’.
If you encountered an alien creature on a set of train tracks – what would you do?
Well, whatever I were to do, I’m quite sure that a changing of trousers would be involved!”
Let’s talk a bit about you Brett. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I got the “bug” for acting after I was honorably discharged from the Army. I got involved with the local college’s theatre department, after discovering that I wasn’t cut out to be an accountant. I then pursued acting while performing at local theatres in Atlanta, Georgia. Then one day, I heard about a TV show being cast and I crashed the audition. I didn’t have an agent! All I had was the tenacity, the arrogance of youth to get into the audition. Turns out that a producer I had worked with (Chris T. McIntyre) was behind the camera that day and remembered me, he asked me if I wanted a job and of course I said yes. From that moment on my life changed! I went on to work in films and other TV shows here in the States, including a movie shot in St. Andrews, Scotland called “Bobby Jones – A Stroke of Genius” with Malcolm McDowell and Claire Forlani among others.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
My advice to others who want to act? “Don’t be afraid to reach for the brass ring, because if you never reach for it, you will never get it!” My mother once asked me why I had not asked a particularly beautiful young woman out to dinner. I told her I was scared, and she said to me,” What’s the worst that could happen…..she might say no?” That’s not as bad as never trying!
If you could recommend a film or TV series to someone, what would you choose and why?
‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Remember The Titans’, ‘The Blind Side’ – all of these films are extremely entertaining and delivers a profound message. I’m proud to have been in each of these films.
You’ve had a number of different roles on a range of different mainstream projects – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far?
One of my favorite actors is Dennis Quaid: not because of any advice, but because with all of his accomplishments in the film business he is still a regular guy. I met him on the set of ‘Footloose’, which opens October 10th this year, and we got to talking. We are both golf nuts, and so we got together to play. We never spoke about acting or the job, we just enjoyed the golf and the conversation. We are still in contact and will be getting together to play once we have some time off. I wish more actors could separate their work and their private lives in a similar fashion.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
Well, I don’t like to discuss my politics in public, but the problems of balancing the budget in the States is one, and the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is another. But, who wants to listen to some actor complain about their government? I think they would rather see us entertain them in the theatres…..that is what we do best!
What’s coming up for you in 2011? I hear you’ve just finished ‘Footloose’ and you’re currently working on a TV show – what can you tell us about these projects?
I’m soon to be filming ‘Great Hope Springs’ with Tommy Lee Jones. ‘Footloose’ will be a huge hit here in the States, and I hope in the UK. I saw a screening of it recently and it is absolutely amazing. The dancing, music and story will make you want to get up and DANCE!!! ‘Magic City’ is still filming and I’m not sure if I should comment on it just yet.
Thanks for the interview!