I recently got the chance to talk to Travis Nelson about his role in ‘Tucker & Dale Vs Evil’. Here, Travis talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew and what is currently on his I-Pod…
Hey Travis. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Tucker & Dale Vs Evil‘ – has just had its release in the UK…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Tucker & Dale Vs Evil’ is about two hillbillies, who when on their vacation to fix up their cabin, find themselves under attack by some college kids. This in turn becomes one hilarious misunderstanding.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a character called Chuck in the film and Chuck is the kind of guy who really wants to be a part of the group, in with the “cool” kids. And because of that he tries a little hard and can find himself in some awkward situations. I think everyone has had a friend like that growing up, the guy who has a good heart but tries a little too hard, just a little.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I flew to Calgary, Alberta, where we shot the film and went through two rounds of auditions, one with the casting director and then with Eli himself. Originally I read for Chad, (Jesse Moss’s character) and Chuck but after auditioning for Eli I found out I booked the role of Chuck.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Its unique in how it takes the genre of slasher films, such as ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Wrong Turn’ and flips it on its head, changes up some rules. It has the blood and gore but also you have these two hillbillies who you would assume to be the masterminds behind all that goes wrong, but who fall victim in one huge misunderstanding. There is also a little heart to the story, a kind of bromance between these two hillbillies that adds to the laughs and makes these two guys so likable.
The film stars Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger and Christie Laing – with Eli Craig onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Being such a huge fan of Alan Tudyk from ‘Firefly’, ‘Death At A Funeral’ and ‘Knocked Up’, I knew there was going to be some laughs. Being on set watching Alan and Tyler together was awesome they both have this innate comedic timing and are able to bounce of each other with such ease. Most of my time though was spent with the rest of cast, us college kids, Jesse Moss, Christi Laing, Chelan Simmons and Brandon Jay McLaren – all of us had a blast killing ourselves. With the film being low-budget things moved along pretty quick but Eli was a champ, he and Morgan Jurgerson had written a hilarious screenplay and knew what they wanted but never restricted any of our own character choices and let us play in the moment.
Let’s talk a bit about you Travis. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?…
To be honest I wanted to be Jackie Chan, I’m pretty sure I watched every Jackie Chan movie I could get my hands on growing up. ‘Rumble In The Bronx’, ‘Who Am I’, ‘Drunken Master’ – I’d watch these films every weekend. Growing up in a small town south-west of Calgary, Alberta and having the foothills as my backyard I would spend hours in the creeks behind my house pretending to be Jackie Chan. Also my parents didn’t allow me to have any kind of gaming console, but I was allowed my own TV in my room, so once I saved up enough money I bought myself a TV and started watching countless films. Movies such as ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘E.T’, ‘Contact’ – it was movies like these that made me want to a part of that collaborative machine that could make two hours of magic.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Set experience, if you have the chance to be an extra in a film and have never been on set before I recommend it. Being on set allows you see how much work goes into one scene and you’re able see how the actors approach their scenes. Acting classes, many casting directors put on workshops and it never hurts to get make your face familiar with them. Also keep inspired, after hearing NO a hundred times you need to be able to remind yourself why you want it.
What does a Travis Nelson day usually consist of?
Well at the moment I have taken a trip to Australia to visit family and audition for NIDA (National Institute Of Dramatic Arts) in November, so my days here are very relaxed. I love to run so I’m usually up early before it’s too hot, and then after that its a book and the beach. I also have to prepare three monologues for my NIDA auditions so right now that is my main focus.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
A mix of things, if I go through my recently played right now you’ll find:
- Nighttiming – Coconut Records
- The Weary Kind – Ryan Bigham
- Its Thunder And Its Lighting – We Were Promised
- Jetpacks Holocene – Bon Iver
- The ‘Super 8’ soundtrack – I’m a sucker for soundtrack music, anything from John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Tyler Bates, Alan Silvestri
If you could invite three historical guests to dinner, (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
That’s tough one, I’d have to say Robert Redford – to me the guy is legend, as a director and actor there is a wise, gentlemen quality about him. Also Stephen Hawkins, I have such a fascination with space, I would sit there and ask that man countless questions like a little kid. And last Michael Collins, I’m related to him through his sister Mary Collins and to be able to meet him face-to-face would be awesome.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I recently shot an episode of ‘Supernatural’, which was a lot of fun because my character was more on the evil side. The rest of year depends on whether or not I get into NIDA, if not i’ll be back in Vancouver ready for pilot season!
Thanks for the interview!