I recently got the chance to talk to Andy McDermott about his role in ‘Everything Must Go’. Here, Andy talks about what it was like working with Will Ferrell and Michael Pena and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Andy. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Everything Must Go’ is currently in limited cinemas in the UK right now.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Nick, a “not quite recovering” alcoholic, is having a rough day. Got into some trouble, got fired from his job, starts drinking and heads home to find his wife has left him. Adding insult to injury, she has changed all the locks and moved all his belongings to the front yard. Left without any options, he decides to arrange his things and make the lawn a nice living space while his life unfolds around him. I think the film is a great character study of someone who is going through a rough patch which is familiar to many folks these days.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I am a patrol officer who is sent to tell Nick that he is causing a disturbance in the neighbourhood by living and drinking on his front lawn. I felt my character was torn between the annoyance of having to deal with a “waste of time call” and the empathizing with a nice guy who is down on his luck. Most cops see a lot of people hurting, but a lot of them, like Nick, tend to make a lot of bad decisions which don’t exactly improve things…
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was very fortunate that they decided to film the movie locally in Scottsdale, AZ. They held auditions for a few of the minor roles, and I bribed Dan Rush and Marty Bowen heavily to let me play along…
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Two ways: first, I think this is the most dramatic and melancholy that Will Ferrell has had to be in a film. This is definitely a new direction in that respect.
Secondly, I think Dan Rush set a great tone from the beginning, wanting a quiet film. From my first audition, I was asked to “think big, act small,” and I think that was taken on very well by everyone who appears in the movie.
The film stars Will Ferrell, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena and Stephen Root – with Dan Rush onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Surreal. This was the biggest project I have been a part of, and although I am a nobody, everyone treated me as if I was a very important piece of the puzzle. The crew was top-notch and very professional – making a tight shooting schedule look easy and without the stress that is often felt on shooting sets. Dan Rush seemed to be a great player’s coach – being very approachable and instilling confidence in his actors. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous when I first arrived on set, but Dan looked me in the eye and said “Don’t worry Andy, you got the goods, or else you wouldn’t even be here.” That meant a lot to me – in the same way that a good soccer coach used to me make me feel – as if they believe in your ability. I spent my shooting time with Will and with Michael Pena. I cannot say enough good things about Will. I guess the simplest way of describing how he treats people is that you would never know he is a superstar. He was so kind and was genuinely interested in my background. It was bizarre sitting next to him and answering so many questions about my life. He is a big soccer fan, so we hit it off a bit – but mainly I believe he is just a “salt of the earth” guy, and I admire and respect him for that. Michael Pena was great too! He had just come from shooting this “tiny” film called ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ (ha!), but he quickly changed gears into this film and showed why he is such a star. Throughout my time on set I felt like a sponge – I learned so much from being around these guys!
Let’s talk a bit about you Andy. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I have ALWAYS loved movies! I took a couple of acting classes during my time at Northwestern and felt empowered by them. I started modelling after college to supplement my meager soccer salary, so I was defaulted into a few commercials over the years. I always wanted to act, but I never had the cojones to face rejection over and-over! Eventually, 2010 came around, and as a New Year’s Resolution, I committed to taking acting class and throwing my hat into the ring, because I didn’t want to wake up at 50 and wish I had given it a shot.
So, I started taking baby steps with the wonderful Marla Finn and the late, great Peter Stelzer. I also connected with fantastic coach Garth Williams, who continues to take me higher. I am certainly a rookie in the craft, but I love it – I feel strengthened by researching a character and then losing myself in him. I am working hard to be the best I can be – hoping to be in the right place at the right time, should lighting care to strike!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
My very best advice would be to ask someone else for advice!
If I was a genie and could grant you three wishes – what would you choose and why?
Honestly, I have more than I deserve already, and I’m grateful. I realize that is not a very fun answer, so here goes:
- Miniature giraffe
- Ability to pause life.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
My favorite artist is Heather Headley – I think she just might be the world’s best singer.
I train a lot, so I always have to have some trance-electronica. Afrojack, Marcus Schossow, Tiesto. I like old school hip-hop as well, like some Outkast, Beatnuts and House of Pain remixes. I recently discovered Mumford and Sons – they are fantastic.
I thought I’d save this question until last – on your IMDB profile, it says you are allegedly a real life cop – ‘although not the stereotypical one’ – is it best I don’t ask?
Hahaha! Nope, nothing scandalous to hide! I am a cop for my “day job.” Of course, I’d rather not have a real job, but I had to get one after I was done playing soccer, and it is the most fun gig I could think of. I call it a “front row seat to the best show on earth,” because where I work, you honestly have no idea what you may see next. The stereotype of the average cop, unfortunately, is that of a fat, grumpy, uneducated ticket-writer… The truth is much different — for the most part!
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I am very excited about a great project with up-and-coming filmmaker Bret Zausmer in Los Angeles. I can’t reveal too much, but I will say that Bret shares my love for action movies and it will give me a chance to pretend I’m an action star…
Thanks for the interview!