I recently got the chance to talk to Jim Thalman about his role in ‘Episode 50’. Here, Jim talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what is currently on his I-Pod right now…
Hey Jim. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film ‘Episode 50′.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s a real interesting concept, that allowed the filmmakers to utilize a multitude of story telling styles which is one of the things that I enjoyed immensely when I watched the final product. Essentially a team (our heroes) has a reality show in which they have made their reputation on their uncanny ability to debunk alleged hauntings. They do so with wit, intelligence and good old-fashioned deductive reasoning. Unfortunately, for them, ‘Episode 50’ is the one episode where they cannot debunk the supernatural or paranormal activities occurring and it gets extremely dangerous, very quickly.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
The traditional way, I submitted via one of the industry job sites, went in and read for them, a couple of days later they called saying that they really enjoyed what I brought to the table and could I come in for a callback and I was like “Hell yeah”. I truly enjoy the audition process for some strange reason. My mentor Steve Eastin always says: “Go in and have a fuckin blast, they hire you great, they don’t, no sweat, there will always be another movie, all you have to do is leave the room knowing you went full tilt and left it all in there”, which is a great way to approach it, ya know, just enjoy yourself, and leave the rest to the Gods.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Andrew Worthington Jr. The playboy son of a billionaire that’s dying of pancreatic cancer, ain’t that a mouthful. He’s a strange bird indeed, but because he’s rich, it’s called eccentric. I had a lot of fun with this character, he’s vulnerable and yet really shady, he has all of these ulterior motives and is simultaneously very forthright in his fears. Portraying a man who’s in the process of dying is never an easy thing, it’s quite easy to overdo it and fuck up the film – thankfully that was not the case. Actually a good buddy of mine is a documentary filmmaker who’s always busting my balls saying he wants to do a documentary called ‘Jimmy Dies’ in which he’ll utilize all my death scenes in movies, which probably totals to about 50 or 60 movies and has some of the grizzliest of deaths man, haha.
The film stars Josh Folan, Chris Perry, Natalie Wetta, Eleanor Wilson and your good self – with Joe and Tess Smalley onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Ya know – typical indie man, not enough money, not enough time, not enough….. yet somehow you all pull together, suck it up and make a fuckin’ movie man. Indies are the love of my life, making movies is, to quote my mentor: “The most fun you can have with your clothes on” which is the truth man, it’s the closest any of us will ever get to true manufacturing, ya know? You bring an idea, a concept from the page to the screen with a thousand hurdles in between. Tess and Joe were really the ones that held it together and delivered this film in a manner to be proud of. Ian wrote a really cool, slick intelligent script with some great history to it, which I really enjoyed, I’m always a fan of when the writer provides a sense of mystery. Ya know, I’m a movie geek, I usually see about 150 movies a year in theatres, that doesn’t include Netflix or cable, I just dig movies and am truly happy when I get to make em. I didn’t really get to meet the rest of the cast, the days I shot were usually just me. I did meet Josh and Chris and they were very cool, we bs’d a bit, but that day we were running behind and losing light, so everyone put their game face on and cranked it out, which is what we were there to do.
Let’s talk a bit about you Jim. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHH, this question always gooses me, I got into acting for girls, to meet lots and lots of pretty girls and kiss as many as I could and pretty much that’s what I did throughout my twenties, but somewhere along the line I fell head over heels in love with acting, with the adrenaline rush of the work, with the collaboration of a team of highly skilled, passionate people who are all experts in their own department, coming together under the most damning of situations to achieve the impossible dream, which is to make a movie, hopefully a damn good movie and perhaps once or twice in your life a great one, one that’ll hold up in decades to come.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Just fucking do it, jump in head first and go for it, it’s a magical life that’ll take you all over the world and meet all sorts of wild and wonderful people, madmen and geniuses, lots of jackoffs too, but they’re interesting as well. Listen it’s gonna be ridiculously difficult and at times feel impossible, if you want safety, security and wealth, maybe it’s not for you. But if ya want life experiences that will stay with you forever, then go for it and remember “man only regrets what he didn’t do”.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
I’m actually a Pandora guy, I like to be surprised, but I’m a huge Jazz fan, I think mostly because of the way those cats worked, just off of what the other guy was doing, totally improvisational and flying by the seat of your pants, which is in sync with what my beliefs are about acting. I also dig deep southern blues and of course classic rock, music is always on in our pad and it’s funny cause my girl is all about Gaga and I’m all about Miles Davis, but there’s room for both.
You’ve been in a number of shorts and indie-based projects – how important do you think the indie industry is nowadays, what with the recession and economic climates?
Very important, listen at the end of the day, it’s indies that are pushing the envelope, filmmakers are the ballsiest of people who I know, followed closely by producers, they’re the ones that pave the way the industry goes, it’s always been that way, whether you’re lookin at Fuller or Cassavettes, Polanski or Scorsese, Spike or Sayles, the Cohen Brothers – these cats who became the mainstream, all did things their way on their dime without a budget or any help from the studios, they proved their ingenuity and their passion, desire, lust and love for the art of story telling. Economies will come and go, bull markets, bear markets, boom/bust cycles, etc… but story telling will always be necessary and we’ll always look to those radicals on the edge that have something to say and will say it no matter what. I do think that today’s technology makes it inherently easier for today’s filmmakers than it was when these guys were scraping cash together to shoot on 16 mm.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
The media is a funny thing, I was in India earlier this year, and in a four-week period, you had this seismic shift in that region of the world, it was a Tuesday when the dictator of Tunisia fled with 60 billion, and I’m talking within days, the Bangladeshi stock market crashed, the Indian market followed, Thailand, Vietnam.
Plus Dubai all crashed, and all the while this is happening, civil uprisings are igniting in Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Saudi, Libya, this is occurring at lightning speed within days of each other. Like domino’s man. Now the media has dubbed it the Arab Spring, but when I got back to the States all anyone was talking about was fuckin’ Charlie Sheen and I was like “What?!!!!!!!!!! Where’s the news on the civil uprisings?” It finally hit the airways about 3 weeks later. Truth be known I’m actually a huge fan of the Guardian in the UK and of course the NY Times.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
Well 2011 is almost over. But I just wrapped the feature ‘Infiltrate’, a good old-fashioned NYC crime drama, complete with executions of Federal Judges, kidnapped District Attorneys, and a war between the Feds and La Cosa Nostra that would make Macchiavelli jealous. I play a young Don (crime boss) that steps into the fray and wages a war without pity or remorse, Think when John Gotti came into power. Next up is looking like the graphic novel from Dark Haven Studios called ‘Revolution’, set in a post apocalyptic Los Angeles, a bitter, grizzled veteran of the force navigates his way through an extremely dangerous world, rewriting the law as he goes, and beating a whole lotta men into bloody submission.
Thanks for the interview!