I recently got the chance to talk to Matthew Rimmer about his role in ‘The Change-Up’. Here, Matthew talks about what it was like working with Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde on-set and what his favourite holiday destination is…
Hey Matthew. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘The Change-Up’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The plotline of ‘The Change –Up’ is the story of two long time buddies that wish they had each other’s lives. Magically, their wish comes true. They learn more about themselves and each other, and most importantly…’be careful what you wish for’.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play the part of a tattoo artist in the film. Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Sabrina (Olivia Wilde) visit the tattoo parlour to cap off their date. At this point in the story, Dave (Jason Bateman) is in Mitch’s body. I play the tattoo artist working on Mitch’s back. You’ll have to watch the film to see what tattoo I put on his back.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I landed the role through my agent in Atlanta, Chase Paris (Houghton Talent). At that time I was living in Los Angeles. Chase asked me to put the audition on tape. I wore tattoo sleeves because I have no tattoos. After a few weeks I was contacted to play the part.
How would you say this film is unique and different to most comedies? It’s sorta like ‘Freaky Friday’ isn’t it?
I’m not sure how similar this might be to ‘Freaky Friday’, I’ll admit I’ve never seen that film. Nor would I say the concept is unique. There have been many stories over the years wherein the main characters swap lives or identities, or even have out-of-body experiences. Didn’t Shakespeare have a story about twins swapping identities? And though it’s not quite the same plot, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ allows the main character to examine his life through an out-of-body experience. In ‘The Change-Up’, the relationship between the friends is a love/hate relationship. Much like two siblings that are very close and mean at the same time. I think the comedy in this film is fun for it’s over-the-top and irreverent nature. And Ryan and Jason do a great job playing their “swapped” personalities.
The film stars Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde – with David Dobkin onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
We shot in Atlanta, Georgia around Christmas 2010. We were shooting in a warehouse at temperatures hovering around 40 degrees (near freezing). Olivia was a trooper. Never did she complain in the cold. Nor did she ask for the crew to leave the set for her compromising shots. Very cool. Ryan was pleasant to work with. Mr. Dobkin was younger looking than I imagined he would be. He worked quick and limited his takes. He was also a gentleman and tried to make the set as comfortable as possible given the scene we were working on and the cold air we were shooting. Wish I could have worked with Jason, he’s been a longtime favourite of mine.
Let’s talk a bit about you Matthew. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I got into acting sometime in college. I had done theatre a few times growing up in New Orleans and Atlanta. Towards the end of my Freshman year at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, an acquaintance of mine suggested I audition for a one-act festival the theatre department was doing. I did. Before I finished school I had performed in a handful of plays. One of my professors asked the class to assemble a resume to go out into the world to find work. I started school wanting to be a medical doctor, I left wanting to be an actor. My poor parents. Dan Biggers, a regular on ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ series, worked at the college. He gave me some insight on how to get into the business. From there, I made it my life goal to make acting my one and ONLY job.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
For anyone getting into the profession, do like Mr. Biggers told me. If interested in film/TV/commercials, try working on set as an extra first. Watch how the set works, watch how people communicate. If you want to be a good actor, either find performance training, or get involved in live theatre productions. I feel good theatre actors are flexible and easier to work with on set. And performing in front of a live audience is such a thrill! Nowadays, I think of the film crew as my audience, but they can’t react like audiences during most of the takes due to sound. And finally, you HAVE to have a source of income while pursuing acting. It may take weeks, months, or years before you can make a living as an actor. Not only will you need to put food on your table, a roof over your head, but, you’ll need money for head shots, demo reels, classes, etc.
You’ve been in a number of different TV and film projects – who have been your favourite actors/actresses to work with, and which project has been your favourite to be a part of?
What are some of my favourite experiences? I hate to single out only one or two things. There have been many projects throughout my life and career that have given me joy. Whether on stage, in front of the camera, or even behind it, I will forever be thankful of my experiences. For instance, I worked on ‘The West Wing’ as a PA and met Martin Sheen. He approached me, took my hand and said “Hello, my name is Martin Sheen”. What a CLASSY guy! Back in the summer of 2003, I worked on a piece I wrote called ‘Duel’. It’s a short film a friend, Dominic Cerniglio directed. ‘Duel’ is an action packed drama with a period look and sword fighting. Tons of fun! I was tickled when Shia LeBeouf directed me in a music video he shot back in 2003. He said I needed to do something wrong so he could “direct” me. At the start of my career, working at The Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta, and the Georgia Renaissance Festival were essential to my growth as a professional. I worked with amazing actors like Kyle Crew and Dean Patterson. Through my Ren Fair work I was close to Jennifer Nettles of ‘Sugerland’ at the start of her career. She is an amazing entertainer. But as far as favorite work; playing R.P McMurphy in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ at Marietta’s Theatre in the Square. I had people laughing and crying seven shows a week. And recently, playing a one-legged suspect in an episode of ‘Memphis Beat’. Everyone was very nice to work with. Even better, several people asked if I truly did have only one leg.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Currently cued on my I-Pod is Staind’s ‘Mudshovel’, previous was Arcade Fire’s ‘Empty Room’, next is Kitchens Of Distinction’s ‘Gorgeous Love’. I also have Beastie Boys, Fugazi, Mudhoney, Ministry, James Brown, and The Sugarhill Gang…to name a few.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I love going to the mountains to snowboard and ski. Something about the views and the thrills. Now that I’ve turned surfer, I feel I’ll eventually have a favourite surfing destination.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
After working five gigs out of Louisiana and Georgia last year, I decided to move to Louisiana to make myself more available for work in this region. The only project I haven’t seen completed, yet, was ‘Re-Kill’. It’s a zombie pic that did re-shoots out of Baton Rouge. I’ve been talking with Dominic about a feature film he has written and hopes to produce and direct. And I hope to work with Ross Novie, Jay Rondot, Michelle MacLaren, David Dobkin and Jason Connery again. We’ll see.
Thanks for the interview!