I recently got the chance to talk to Raymond McAnally about his role in ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’. Here, Raymond talks about what it was like working with Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Raymond. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ is currently in cinemas right now…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ is a comedy about a very talented woman desperately trying to create a balance between her career and her family. The film candidly pokes fun at the double standards of family vs. career that successful women encounter in the work place. It is based on the successful book of the same title by Allison Pearson.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I played ROY, a blue-collar Clevelandite who’s motto is “Work Hard. Bowl Harder”. He’s highly competitive and refuses to forfeit, even if it means letting these two “bankers” fill out the team for the night.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
The casting director and I first met while I was performing in a wonderful Off Broadway show, ‘God’s Ear’, at the Vineyard Theatre a few years ago. They contacted my agents and I auditioned for the role. Work begets work, as they say.
How would you say this film is different from other comedies?
It moves like the life of the lead character – fast paced from event-to-unexpected event with very real twists and turns that have no good answers or solutions. Even though it’s dramatically heightened of course, you feel the juggling act in a very real way. I feel like this movie was made for women like my mother. My Mom was an attorney who juggled her career and her family and if you’ve ever lived any portion of that exhaustive, shoot-from-the-hip kind of life then you know that comedy cannot help but ensue. I think it speaks to a demographic, the career-minded mother. She doesn’t normally get to have the kind of cathartic release you normally get when a comedy nails your crazy existence and points out the absurdities. It’s great to see.
The film stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks and Kelsey Grammer – with Douglas McGrath onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
My scene was with Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker. The bowling shoot was a long one, compounded by the fact a horrible snow storm hit the night before and everything was shut down but us. We all hung out and talked in the down time between takes – (doing what our characters do in the film) – and became fast friends and teammates, if only for a night. Douglas McGrath made the set incredibly fun and lively.
Everyone was worried about their bowling skills or lack thereof. The crew had all these contingency plans to get footage of strikes in case we all gutter-balled the entire shoot. The crazy thing was, we’d choke during rehearsal and then whenever ‘Action’ was called we’d all bowl like champions! All the reactions were so genuine because we were truly rolling strikes and hitting spares.
Let’s talk a bit about you Raymond. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I’ve always loved human behaviour, especially eccentric people and character types. I am fascinated by the human drama that plays out and the roles people choose for themselves. As a kid, I use to sit with my Dad and make up back stories for strangers we saw based on their behaviour. I love people, the things that make them tick, make them unique, and I fell in love with the idea of trying to genuinely embody different types of people. That and I like to wear costumes.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the industry?
Know your strengths. Be confident, not cocky. Audition the way you’d play the role, bringing yourself to the character, and walk away content. Work hard, be prepared, and don’t waste other people’s time.
You’ve been in a number of TV and film projects – who has been your favourite actor/actress to work with so far and which project has been your favourite to be a part of?
You know I’ve never solidified a list. For theatre, I’ve got a top three list that I could spit out without flinching, but I’ve been doing that a lot longer.
For TV, I really loved working with Tina Fey on ’30 Rock’. I have never seen anyone wear so many different hats on set, yet know exactly when to take them off and just be an actor in the scene. She’s an incredibly talented and present performer. Yeah, Tina Fey and this 4-year-old chimpanzee, Louie, that I shot a commercial with years ago. He was “so in it”.
As far as projects go, hands down my favourite film role to date is this short I did called ‘Penance’, playing a young man with Asperger Syndrome. Getting to do that kind of impediment work and research was a big part of my graduate school training and the detective in me ate the research up. I was nominated for an award for the role and have received many compliments from people who have Aspergers or who work with those that do. I take that as a huge compliment and the role holds a dear place in my heart.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
The most dominant are Phish, Grateful Dead, The Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Pink Floyd, Little Feat, and Van Morrison. I like harmonies, jams, and stories.
If you could invite three guests to a dinner – (living or dead) – who would you choose and why?
C.S. Lewis, Douglas Adams, and Lucille Ball. We’d order out.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month or so?
I’m dumbfounded by the lack of intelligent decision-making by government officials or the people who elect them. From there, take your pick of news.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I just found out that ‘Compliance’, an indie feature I shot only a week or two after ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’, will be premiering at SUNDANCE in the NEXT section of the Festival. I play a local detective and I don’t want to say any more, in fear it would give too much away and the director, Craig Zobel, might kill me. It’s all based on real events and is one of the craziest scripts I’ve read for that reason. So that will be a great way to kick off the new year.
Also, I am continuing to write my own comedy shorts with Daily Fiber Films and create original characters and content. We’ve got a great fan base and about 23 comedy short films out there on the web and at festivals. Check us out when you get a chance – http://www.youtube.com/user/DailyFiberFilms – and my website: www.raymondmcanally.com.
Thanks for the interview!