I recently got the chance to talk to Roger Edwards about his role in the new ‘Spy Kids’ film. Here, Roger talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew and which three people he would invite to dinner…
Hey Roger. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Spy Kids – All The Time In The World In 4D’ is currently out on DVD!
What can fans of ‘Spy Kids’ expect from this instalment? What’s the general plotline?
Both kids and adults can expect to laugh and be thoroughly entertained throughout the piece, as the previous installments. What sets ‘Spy Kids 4’ apart from the average children’s film is the sophisticated themes, as well as highly impressive performances by Jessica Alba, Joel McHale, Jeremy Piven and of course Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook who play the Spy Kids. These actors really went for the comedic and dramatic moments, creating a very nice balance for the audience.
Not to give too much of the plot away, Marissa (Jessica Alba) is now a wife and stepmother. Her stepchildren, Cecil (Mason Cook) and Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) dislike Marissa for replacing their mother. Marissa’s husband Wilbur (Joel McHale) incessantly tries to prove he is a successful husband and investigative reporter. Wilbur ironically investigates spy activities, but has yet to do so successfully and oblivious to his wife being a spy. Marissa is then called out of spy retirement to stop the evil Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) who wants to stop time and take over the world. Robert Rodriguez ties those general story lines together in a fun-filled, laugh-out-loud, action-packed adventure…and of course, the youngsters are recruited as Spy Kids (hence the title). I just gave away the entire plot, huh? My bad.
It’s been labelled as a ‘4D’ movie – exactly how is it ‘4D’? I’ve heard rumours of a scratch and sniff card you get when you buy your ticket – and the movie tells you when to use it…
The sniff cards creates the 4th dimension. So, yes, you are given 3-D glasses and a scratch and sniff card. The card is numbered and as you watch the movie, numbers appear on the screen to alert the audience when to scratch and smell the card. I’m certain this will be tons of fun for the kiddos. I’ll even admit, I followed the card too, and maybe, kinda, sorta enjoyed it myself. Oh, there are a few smells…you definitely do not want to smell.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play OSS Agent Adams who, along with my partner (Al Dias), find Cecil and Rebecca suspiciously sauntering the OSS headquarter hallways with their dog, Agronaut (Ricky Gervais). We confront the children about what they are doing and their dog speaks…in a human’s voice! The kids run, we chase them and that’s where chaos begins!
I was privileged to work with Robert Rodriguez (who happens to be one of my favorite directors), Danny Trejo and Al Dias. I was on set almost two weeks and you would be surprised how much an actor can learn from professionals of that caliber in that time frame.
How did you get involved in the movie in the first place?
My agent (Heather Collier) submitted me for the project and I was requested to be seen. It was a one line part. As an up and coming actor what keeps you up and coming has a lot to with perspective. I beat maybe 50 actors out for a one line part. After I was booked, fellow actors who also auditioned for the role would say to me – “Oh, it was just your look” or give some other reasoning to deal with the fact that they didn’t get the role. I bet a lot of actors said, “Whatever, it’s only one line”. Me? I said, “This is one line…in a 30 million dollar, Robert Rodriguez film”. I walked in the audition room in all out agent gear, to include ear piece and prepared one line…four different unique ways. One line turned into a week-long scene and an awesome experience, with an awesome cast.
The film stars Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven, Joel McHale, Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook – what was it like working with the cast on the film?
Unfortunately, I did not meet Jessica Alba which, well…sucks. I’m still extremely sick over the “not meeting” thing. On a positive note, I have stopped crying myself to sleep…Joking. Jessica is an incredibly talented and beautiful actress, hands down one of my favourite female leads. Jeremy Piven continues to surprise me with the depth of his work. Jole McHale knows comedy and how to make you laugh. I was blessed to be in their film.
A common misconception of being cast in a movie, is once cast, you meet or work with everyone in the movie. In actuality, you generally work with whoever is in your scene and if you’re lucky if you meet all the big players. I did work with Mason Cook and Rowan Blanchard, who again, play the Spy Kids. Now, if you want to talk about kids who are super-focused and super-talented, these two kids would be the topic of discussion. They were so mature and so sharp. Even at 29, I learned watching those two amazing kids work.
The film has been directed by Robert Rodriguez – what do you think it is about Robert that makes him a good director?
Okay, when I was 15 years old I watched ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’, which he directed…five times…in a row…in one night. ‘Rebel Without A Crew’, a book he wrote, bought it, read it. I could go on but will keep it short: Robert Rodriguez is one of my favourite directors. He is one of the best and his passion, vision, creativity and movie making ability is inspiration for those inside and outside of film. He is also self-made which I highly respect.
If you could design your own spy gadget, what would it do?
I would design a Honey Bee Plasma Rifle. You’d pull the trigger and it would blast you with a pound of honey…then…thousands of killer bees would attack you (inside SK4 joke).
Let’s talk a bit about you Roger. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
It was the only class in high school I liked. That’s true, but seriously, I’m an artist and competitor at heart. Acting is a mixture of both. There is no art form more exhilarating than becoming someone else. The intensity, the natural high, and rush you get from acting, you can’t get it anywhere else.
There is also a deep connection within film that you won’t find in any other art form. Something about movies get to me, the greatest films are magical. ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’, ‘Aliens’, ‘Bad Boys’, ‘Training Day’, ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’…there is something about great movies that make me go “Whoa”, make want to be apart of the magic.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Ensure acting is what you love because it will be a lot of work and sacrifice for a little amount of success, at least in the beginning. You have to love acting because it will cost time and money, without immediate result. You are doing it because you love it and it will take a long to time to turn that love into success. In today’s world of instant gratification, this seems to be a difficult concept for people to realize. People attend college for four years to obtain an above average job, twice that to be a doctor or lawyer, but for some strange reason many people think to be a successful actor would take less. You will be up against veteran actors, naysayers and haters.
You’ve had a number of roles in different TV series and films – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and which project has been your favourite to work on?
My favourite actors to work with would be a tie between ‘Chase’, where I worked with Cole Hauser, Amaury Nalasco and Kelli Giddish or ‘Freelancers’ where I worked with Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, Malcolm Goodwin, Matt Gerald, Ryan O’Nan and Robert Wisdom. Both scenes were intense, I learned so much from all the actors and was able to be creative. I was commended by star actors and directors on my acting abilities. To get props from stars and successful directors, makes me that much more confident as an actor.
My favourite project is without a doubt ‘Bad Kids Go To Hell’. This was my first lead in a film, which allowed me fully grasp the production process and step up even more as an actor. Although it was challenging to complete, we still had great fun. I worked with people who I will be friends with for life. The shoot was blast and the movie will be highly entertaining!
“BAD KIDS GO TO HELL” – Teaser Trailer
“BAD KIDS GO TO HELL” – Facebook
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, living or dead – who would you choose and why?
I would want to sit down with Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. and Denzel Washington. They are all an inspiration. With humility, these men selfishly gave themselves to the world through their actions, drive, words and character. I would certainly gain a great deal of knowledge if I ever had the opportunity. Those findings, would be a monumental benefit to those around me and myself.
What is coming up for you in 2012? I hear you’ve just completed a project where you worked with the likes of Robert DeNiro and 50 Cent…
You are absolutely correct, sir! Last year, I shot a project in New Orleans called ‘Freelancers’ which stars Robert DeNiro, 50 Cent and Forest Whitaker. I play “Ricky” a gangster looking down the barrels of a lot guns held by trigger-happy NYPD. Do I make it? You’ll have to catch it to find out. It has all the elements of a bad-ass, action-crime drama: guns, drugs, good cops, bad cops, fast cars, hot women, shoot outs and explosions. Directed by Jessy Terrero (‘Soul Plane’) the movie is going to be a hit.
Mathew Spradlin (director/writer) and Barry Wernick (producer/writer) are the men behind ‘Bad Kids Go To Hell’ which will also be in theaters 2012! This is a twisted dark horror comedy, based off of the best-selling comic book. It is the story of six high school clique students, you know: nerd, pretty popular girl, outcast, jock. They all end up in detention on Saturday morning, but unlike ‘The Breakfast Club’ most of them end up mysteriously dead. Well, most of them. I play “Craig Cook”, the arrogant, too cool, jock, who believes the deaths are the work of ghosts. In attempt to flee the poltergeist, Craig Cook pulls his gun and – you’re going to have to watch the movie to know what happens next. ‘Bad Kids Go To Hell’ stars an amazing ensemble of up and comers (Augie Duke, Cameron Deane Stewart, Ali Faulkner, Amanda Alch, Marc Donato and Chanel Ryan) as well as awesome icons (Judd Nelson and Ben Browder). The film is predicted to well and is highly anticipated by the fans of the comic. We just returned from San Diego and New York Comic Cons promoting the film, and that was a priceless experience. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1865573/.