I recently got the chance to talk to Kelley Hinman about his role in ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’. Here, Kelley talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Kelley. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘What To Expect When You‘re Expecting’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It is: “A look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and ultimately coming to understand the universal truth that no matter what you plan for, life doesn’t always deliver what’s expected”. This quote from the IMDB website for the movie sums it up best.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a friend of the character Ramsey (Dennis Quaid). While attending the baby shower of his expectant young wife at their mansion I have an exchange with his son Gary (Ben Falcone), who is dealing with his weight issues and his own expectant wife’s rather uncomfortable pregnancy. The comedic scene quickly involves Ramsey, his wife (Brooklyn Decker), and is the catalyst for a father-son confrontation involving a golf cart chase and the destruction of a prized family possession.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I actually auditioned for the role from my dining room in my home in Asheville, NC. I recorded myself on my camera and emailed it to my agent who forwarded it on to casting. I got a call several weeks later from my agent informing me that I had the job. Although I had seen director Kirk Jones’ first film ‘Waking Ned Devine’ several years ago, I rented ‘Nanny McPhee’ to see more. I noticed that the characters were truthfully grounded but there was a theatrical quality and timing about the comedic characters that I thought he might be seeking. So I made a bigger choice in my audition and apparently it worked.
In your opinion, what makes this film different and unique?
The director Kirk Jones has a nice touch bringing a seemingly formulaic feature to life with his expertise, and the all-star cast does a great job in their respective roles. The film deals with the world of expectant parents in both hilarious and in very touching ways. The multiple story lines are entertaining in themselves and their brief intertwining ties it all together nicely. It really is a good date movie for all couples – be they young adults, exhausted young parents, or couples who are recalling those distant memories of young parenthood.
The film stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Brooklyn Decker, Ben Falcone, Anna Kendrick, Dennis Quaid and Matthew Morrison – with Kirk Jones onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Although my time on the set was only for a few days, there was a very positive atmosphere and all were pros. My shoot involved a ton of background actors and the most complicated stunt in the film. It was a long, hot day and nerves could have flared, but it all went smoothly. I was pleased with how my dialogue scene went – all lines were kept in the final cut, plus our reaction shots and some improvised bits, too. It was fun working with Jon Stafford – another of Ramsey’s friends – we had an inside joke that kept us laughing and energized for each take. Brooklyn Decker was a sweetheart and had great energy. Ben Falcone was very focused and a heck of a nice guy. Dennis Quaid was very funny and professional. Kirk Jones knew what he wanted but gave us freedom to have fun. He was always a gentleman. I had fun. Couldn’t ask for more.
Anecdotes wise, there were platters of fresh shrimp being passed around at the party scene early in the day that, because they were props, we didn’t eat but wanted to. However, as the heat of the day took its toll, the same shrimp became less and less appealing – making it much easier to politely refuse them in the scene. I don’t think those details made the final version of the movie.
Let’s talk a bit about you Kelley. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
My path has been a bit circuitous and too much to detail, but I always acted in plays and musicals in high school in Mississippi, in college in Memphis, and beyond in NYC and LA. My undergraduate degree was in psychology and I was working as a social worker headed to law school when I had the opportunity to divert that path by working at the Crystal Palace in Aspen, CO. It was one of the best years of my life – singing, skiing, and working with a fun, talented group. I moved to NYC to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and, after graduating, worked in theatre, commercials, and whatever I could find. I have always been drawn to the experience of theatre and the creative people in that realm. Film is a different medium, but the basic craft is the same and the pay is better. It also has the ability to reach and influence a larger audience. The immediacy and power of the shared experience between actor and audience in the theatre is special, but the power of film to touch us for all time is priceless.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Enter with both eyes open. It can be a difficult journey, but very rewarding. I have heard the advice: “If you can possibly pursue another career and be happy, then pursue that career”. I would never diminish any one’s dreams. Follow what you feel you must. If you do want to be an actor, then act in everything you can and get good training. It takes skill, perseverance, and luck. You can control some things, but not everything – learn to know the difference. Live your life. Read. Expand your horizons, but don’t lose yourself in the process. When you do get a job, be a professional. Know your lines, be on time, and be respectful of everyone – especially the crew.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three ‘personal’ things could you not live without?
I never thought I would say it, but I can’t imagine being without my I-Phone. Barring technology, I would want a picture of my wife and kids, a guitar, and the biggest book I could find – probably the complete Works Of Shakespeare. Oh yes, and my glasses.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
I have been fortunate to have had dinner with some of my favourite actors. However, I would be thrilled to have dinner with President Obama, former President Jimmy Carter, and a very alive Franklin D. Roosevelt. They have been the most forward-looking leaders of my country, in my humble opinion, and I would love to hear them discuss their visions for the USA and the triumphs and travails of the office.
What is your favourite word?
I can’t say that I have a particular one, but at different times in my life I have enjoyed discovering various words of gravitas or ones that are just fun to say aloud. One word would be “mendacity”. Tennessee Williams – (FYI, we share the same hometown of Columbus, Mississippi) used it to great effect in ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’. During a fairly recent period in our history, I would use it to describe the various political diatribes being hurled about.
During off-shoot days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
If I am in an area with which I’m unfamiliar, I like to discover what makes the area unique by visiting local museums, historic sites, interesting parts of town, or trying local food. If the area is near the beach, then I head there. I recently used a break to catch up on all the good movies I missed this past year.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
A movie I did for TNT called ‘Hornet’s Nest’ recently aired, and I’m currently acting in a play by Sarah Ruhl, a brilliant contemporary playwright, at North Carolina Stage, an intimate professional theatre in downtown Asheville, NC. I’m auditioning for whatever I get seen for and am enjoying seeing our son and daughter act and sing in their school and church productions of ‘Carousel’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.
Thanks for the interview!