I recently got the chance to talk to Steven Shaw about his role in ‘For A Good Time, Call…’. Here, Steven talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Steven. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘For A Good Time…Call’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Two young ladies who hated each other in college meet ten years after in the big city as they are forced by circumstances to become roommates. Short on funds they team up to run their own phone-sex business. They learn to respect each other as they help the male populations with the help of the local phone company.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Morty Bronstein, a literary agent of advancing years, is assisted by Lauren, (Lauren Ann Miller). He fires Lauren setting the wheels in motion for her to team up with Katie, (Ari Graynor) in their phone-sex business.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Ten years ago the casting director, Barbara McCarthy saw my work and said she wanted to have me in to audition for something sometime. That sometime time came ten years later. When I auditioned, she, her partner Angela Demo and the director Jamie Travis were in the room and we started to play around with the character. What transpired was so much fun it almost equaled the enjoyment I had in actually shooting my scenes for the film.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s definitely the growth in the relationship between the two women. It also might be the humor. Or maybe it’s the men who find satisfaction in their services. And having Seth Rogen in it doesn’t hurt. But mostly the two ladies.
The film stars Lauren Miller, James Wolk, Ari Graynor, Justin Long, Lawrence Mandley, Eddie Geller and Joseh Rubern – with Jamie Travis onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
My scenes were with Lauren & Justin. Justin is a very funny and inventive young actor and Lauren is a delightful actress. My scenes with her were a joy. In the final cut we lost most of those fun moments but maybe they’ll put them in the DVD version in the extras section. They’re a real hoot.
Let’s talk a bit about you Steven. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
For me being an actor has been a long and circuitous route. When I got out of high school I wanted to be an actor. I had worked in Summer Stock during the summer breaks and thought I was ready for a career in the theater but before long I found myself as the head of Joseph Papp’s prop department at the New York Shakespeare Festival. I stayed there for nine years and helped open the Public Theater. From there I went on to stage manage Broadway shows for the next twenty-five years. I moved to Los Angeles in 1992 after finishing my last show in New York and decided to look for something else to occupy my life. I didn’t rediscover acting until my early sixties.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Act. At school, the ‘Y’, Community Theater. When I was young I went and apprenticed in Summer Stock for three summer seasons. If that hard work doesn’t break your spirit then you’re ready for show business.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV series – which actors/actresses have been your favorites to work with and why? Any good stories?
Working in film and television make for short-term relationships. Theater affords you the chance to connect with another person’s work. Those relationships came during my years as a stage manager. George C. Scott, Robert Preston were the two actors. George just by watching his ability to pull you into his character and watch him night after night move that character in different directions in the subtlest of ways. Bob Preston for his font of knowledge through his years in the business. While Preston was in, ‘Sly Fox’, Larry Gelbart’s comedy he had very little time off stage but when he’d come off he’d come over to the side of the stage I was calling the show on and we’d talk about how each audience would find something different to laugh about and how the actor(s) on stage had affected that change. The non-actors who affect my life are Joseph Papp and Larry Gelbart. Papp because he was a master impresario and you learned something new just being in his daily employ. Larry Gelbart for the humor in both his work and his constant sunny disposition.
For a story of two masters at work – during the out-of-town try-out of ‘Sly Fox’ Scott had a very long speech as the Judge which needed cutting. During rehearsal Gelbart sat in the back row of the theater and made cuts within the speech as we rehearsed. He brought it up to the foot of the stage and told Scott they were numerous cuts and he would have them typed up and given to him. Scott asked him to tell him the cuts verbally. They were small line or sentence cuts very difficult to follow. Scott listened then did the scene, as cut by Gelbart, without writing them down. He had taken the notes, edited them mentally and performed them perfectly. Two masters at work.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Larry Gelbart, Mel Brooks and William Shakespeare. Need you ask why?
If you could choose a literary character to will into existence, who would you choose and why?
Cormac O’Connor, the lead character in Pete Hamill’s novel, ‘FOREVER’. I’m Irish and grew up in Brooklyn New York. Cormac not only lives a history of 1700s Ireland but after his landing in 1740 Manhattan Island and through a boon by a Shaman he is allowed to live forever as long as he never leaves the island. There’s much to be learned about our country through the growth of my New York through the Centuries. I’ll buy him a draft or two for his story.
Thanks for the interview!