I recently got the chance to talk to Lawrence Mandley about his role in ‘For A Good Time, Call…’. Here, Lawrence talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got involved in the project in the first place….
Hey Lawrence. 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?
Thank you Matt, for the opportunity. The basic premise of the film is: these two young ladies, who once upon a time couldn’t stand each other, are brought together by a mutual friend. Through a chain of events they become first, business partners in a phone-sex business and eventually best of friends.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Henry. The landlord of Katie’s (Ari Graynor) building. In some ways, I’m kind of the catalyst for the ensuing action. As much as my character likes her’s, I have to reluctantly threaten to evict her if she doesn’t come up with the rent.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It was an audition situation. I went in and Jamie Travis, the director, had me play the scene several ways. We ran the gamut from looking at Katie like she was the daughter I never had all the ways to not being able to stand the sight of her. I guess he liked what he saw and I got the job.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
I think it’s crowning glory is that it takes what could have been simply a one joke premise and turns it into a story about two women that you really do wind up caring for. And you do care for them.
The film stars Lauren Miller, James Wolk, Ari Graynor, Justin Long, your good self, Eddie Geler and Josh Ruben – with Jamie Travis onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Well, my scene was only with Ari and I have to tell you, I think she is absolutely adorable! She brought a great sense of fun to the table. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her!!!
I don’t know if this would count as an anecdote but my character is supposed to be very stern and at one point, in between takes, I told Ari if this were real, I’d have a horrible time evicting her. She was just too damn cute.
Jamie [the director], much like in the audition process, knew what he wanted but he still allowed room for play and experimentation. “Lets try this … What would happen if we do that?…Give this a shot”. I love working like that.
Let’s talk a bit about you Lawrence. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
THAT is the $64,000.00 question. I wish I knew. It’s just always been in me.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Only do it for the love of it. NOT for the money. There will be lots of times when there will be no earned money coming in. Be determined yet patient with yourself. Learn your craft. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets in because of someone you know, it’s WHAT you know that will help keep you there.
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?
I’ve been really lucky and been able to work with some great people like Jennifer Anniston, Danny DeVito, George Clooney, Mel Brooks, John Travolta, Harry Belafonte and so many others. All of that was great and so much fun. Clearly, I love all the ‘Seinfeld’ people. They were extremely generous and gracious with me. The last couple of years, I was a recurring character on a Disney show called ‘Zeke & Luther’. I was the grumpy neighbor/ex-astronaut. I described it as if Zeke & Luther were Dennis the Menace, I was Mr. Wilson….with a dash of Fred Sanford thrown in for spice. Through this show, I discovered I have a new fan base consisting of 6 to 12 year olds. It’s a wonderful thing.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Oh man…a mixture that runs the gamut from early Sinatra to The Temptations to Adele. I’m also a smooth jazz kind of guy. So, there’s some Gerald Albright, Gato Barbieri, Euge Groove, Kirk Whalum, Paul Taylor. Pretty much anything that has a thumpin’ groove is there.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
First two people on the list, no doubt about it. My grandmother – she passed when I was only 4 months old. I never got to know her. I would have so many questions for her. My mom who I lost a few years ago. In addition to missing her so much, I would love to see how these two women related to each another. The third…I’ll have to get back to you.
If you could choose a literary character to will into existence, who would you choose and why?
I know…I’m a grown man. But, I have to tell you, there is something about the wisdom and compassion of Professor Dumbledore (from the Harry Potter series) that I always found so appealing. He is the first who comes to mind.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
Hopefully, lots more work. Onstage as well as on camera. I used to teach and I will hopefully, get back to that. And just the adventure of life in general.
Thanks for the interview!