I recently got the chance to talk to Garrett Hines about his role in Nicolas Cage’s new film, ‘Stolen’. Here, Garrett talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Glad to do so, my friend!
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Nic Cage plays master thief Will Montgomery. On his last heist with his crew, the FBI catches them in the act. Will is captured, but before he is he destroys the evidence, in this case, $10 million dollars. Ten years later, he’s released. However, one member of the old crew doesn’t believe Will and thinks he hid the money rather than destroyed it. He kidnaps Will’s daughter, holding her hostage until he gets paid his share. In order to get $10 million, Will has to rush to pull off another heist or his daughter dies.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a rookie FBI Agent named Aaron. It’s my first stake out and Agent Fletcher, played by Mark Valley, is my mentor.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I auditioned for it in New Orleans. I originally went in and auditioned for another role, then was called back in to meet Simon West and audition for a different agent role before ultimately getting cast as agent Aaron. Funny, because I didn’t actually audition for Aaron: my agent told me I booked the role and I asked, “Who the hell is Aaron?”
How would you say this film is different and unique?
What makes this film unique is definitely the location: the entire film was shot in New Orleans, my hometown. The city, and Mardi Gras in particular, plays a large factor in how the story unfolds.
The film stars Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston, Malin Akerman, Sami Gayle, Edrick Browne, Mark Valley, Barry Shabaka Henley and M.C. Gainey – with Simon West onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
‘Stolen’ was one of my first larger roles and the cast and crew were very welcoming, and to work with Simon West was a dream come true. I remember when I saw ‘Con Air’ in theatres when I was a kid so I believe I was entitled to geek out a bit. The man’s outstandingly creative and down to Earth. Simon also kept me level-headed during the process, which was fantastic because I had never dealt with being on a relatively open set where the general public could watch, or where people…I don’t know, thought I was famous. Mark and I were doing a scene where we chased after Nic through an alley of about 100 extras. We were waiting for our cue from Simon to start hauling ass, and somehow an on-looker snuck up to the barricade and kept trying to get us to take a pic. And when we didn’t look up at the guy: not to be rude, we were just waiting for our cue, this guy literally started saying “Hey…hey guys,” as cameras were rolling: like, dance, monkey! Next take, Simon told me, “Garrett…next time he does that, I give you permission to tell him to piss off!”
Let’s talk a bit about you Garrett. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
Acting was something I was always interested in since I was a kid, but due to family issues when I was younger, I never pursued them. Rough times. Years and years later, when I was in college as an English major at Southeastern Louisiana University, I had a spectacular teacher named Dr. Jayetta Slawson who took an interest in my writing. She told me how one piece I wrote, a narrative piece titled ‘Ghosts’, could be performed as a monologue. We did some edits and then a couple of months later I performed it as a 20 minute one-act play, complete with a mixed-media presentation, for a small stage audience. First time I acted. Ever. I felt this wild-ass energy flowing through me while I performed, and from then I was hooked. Acting gave me a focus, an aspiration to shoot for, which was something I lacked at the time. It also helped channel my writing voice into Drama, which is what lead me to get a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. In a way acting became, and still is, a catalyst for self-expression: Acting was the fuse, but my writing, music and performing all benefit from each other’s sparks.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Decide if you want to be an actor or if you want to be famous. If you just want to be famous, make a fucking sex tape. Acting can be a tough and unforgiving business, and I haven’t been in the game that long. There’s a lot of heartbreak, indecisiveness and ridicule actors experience for very little payoff at times. Hell, even if you book a project, sometimes the scene as was written in the script will be drastically different from what makes the final cut in the project. For better or for worse. You might think you gave the performance of a lifetime only to have it cut for something you had no control over, such as there’s was plane flying by and the audio was ruined or lighting didn’t match the time and there’s no way to get the shot again.
However, if heartbreak and a special form of madness sound appealing and you still want to be an actor, it helps to have realistic expectations. Film is a director’s medium: realize that you’re just a piece in the grand puzzle of the film and it’s the director’s job to make sure you fit. And hobbies. Have plenty of hobbies because there’s a crap-ton of down time and YOU WILL drive yourself insane!
You’ve been in a number of different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
I got to work with Kevin Kline, amongst other amazing actors such as Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas, on a film called ‘Last Vegas’, which I just recently finished. Kevin was the most creative actor I’ve seen work. It was non-stop: every take he did had a different spin on it and every take was solid gold. Whatever choice he made as an actor in the scene, he fully committed to that choice: even if it included slowly walking backwards down a crowded flight of stairs to exit the scene.
I actually had an audition come through while I was filming ‘Last Vegas’ for a movie which stars Kevin. During a break I told him about it, and that because of time reasons I was going to have to shoot it with my iPhone in my trailer. He got this shit-eating grin on his face, “Do you want me to film it for you?” Well hell yeah I did, but before I could answer, he laughed and said, “Actually, it might backfire on you…and it’s kind of cheating.”
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Taken very literally: The song “Don’t Move” by Phantogram. As for the rest of my iPod, a mutt of everything: The Black Angels, Mastodon, Puscifer, Nick Cave, Sage Francis, The Mars Volta, The Misfits, Tom Waits, Chopin, Mogwai, Pink Floyd, Tool, Massive Attack, Tricky. I’ve actually been getting in to some synth-pop lately: its ambiance is good to write to. Kavinsky, Empire of the Sun, Blackmill, The Chromatics.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Charles Bukowski so we could get drunk and talk about how much we love women and how much they hate us. Maynard James Keenan so he could bring us some good wine and we could write songs about how we’re sick of pop-culture. And Dante Alighieri so he could write about the dinner as an epic poem, preferably in Italian. I imagine we would end up breaking expensive things, fight, and then hug it out afterwards.
If you could choose a literary character to will into existence, who would you choose and why?
Gibreel from Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’. I identify with anti-hero characters who are a bit unstable and searching for something greater; who are flawed with the knowledge they have been imbued with and eventually become tormented by it. And just the quote, “To be born again, first you have to die,” which Gibreel opens the novel with demonstrates how the force of cause and effect is applied to a soul.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
A good bit, hopefully! I just recently signed up with a new agent and agency, Alex White – (he’s a badass) at the People Store. He’s been keeping me busy. I have a small role in a film called ‘No One Lives’ directed by Ryuhei Kitamura and stars Luke Evans that starts playing around the world starting this April in Russia. It’s a stylized horror movie and Kitamura’s films have all been pretty wild. ‘Last Vegas’, which was directed by Jon Turteltaub and stars Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen, is set to be released worldwide November 1st 2013. I play the best friend of Jerry Ferrara from ‘Entourage’ fame.
I’m also really excited because a great independent project called ‘Jake’s Road’ just finished a cut of the film and is now set to be distributed this summer. It’s an action/thriller which features Eric Roberts and is directed by fellow Louisiana native Mike Mayhall. It’s great because, besides Eric, the entire cast and crew are Louisiana natives. Its underdog energy was positively intoxicating everyday for the three-week shoot. I got to work some amazingly talented, up-and-coming actors. What’s great about it being a local project is that everyone involved on set was hungry for the film to succeed and do their best, whereas on larger Hollywood projects some people involved treat it as a routine rather than something from the heart.
Thanks for the interview!