With Season 1 of the online version of Spending Time With..being so popular, not only with those who took the time to answer the set questions that I fired over to them, but also with people who read the article and of course with myself for not only being able to read the answers typed out by these creative souls, but also being able to share these articles across the various frompage2screen channels. I always knew that I would bring out a ‘season 2’ of Spending Time With… So its with great pleasure that I launch the first of quite a few articles in Spending Time With…Season 2.
First up is Chris Newman who is an actor and also a producer, perhaps best known for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), The Five-Year Engagement (2012) and Love and Honor(2013).
Born and raised in Troy, Michigan Chris began his acting career in college, strangely enough on a dare but soon, Chris caught “the acting bug” and has never looked back, starring in productions of “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, “Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap” and Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor”.Chris would later go on to play Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and Lt. Daniel Kaffee in “A Few Good Men”, to name a few of his many performances.
Chris also turned his attention to film and studied at the Dramatic Arts Studio and earned roles in the films mentioned above, as well as ISRA-88, Moontrap: Target Earth & Injustice For All. But enough from me. Lets turn the page over to Mr Chris Newman, who Id like to thank for taking the time not only to read the questions but to give great answers.
Hey Stuart, thanks so much for having me! So sorry for the delayed response. Wanted to give these fabulous questions some real thought. Especially the ones where I had to “pick one” of something. Some of those choices were like choosing between my kids! Hahaha! Anyway, I hope I answered all your questions adequately. Would love to chat more! Keep me updated if/when you release this.
Thanks again. And with that, on with the Q & A….
When people ask you ‘so, what do you do?’ How do you introduce yourself? “
I’m an actor”. Which usually opens the floodgates for a lot of questions…
Whats the first thing you do when you get on ‘set’?
Check in and go where I’m told. Haha!
Do you have any traditions that you have when you are involved in a project?
No real traditions or rituals to speak of other than just kinda giving myself a “pep talk” to calm the nerves & remind myself be open to the creative forces.
What was the most recent book you read? “
10 Little Princesses”…hey, I’ve got kids. Haha! The last book I read for myself was “Tough Without A Gun” a Humphrey Bogart biography.
What’s one of your favourite current Television shows you are watching?
My wife and I are into “This Is Us” and recently “7 Seconds” on Netflix. Of course, I LOVE “Stranger Things”
What’s the most ‘starstruck’ you have been?
It was my first big time gig and my scene was with Hugh Jackman. I’m transported to set, mic’d up, lit, all set and then up walks “Wolverine”. Yeah…the 1st take was blown. Hahaha! I’ve since learned to curb those feelings.
What was one of the most memorable films you saw as a child?
Man, it’s gotta be E.T. I was riveted from the first moment. I actually watched it with my 4 year old the other day. It’s a masterpiece! I was also deeply affected by The Land Before Time.
What do you find the hardest part of your creative process and how do you deal with it?
I think it’s resigning yourself to the fact that there is no such thing as “perfect”. I think we’re constantly striving for what we perceive as perfection but I think perfection lies in imperfection…that’s where the magic happens!
What is one of the best pieces of advice you can remember being given and from whom?
Well, there’s a couple. One of my coaches, Steve Blackwood, would always say “Fire the critic”! Which means, be fearless! Let go of that little voice in your head that says you can’t do something or your performance was no good. This goes hand-in-hand with “It’s all chicken shit”, another piece of advice from a former coach, Christopher Bondy. In other words, do your work, do your best & have fun. This isn’t life or death. We bog ourselves down with pressure and, at times, desperation. We often lose sight of the fact that we all got into this business for the fun of it. Keep learning & growing but don’t forget to have fun!
If you could change one thing about the industry you are in, what would it be?
I think we’re seeing a breakthrough with regards to women & minorities gaining more control, which is great! So outside of more diversity, I’d have to say this expectation of actors working for free. I see these “non union” projects pop up more & more, expecting actors to work for 12 plus hours a day for pizza & credit (IF the movie even comes out). It’s ridiculous. Someone said it recently, and I thought it was brilliant…if you need plumbing work done on your house, you wouldn’t expect the plumber to work for free (or food & credit). Nor should an actor/crew member. If you really want to make a quality project & expect people to give up a lot of their time & energy, get a real budget together & pay your people. Period.
Do you read reviews of projects you work on?
I don’t necessarily seek it out, but I like to know how audiences have responded to various projects.
If you had to make a ‘bucket list’ of people you’d love to work with, tell me one name who would be on it?
Spielberg. I mean, c’mon, right? Do you prefer day shoots or night shoots? Doesn’t matter as long as I’m working…and there’s coffee.
What is one of your most favourite locations you have filmed in?
They’ve all be pretty cool, but I’ve shot a lot of my films in Detroit. There are some awesome spots there. Yes, there are some rough areas, but overall, the architecture, history & culture are amazing!
What film always makes you laugh?
For me, it’s always been Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!
What film scares you?
The Strangers scared the crap out of me. Most slasher movies, the killer has an agenda…whether they hate their family, or fornicating kids, etc, but what terrified me most about The Strangers was it’s randomness.
What film do you love that you feel most people might not be aware of?
I think people were “aware of” it but it wasn’t a critical success, but I love Vanilla Sky.
In your creative roles, what is the longest day that you’ve ever had?
I did a short over a period of 3 days with heavy prosthetic makeup, so those days were in the 18-20 hr range. Lonnnnng hours but wouldn’t take back a second!
Do you have any ‘props or keepsakes from your films?
I’ve got plenty of props from theatre shows I’ve done but none from my films. They’re pretty good about getting those things back…but I’ll keep trying. Hahaha!
What is your proudest achievement?
My family. The greatest role I’ll ever have!
Have you ever gotten someone’s autograph? Which is the most memorable for you?
I’m not much of an autograph guy. Do people still do those? I feel like the selfie has taken the autograph’s place… But one I recall was years ago, I bumped in to NBA legend Clyde Drexler while on vacation and he was nice enough to sign a autograph & have a little “stop n’ chat”. Super nice guy.