Interview with Joshua Leonard

Joshua Leonard is known best for his role in “The Blair Witch Project” and his recent breakout role in “Humpday”. Joshua also spends his time writing and directing. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Joshua about his work on “Shark Night 3D” and also his upcoming projects.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on your role in “Shark Night 3D”?
Joshua Leonard: I play Red, who is a bad guy. I have some top secret shark like teeth that I fashioned for the role and he is just a backwoods redneck. Its type casting. (Laughs) I also have this cool neck tattoo that reads “Trust no Bitch”.

MG: How long did the process of shooting take?
JL: I was in Shreveport for about a month working off and on. Luckily for me I’m a bit of a poker player and we were close to some casinos.

MG: How do you feel this film compares to other recent 3D films?
JL: I haven’t seen any of the recent 3D stuff. I’m sure I will end up seeing this one at some point and evidently the sharks in this film are killer!

MG: How was it working with Vera Farminga in “Higher Ground”?
JL:  It was one of the better filming experiences of my life. Vera is someone who I esteem highly as an actor long before we made the movie together. I was very lucky that she had seen something I had worked on and liked it. We met one day in Los Angeles and I think it was the first time I had ever been hired in the room. It was the easiest meeting of all time. She and her husband are really salt of the earth people. I feel people do press and always say how people are nice and great to work with because that’s what we are obliged to do. You never really know when some is not the greatest. Vera is one of the most genuine people I have ever met in my life. It’s very rare that you find someone that is both talented and genuine. I think normally a person has one or the other but very rarely do they have both. Vera really took to directing like a fish in water. She knew what she wanted and the story was not only something she had been working on for quite some time but it was very near to her heart. I think every note she gave any of us as actors was about finding more humanity and depth in the characters that we were playing. It was like summer camp as an actor.

MG: Can you tell us about your other film “The Lie” which you star in as well as co-wrote and directed?
JL: Unfortunately for audiences this film is the Josh Leonard show. (Laughs) It’s a passion project of mine based on a TC Boyle story that I fell in love with that I read in the New Yorker and ended up optioning it for a film. It was something that was coming right on the heels of the film “Humpday” that I did. I was looking for something of mine own that I could invest myself in and I found this one.  I sent the story to my producing partner who really dug it. From there we went about assembling what I think is the best crew and the greatest most talented cast. A lot of them are friends and/or people I have worked with before so it was very much the antidote to something we do quite a bit and that is waiting around to make a movie. This wasn’t a big movie but it was something we knew we could pull together quickly as we had a lot of the resources and the talent at our finger tips. Shooting took about three and a half months. The film is a dark comedy that we put a lot of heart into. The premise may be somewhat off putting to some as it’s about a guy who is experiencing a premature mid-life crisis. One day in an effort to get out of work the main character creates a horrible lie which becomes the catalyst for all the other events which happen throughout the films progression. Co-starring with me is Jess Weixler and Mark Webber along with Jane Adams and Garry Bednob. The cast is really cool and very indie. The film should be out late October or early November.

MG: You also have another film titled “A Spectacular Regret”; can you tell us about that?
JL: That’s one of those films that I kind of mentioned earlier as we have been sort of waiting around for a long time to make it. The film has come together so many times and then fallen apart that I have no clue when that thing is going to get made. We just kind of stopped talking about it.

MG: You have been both in front of the camera and behind. Which do you prefer more?
JL: It all depends on the project. The great thing about being an actor is that no matter how much of your heart you put into the thing you are still just punching the clock. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want but also when you have a story you want to tell and you know no one else is going to do that it’s very exciting to be able to do that. I absolutely love directing and I am excited to do it again. That said it’s also great to go and do a gig like “Shark Night” doing a character role that I can have some fun with and then go play some poker when it’s all done. I feel really lucky that I am getting to walk in both worlds.

 

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