Your new movie Artik
- in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your
character in it?
is a heightened serial killer thriller about the cycle of violence/trauma
and the role of compassion in breaking the cycle. My character Holton is
working on overcoming his past and finding peace within himself when he
meets a young boy who seems to be suffering from some sort of abuse or
neglect. Unable to turn a blind eye, Holton goes looking for answers and
ends up meeting Artik - a serial killer who embodies everything Holton has
fought to free himself of.
What did you draw upon to bring your
character to life, and honestly, how much Chase Williamson can we find in
had a lot of help finding Holton, from learning how to weld and working
with a blow torch to all of the sweet tattoos. I was given a ton of
physical stuff to play with that really made me feel like I was in someone
elseís skin. Most of the work I have done on film has felt like itís
been in a similar universe and I tend to be asked to deliver something in
the general vein of what Iíve done before, at least physically. It can
sometimes be challenging work to differentiate certain roles from each
other when they arenít so specifically written. The way Tom Botchii wrote the
script, it was clear that this story took place in its own unique world
within a heightened reality. Later in speaking with him he was very
encouraging and enthusiastic about pushing me into new territory and
challenging me to work against what heíd seen from me before, which
almost never happens and is highly unusual without an arduous audition
process because it requires a great deal of trust on his part, and all of
the producersí parts. So I felt lucky and grateful to be given the
opportunity. It was a lot of fun being able to create a totally new
character who occupied a particular space in the world that Tom created.
How did you get involved with the project in the
Tom thought of me for the role and reached out. I read the script and saw
an opportunity to do something different and got excited. Then I met with
Tom who is an outstanding guy, got more excited and signed on.
To what extent could you identify with
brand of horror
probably to the extent that I have been in a dentistís chair longer than
I was led to believe I would be. Otherwise, I love a good serial killer
What can you tell us about Artik's
director Tom Botchii, and what was your collaboration like?
story is very personal to Tom and his passion and attention to detail were
really inspiring. Script-wise, I was impressed with how he found a way to
say what he wanted to say and get so much off his chest in such an
unexpected and out-there way. It was hugely cathartic for him to write but
not super obvious or on-the-nose in terms of what he was trying to
express. I love ambiguity in art and I thought his whole approach to
telling his own story was extremely creative and interesting. Plus heís
just a real SWEETHORT.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shoot as such was one of the most professional indie sets Iíve worked
on. I felt totally taken care of and protected and was given every tool I
needed to do a good job, which isnít always the case. And we had a lot
of fun - Jerry, who plays Artik, also produced the film and grew up in
Albuquerque where we
shot it, he is a giant teddy bear, full of energy and as an actor himself he
really went out of his way to make sure it was a good experience for
everyone. He also brought on a lot of crew members who heíd known his
whole life and everyone was super passionate and excited. Iíve worked in
New Mexico a few times at this point and itís always a pleasure working
with the production teams and crew members there.
future projects you'd like to share?
I have a couple more projects in the can that will be coming out in the
next few months. I have a film called Greenlight directed by Graham Denman
thatís premiering at Shriekfest in LA. Itís a super fun thriller and I
got to work with some great actors. Mainly Iíve been creating a bunch of
audio content for the past couple of years that I produce, write, edit,
mix and act in. Itís gone pretty well and has opened up some doors that
I didnít necessarily expect or envision for myself so itís been
exciting and Iíve been pretty focused on that. Otherwise, nothing on the
horizon at the moment.
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
got into acting early on as an outlet for my imagination when I was a
little kid. I was a very performative child, so theatre and improv quickly
became my ďthingĒ. I come from a very athletic family so growing up I
always approached acting with a similar mentality to that of an athlete in
terms of work ethic, training and trajectory. My goal was never to become
a child actor or anything, I saw it more how my brothers saw football -
work hard, make varsity or whatever, graduate high school, perform and
train at the highest academic level and then hopefully with some luck
ďgo proĒ. So I stayed hyper focused throughout high school and got
into the acting conservatory at USC where I trained for four years before
I got my BFA in Acting.
From what I've read, before you got into
movies, you also did your fair share of stagework - so what can you tell
us about that aspect of your career, and how does performing in front of
an audience compare to acting in front of a camera, and which do you
really is apples and oranges in a lot of ways. Film is a directorís
medium and stage is more of an actorís playground. On stage, you are
your own editor, thereís no one making decisions about your performance
for you, and you also get to live it all out in real time. Not to mention
the weeks of rehearsal before you perform. I think Clancy Brown put it
best when he told me that acting on film vs. stage is like trying to
capture the best rehearsal on camera vs. rehearsing until thereís a
performance. I love both processes but I tend to feel a bit more ownership
of my work on stage. Iíve done a fair amount of movies at this point but
I havenít yet been able to play anything close to the range of roles on
screen that I have in theatre, so that keeps me hungry and excited about
the future. At this point Iím only really interested in taking on
projects that will allow me to expand or grow in some way and Artik
I would be amiss if I didn't ask you
about John Dies at the End - so a few words about that movie, and about
working with Don Coscarelli?
of course! John Dies at the End was my ďgoing proĒ moment - I had zero
professional credits and was lucky enough to get that job two weeks after
I graduated from USC, which was pretty crazy. The whole thing felt like a
dream and was the best experience of my life, from the screen test through
the end of the festival run. It really was a total dream come true in so
many ways. I was obsessed with the book and my whole life I ALWAYS dreamt
of getting to play the protagonist of a book I loved in the movie version.
That role in particular really felt like it WAS me at the time, like it
just played to every single one of my strengths and spoke to me on such a
deep level. The specific brand of comedy felt tailor-made for me and
having only done theatre, I had never really gotten to act in any sort of
genre or horror piece. It felt way
too good to be true. Then when I got the part I was given the full script
and read all the insane shit that happened to my character and all the
incredible moments I was going to get to play and it just completely blew
my mind. Plus, my first three days were a massive two-hander with me and
Paul Giamatti, who was the first real life adult I had ever acted with as
opposed to acting with basically a child my own age playing an adult. So
it was an unbelievable opportunity and it still trips me out to think
about how lucky I was to get that part and how grateful I am that Don saw
whatever he saw in me at the audition that made him want to cast me. As a
young cinephile/horror fan I was thrilled just to get to be in the room
with him and never assumed it would lead to anything beyond that. Don is
incredibly special to me and a friend for life. I am dying for him to make
another movie at once; henceforth, immediately.
What can you tell us about
your other filmwork prior to Artik?
been lucky enough to work with some great, established genre filmmakers
but for the most part I have largely worked with first-time directors. I
think Iíve worked with around ten filmmakers on their first features.
Itís exciting to get to be a part of someoneís artistic journey from
the beginning of their career and to help facilitate the execution of
their vision and make discoveries along with them.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of
your techniques to bring your characters to life?
try not to get in my head or become too self-aware about that sort of
thing. I just try to follow my gut and bring as much weight as possible to
the work by being ultra-specific so once I get to set I can trust myself
enough to let it go and play.
Actors (and indeed
actresses) who inspire you?
many. Off the top of my head Joaquin Phoenix, Frances Conroy, Sam
Rockwell, Michelle Williams, Michael Shannon. But also a ton of
indie/genre artists and peers Iíve gotten to collaborate with inspire me
all the time - to name a few Graham Skipper, Brea Grant, Noah Segan and my
Artik castmates Matt Mercer and Lauren Ashley Carter, both of whom I
absolutely love. And Jerry! And Gavin White, current child prodigy and
future superstar who plays Boy Adam in the film.
Your favourite movies?
and of course, films you really deplore?
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
mentioned early that Iíve been working on audio content - I have a
podcast called Done Disappeared that just finished its third season.
Itís a parody of true crime podcasts and podcasting in general. I also
just released Manchester by the Sea! The Musical, which is a three part
podcast with seven original songs recorded in front of a fake live
audience that I created with sound design. Weird, fun stuff!
for your questions!