First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
Iím Timothy J. Cox. I am a stage and film actor from Philadelphia but I
now call New York City my home.
first moved to New York in 2001 and when I moved here, all I wanted
to be was a good supporting actor in the theatre, doing the classics and
for those first few years, theatre was just about all I did, with the
occasional film role thrown into the mix, but I never saw myself going the
film route full time.
2010 though, things changed when I appeared in three successful short
films back to back. They were wonderful experiences and they were well
received. After that, I began to work almost exclusively on film and
thatís what Iíve been doing ever since.
How would you describe yourself
as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
ago, a colleague of mine said that I was like the ďthe 6th manĒ on a
basketball team. Not the star player, but the clutch player who comes in
for a few plays, scores a few points, makes an impact and the sits back on
the bench. Iíve always liked that. I score my points and then I get
out. I would like to think that with each film and theatre performance
that I have given, I have brought something different to each role.
Variety. Thatís the challenge ó to find roles that are unique and
varied. The more unique the better.
Iím working... when I get the script, the first thing I do is map out
intentions, objectives and actions for the character. What is the
character fighting for? What do they want? What do they need? It
sounds simple, but it's very difficult and it should be difficult. I
write key words and phrases in the margins of my script, little buzz words
to help me. As I work on a part, I keep asking questions, try to
build on those original ideas and notes to craft as honest and truthful a
character as possible.
great teacher/director, Stanley Harrison, turned me on to the acting
techniques of Michael Chekhov, whose work is associated with the power of
the imagination and that to create art, you must do so with a sense of
ease. With everything I do, I try to do so with a sense of ease and
relaxation. I learn that script cover to cover and get it out of my hands
as quickly as possible, because you canít create a part with a book in
your hand. When you get that script out of your hand, thatís when you
can play and the more you play, the more you will create.
current and future projects you'd like to talk about?
have 3 films that are in the early stages of pre-production.
delighted that the dark comedy Doll It Up has been accepted in over 10
festivals and has been receiving very nice reviews and a few honors from
festivals all over the world. Iím especially proud of that film.
latest film Miss Freelance was released a month or so ago and the reaction
so far has been great.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
knew I wanted to make acting my life when I was in high school where I did
a lot of plays and musicals, but I would say that in those early days, I
was more of a mimic than an actor. I borrowed, quite liberally, from TV
and movies. I did a lot of impressions and I seemed to be interested more
in getting laughs, in being a ham, which I was pretty good at, than being
a serious actor. All of that changed when I saw Jack Lemmon in Days of
Wine and Roses (that performance knocked me out) and when I got to college
(Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio) where I really learned about craft
and technique, which I sorely lacked. It takes a considerable amount of
technique and discipline to be an actor and I learned all about that from
a very tough teacher/director named Steve Rader. Steve was a man who
didnít sugarcoat anything. If you were doing something on stage that he
did not like, he had no problem letting you know, often quite bluntly and
profanely. It was jarring at first, of course, but I learned, after
working with him for a couple of years that if he was hard on you, that
meant that he saw something in you. The harder he was on me, the harder I
worked. With Steve, we touched on a lot of different schools of acting.
Later in, when I started working with Stanley Harrison, he turned me onto
Michael Chekhov and thatís what I use today.
As far as I know, you did quite
a bit of stage work before you switched to film - so what can you tell us
about that aspect of your career, and do you still do theatre work these
miss my early theatre years. I worked in and around the city, especially
down in Greenwich Village at the 13th Street Repertory Theatre. I learned
a lot working at that theater. I
have only occasionally returned to the theater but I do miss it. I
always read and watch plays.
Performing in front of an audience and acting in
front of a camera - how do the two compare, and which one do you prefer,
will say that it was a difficult transition from being primarily a stage
actor to then go to film almost exclusively. When most actors come
out of the theatre, it's all about making things as small as possible on
film, to almost do nothing and as stage actors, we're trained to project,
to use our face, body and voice fully. On film, everything has to be
small. I think as time has gone on, for me, I've tried to focus on
doing as little as possible. Not acting, but being. I like to
think that I've become more of a re-actor than an actor and to focus as
much as possible on listening. Listening, listening, listening.
That's everything. That's what made actors like Jack Lemmon
and Spencer Tracy so extraordinary to watch. They were great
re-actors [and] listeners.
Any past films of yours you'd like to talk
general, I would say that Iím pretty proud of many of the films that I
have worked on. Of course, there are some films that I am more fond of
than others. Even for the ones that didnít work, I still take something
positive away from the experience. I look at every film that I have done
as a learning experience.
Going through your filmography, one has to say
it's impressively extensive - so what keeps you going, and how do you even
find all of these projects?
like to work and try to work as much as possible. I get an immense joy
from the process and the energy of a film set, a stage or a rehearsal
room. I learn something new with every role. Every
day, I hit the pavement and try to find a job. Itís all about being
relentless. To be an actor, you have to be relentless. You canít just
wait by your phone for a director or a writer or a producer or an agent or
manager to call you. You have to get out there and do it. Youíre going
to make mistakes and fall on your face. Youíre going to do some crap,
but I truly believe that if you stick with it and remain focused,
dedicated and good humored, good things will come your way. Thatís what
I believe, at least.
Actors (and indeed
actresses) who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
actors are: Jack
H. Macy, Gene
Hackman and Paul
Smith and Katharine
Your favourite movies?
Godfather (1972), The
Godfather: Part II (1974),
Big Lebowski (1998), The
a Wonderful Life (1946).
and of course, films you really deplore?
only film that I have ever walked out of is 2003ís Down with Love. I try
to give every movie a chance, even if it doesnít turn out great. Bad
movies, like The Room (which I have seen 14 times) are great conversation
pieces at parties. Movies like those may be bad, but they are certainly
website, Facebook, whatever else?