Chris Dettone is a young, emerging actor, stuntman/coordinator and screenwriter. I recently had the immense pleasure of interviewing Chris, where he told me of how a medical emergency led to great opportunities and good fortune both personally and professionally. We spoke of his life and work: acting in films and shows, martial arts, stunts and fights, Last Flag Flying (Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Carrell), playing a reporter and being Jonathan Groff’s stand-in on Mindhunter, and much more.
DB: Where were you born and what was your childhood like growing up there?
CD: I was actually born in Colerain township, which is a small town just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. I lived with my parents until I moved out shortly before the age of eighteen. It was a great area to grow up in. My parents were, and are, still together, so I got to grow up with both parents which was great. I had that advantage. My parents were always very supportive. My family wanted me to achieve my dreams.
DB: What’s that area like when you are growing up there as a kid? Is it urban or rural?
CD: It’s actually pretty suburban. It’s the kind of community where you can stumble out of your front door and into someone else’s front yard and join a barbecue. Everybody knew each other. Everybody was very cordial. It was the kind of thing where, if you didn’t know what you were doing that night you could walk down the street and probably find something interesting, with people you know and have known for years. It was a really great neighbourhood.
DB: Thinking about acting, particularly: what was it that attracted you?
CD: I think I started wanting to act about 20 minutes after the first movie I ever saw. It was a dream of mine. Growing up where I did, the industry wasn’t always as big as it is now. It never really occurred to me that it was possible, growing up where I did. There was a support system but there was no outlet. So now that the industry’s booming, and I realised that living this life is actually possible, I fell 100% forward into chasing it. I’ve always found that the ability to draw out real human emotion in any kind of performance is one of the most profound forms of artistry. Being able to affect people, who are really just watching for their own entertainment, at that level is just very powerful to me. I’ve always wanted to hit that level: people who are emotionally evocative in their roles. Gary Oldman, for instance, is one of my idols.
DB: At what sort of age did you start taking it really seriously?
CD: Because of the perceived infeasibility of it, I actually didn’t get into acting until high school. I took my first drama class there: I did some improvs, some scenes from “Four Brothers” we did the scene where they turn the Corrupt cop and take the guy hostage and that was the first time I ever got to really throw any passion into acting. From that moment on I was hooked. I did some community theatre. A wonderful performance of The Crucible was, I think, my favourite time on stage. After that I was in Pittsburgh and saw that Mindhunter had posted a casting call and that was my first time on-screen: before that I was almost entirely a stage actor. After having talked to everyone, I realised that screen acting was probably my niche, because you could do things there that, as much as I love the theatre are just not possible in front of a live audience. It’s something that allows you to draw out a whole other level of a performance. Being live, you have to be ‘on it’ all the time so coming from that is beneficial for screen actors too.
DB: What about stuntwork and fight choreography? How did you get into that?
CD: That one I sort of fell into as a result of what I did coming out of high school. Before I viewed acting as a career choice, I went civilian law enforcement for several months before joining the US Air Force. Prior to that I had studied martial arts just as a way to stay fit. I had a black belt in Taekwondo and studied Jeet Kune Do for several years so I knew real hand-to-hand combat. Then, at stunt workshop, I realised the only difference was the amount of follow through you put into any blow – you rely on the receiving actor to turn their head from a punch rather than turning it for them. (Laughs) After running that workshop for a little while, I hooked up with a team in Cincinnati that did a few shorts that were fairly heavy in action. I did “Dodging the Bullet” and it was a really great experience because of how fantastically it fell into place. We had the actors doing these choreographed fights for one or two weeks beforehand and we expected to have to dial in the speed or how somebody received the particular blow, but in reality we watched the first take and we were like, ‘So one more for safety then?’ Repetition. It’s all in repetition and knowing who you’re working with. It’s a dance more than it’s a fight and it’s a lot of fun to do! It’s a whole different experience than just acting but, at the same time, I think it’s something that I am equally passionate about because you can tell a story about the character in that dance. I think MCU is great for doing this; if you watch certain hand-to-hand combat you can get a sense of a character’s personality and training, based on the way they fight. For example; a Russian gangster will only use one form of martial arts as opposed to another one. Certain directors will take care to keep accuracy on the screen. It’s a lot of fun to do.
DB: Going back a bit to acting: what training have you done, as an actor?
CD: I worked at it a little bit while I was in high school: I did some acting classes at the Cincinnati Actors’ Studio, aside from that really, it’s all been hands on experience. I had a little bit of theatre training. I’d say, the majority of it was just stuff that I had learned in high school and things I had picked up along the way. I realised there were some holes in what I knew about the industry and that’s why I feel thankful. Even with the stuff I’ve done there’s still always so much to learn, and I’m eager to pursue that education.
DB: For how long were you in the Air Force?
CD: One and a half years before I had a spontaneous pneumothorax – my lung punctured and started bleeding air into my chest cavity. I was actually on leave when it happened, it wasn’t anything dramatic like I was overseas, or in combat or anything. I was security forces, cross training and OSI – so that’s military police working on an intelligence programme. I never quite made it but I have a lot of respect for the guys that did.
DB: So that was part of your life and then you left earlier than you had anticipated, far earlier, and then something else comes along!
CD: And I’m grateful for it, in hindsight, because had it not happened I never would have met my wife who means everything to me. She’s the driving force behind why I believe I can do what I do. I never would have gone back to acting. I never would have actually realised that this is achievable; that if you throw your life at this you can actually live this, every day! And it never feels like work! When you wake up that excited nothing feels like work.
DB: You voice the character of Bryan in the adult cartoon Maddy Burger. What was it like working on that show and doing the voice overs?
CD: Oh it was, it is still, so much fun to this day. They still put out episodes. Our writers have just done another script recently, so there should be another one coming up. It is a raucous, glorious, riot of laughter in that studio because we’ll make changes to the script, ad-libbing when we record a take. It is utterly filthy! I’ll read the scripts and I’ll go, ‘Nah, I don’t know how that’s going on TV but okay, South Park gets away with it.’ Our director is amazing, too. Paul throws himself 100% into everything he does. I aspire one day to work with H. John Benjamin (another idol of mine).
DB: You were in a movie called Fury – Redux, playing a much younger ‘fling’ of a lady who then proceeds to completely lose it.
CD: I played Michael Pierce, who falls for this woman waiting in the foyer at a party. It was a challenging role because it was my first sex scene ever, but it was all filmed very tastefully and I’m not uncomfortable watching it. It’s been entered into the iHorror Film Festival this year. It’s been pretty well-received; it’s got its diehard fans, which we of course love. It was a lot of fun that film!
DB: On Amazon there’s the short-form series Venture, which is a sort of ZA world.
CD: Yeah. The Marauders are very zombieish, they end up going crazy and cannibalistic because of a substance they ingest, called ‘Dreamtime’. There’s a very risk/reward dynamic to it and it’s a lot of fun. We actually shot that in Titusville, Pennsylvania. I had a lot of fun. The cool part about it is, if you follow it, and it will become more apparent for every character, even the background ones that you only see in two or three frames, they get a story too – it all interconnects. I think season 2 is going to be a lot more explosive, a lot more high-tension and very dark. It comes back very, very strong. Season 2: I’ve read the entirety of the scripts and I can’t wait! It’s a very close-knit group of people and I’m proud to be a part of it.
DB: And your wife’s in it as well.
CD: Oh yes; I feel like there’s going to be a fun dynamic there. Obviously, being married, we can take on each other’s nuances really well, so when we shoot together it’s really fun. The first time I met certain actors we were shooting a scene where she actually takes me hostage and people were just standing there like, ‘Wow! We thought you guys were really mad at each other! I just sort of replied with’ ‘It’s okay, she can just remember the last time I didn’t clean the coffee grounds out of the sink!’ She channels that.
DB: Did she do any of the makeup on that show?
CD: We had a couple of makeup artists for Venture – she did some. Most of the characters look as if they haven’t had a steady supply of showers for two to three years so there’s a lot of makeup that’s going on. The makeup artist I worked with most for Season 1 was named Skylar Alloway who’s also very gifted at what she does but we had Paul, the director, doing makeup as well.
DB: Did you find that actually having the makeup on helps in the performance of people?
CD: Oh yeah. There’s a particular instance in which I receive a black eye which is very swollen. The amount of makeup they have to use to achieve that effect makes your face feel heavy; you get that puffy, swollen feeling; you get to let your eye relax as if you’ve been hit and just run with that. Depending on what your wound looks like, you can be winded, out of breath, favouring one side, etc.
DB: Do you look at yourself in the mirror after they have finished as well, prior to going on set?
CD: Yeah they show me the continuity shots as well.
DB: I wondering, because I watched an interview with another actor, where he plays a meth addict, and he was saying specifically that, by the time they had finished making their teeth filthy and making them up and giving them red eyes and looking like they haven’t showered in days, then looking in the mirror and straight away it’s easier, because you look disgusting.
CD: Yeah and after a while you feel disgusting too with that amount of makeup; which will close your pores up: you start sweating and you realise that it’s hot. Just sitting there shaking and sweating from all that stuff. I’ve done a similar thing because I played an alcoholic recently and they slather you up with all that makeup, you start to sweat, you start to shake and then you realise that your performance has almost built itself, you just have to follow because your body is already reacting, so that you end up getting some real magic out of it.
DB: In what was it that you played the alcoholic?
CD: That was for a 48-hour film festival where I got tapped for a part. They had three props and the theme was addiction which needed me to be an addict. When I came in there, they got me all pockmarked and spotty and everything. We ended up nominated. It was a good shoot, a lot of fun. Jackie Druga who did Beginnings where I did a cameo, did another 48 hour festival project I was with where I got zombified – so she’s killed me a couple of times! She’s one of the writers for Maddy Burger too. She’s wonderful, five-feet tall and one of the most gifted writers I know (laughs) – she is very talented.
DB: After you played a character which is draining, such as when you’re playing an alcoholic, how do you look after yourself?
CD: It’s important to become ‘yourself’ again after you are done shooting. The first thing is to take a shower: you’ve got to get that makeup off, you’ve got to feel clean and the next part is, if it’s a particularly bad role, you’ve got to do something that separates that headspace [the character] from who you are.
DB: Dilemma (that’s a short film which is written and directed by Naim David): could you tell me a bit more about it, the role you play, and anything else you think we need to know about it?
CD: Dilemma initially started as a proof of concept but then he decided to release it. The film focuses on the two characters Liz and Alistair. Without revealing too much of the plot, I play a character simply known as ‘The Man’ – he’s the main antagonist. Their entire future comes down to the dilemma that they have to face and that is personified in my character. The whole tag line for the film is “Kill or be killed” and Alistair has to choose between whether or not love is worth dying for and face the consequences of what happens when he makes that choice. I think it is one of my favourite performances, and I won’t brag about my part but I am very proud of the headspace that I got to access for this character. At one point we were two takes in and Naim pulled me aside and he goes, ‘I see him in there but I still see morals behind your eyes. I need you to let go of everything that makes you a good person. I need you to be you without any morality whatsoever.’ And I’m thinking about this and it literally felt like letting go of a cliff and falling off the edge in my mind, and at that point I think – and most of us felt – that we tapped into something very special in this one. He plans to do a full-length follow-up to it as well.
DB: I’ve watched the trailer for the short film, Empty Space, and I’m really intrigued by it. What role have you played in the making of that?
CD: I was fight choreographer and stunt coordinator. It was a very dark role, for me to access – it was a very, very dark place that I had to get to mentally to do this, and though you probably will recognise me when I step foot on-screen you won’t be able to see that it’s me. I had to coordinate and bring realism to something that shouldn’t ever even be contemplated, let alone ever happen in real life.
DB: Last Flag Flying (which stars Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne): what was it like working on it and what was the conversation like with your idols?
CD: It was amazing! It was one of those days when you wake up the next day and go, ‘Did that actually happen? Yes, it actually happened!’ I got the call late in the production and they needed people who could do a jerky accent and they only picked three of us. We got to go to an Amtrak that was parked at the station at Pittsburgh which had a green screen wrapped around it – on hydraulics, the whole thing would rock back and forth – we step in and the three of them were sitting there, somebody taps me on the shoulder to get around me and it’s Richard Linklater. I’m awestruck as I realise that, whether or not I get to meet any people or get any exposure, I’m going to be in a scene with three of my favourite actors of all time and one of my favourite directors of all time! I sit down, across from my fake girlfriend, and we’re sipping empty cups of coffee and they’re talking and are a few takes in, Bryan Cranston, stands up and he’s like, ‘Okay, so if we’re doing this…’ (It’s kind of interesting because actually as an extra you’re not supposed to talk to the talent, unless they open that conversation). He turned to us and said, ‘We’ve been here for 14 or 15 takes… Hi I’m Bryan! Nice to meet you!’ He’s the kind of guy that will joke around a bit and that I think you could joke back but you’re so overwhelmed at the fact that Heisenberg is there ribbing with you, Malcolm in the Middle’s dad… It’s one of those things that you really have to come to terms with the fact that he’s just a person before your eyes can stop being the size of silver dollars! It was a profound, wonderful experience! People say, ‘Don’t meet your heroes.’ I say, ‘Go out of your way to, because they often don’t let you down.’ Laurence Fishburne is wonderfully light-hearted and humorous. Steve (Mr Carrell) he’s funny all the time – I don’t think he had an off button. Even when I wasn’t directly involved in the conversation, it was just one of the most light-hearted atmospheres, and for something where you’d expect there to be a certain level of stress, I didn’t feel it at all. They are wonderful people and I would love to work with them again!
DB: Dodging The Bullet: can you tell me a little bit more about it? What role did you play in it and how did the stunt work and fight choreography go?
CD: I played two roles. The three main characters steal a flash drive that contains information that changes their entire life. I play one of the undercover cops who is trying to recover this and take down a group of less-than-nice people inside the city. Most of my role was physical, stunt stuff. They introduced several falls in which I had to come off stacked barrels of liquid, high walls, racks, things like that. It’s tough to catch but I die a few times in the movie, as a few different characters: they cover my face to be a gangster when I fall off a wall; I get shot a couple of times. It was a very physically demanding movie. I also consulted on a lot of police movements: one of the actors was holding their pistol one-handed and I was like, ‘No, you’re going to have the proper shooting stance.’ It was a lot of fun. We actually had Jerry Springer on set one day.
DB: What was that like?
CD: He is nowhere near as intense in person as you would expect. He was very calm, very relaxed, very down-to-earth, just one of the guys.
DB: In Mindhunter you play a reporter in the explosive episode 1. What was the filming of that pilot like and what is David Fincher like as a director?
CD: David Fincher is, arguably, as interesting to watch at any one time as all of the talent on set. He’s focussed, he’s driven, he’s passionate and if the scene isn’t right down to one drop of water he’ll redo it. I admire that level of perfectionism. As a matter of fact, filming that scene was very cold – two o’clock in the morning, in January – it’s raining, and he wants the scene to be wet, so he brings in water trucks to wet everything down. I’m watching as he does this and thinking, ‘No other director would have done this!’ It’s that extra that he has, like in Fight Club, the layers upon layers of physical texture to each image and it comes from that dedication. Without spoiling anything for anyone who may have not seen the show yet, that episode has… surprises! When he comes out I did not know that was going to be happening. I had spent primarily most of my time as a stand-in on the set, so when I did the role of the reporter there were a few scenes that they shot of us and when he comes out… the first take… pure reaction! I think that’s the one they used: the eyes wide because when I looked at the screen caps from that I was thinking, ‘I’m pretty sure that’s a genuine reaction to what’s going on there.’ It was a great scene to be part of because there were a lot of facets to it. As crowded as it was on-screen there was probably three times that behind the scenes going on to make that scene and it was a really cool experience to watch another part of the machine. To be honest my eye was on Mr Fincher the entire time: he’s moving all of these pieces around and he doesn’t look as though it’s straining him; he’s at home. He’s intense. He’s a very driven, dedicated director and I don’t think there’s anyone else like him in the industry. I hope that I get a chance to work with him in a closer capacity someday.
DB: How did you get the role as the reporter?
CD: I did an extras’ casting call and when I went there they pulled me aside, looked at my ‘look’. The primary makeup and wardrobe department lady that worked with the leads, Jonathan and Holt, pulled me aside and actually started petting me (laughs) she says, ‘I love your hair!’ At that point they went, ‘We can use him as a featured extra. Does Jonathan need a stand-in?’ So they ended up using me as a stand-in for Jonathan. I walked in one day and I hadn’t met anybody and all of a sudden Jonathan steps in beside me and he goes, ‘Hello, how’re you doing?’ I’m like, ‘Huh…Hi! how are you?’ We got to chat a lot! He was very kind to my wife who was on set as well, gave her words of advice, and told her, ‘follow your dream’. He’s a lot of fun off set as well: we hung out a couple of times at places throughout Pittsburgh. I’m grateful to Makeup for having petted my hair lovingly and starting that conversation. I’m grateful for Jennifer Nash the extras casting director, for giving me the opportunity. It’s sort of kickstarted my career, to be honest: I ended up getting a few roles just by talking to people on that set.
DB: The casting on that show is fabulous! Not just the most obvious sometimes either.
CD: Yeah, absolutely. What’s cool is they’ve kind of followed the ensemble model too. If you’ve followed Anna Torv’s career, one of your previous interviewees [Tobias Segal] was in Fringe with her as well, so they’ve followed each other, and I love it when they do that. Literally, first day on set, my mark just happened to be right where Anna’s was. She was pregnant while we were filming – there weren’t a lot of behind the scenes pictures of her, everybody was speculating that before the show came out. She is the most lovely, wonderful person and I’ve probably watched most of her work, because I watched Fringe; I was a dedicated fan – I loved that show!
DB: What’s Holt like to work with?
CD: I got to spend a lot more time with Jonathan than I did with Holt but Holt was there for a little bit. He was very grounded. I saw most of him, ironically, in craft services. I saw more conversations over ice cream than anything else! He’s the kind of guy who will notice certain people and just strike up a rapport with them. Once they were filming a scene that my wife was in (she plays a nurse in episode 3), he walked past and the nurses were giggling and says, ‘What are you girls talking about?’ And she goes, ‘You!’ And he’s like, ‘I knew it!’ (Both laugh) He’s a very funny guy. He deserves this success! I don’t think it would have been anywhere near as good without Holt. Holt is an absolutely perfect choice for that role. To watch him work it was almost one of those instances where you yourself almost ruin the take because you’re inspired by an actor. He also probably got through more prop cigarettes on set than three or four others!
DB: Your newest upcoming project is It’s The End, the miniseries, that you have written.
CD: Yes, that one’s actually been a story I’ve developed since 2013. Now that I’ve been in front of the camera for a little while, I want to take a step forward with it. It’s a dark, Biblical high fantasy series, following the story of Adam in 2018. He’s told that the world is coming to an end, that God’s called the game, and he realises that having lived this long on Earth as a punishment for being thrown out of Eden, he’s not really sure what comes next. He’s not big on the idea of the world coming to an end, to all of humanity, his children, getting roasted. He’s not had a whole lot of a purpose for thousands and thousands of years and when he gets this news he sort of rises to the occasion. He goes, finds Eve, and there’s a whole, long story about how he attempts to avert the apocalypse, how he attempts to redeem where we are as a species. There’s a lot of moral implications. It’s very actor-driven. Episodes are fairly short, they’re about 10-15 minutes but for a good reason, because there’s a lot of this genre out there and this goes in a direction that none of them have touched on before and because of that we have to be very careful to be unique. I have approached several people directly, I’ve also cast several roles. I have my dream team of people on this one and I am so excited to get started – we are going to get started filming at the end of April. I’ll go ahead and spoil it, I’ll tell you, I cast myself as Lucifer because he ended up taking on my voice: as I was writing the thing I would hear myself saying those lines.
DB: So you’re in pre-production now? Casting still underway?
CD: Yes, episodes 1 and 2 are completely cast. We are going to shoot episodes 1 and 2 all in one go; we’ll post-production that, since it’s short. We’ll then do 3 and 4 which will be a lot larger in scale, we will have a lot more cast on set for those days! Produce. Release. We should be done by, probably, the beginning of 2019. They will be out initially on Roku and Amazon Prime. MADDYGTV is looking at it. Prime loves us and they are a great vehicle for distribution.
DB: What sort of area are you going to be filming in?
CD: Primarily in Cincinnati. I’ve secured a few locations, buildings that are being renovated, things like that. It’s meant to be a very dark, run down visual feel. I want it to be dark, to look like it’s pseudo-ethereal, like standing at the edge of our world but only really dipping a toe in.
DB: A bit like the Twilight of the Gods coming.
CD: Exactly! The twilight of the entire pantheon, things like that. The old religions coming to an entire. The entire world is shutting down basically. I’m trying to contain my own excitement! It’s like, ‘There’s the producer.’ And you’re supposed to be all professional and you’re like bouncing around, all giddy. I’ve got to bottle it up though, just for the sake of getting things done.
DB: Like a hyperactive puppy.
CD: Yes! If I had a tail it would be beating a staccato rhythm on the couch.
DB: Out of the people you have not worked with, is there anybody particularly that you would love to work with?
CD: Mark Hamill, no hesitation whatsoever. I’ve tweeted with him a few times. He’s wished me a happy birthday – which I screenshot and saved. I would squeal like a little child if I got to meet him. I’m an enormous Star Wars fan. I’ve watched every movie he’s ever been in. He’s just a genuine great person, just so nice to everybody he talks to; he’s so dedicated to people. He wishes his Twitter followers happy birthday to brighten their day, visits children’s hospitals with prosthetics that are Star Wars themed. I aspire to that level of kindness. People say that Hollywood A-listers, they get famous, they get rich… I’d love to be A-list, but not for any of that – I’m horrible with money, I don’t need a lot – I’d love to get the exposure but honestly only to draw people’s attention to things that matter.
DB: What advice, if any, would you give to anyone who’s interested in a career in the industry?
CD: I would say the best piece of advice I could give you is: believe that it is possible. That is what held me back for so long: I did not believe there was any level of feasibility. There is a film or TV community in every city, in every country on the planet. You just have to believe it is possible. If this is your dream, believe it’s possible – chase it! Run so fast that you don’t know whether you’re going to fall forward or backwards or where you are going. Just chase it! Do everything you can and never give up!
DB: What was the first single or album you ever bought?
CD: AC/DCs Back In Black. My mum raised me with an appreciation of classic rock. I got to shake hands with Bon Scott on the Black Ice Tour: I just went to the most obscure door in the arena and just waited on the off-chance that they’d leave through there – he did. He looks around and he knows that I’m the only one who notice and he knows that if I say anything, he’s going to get mobbed. So I say, ‘If you shake my hand, I will walk away silently.’ He shook my hand and I walked away! It was the best experience ever!
DB: Is there a song, or songs, that take you back to a special time in your life?
CD: Oh yes! There are several meaningful ones as well. My wife and I, the first party we ever went to, “Tattoo” was playing. Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” takes me back to a really dark time in my life. Almost all of Fallout Boys’ albums. AC/DC takes me back to a time when I lived close to my family, before I moved away. Pink Floyd’s The Wall! My dad’s an auto mechanic, he’s worked on cars out of his garage for years and I got to listen to that album for 15-16 years, so hearing it now, it’s my dad. Like he’s sitting right next to me if I hear any of those play. They are all so evocative. I’ve got memories that are attached to every song on the album. You can almost smell the memory, like the auto grease he was working with.
DB: Do you have any favourite musical artists?
CD: I’m a big fan of Demon Hunter: they’re a Christian band but they have a really melodic sort of rock. I’ve followed their career for years and I’ve loved everything they’ve ever done. “Carry Me Down” is probably one of my favourite songs of all time. Three Doors Down! I got to be in a music video they shot in Cincinnati. I’ve loved everything they have ever done and they’re such nice people.
DB: What concert have you been to that you would regard as the best one you have ever been to?
CD: Def Leppard and the original group Journey. I got a signed Def Leppard CD there and I got to go backstage with the guys and that was a lot of fun and that was a great show. There was a certain odour in the air…
DB: What was the most recent gig you went to?
CD: Most recent one, I was supporting a friend of mine’s band. He plays in Molotov Cocktail Rock and Roll, very garage punk stuff. He did a show out of Cincinnati and it’s a very punk and close-knit sort of show. We packed the venue because he’s the kind of guy who will invite people on the off chance that they will show up and then they’ll bring 17 or 18 people and they’ll appear. They’ll put on a show with maybe 20 minutes notice and yet it’ll still turn into a great night for whatever venue they do it at – so I love going to their little pop up shows.
DB: Do you like to dance?
CD: I do! Actually my wife talked me into doing salsa classes recently so I figured, ‘Yeah, that’ll be a good one to put on the acting résumé!
DB: Is there an artist, or band, that you’ not seen that you would love to see live?
CD: Do they have to be alive?
DB: No, let’s be really generous and say they can be dead or alive.
CD: I would do anything to see Jimi Hendrix live. I feel like I missed a lot of great music by being the generation I was. If there’s one going on in the great beyond then I’ll be first for that.
DB: Do you have any guilty music pleasures?
CD: Back Street Boys! The Fury – Redux cast was dancing to Back Street stuff while we were behind the scenes between takes – there’s behind the scene footage of us doing that somewhere, me with no eyes dancing to Back Street Boys!
CD: What was the most recent song or album that you’ve heard that really excited you.
CD: “Roots” by In This Moment. I actually just heard that song for the first time the other day and I’m a big fan of it at the moment. She can get your blood pumping off any track but “Roots” is powerful! And it’s evocative. The story that it tells is kind of dark: she tells the story that she is stronger because of you and then tells you why; she’s talking directly at you in this song. Very powerful! Big fan!
DB: Is that the one you most recently bought, or do you mostly download stuff?
CD: Oh no, I pay for it. I’m a starving artist; I’m not going to take food out of the mouths of other starving artists. I did buy it, I got it from iTunes (I didn’t get the whole album yet). I’m also excited about Ember, the Breaking Benjamin album that’s coming out here soon. I’ve loved them for years. They’re going to be in Cincinnati soon, so I’m going to catch them.
DB: What does music mean to you?
CD: Wow! Music is the soundtrack of reality. If all of life is static then it’s the violin that cuts through when you tune the radio. Music is absolutely everything: it’s emotion; it’s passion; it’s creativity in its purest form; it’s its own kind of magic.
DB: What is your favourite word?
CD: I think my favourite word would have to be ‘excellent’ because I use it a lot and it’s almost reflexive at this point; I’m really enthusiastic, whenever I’m doing something that excites me that word will probably tumble out of my mouth 15 or 16 times. I’ll actually have to go back and edit scripts because I start writing Chris-dialogue and not character-dialogue. It’s like, ‘Stop using that word!’
DB: How would you describe your perfect day?
CD: I wake up and have a cup of pure, not blend, Hawaiian Kona bean. I step out of my trailer, onto set, on season two or three of Mindhunter where I’m playing a young Charles Manson. I go through my day shooting, get off of work, go back to the trailer for a little bit, and afterwards we all go and have a cast party – my wife is there. That would be fantastic! I actually got offered the role of a young Charlie Manson – not on Mindhunter but on another project – and I feel that if they do Mason I would really want to throw my name in that hat.
DB: What could you not possibly not live without?
CD: My wife and coffee!
DB: In that order. Wise man!
CD: Exactly! She’s the wind beneath my wings and usually I wouldn’t remember to buy coffee without her telling me to do it anyway! (Both laugh) I got more than lucky. I actually met Megan when I was in the hospital – she was the nurse looking after me when I had a kidney stone. Had I not had that lung puncture I would have been hundreds and hundreds of miles away when I got that kidney stone. I walked in and we started talking about old sci-fi series and stuff and at that point I’m trying to get her number, she was dating somebody else at the time – three weeks later, when they split up, she actually messaged me on Facebook and we ended up getting pasta, and here we are, at almost a decade later.
DB: Bless those kidney stones!
You can find Chris at the following: