In Conversation with Jesse C. Boyd ~ Actor: Mindhunter, Day 5, TURN

Photo credit: JA Images Janet Adamson

Jesse C. Boyd has graced our screens playing roles such as Frank Janderman in David Fincher’s Mindhunter, the lead role of Jake in Day 5, a Queen’s Ranger in TURN and a wolf in The Walking Dead .We had an in-depth, and really fun conversation, about his childhood in rural North Carolina, his career and roles, upcoming projects, music, his love of hot sauce and lots more besides.

DB: You were born in North Carolina weren’t you? Whereabouts exactly was that?

JCB: Correct. I was born in Whiteville, North Carolina, which is about 45 minutes from Wilmington, North Carolina. I didn’t live there very long and then I moved to a little town, outside of Raleigh, called Fuquay Varina, where I went to high school. It’s a little tiny town. What’s funny is I actually ended up shooting a movie in the hospital that I was born, later down the road. My grandmother worked at the hospital, so it really gives a full circle. I was like, ‘How did I end up back here?’ I left and I never went back. My brother lives there and my grandparents live there, and I do go to visit them, but it’s not a place where I ever grew up by any means, you know.

DB: So what was your childhood like there? You’ve got a brother, is that just the one brother?

JCB: Two brothers. I’m the middle kid, which means I’m the trouble one. I have an older brother and I have a little brother. My little brother is quite a bit younger and my older brother and me are closer in age. They are both big, big guys: I’m like 5’9”, they’re like 6’2”. I’m definitely the scrappy one who has two big brothers, so I was a little bit of a ‘mouth’! When you have those two big, protective brothers it helps a lot. My mum is amazing. When I was growing up she was a nurse. I’m still very, very close to them and I see them all the time and we try and catch up as much as we can.

DB: What about your dad?

JCB: Do not know him, so I didn’t grow up with him. Funnily enough he’s in the little town, Whiteville, and I don’t know him at all but other people know of him. Apparently he’s some rock ‘n’ roll kind of guy who walks the streets; he’s very ‘legend’ – a folklore legend almost – but I don’t know him at all. But you know, when you grow up without it, don’t really miss it. And I grew up with a lot of really strong women in my family that put a lot of love on all of us, so that was always there growing up, so I never really thought too much about it. They love to laugh. They’re very strong and they’re very stoic: they plod on and they don’t complain a lot.

DB: The ‘C’ in the middle of your name which you only relatively recently started using in your work…

JCB: Actually, funnily enough I’ve used it the whole time, it’s just always one of those things that people miss and I’m literally always like, ‘There’s a C in there!’ That’s because, growing up, my mother called all of us by our middle names, so my mum calls me Chris or Christopher, so I always want to have the C in there to pay homage to that.

DB: So, at home, you’d respond to Chris and not Jesse?

JCB: Yes. It’s very ‘country’ there so it’s ‘Creeyus’. I think I’ve been in LA for 14 years now but I can dig it up, especially if I have some drinks or if I wake up in the morning it’s like, ‘How y’all doin’’, you know what I mean. It’s very Southern there but it’s nice, it’s nice to come back to. It’s a very much slower, different way of life there.

DB: I guess everyone modifies their accent back to everyone around them.

JCB: I don’t as much but I guess maybe for Christmas time where you’re surrounded by the family, it might come out a little more then.

DB: It does with me. I become much more ‘Essex’.

JCB: Is that where you’re from? I have a good friend in LA who’s from ‘Essix’. Actually there’s quite a big British community here in LA that I’m close with. I lived with a British girl for like 4 years, and one of my really good friends. When I did TURN: Washington’s Spies – I was British on that – that helped tremendously when you’re like, ‘Hey, I’m going to have to play British Army.’

DB: I was going to ask you about that, working on TURN, whether you had a dialect coach (because I spoke to Alex Morf, who was also in TURN, and Charise Greene – his wife – helped him because she’s a dialect coach as well).

JCB: I love Alex by the way, great guy! What I did is, because living with the British person, and then I also looked on YouTube: there’s this really great guy who teaches you five basic things to look for when you’re doing certain dialects. I’d just go through the script, take out the things and make all the little things sound like what I should be saying. At the time I was waiting tables at a restaurant and I picked up a day shift (and I never worked day shifts) so I was by myself in this whole restaurant, nobody there knew me so I pretended to be British the entire breakfast shift. I didn’t stop at all, even if they were looking at me like, ‘Is he really British?’ I just kept doing it. So I did all that before the audition because I was like, ‘Listen, if I’m going to pull this off I have to believe it myself!’

DB: Certainly, if I didn’t know you were American, as a Brit, I wouldn’t have straight away thought, ‘That’s an American trying to put on an English accent.’

JCB: Oh good! It’s the same in the South, there are so many different versions: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi. As an actor you have to wing this stuff the day before you have to tape it or go to the room. I had one the other day for Southern Ohio and I was like, ‘What the hell is Southern Ohio like?’ I was Googling for hours! In the end I was just like, ‘I’m going to do what I can with this, pick up the little things.’ You can’t get a dialect coach at the drop of a hat.

Photo credit: JA Images Janet Adamson

DB: What kind of kid were you?

JCB: Very, very energetic! I still very much am. I was very, very hyperactive – I have always been positive, and hyperactive. Adventurous! My grandmother told me a story of when I was a kid, we went to McDonald’s somewhere in Raleigh and she lost me for a minute and then found me staring at this tall guy in a leather jacket with a big rainbow mohawk, and I was just like staring at him! I attribute that time to when I knew I was going to be in this adventurous life, like seeing things in colour and fast motion, punk-inspired and all that stuff.

DB: A brave kid who was keen to explore.

JCB: Absolutely. Lots of cuts and bruises.

DB: Not much sitting still.

JCB: No! And still to this day. But you know what, I did start meditating and that helped a lot. I’ve been meditating for a few years and that helps to kind of reel it in a little bit.

When I’m acting I’m laser-focussed, it’s a whole different ‘me’. That’s a thing I learned a long time ago, I never took any medication for it or anything but I was, ‘I know I’m probably ADHD but let me harness it and use it for what I can do.’ You find ways to look at it as a gift. Although sometimes people are like, ‘Okay, just calm down, tell me what happened. Slow down.’

DB: What was it like at school?

JCB: Very, very small town. I was a drama kid, did theatre. Honestly I was just so ready to get the hell out, right off the gate. Moved out when I was like 16 years old and then I moved to the city when I was, I think, just turned 18, to Raleigh. School was kind of like… I never looked back but I had a good time there. It was very, very, very small and when I got to the city it was like, ‘Here we go! Let’s try to explore and get the adventure on.’ It’s never looking back since then. It is weird going back to my home town because I don’t know people there who I really contact and hang out with, I don’t really have those connections there – I have them all over the rest of the world. Generally when I go home I just go see my family, and it’s on a little farm. It’s very, very quiet, very secluded, so it’s just a nice getaway, you know.

DB: What sort of farm is it?

JCB: It’s not like a functioning farm, it’s farm-like land. Growing up there we did have the gardens and there were tobacco fields all around us. There’s a little Baptist church round the corner and big, open fields and horses and cattle. The whole area where I live is like that but we don’t have any of that! We did have horses for a while: they got them right before I moved out when I was 16. My mum loved them but they’re expensive! They’re a lot of work and she’s a nurse; she works full-time.

DB: When did you first start acting?

JCB: Oh my gosh! I always say that I feel like came out of the womb with a tap dancing stick and hat! I don’t remember it not being a ‘thing’. I know for sure in kindergarten I was already doing the little plays; I played, I think, Huckleberry Finn. I got into dancing and all kinds of arts but acting is the thing that I… Some people say, ‘When did you know you wanted to be an actor?’ And I’m like, ‘Always.’ I just assumed that everybody else was like that and then you find out a lot of people didn’t start until they were 20 or in their 30s. For me it’s always been there and it was something I always I wanted to do. I think it’s because I always had a very vivid imagination growing up as a kid, playing make-believe and all that stuff. Growing up in such a great time for television and film, without the constricts of social media, and even computers, to take you away from all of it, movies were it: Spielberg, horror movies back in the day. It was a really good time for that so I think it was very inspirational for me to be built, already, into that world.

DB: So you were performing at kindergarten, did you also do some stuff when you were at home in front of your family?

JCB: Oh God yeah! I put on shows all the time! I would set up little fake curtains and get the other kids, and make everybody wait and then get them to come in and be like, ‘Wait, wait, wait!’ Control freak 5-year-old, basically. I still do that now: me and my friends when we go on these trips to Mexico we do a thing where we make fake fashion shows. We get a big, beautiful house with a pool and set up the whole thing, everyone has to come out in one shot and you shoot it. So I guess that’s the make-believe still happening to this day.

For me, a vacation, I can’t ever just really relax. I have got to be doing something: writing or putting on one of these stupid little shows. That’s why I’m really glad that in this space and time, if you get an audition, you can be on vacation but you can tape it. Sometimes, like on the last one, I got like six auditions and I was, ‘I just wanna relax and have fun, and everybody else is drinking at the pool, and having a good time.’ But then I think about it and I’m like, ‘You would just be fucking miserable if you had to sit there and relax all the time, so just take it and enjoy it.’ We always do 5 days, me and my group. The second day I’m always like, ‘I’m on vacation, what are we doing now?’ We go with 6 or 7 others and I’m very lucky that I have very diverse friends, because there’s always the one that’s got the agenda printed out, and she’ll say, ‘I think we could do this and this.’ And I’m like, ‘Shit, I didn’t think of any of that!’ I’ve just got a six-pack and ask, ‘What are we doing?’

DB: Do you have any formal acting training?

JCB: Absolutely! I grew up, during my school education, always in the drama club, taking drama classes. Then, once I got out of high school, I started studying with a bunch of independent coaches all over the place: Atlanta, North Carolina, Wilmington and then eventually in LA. I really value Avana Chubbuck Studio – that’s where I was studying when I first got to LA and I learned so much from that. I was doing classes, consistently, all the time, that was my ‘thing’. Eventually I just started having more work and then auditioning a lot. Then when self-taping came out you’re seeing so much of what you’re doing, you learn so much because of it: you get to take 8 takes of a scene and you have to go through your stuff and you have to work out which of them is working, which is the best – so you get to pick up and that becomes its own kind of class, in a way. I definitely think it [classes] are necessary for people to do and honestly I would love to be able to dip in and dip out but that’s not how life works and usually I’m all over the place.

Photo credit: JA Images Janet Adamson

DB: You left home when you were 16. How old were you when you moved to LA?

JCB: Oh gosh, I don’t even know. I’ve been here for 14 years. You know, after a while you stop counting the years. I feel like I’ve been saying, ‘I’ve been here for 12 years,’ for four years. It was a very different place when I moved to LA; it was so smoggy. I actually lived in San Diego for two years before that. I was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time and my friend said she was moving to San Diego and asked me if I wanted to go and sleep on her couch. I literally went to visit her, from Atlanta, I flew back and I told my job (I was waiting tables) that I was leaving in a week. I had a band at the time, I got the band together and said, ‘Guys I’m moving to San Diego, California, I’m going to do an acting career like I’ve always wanted to and if you want to join me, let’s go! I’m leaving in a week!’ And they were like, ‘You’re fucking just leaving?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m leaving!’ And I did. I went to San Diego and lived there for a couple of years, had a great time. During that time too they had a couple of shows that were filming out there but LA’s only a two-hour drive. When I finally made the move I shared a studio in Koreatown with a friend. I think we had two blow-up mattresses in a single room and a bathroom with a kitchen and that was it, but I was there and was doing it! LA is one of those things that grows on you year by year by year and it just gets better and better to me. And having a great group of friends who are here.

DB: Have you always had bands?

JCB: Well actually that came a bit later, that came when I went to Atlanta. I started a little band and it actually was people who were in that band, who ended up moving to LA two years later, finally, so we re-started that band and then we brought in some new people and that spiralled into another new band. My current band – which is Prettydead Ferrari – we’ve been together for ever but we’re all actors and directors so a lot of us are working on stuff all the time. We’re pretty much now a virtual band because if I’m out of town filming on something and Evan [Gamble], who’s also in the band, is always working on something. We play when we can and then try and continue making music. But it’s definitely a big part of my life, it’s like that side of me… like the acting side of me is so… I really, really stress about being on time, I’m really, really focused, where the music side is like, ‘Go fuck yourself, I’m just having fun here, I don’t really give a shit.’ You know what I mean? It’s more of a ‘release’. It’s creative, artistic, where you can express yourself in a different way. You’re your own boss in that. You’re putting out what you’re feeling whereas as an actor you’re reading other people’s stuff, usually.

DB: Do you play any instruments?

JCB: I play a little bit but I’m more a frontman so when I perform on stage I am drenched in sweat by the end of the day and I’m throwing things around. I’m all over the place, you know, like Iggy Pop. That’s the release of it, you’re just getting up there and shaking it all out. It’s a lot of fun! It’s a little bit of a soul release. It’s a balancing thing. It keeps me content.

DB: When did you start putting hot sauce on everything?

JCB: Oh my geesh! Once again I think it was from the very beginning. Being from the South, we like our spicy food. I literally put it on everything. Everything! I’m in this place right now, and I had to stop and buy a bottle of hot sauce just so I could have it on whatever I’m eating today. It’s an addiction! You know what I think it is, if you do it from the start it’s hard to not have that spicy kick in everything. I’ve put it on cheesecake before! Not even joking!

DB: What would you consider to be your on-screen ‘break’.

JCB: Let’s see… My first (I think) television credit was Veronica Mars. It was great and they’re actually bringing it back right now. (Just waiting on that call guys!) I just had a little, small part: high school bully. But I remember going on the set, it was a fake high school, and I was like, ‘This is so surreal!’ You are in this fake high school with the lockers and all the extras are walking by like cute little students.

Break-wise The Walking Dead was a really big step for me I think, in the sense that I had no idea of how crazy-wild that fandom would be! My guy came on at the end of a season finale and came back a little bit at the beginning of the next one. You never know what’s going to be something that’s going to be recognised. Same thing with Mindhunter: I was thinking, ‘This is so well-done I’m sure it’s going to be recognised.’ But the day it comes out you’re like, ‘Does anybody care?’ And then, of course, they did.

DB: It’s unpredictable and some things you think are sure fire hits and sometimes they’re just dead in the water.

JCB: And then sometimes the things you would never expect [are hits] and you’re like, ‘What?’ I’ve learned a long time ago to just let that go. I’ve got to do my job, do my work and promote and say, ‘Hey! I’m really proud of this. And this is great and it’s so great to be a part of it.’ We’re in a time now too where the world is so connected to everything that everybody’s doing, that you just release it into the universe, just let it be what it’s going to be. And isn’t that so much of life too? Once you realise that you can’t control it, it loses so much power over you. People worry so much. One of my biggest things is: what’s the point of worrying? Is it helping you? Is it doing anything for you? Just let it go! You can’t do anything about it, it’s going to work itself out and generally it always does.

DB: I haven’t been able to watch Day 5 yet (it was on Sky).

JCB: They’ve only had season 1 and I don’t know when they’re doing season 2. I know it starts on El Rey next Tuesday. I’m so, so proud of that show. It’s so much fun, such an interesting premise, such an interesting character and a really great group of people. All the actors I work with on that show are literally my family: we talk to each other all the time; I love them to death!

Walker, who plays my sickly sidekick, I think, when he started the show he was 14. They said, ‘You’ve got to work with a kid,’ and I was like, ‘Oh Jesus!’ He was so mature but also so immature at times, but so much fun! All those guys: Davi Jay, Stephanie [Drapeau]. We spent so many days together, working 12-hour days; we’re all so completely different but we all had such a good time!

DB: You play a meth head, Jake.

JCB: Yeah but he’s much more than that! The premise of the story is that one day everybody who’s asleep in bed, is dead, so that the people who were awake realise that if you go to sleep you die, so everyone tries to stay awake. My character is Jake, who’s really taking everybody on this journey. He is up on a 2-day meth edge, just smoking meth, just being a bad, crazy little guy and because of that he is awake. Also being a meth-head which is not (as you can imagine) probably the most sane life in the world, he is, in this weird kind of way, this anti- hero because, who else is better equipped to stay awake in this new apocalypse than someone who is used to it? You go on this journey through his goggles and then you meet Sam, the little kid, who was up trying to stay behind bedtime: he’s so intelligent; he knows more than I do; he’s like the adult and I’m the kid. Ally who is a night nurse/doctor who’s much more someone who is trying to keep everything together. Then we have Davi Jay’s character who is really trying to solve stuff.

DB: And there’s an assassin?

JCB: Oh of course! I don’t want to spoil everything but that’s Meredith, she’s just such a badass character and that’s Katie Folger, who I love dearly – she’s an amazing actress! She has really brought such interesting flare to that character.

DB: If it really was the apocalypse what would you take with you and what would you miss? How do you think you would fare, in reality?

JCB: You know I’m really into healing crystals and stones, so I have my lucky pyrite – I’ll probably take that. Tennis shoes because you’d be running! I’d probably need a bottle of whiskey and a coffee. I don’t know, I’m not very prepared, so I guess I’m the first one out. Oh yeah, water!

I honestly think I’d be alright because I do move fast and I know how to think on my feet and I know how to look at things from the best possible scenario, so I think I’d do alright.

When we’re filming on set, one day you’re on an 8 o’clock p.m. start and you go on working until the morning shoot, you must learn to adapt to deal with it. Coffee is very helpful. People can get really sluggish from these shoots but I’m like, ‘Listen, this is forever, so this little tired feeling you’re feeling right now, you can sleep in the day but if you’ve being lazy because you’re tired, right now we’re trying to create this art, it’s going to show.’ Which was perfect for Mindhunter because you know they take a lot of shots, a lot of time! Which I’m so glad I knew going in. This is like training for the marathon in film because it’s takes over and over and over and over and over.

I’m not a big, big sleeper; I’m not a napper, if I’m napping it’s because I fell asleep and didn’t mean to, like I was watching TV. Six or seven hours I’m good, eight hours. My personality’s like: I want to live life to the most that I can so, for me, sleeping is just a recharge.

DB: Hap and Leonard, which I love. (I’m a big fan of James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams).

JCB: He’s [James] amazing! Michael is brilliant!

DB: You play a not very nice person, a racist redneck, Boone. How did you get that role and how did you get into that character’s headspace?

JCB: What you know is funny is I actually read for both brothers at the beginning. I always try and say: first of all don’t judge a character when you don’t know what they’re going through. What I did for Boone essentially was, somebody treated him wrong as a child and made him think that this was what he was supposed to believe, and that was somebody he looked up to – and that’s all he had. In my own intentions – I thought, ‘You know what? He’s not as bad as his brother. He is doing this because this is what he’s supposed to do to survive because this is a person who is giving him what he needs to survive.’ I wanted to have him always have a little bit of ‘not feeling good about it’ in his heart. Even to the point where the scene where Michael [Leonard] and James [Hap] are on the ground and we held them down, I was really trying not to laugh; in that scene they wanted us cackling and I was like, ‘No, I’m not going to cackle.’ I wanted for him to have moments of being like, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea.’ It’s also holding up a mirror to what is really happening in the world and that’s the point, as an actor, getting into that space and maybe, maybe somebody will see it and be like, ‘Oh, am I a little bit of that?’ or, ‘Oh, do I know that person?’

DB: It is a shame that it’s over because it’s slightly off-the-wall and wacky in places and I love the whole dynamic between Hap and Leonard, their unusual connection which breaks down loads of barriers. I thought that third season particularly pulled no punches, literally and metaphorically.

JCB: Definitely. And I think people really, really responded to that. That’s why I was really surprised there wasn’t a next season because it was so fantastic, but that’s the industry we’re in, so many good shows go by the wayside and there are other shows and you’re like, ‘How is this still on air?’ We won’t say these shows, but you know who you are, shows.

DB: What was your experience working on that show particularly with James and Michael?

JCB: One of the things, when I’m playing a character such as that, I do try and distance myself as much as possible from them: I don’t like to buddy up at lunch and stuff like that; that’s just my method that I use. Both really great guys but I really didn’t speak to them too much until the very, very last shot and then I actually went up to Michael – because my mum thinks he’s a beautiful man and she loves him – and said, ‘Hey! By the way I’m Jesse, officially. My mum loves you, would you mind just please doing a little video for me, real quick?’ And so he did this video and he said, ‘Hey!’ to my mum and he was very, very nice. I sent it to my mum and she literally called me crying, she was so excited and happy about it. That is a testament to what a good person he is. Both of them are. They are both really hard-working. James was throwing himself around – he injured himself on set one day because he was just so committed to his craft. They’re consistently in these crazy fighting battles – they’re no joke, it’s a lot of work! In stamina alone, just doing all that is a wow to watch and be part of!

DB: You mentioned the fight scenes in Hap & Leonard: how were they choreographed and how did that work out in practice? Did anyone get any lumps and bumps and bruises (apart from James)? Do you do most of the fights yourself?

JCB: Oh yeah! Always! It’s part of the gig. You have a stunt coordinator, you have stunt actors and Hap & Leonard had some great stunt people as well. It’s literally like a dance, it’s choreography, you’re learning this beat beat beat and you hope it looks right. I think what they do there is they get a lot of good footage, so it’s fast, quick. You spend so much time and then you see it for two seconds

What they do is they’ll shoot you doing a bit of it and, for example, I think I get thrown on the table and then Jason Hill (who’s the guy I worked with all the time, and he’s great), they’ll take him, pick him up and throw him on the table, so he’ll get that ‘land’ right there. It’s good because when you do start working with these stunt people, now that I’ve worked with Jason so much, when I’m doing stunt stuff I’ll say to the stunt people, ‘Hey call this guy, he knows my mannerisms, my walk.’ I just worked on another project and told them to call him and he came in and he was like, ‘Hey man! Good to see you again!’

Photo credit: JA Images Janet Adamson

DB: Back in 2012 you did a sketch comedy series called Meanwhile, which you co-wrote, directed and performed in. How did that come about and what was the whole experience like for you?

JCB: The band that I have, we are all actors, writers, directors and we had decided at one point (we were creating shorts) ‘Let’s just do a sketch comedy series.’ We decided that we would get a group of us together every Monday, we’d come with our sketch ideas, sit round a table, talk about our sketch idea, we’d read it, everyone would laugh and talk about what they thought. We’d get some notes, go back and rework it, come back the next Monday and have it right. Eventually we got to where we would come with it on the Monday and film it on the Friday. Everybody got to put on a ‘hat’: so say I wrote one, maybe another guy would direct it, a girl would hold the boom mic. It was basically like a crash course in film making. We learned so much! We did it for a year – a whole season. We were kind of just doing it to learn more: it’s such a part of any craft you’re doing, to learn all the aspects. It was such a great experience and we all love each other. We had a lot of fun doing it.

DB: Do you mostly concentrate just on your acting now or are you still writing?

JCB: Any free time I have, I try to write some. I’m working on something right now – with that same group actually – I don’t want to say much but we’re doing a different kind of ‘thing’ that will be a little more dramatic than Meanwhile. I’m also really into photography – I love taking photographs – and I’m working on something like that right now. Always, always art but acting is my bread and butter with which I pay my bills and live my life.

DB: Knowing how everything works on a show must be invaluable when you’re in front of camera.

JCB: At the end of the day I always look at, whether you do a television show or film, it’s like a large piece of art and there’s like 75 artists contributing to it and everybody’s just doing their job to make this one piece of art look beautiful, so if everybody just works together and trusts each other and does their part, it’s art, and that’s the perspective at the end. If you look at it as a well-oiled machine, just go in there and do your part, and have fun.

DB: If you trust everybody else that makes for a better working atmosphere for you as an actor as well, doesn’t it?

JCB: 100%. It’s like you become a family for these people for a limited time. The first day you get on set as an actor you’ve got to be vulnerable in front of 75 people, you know what I mean? ‘Can you get naked and cry in the corner? We’re just going to film that and everybody’s going to sit around you going ‘action’.’ Right off the gate you’re in that world of being so vulnerable in that world, around these people, every day, you are just as family; and then it’s over and you’re going into a whole another family. And then, eventually, you start to see members of your family and it’s like a reunion, ‘Hey! You’re here!’ And the more you work you see more and more of the same people and that is a great feeling because it really does get a little more exciting: you never know who you’re going to run into. That trust is built already.

DB: In TURN, which you mentioned a while back, you play Falkoff, who’s a Queen’s Ranger. You were in a couple of seasons of that. How did the casting work for that one? Did you do a self-tape?

JCB: People love that show; people who have seen it, love it. It was a great, great fun show. I did [a self-tape] at the beginning. I had already been reading for different parts in that show before and then I finally went for Falkoff. I thought it was just going to be one episode but it ended up being such a great gig that I ended up working seven episodes. Working with Andrew McCarthy (the actor) – I worked with him twice and I was like, ‘I cannot believe I’m working with Andrew McCarthy! It’s so cool!’ And many, many other amazing directors.

That’s shot in Virginia, it’s cold; I got snowed in a few times while I was filming there. Also the wardrobe you’re putting on is incredibly authentic, so you’re in very, very uncomfortable shoes, you’re putting on the button-up things that go on your leg [gaiters] that take literally 15 minutes to put on. You’re just consistently putting on buttons with more layers, upon layers and then you’re putting on the canteen, the gun, and then you get this hat that goes like this, and to top all this off you have a wig – and the wig glue it smells so bad! I will tell you that it is unreal how long it takes you to get into all that. I’m a fast person, so I would be there for 30 minutes getting that on and I would always have to go, ‘Wardrobe, could you help me do this?’ Because there’s so many little bells and whistles that you’re just like, ‘Please help me. I don’t know how this all works.’ It’s such a process to get into all of that. You’re out in the woods and it feels like you are so constricted by so many things but it puts you in that world. It was just a great experience. I ended up working a lot on that and then the last episode, or second last episode, they gave me a nice little send-off.

Jesse (right) with Samuel Roukin

DB: There’s one episode you’re wearing disguise, and you’ve got a leather hat and stuff like that.

JCB: Oh that was so fun! I got the script and went, ‘Yes!’ I think that was the day when we got snowed in. First shot it was beautiful and sunny, and then it was literally snowing for an hour, and we were all just sat, shivering, waiting for the snow to stop and then we’d go back out there, and get back into these fight scenes. But that’s the world, that’s part of the adventure.

DB: It must make you appreciate what it was like for the soldiers in reality when they were wearing all that gear.

JCB: Oh yes 100%. When you are in these cold weather conditions and you’re outside you think, ‘This is what it was like! It’s insane!’

DB: How did you get to grips with your character, because he’s not terribly sympathetic, although, occasionally, there’s a couple of really good side-eye moments.

JCB: You know, I looked at him as a little bit of a sadomasochist for his captain: that everything he does he’s doing it for Simcoe, Sam Roukin’s character (who was so good, such an interesting take on a character). I looked at Falkoff as that he was consistently trying to please him, and also kind of relished in the pain that he inflicted on other people. In a sense, a bit like Boone, he was just loyal to a fault. Anything that Sam’s character was out to do he was following in suit. I try to give a little bit of humour in [weird] moments like that, to have a little bit of (sharp intake of breath), ‘Right… fine…’

DB: TURN has got a fantastic cast: Sam, Jamie Bell…

JCB: Everybody was just so great in that. I remember my first day I went to set I actually had to ride a horse. I think in the audition they asked, ‘Do you ride horses?’ And I was like, ‘Yep, totally ride horses. Best at it!’ Lies! I may have rode a horse once in my life. I grew up with them, I think I said that, ‘I grew up with horses,’ but I didn’t say I rode them. When I got there they said, ‘Listen, we’re going to get you to ride a horse. We’ll come and do a rehearsal on the horse,’ so I did it for maybe for 20 minutes, riding around in a circle with this guy. In my head I was like, ‘You know, I’m just gonna do it. Whatever happens will happen.’ The first day I am on the horse with Sam and Jamie and then I’m suddenly British, doing this dialogue with them and I’m like, ‘Here I am with the two leads of the show, riding up on a horse, my first day, being British.’ I think from there I was just like, ‘Okay we’re doing this so let’s have fun and keep doing it.’ That’s the thing about horses, they can really do stuff that’s scary, but you’ve just got to go, ‘I’m here. I’m doing this. Why worry about it? Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, I can’t control it.’ And you are always surrounded by other people who are professional riders who are dressed up in their outfits and they’re riding along with you, and they really try to focus on them coming in, and then pull back to see you. There was a lot of horseback riding in that. And all sorts of running and jumping over things – and jumping over things in that outfit is its own challenge! I had to keep jumping over this ravine and there was fire (that was the day we were disguised), there were so many little tricks to that day. But that’s the fun of playing make-believe!

It was such a great experience in that show though. Even during the second season I was actually filming Day 5 as well (I’m the lead on that show). I left shooting a scene one day – I think we shot for 12 hours – ran out the door, caught a plane, went straight to set and then filmed another 12 hours there, left to go on the plane to come back and then filmed another 12 hours on Day 5! That was a real ‘sleep-apocalypse’ that day because I was literally bouncing from one set to the next. Adrenaline is a beautiful thing, friend, I tell you what – gives you superpowers if you need to.

DB: It seems like a really big set on screen, it looked like it was enormous. Was it?

JCB: They did such an amazing job with that! I remember the scene where Sam is with the prostitute and there’s this sequence shot where we’re going through a little village, and you get there and you’re like, ‘Holy moly! This is insane!’ The people who do these sets and work on that, ‘God, thank you so much, because this makes it so much easier.’ You’re in that world. That was always the case with TURN, you always felt that you were. We were filming in these little towns in Virginia, all these little places. Then we would travel quite a bit: we would be staying outside Richmond and we would travel two hours to Chesapeake Bay, and you’re in these beautiful places, and that’s where a lot of this stuff was happening.

DB: You were also in another show, which I absolutely love, Banshee.

JCB: Oh my God! That was a good one too. Yeah I did one episode of Banshee and that was such a great, great, edgy and awesome show! That was a really fun day too because I’m pretending to play bass guitar as well. I do know how to be a front man on stage so I try to use up the moments of that. Then, of course, I get killed by my bass guitar – beaten down with it and strangled. That was a fun shoot!

I remember we had to do this scene where I’m talking to Anthony [Starr/Lucas Hood] in this little diner; it’s just me, him and the other guy [Tom Pelphrey/Kurt Bunker] and he was just so intense. I remember, I think I lost my lines for a minute because he was just so fast – and I’ve never really had one of those moments. When I had that moment I was like, ‘Okay, get your head together, get back in this.’ Working with someone who is giving you so much – really just living that character – and I think that was the fourth season, so he just was that guy, it kind of threw me off-guard for a minute but I love that, I love being thrown off-guard, because it gets you back in it.

DB: You mentioned The Walking Dead where you played a wolf. What was it like working on that show and getting killed by Andrew Lincoln?

JCB: It was such an interesting experience because, first of all, everything is so top secret you have no idea what’s going on. I had read for so many roles for that show already but when I got that role it was just a straight offer. My agent called, ‘They’ve got this part. I don’t know his name. Do you want it? It’s on The Walking Dead.’ And I was like, ‘Well who the fuck is he? What’s going on?’ And they said, ‘I don’t know.’ I was like, ‘Yes…. I guess…’ I got there and I remember it was so secretive that when finally Scott Gimple sat me down and he was like, ‘So what do you know?’ I was like, ‘Ah…I think the Wardrobe told me they’re in this town…’ And he was like, ‘Oh she did, did she? I’m going to have a talk with her!’ I was like, ‘Oh God no, I don’t want to get Wardrobe in trouble!’ You don’t have a script, you don’t have anything. He told me a little bit about the character and then we filmed the finale episode. I didn’t know anything else but I assumed ‘he’ was coming back because of the way it ended; and then I came back and did a couple more episodes. That is just a well-oiled machine, it’s a lot of people. By the time I started doing season 6 season 5 had already aired, so I knew it was such a great opportunity. I ended up working with Morgan’s character [Lennie James] mostly – who’s a great, great guy – and then, eventually, I got killed by Andrew. I was like, ‘Oh no!’ I will say, you never saw my body, I just got shot, so I could still be walking around somewhere. Call me back Walking Dead!

DB: You mentioned the fandom because it is enormous!

JCB: Absolutely enormous! And I know so many people are going to all the cons and all that stuff too, it’s like it is its own universe and they’re great, great fans. I’m one of those people who, I’m always trying to be consistently working, doing different stuff, so I love the experience and keep moving forward – and it’s great to have on my resume. It was a huge, huge help in my career, just to have that.

DB: You were in Outsiders and that was filmed in Pittsburgh as well. Did that tie in with the Mindhunter work at all, time-wise?

JCB: I think so. For Mindhunter I auditioned for it for, I think, a year – it was really long time. I remember I did my first tape when I was at a film festival in Idaho and, I think, while I was there I found out that I got Day 5. Then when I was filming Day 5 season 1 I got my second [Mindhunter] audition and they added another 8 pages to it. That was just ongoing and ongoing over time until, finally (and I think I was wondering whether it was actually happening) they were like, ‘They want you to come in to the office and do another read.’ I went in for another read. I think that Laray [Mayfield] (who does the casting) she actually does prefer self-tapes because she wants to weed through and see what she gets. They did just such an incredible job with that casting. When I saw it myself I just thought, ‘Wow! This is just so authentic and good!’ Laray is so talented too. Getting finally into the room you’re like, ‘Don’t screw this up!’

DB: When you were in the room was it just one or two run-throughs, or did she tweak how she wanted you to play it?

JCB: She did tweak. I know she did a version where she wanted it really fast. You’ve got to realise we’ve been doing these auditions over a year and the names are changing and the dialogue changes so you are consistently reframing what you’ve already learned. And then you’re finally going into the room and they’re like, ‘Can you do a fast version?’ (I think they want to see how [actors] can be on their feet, because of the way they filmed that show. When I ended up filming it they had so many different versions that we did of dialogue, I think they wanted to see whether you could handle these quick switches). There was one take that was super-fast and one that was more slowed down.

DB: How did you prep for that role? For who Frank Janderman actually is.

JCB: First of all I [had] spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh which was great (I did work and lots of things there), so that Pittsburghian accent was all around me. Then I just saw Frank as just like so many people that I feel that I already kind of know in life. This ‘nobody-fucking-asked-you’ kind of guy, but also he believes he’s a hotshot. He was accessible to me through so many other people I had met in my life that I know, that I think are really so much about the façade of not showing who they really, truly are – some of that, broken-downness in them.

DB: There’s a long interrogation scene and then a shorter one: how many takes did they do?

JCB: Oh my God! I wish I could tell you! Can I say a million takes? They did that big interrogation scene – we had three cameras running at all times – I think we filmed it for 12 hours the first day (it’s a 9-and-a-half page scene) three cameras, so you’re getting every angle on either side, and you’re doing it over, and over, and over, and over, and over… and just when you’re done, you’re doing it over, and over, and over again. Then I think the next day we went back and did another 6 hours. So it was a really long time of doing which is, I think, what makes it so great. First of all you’re breaking down a lot; you’re coming back; you’re refreshing with new things; you’re constantly finding new things to play with; and also you have so much coverage that when he [David Fincher] chooses what he’s going to put together he really has every colour of the box to paint his picture with.

DB: Then there’s just that small scene where you are walking away looking at the other guys…

JCB: Even those two episodes they really went off the grid, and then go back to it. It was so cool to be a part of that because everybody else was so specific of a serial killer, except for these two brothers. It was such a bold move, I think, just to do that in a series, and it worked!

DB: And that last, snarky look.

JCB: Yeah! (Laughs) I saw a gif of that recently and that’s cool, I’m walking by in a jumpsuit. They actually shot that but they weren’t even sure if they were going to use it, so I was really happy when they did.

DB: Did you work directly with David Fincher himself or solely with Tobias Lindholm?

JCB: I remember I came in and essentially me, Jonathan, Holt and Alex we sat down at the table and read, I think, both episodes, so I met him then, and then he was always on set. But Tobias is who I worked with generally the whole time. I knew so much about David Fincher’s style, I knew what I was getting myself into, and that was exactly how Tobias was doing it as well.

DB: What was it actually like working with Holt, Jonathan and Alex?

JCB: Oh they were all great! Jonathan is just such a really nice person. It’s so nice to come to set and have that. Holt’s been around forever – I remember him from Creepshow 2 where he was the Indian – and me and his character, we don’t exactly click, so that image was great for that. They were all just so friendly and so great. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘These guys are doing this every day, take after take after take after take, and at their little cuts they’re laughing and smiling.’ It was just a really great set to be on.

DB: What’s been your most fun experience behind the scenes of a show or movie?

JCB: On boy, jeez, there are so many! I love travelling, so any time I go anywhere else to work, I’m always happy. I really try to explore any city I go to. Funnest on set, that’s tough. I guess I’ve just done Highwaymen that was really cool, because it’s 1930s Bonnie and Clyde with these Tommy guns and old cars, the style and the sets were just insane, so it was fun working on something like that (although difficult because we’re running through huge fields of mud). All of them; I always have such a good time. Day 5 is always so much fun because we get to go to a lot of desolate places.

DB: What has been your most unpleasant experience filming?

JCB: I’m not going to say what it was, but I did work on one set with this actor who blew up on set, and was literally blowing up over and over and over. I could not believe it, because these people around him were just like, ‘Okay, this is what’s happening,’ almost like it had happened before. That was hard for me because I was new to this place that I was working in. I just couldn’t believe that it was going on. That was a little difficult, but I had to be like, ‘Okay, you know what? This is not my thing. I just have to focus on my stuff and do that.’

DB: What about on Day 5 when there were sandstorms?

JCB: Oh jeez! That was tough! We ended up going on location to East Texas for, I think, two weeks, to film season 2 and we had a huge set. We had built this whole place, that’s called ‘The Oasis’ which is like this huge campsite – I think they spent two weeks building it – it was beautiful, and we were all there to film and then, in one swoop of this wind, it just tore this entire set apart. Then for every scene they just had to rebuild the thing. Also, during that time, you are just constantly being covered in sand! You’re like, ‘Action!’ And you’re talking, doing your thing and it’s ‘Cut!’ And you’re coughing and spitting it out. I remember we’d be eating lunch and there’d be sand blowing in the little tent. It was just crazy. Everybody’s got sunglasses on, wraps around their head and around their mouth, so everybody looks like these Star Wars’ characters running through the desert – you wouldn’t even know who people were. You’d go in your trailer whenever you get a little break, but every time you do, you bring in a little more sand. You can’t escape the sand! You go home and you just wash it off. Then you go to bed for 6 or 7 hours and you get up and you’ve got to do it all over again.

Photo credit: JA Images Janet Adamson

DB: You’ve mentioned Highwaymen already. Can you tell me a little bit more about that one and anything else you’ve got coming up as well?

JCB: I’d love to. Highwaymen, I am playing Ray Hamilton, who was a real-life person, basically a partner-in-crime with Bonnie and Clyde. That was a beautifully, beautifully shot movie which I’m super-excited about – I mean, Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kathy Bates! Then I just did Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase which is with Sophia Lillis, directed by Kat Shea (who did Poison Ivy back in the day and The Rage: Carrie 2). It’s a really, really great female-powered story, great cast, crew, just girl-power all the way on that one, and it’s a really great script and just so much fun to do! That’s coming out March 15 [2019] in theatres. Then I’ve got another movie [Avalanche] that’s coming out in 2020, I perhaps should keep my mouth shut about that for now, but that’s going to be cool. I can say that it’s based off a documentary called Hands on a Hard Body which is based off a true event that happened, and that’s really exciting.

DB: That’s got our boy, Joe Cole, in it hasn’t it?

JCB: It does. I worked alongside him the whole movie. He’s a great guy! He’s very, very funny but he’s playing a much more intense person on this; it’s funny to see the different sides of people when you’re working with them. And of course, Carrie Preston, who is just amazing and really one of the sweetest people I have met in my entire life! She is such a workhorse, and humble, and just really makes you laugh all the time. Both her and Joe are just so talented; I love just watching them work. I am so excited to see that come out.

DB: And 8 Slices as well?

JCB: Oh yeah, 8 Slices! I don’t know when it’s landing in theatres but I know it’s doing the film circuit right now. In that I play this big YouTube personality, who goes undercover at this restaurant which is picked as the top 10 best places to work. It’s about, essentially, where our phones have taken us, social media, about being so in that world and fighting ourselves back out of that. I’m really, really proud of that movie.

DB: Nice to be so busy. Better than waiting tables.

JCB: Yes, yes. Hey, you know what I play in 8 Slices? I’m actually playing a server in the movie, so all that work I had to do, waiting tables, was just to train for that moment. It was research, research! Many, many years of research.

DB: Do you have any advice for anyone considering acting as a profession?

JCB: I would say, just jump. Do it. Get out there, fail, fall down, doubt yourself, enjoy yourself, live it, love the highs, love the lows. If it’s something you really think you want to do, do it. I think people will learn very quickly if it’s something that they really want to do, once they do it. I’m thinking of extras when they come on set… They are so excited, they’re like, ‘Yeah! I’m gonna do this thing!’ And then you see them 5 hours later, they’re like, ‘Ah, are we almost done?’ And you’re like, ‘Welcome! This is the real place here.’ You’ve got to love it because it’s a lot of your time spent just sitting there, sometimes waiting for the next thing, and then you’re jumping into something and you go full force, and then you come out. It’s an endurance thing, so if you want to do it, try it, see if you like it.

DB: You haven’t done much stage work have you?

JCB: I actually grew up doing theatre. It was more small town theatre, stuff like that. I grew up theatre all the way up until I basically moved to Los Angeles. I actually had to study at a film class, where they took two cameras and they had you and another actor, facing each other, and you had to do the scene and they taped you, and had you above the wall, so people could see you. You would go home with the tape and watch yourself. As a theatre-trained actor I was like, ‘Holy crap, I move a lot!’ So I learned how to be very, very still and tell a story without saying stuff. To the point now, I think, if I were to do theatre, I’d probably be, ‘What did he say? Is he talking?’

DB: For you, personally, which do you like working best: TV, film or stage?

JCB: Oh definitely TV/film. I like them both, they’re both such different beasts. Film you get more time with essentially, where with TV sometimes you’re really on that clock. It’s all enjoyable to me and every time I’m working on a different production it’s like, ‘What’s different about this? What’s different about this director? What can I learn from this experience?’ I try not to go into anything expecting it to be anything else – just knowing that it’s always going to be different. Which is fun! That’s part of the adventure.

DB: Do you watch yourself on screen?

JCB: Not really. I’ll go see a movie that I’m in, at the theatre with my family or friends, and I’ll generally try to watch the shows and live Tweet if something’s on (like Day 5 when it was airing) just to connect with people out there and see how they’re feeling it. I’m not against watching myself on the screen.

DB: You don’t sit there inwardly cringing?

JCB: I don’t. I think you do in the beginning of your career, a little bit, but then you think, ‘What’s this doing for me?’ Now I try to watch the actual show, which is hard if you’re in it a lot, because you’re remembering every little thing that’s happened on that day, so it depends how much you’re in it and are retrospectively watching it.

DB: Which directors would you really like an opportunity to work with?

JCB: Gregg Araki, I’ve always been a huge fan of him. I love Ryan Murphy, I’d really like to work with him one day; he does such a great mixture of drama but with this little bit of humour and comedy to it which I just love. Spielberg, I’m ready. I’m ready. Everybody says that one, right? I’ve worked with so many great ones already.

DB: Who are your favourite actors?

JCB: I’m always terrible at this question, I always go blank. I like Julianne Moore a lot; I think she’s really good. I’ve always really liked Ewan McGregor, he’s got such an interesting presence.

DB: Based on your Instagram, if you had to choose ONE of the following which would it be: road trips, frogs, whiskey or forensic files?

JCB: Woah! I would probably say forensic files because I literally watch so much crime television, if I had to choose… You know how people nap? That’s my nap. I sit there and zone out, and I love studying those sorts of cases. I think, if I hadn’t have been an actor, I probably would have gone into that world because, first of all you learn a lot about real people and real life through them, and then there’s always so many little facets that you’re studying and picking up on how these things happen.

And I grew up with that in my head too. I did a play (it was based on a book) which was about John Wayne Gacy and Dahmer, it was called The Last Victim – I did that when I was at college. I played a real life person, Jason Moss (he actually ended up taking his life unfortunately, down the road) he would write letters to Gacy and they would write them back and forth while he was in prison. I think, maybe, that was probably the start of what got me into it, because you go into this researching a part, and you start studying that world and then, one day, you just realise that’s kind of just been there since that time. Also, being an actor, you’re always inspired by how people tick, so that whole world is like, ‘What makes people do these crazy things?’ Nature, nurture, all that kind of stuff, you know.

Maybe road trips though, because I love travelling!

Photo credit: JA Images Janet Adamson

DB: Moving on to music: what was the first single, or album, that you ever bought?

JCB: I remember it was David Bowie, when I was a kid; I think it was the Labyrinth soundtrack actually.

DB: Is there a song, or songs, that take you back to a special time in your life?

JCB: I make constant Spotify playlists. I will open a bottle of wine and make a list over an hour-and-a-half; I curate them; I spend a lot of time on them. For me, to say a special song that does something is so hard because I’m constantly inspired by new songs. But… if I had to say one… I’ve always really liked Nina Simone. If I think back to the time… “Sugar in My Bowl” those kind of songs just make me think, when I really started to listen to a different style of music, and I would sit around and listen to music, with the moon out, drinking a glass of wine.

DB: What sort of music was generally around in your home when you were a kid growing up?

JCB: I actually grew up with bluegrass around at all times. My mum was really young when she had me and my brother, and my grandmother was young when she had her, so I had I really young family raising us in the country and there was a lot of bluegrass, a lot of Hank Williams, a lot of that honky tonk country. Even when I go to visit my grandfather now, he’s always cooking up some New Orleans style Cajun dish and he always has honky tonk, blues, so it’s been a very consistent part of my life.

DB: For you, as a musician, what are your musical influences?

JCB: Definitely The Rolling Stones, Nina Simone but, like I said, I really like ‘90s R&B and hip-hop so I always have a little bit of that flavour in there, even to Dolly Parton. I really always wanted to be very eclectic with my music. Oh and The Smashing Pumpkins! I definitely grew up loving The Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie, Janice Joplin. I really listen to every genre and I can find so much good stuff in all of it. One minute it’s hip hop, the next minute it’s Dolly Parton. I’m open. It’s good music, it’s a good message, story telling, makes you feel, makes you think – that’s what it’s all about.

I was in New Orleans for a while (filming for Avalanche) and I was listening to a lot of zydeco. Right before that I was there for Highwaymen (that was made in New Orleans as well) during Mardi Gras, and that’s an experience to be there for that! It’s amazing! It’s so surreal because it’s just like a month, basically, of this festival/party. And when you’re filming out of the city, to drive is like an hour-and-a-half, so once you’re in, you’ve got to stay.

DB: Do you go to watch live music much?

JCB: I try to but a lot of times… but I did just recently. I have a friend, that I’m meeting up with now, who’s making me go to different things, which I love. I went to see Moe recently which is a fantastic show! I try to but I need to go more often, you know. I saw Bob Dylan live too, back in the day.

DB: Which is the best gig you’ve ever been too?

JCB: Gosh! I went to Lollapalooza back in the day. I remember seeing some of those shows which were pretty crazy; you’re just all in this big festival and live music. Saw Smashing Pumpkins, they were amazing! Huge fan of them.

DB: You post lots of dance and music videos on your Instagram, so I assume you really like dancing. Do you have to be asked or do you just get up and do it?

JCB: Going out dancing and stuff? It’s always part of my… ‘Go shake it out and have a little fun’. We’re always working hard on things, so you’ve got to have a little fun. I definitely like to paint the town a little bit.

DB: What does music mean to you?

JCB: I think freedom, expression you know. Just being able to be free.

Questions we try and ask everyone:

DB: Is there a certain book that you find yourself returning to again and again?

JCB: I love reading too, so I’m always reading books. I’m trying to think of this one that I’ve read several times… Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It’s actually about a serial killer, H. H. Holmes, and about the Chicago World Fair and its designers; it’s a great book paralleling his life in Chicago and also the World Fair. I love that book because it’s truth but still with a little bit of fiction. I read a lot of everything. I think I read something and then I completely forget about it. Catcher in the Rye, I’ve always loved, and I read that every now and again.

DB: Can you tell me about the book you’re currently reading?

JCB: I actually just got one now about screenwriting Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field; I literally just got it last night. That’s what I’m going to dive into next, to learn more of the techniques that I need. And then, before that, I read A Nightmare on Elm Street the making of, it’s called Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy [author: Thommy Hutson] and basically it’s all about the making of Nightmare on Elm Street 1 which is one of my favourite movies of all time.

DB: How would you describe your perfect day?

JCB: I would say probably travelling somewhere for work, as an actor. Getting somewhere, getting into my little apartment where I’m going to be at, getting all my stuff set up, going out, walking about the city, discovering the city that I’m in, getting a cup of coffee, sitting down and taking a look at the script that I know I’m going to be working on. And just know that adventure lies ahead, that it’s going to be completely unexpected, but a thrill! Just experiencing something different and new, that’s so important to me, to be consistently experiencing new things.

DB: What could you not possibly live without?

JCB: Hmm… I’m really a big coffee person. I love my quad espresso over ice with a bubble of coconut milk, so I don’t know if I could go about that. Oh wait, never mind! Take that back, I’m going to say wine, I love wine!

DB: Bravo! I thoroughly approve. Red, white, rosé or doesn’t it matter?

JCB: Red! When I was in Austin there was this great little wine bar that… Every day I would get the script, go to this wine bar, sit outside on the patio. They had these great mussels and all this stuff, and had tons of bottles of red wine. Every time I’d go there I would tell the waitress, ‘Just bring me whatever glass you want to bring me today.’ And I would just try so many red wines. And before that I had always been, ‘Whatever, I’ll just have some wine’, but I got to taste some really, really good glasses, and that really shifted me into a whole new world now where I really love a good glass of red wine.

DB: Do you take a photo on your phone of the bottle labels of the ones you really, really like?

JCB: I do, but you know, I’m the worst, I lose my phone so often and I never back them up. I’m one of those people, I screen shot every day, in a way it’s like me memorising in my head, it’s always there and I always go back thinking, ‘What was I going to do?’ But I haven’t lost this one.

DB: Yet. (Both laugh)

You can find Jesse @




[Update: Since our interview Jesse has appeared on-screen in the movies The Highwaymen, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase and High on the Hog. He has been in the TV show Creepshow and is in the upcoming season of Manhunt: Unabomber]

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Any opinions or views expressed within the interview are the subject’s own and publication does not imply endorsement of any such opinions or views by Absolute Music Chat or its personnel.

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