When An Actor Has To Develop A Character Fast by Sheldon A. Smith
Film Courage: I want to go back….you got the script to Rock in a Hard Place (Editor’s Note: the set where this interview is taking place), you came on set,
James Cullen Bressack: …… He saved our a$s is what happened!
Sheldon A. Smith:…..The director, James! Great working with you.
James: He literally got the script like two minutes before… I gotta get back to work…He got the script two minutes before coming on set. We had to cast him last minute because somebody fell out and he ‘killed it!’ He did a great job. He saved us.
Sheldon: Thank you. I was rehearsing as I was getting dressed with Patrick. I was rehearsing with the lead actor (Patrick Muldoon) as I was getting dressed and he was like ‘Man, you already know the dialogue?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, I’m trying to pick it up’ as I get dressed and go to make-up…I was crazy. They literally just through me in there and the next thing I know, I’m doing a scene. That’s every actor’s dream.
Film Courage: And you said it had been six months since you’d been in Straight Outta Compton?
Sheldon: Well….no. I shot Straight Outta Compton in August 2014, so a year.
Film Courage: A year? And you hadn’t booked anything since?
Sheldon: I hadn’t booked anything.
Film Courage: And this (role) came about just like that and it was like this is your moment. So when you were taking a Lyft over from wherever you were staying, what was going through your head? Were you nervous?
Sheldon: No. I wasn’t nervous. At first I was thinking like, alright this pilot probably isn’t anything if someone is going to just drop out and not show up. But I’m going to go because I’m an actor and I love acting and they’re paying me….so I’m going to go. And when I got to the set, I was like ‘Oh, this is the real deal!’ (Laughs) Then I got the jitters and the butterflies but then I thought about my coach, Bobby Chance and you guys have probably seen her work, you probably know Bobby Chance. She always tells me just to be a Barracuda, what ever it is, just pick it up and play. Have fun. Don’t let the dialogue or anything distract you. Just have fun. That’s what I did. I thought D Major was a fun character and I was like ‘Oh, this a dream come true.‘ It’s been a great experience these past few days.
Film Courage: That’s interesting….be a Barracuda. What is that exactly? You said just have fun but is there also an aggressive side to it where you need to just attack things and go after what you want?
Sheldon: Yeah… you’ve got to just attack it. You’ve got to put your teeth into it, get a nice grip, and hold on tight. And that is just exactly what I did with this role. I put my teeth into it and held on tight.
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