Film Courage: What is the biggest audition you’ve ever had?
Chad Lindberg: Wow…the biggest audition I’ve ever had? Good question…I would say the OCTOBER SKY audition I had was the biggest. You went from the casting director, then the director, and then I got the screen test which is interesting because they put you up in the clothes and the outfits and they actually film you doing this scene. You’ve got two other actors who are hoping to get the same part. And they come up and they dress them up identical to you and you get really, really close. And I ended up getting the movie and it worked. And then you think about the other two guys who showed up on set and went through the whole rigmarole and you’ve got to sign paperwork and everything and it doesn’t happen. So you definitely feel the stakes are pretty high.
And then an interesting audition story that I tell a lot is…and again this is something I learned from, when The Fast and The Furious audition came my way…again where I was at that time in my life I didn’t realize what I had. I was off in my sort of thinking about what I thought about the business. I got the audition and it was called REDLINE actually at the time and I remember passing on the audition. Why? Because I just did not want to…I had in my mind I just wanted to do something completely different with my life at the time and maybe 23-years-old and [smiles to himself as he looks up]. So I got the audition. I passed. I got the audition twice. I passed. Right? My agent at the time calls me up and says “What are you doing? Do you really want to pass on this?” and I said “Yeah!” I mean I was just being a little punk. She’s like “Fine!” and hung up the phone on me. And I’m like “Yeah…I’m making these decisions!” [Laughs].
Another agent from the same agency calls me up and said “Chad….you know…come on… Go in [to read again for the role]…just go in.” And I was like “Okay! I’ll go in.” I was being a brat. I was being a brat! And I went in and auditioned and I met with the director, Rob Cohen and he’s friendly and so nice. And the casting director who I love and so I auditioned and they loved what I did and then they called me back to read with a couple of the other actors. And then you start to play it in your mind. You’re like “Oh…you like me! Okay…Yeah…I’ll go back in. Yeah, sure.” So I go in and I read with…I think it was Matt Schulze at the time and Johnny Tran I believe. And they were trying to fit the guys. They already had Paul [Walker] and Vin [Diesel]. And I ended up booking this movie. I ended up booking this movie, I got the part and I’m like “Wow! This is really cool. And we’re going to do all these cars” and then I got on set and it became this crazy thing and everyone was like “It’s going to be huge. It’s going to be this big movie.” And I’m just like “No…I just don’t think so guys.” I was just so locked into this brain of mine. And then, low and behold it became this huge phenomenon. It changed my life instantly. And it taught me (again) that you never, never, never know. Don’t turn down an audition. Don’t be silly. And I was really silly. And I tell this story and I am soooo appreciative that I went in and that I was given that opportunity and it changed my life forever. Forever! So I learned a valuable lesson then, you know. Just keep your mind open. Appreciate what you have. If it comes when you’re 19. If it comes when you’re 40. So…
Film Courage: What were you hoping for at 23? What type of role would you have thought was more….I mean I realize a lot of actors [don’t know what the film will do] and then they see later. But what were you hoping for?
Chad Lindberg: I guess at that time I wanted to do something edgy and hardcore…
Film Courage: Like a David Lynch film?
Chad Lindberg: Yeah! [Thinks for a moment] You know, maybe it was again the computer geek [role], like Computer Geek Jesse and it was in my mind I was sort of like pushing away those characters. Because I just kept getting computer guy…computer this…computer that and it drove me crazy! So maybe that also played a part in that and I was sort of pushing that away. And [I’m like] No! I’m not that guy and I want to do something crazy and swear and be a crazy, weird guy. And again, when it’s your part, it’s a very personal thing and it will find you. It will find you. And I’m so lucky that it did because that movie has now become [looks up in wonder]…they are working on [Fast and Furious] number eight. And it’s like people recognize me from it every day and they tell me how much that movie means to them. How many times they have seen it. And so I’m like….[exhales] and I’ve been very lucky. Yeah…you just never know.
Film Courage: Did you ever drive your own white [Volkswagen] Jetta?
Chad Lindberg: [Laughs] No…and they barely let us drive in the movie, too. Because you just don’t give actors cars on set. We got to drive a little bit and then they would put us in picture cars, which was great. And the scene where I am racing Johnny Tran they had tied up my car. It was a picture car. They tied it up to a semi [truck] and they hauled me at like 70-80 miles per hour and then they put another car racing next to me for my eye line. So when I’m driving like this, you are actually racing someone for real. They are obviously in control and the cameras are on the bed of the truck. But yeah…looking back, it was so cool. I want to do something like that now and have the greater appreciation and the majestical scope I have now about this business. I think that would be a huge thrill to kind of go back and do something like that, but then again you just never know. The movies that you think are going to be huge…no, not so much. The movies that you think “Oh…I don’t know?” turn out to be phenomenal. So yeah…
Film Courage: Well that’s the beauty of being 23, you don’t sometimes realize what is being given to you.
Chad Lindberg: Yeah…there’s a beauty to that, too. I had no idea and that taught me a lot.
Film Courage: Going back to OCTOBER SKY, where were you in your life when you had that audition? What was your mindset?
Chad Lindberg: I was barely 21 years old. I had turned 21 and was in sort of the same mindset. I remember being on set and thinking “I don’t know?” I love this interview because it makes me reflect and it makes me go back and re-appreciate the things that I’ve gone through and been through and that have worked out. It’s scary to think “What if it didn’t work out? Where would I be? What would I be doing?”
So I was a fresh 21. Now I am on set with all of these picture cars. It was in this time period and we’re telling this story about Homer Hickam and THE ROCKET BOYS and Jake Gyllenhaal was 16 at that time. He still had to do school on the set. And William Lee Scott and I were the two oldest and the only thing to do in Tennessee was the 24-hour Walmart.
Film Courage: Oh. Nice!
Chad Lindberg: [Laughs] And that is how we kept ourselves busy. And I remember the studios sending us Playstations when we got this part. And we’re like these kids and we’re like “You’re sending us these Playstations?” All of the sudden you are just being thrown all of these opportunities. And again when you’re young and you don’t realize it. But that was one of the greatest times ever. One of the most pure….when you’re that age you’re not really thinking about all the adult stuff that has to come into play. You know that we worry about much later on. We were just free and had fun. And they just did a Rocket Boys Festival that I attended not to long ago for its anniversary…was it 15 years ago? No wait! That was THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. Probably longer. I don’t know. All of these anniversaries just remind me of how much I’ve been in this industry. But yeah. It’s cool to see where all of these projects go and what they become.
Question for the Viewers: Which movie do you wish you could audition for? What role?
Chad Lindberg was born on November 1, 1976 in Mount Vernon, Washington, USA as Chad Tyler Lindberg. He is known for his work on The Fast and the Furious (2001), Supernatural (2005) and October Sky (1999).
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The project is open for submissions until February 21st, 2017 at 4:00 PM PST. There are $40,000 in total cash awards available that will be assigned to the top eight videos chosen by T-Mobile. In addition to the cash awards, all winning videos will also be featured on T-Mobile’s social and web platforms or as a part of a compilation celebrating adventurous moments from around the world.
THE WEEKEND SAILOR is a new feature documentary about the unexpected victory of the Mexican yacht Sayula II in the first crewed sailing race around the world in 1974. The most demanding sailing quest in history.
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The project is open for submissions until February 23rd, 2017 at 4:00PM PST. There are $25,000 in cash awards available to the top 10 videos that will be chosen by Nickelodeon.