Chad Lindberg: And then you feel it. I can always feel… there will be like a hush behind me, you know what I mean? People will be talking and there will be this hush and you feel that people are saying something about you. And especially now, people can get on their phones and they’ll be like “Hey, Chad? Your name is Chad, right?” and I’ll be like “Yeah…you’ve got your phone, right.”
Film Courage: I know this is like a weird, creepy question but are you a people watcher? I don’t mean like…[laughs] I know this can be taken so many ways…but…
Chad Lindberg: I love people! [Laughs]
“Fame is an interesting thing to watch people…how they react to it. It’s almost like some people can chill and be cool and some people lose their bodily functions. It’s fascinating to watch.”
Film Courage: I know this can be taken so many ways but in terms of studying human nature?
Chad Lindberg: Yeah.
Film Courage: Observing people is what I meant…
Chad Lindberg: Yeah. I am an observer. I’m the guy who will be on the wall at the party watching. I’m not the guy who will be like “Hey, everybody!” I watch people. And now it’s tricky when they watch you. So it’s kind of an interesting dichotomy…is that right? Is that the right word, dichotomy? It sounds right. Use it! Go for it.
Film Courage: It sounds right. It sounds really good.
Chad Lindberg: Yes, but it’s interesting when once fame sort of enters the picture, then you have people staring at you. So it makes it interesting.
Film Courage: Right. For the times that maybe you feel you can blend in more (which probably is not often)…like let’s suppose you have a hat on or you just feel you’re in a space where no one is too celebrity focused, maybe in another town or something. What catches your eye about people in terms of character study? Because for me, I’ll see people at the grocery store and [my focus] it will be on the person who may not be that glamorous but they are busy doing their own thing and I’ll be like zeroed on on them.
Chad Lindberg: Totally. The people who have like interesting tics or walks or they have a disability, you know? I’m fascinated by how they operate with life and how they’re interact with people. So I’ll really zero in on that because it’s something. I don’t know. But yeah…people do catch my eye and then I’ll try not to stare because it’s rude to stare but I want to know. And a lot of those things I have brought in to different characters. I’ll see someone doing something and I’ll remember it from years ago and I’ll be like “Okay, that might work for this [role].” Observing is key to acting, you know?
Film Courage: And on the flip side, when the eyes are on you and maybe you’re in more of a public setting, how does that feel? Do you ever feel pressure to be superhuman in some ways?
Chad Lindberg: Yeah…you have to be…well it depends on where it’s at. If you’re at an event where people are there to see you, you know you’re on, you’re present and it’s a beautiful thing. And then sometimes I will have my hat on somewhere and I’m completely not even thinking about it and someone will recognize you or it just catches you off guard, you know? And then you’re like “Wait, I am in the public eye?” I have to remind myself because I’ll forget. Say like here in LA where it is kind of our safe zone as actors in a way. But still I’ll be at the Ralph’s and Ralph’s is a local grocery mart in Los Angeles. We love it here. But I’ll be there not thinking of it and someone will say “Oh…wait…you’re…right?” Because when you go out of Los Angeles that is when people get really, really excited because they don’t see celebrities all the time. In LA we see everybody, you know? And we’re sort of like Okay? This is where ‘they’ live. And we respect that.
But when you go outside of LA, that is when people get really pumped. Not to say that they don’t here but it’s just a different thing.
Film Courage: Right…just because today we’re in this new age of camera phones and people get in fights on subways, and instead of calling the police, they just take their phone out. Do you feel any pressure that even if you’re just at Ralph’s and you’re just looking at the Rockstar [energy drinks] or whatever and then you feel someone’s presence, do you feel a little more self-conscious?
Chad Lindberg: Absolutely. It does make you feel self-conscious when someone is sitting there kind of…and I always feel it whenever I go into some place now because of being recognizable I will sort of case the place before…I’ll go in somewhere and be like “Okay, this person will probably recognize me.” And then you feel it. I can always feel… there will be like a hush behind me, you know what I mean? People will be talking and you feel this hush and you know that they are saying something about you. And especially now, people can get on their phones and they’ll be like “Hey, Chad? Your name is Chad, right?” and I’ll be like “Yeah…you’ve got your phone, right.” Back in the day it was like “Hey, Jesse! Hey, Ash!” and I still get that a lot. But now with the phones people can just go in and type your name right away and figure out who you are. On the flip side, I think these [holds up his camera phone] are weapons to. We do have to be careful in these times because I have had plenty of people all of the sudden [holds his phone right up as if in another’s face] just do this to me and I’m like “Do you want a photo?” [and they’ll say] “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” [And Chad responds] “Well how about you get in the picture and how about I take the photo and we’ll both be in it?”
Fame is an interesting thing to watch people’s…how they react to it. It’s almost like some people can chill and be cool and some people lose their bodily functions. It’s fascinating to watch. And then some people will have a conversation about you and they will be just as close as we are. And they will be talking as if you don’t exist. Like you’re an object. It’s fascinating. It’s fascinating. And I really try…I don’t take it personally, you know what I mean? I understand that is the inner workings of fame and how it works and celebrity. But a lot of times it can be invasive sometimes, you know? When people follow you into a restroom, you know these things happen. 98 percent of the time it’s love and I feel really, really fortunate to have been in projects that people know and recognize me and people are recognizing your work and that’s great.
Film Courage: I know I’ve heard Marc Maron talk about how he could feel the room when he went up on stage and tell what would be a crowd that he could play to [as a comic] and they would love and then vice versa. And I think I’ve heard Nikki Sixx say the same thing, he’s very sensitive to the energy around him. So when you feel that the energy isn’t totally friendly, do you leave?
Chad Lindberg: I leave. I leave. I’ve been in plenty of situations where people have wanted to fight me because I’m famous. Because maybe there were people in the room or a female that got excited and wanted a photo. And I’ve had several people over the years want to come out and hurt me and I just (very cooly) be like “It’s not me that you’re upset with here. It’s whatever you’ve got going on. And it’s cool and I’ll leave.” I’m not going to stick around if someone wants to challenge me. Because “Hey Hollywood” I don’t put up with it, so…but you know it happens. I always say fame is a double-edge sword.
Film Courage: Right…and I just have one last question and we’ll move on because I feel like I’m grilling you.
Chad Lindberg: No. It’s alright.
Film Courage: When you felt that this [being recognizable] change in your life because I’m sure in the beginning you could go places and people didn’t have their agendas whether it was where they were in love with you or jealous of you, whatever it was. But when you felt it shift, how was that for you?
Chad Lindberg: I remember the moment that shifted and it was the day after The Fast and The Furious came out. We…my family and I had gone to see it in a town near Seattle. And we went into the theater, we watched it and then we came out and I got mauled by people. It was insane. And I was like “Whoa!” Because I didn’t expect that movie…my Mom asked me if we wanted to have a film premiere for The Fast and The Furious back home and I said…I go “Mom no one is ever going to see this film” because I was ignorant, I was very young and I didn’t understand…again we go back to being young and sort of having these big hits. You don’t realize what you have. And that movie taught me that you never, never know. And I was so lucky to be a part of this huge phenomenon. And to this day people recognize Jesse left and right, so I’m really fortunate. And after I got mauled I went to another place and got mauled again and then it just kept happening and I remember at night…it freaked me out so much and I was kind like…I was crying…I was really upset and my Mom was there and I’m like “Things have changed. Things have definitely changed.” And it was a tearful joy but also scary because it’s like “Whoa…” You feel the shift. And it hasn’t been the same since and I’ve learned to adjust and again I’m very thankful for it, but it is an interesting position to be in.
Film Courage: I think a lot of people don’t think about that. Because we’re in such an era of people wanting to be famous whether it’s on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, whatever but then there is this double-edge sword. But then you know the Chad that was the little boy in the second grade and you know a different Chad then the way the world projects [fame onto you]. So it’s got to be an interesting thing because you know yourself as Chad the human and other people see you as Chad the actor or as superhuman.
Chad Lindberg: They do…a lot of people see the perception, what they want to think of you. It’s not who I am, just what they see and what they sort of want to put in their little box of what you are. And we do that I think with a lot of celebrities. We just truly don’t know. My favorite is when somebody says “So and so is an A-hole!” I go “Really? Have you ever met this person?” I’m talking about celebrity. This celebrity that is an A-hole. “Really have you ever met them?” [and they respond] “No.” [and Chad responds] Then you can never say that about this person. You can’t! Because somebody out there is saying that Chad Lindberg is an A-hole because I looked at them a certain way or I didn’t hear them. Am I an A-hole? No! So it’s interesting when people say that. I just think unless you know somebody in this business, you don’t know them.
Film Courage: Sure. Well I know Mickey Rourke was interviewed and he said that LA was a town built on envy. And I think that is true in many ways and so I think sometimes that a lot of it comes from that because we wish we were in their [a celebrity] shoes. But anyway…thank you!
Chad Lindberg: Sure. Thank you! And I love hearing those stories from guys that have been around doing this for years. I’ve been doing this a long time but he’s been doing this a long time, too. It’s interesting to hear similar stories.
Film Courage: Yeah. It was a Piers Morgan interview with Mickey Rourke. And it was excellent. I highly recommend it. Okay. Cool. So we’ll move on from here.
Chad Lindberg: Awesome.
Question for the viewers: Who is the nicest celebrity you’ve met in person?
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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From The Film Fund – Get up to $10,000 to make your short film by writing one sentence.
The Film Fund is providing funding up to $10,000 for a short film in a way that’s a lot simpler than screenwriting contests, crowdfunding, or applying to grants – read more about Founder and CEO Thomas Verdi’s The Film Fund here via his website.
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