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On the 2nd of July 2007 at 12noon Oklahoma time , the Home of the Giants Tribute Site was extremely honoured to be granted a one on one exclusive interview with actor Ryan Merriman,who plays Matt Morrison in Home of the Giants. Although Ryan was extremely busy with the 4th of July Independence Day celebrations, having just treated his family and the kids in his neighbourhood to a wonderful fireworks display just the night before, Ryan was kind enough to set aside an hour off his extremely tight schedule to talk to us about Home of the Giants . The Home of the Giants Tribute Site is extremely grateful to Ryan Merriman and his mother Nona, his wife, Micol, director Rusty Gorman and SymPics International Inc, for this interview. The transcript of this interview is being released in 2 parts over 2 days starting Thursday 12th July 2007 . This transcript is © 2007 by www.homeofthegiants.com

Exclusive Interview with Ryan Merriman : Part 1

Interviewed by Daniel Chia . Researched by Fair and Daniel Chia

 

Ryan, I believe that you are originally from Choctaw, Oklahoma, and you presently still make Oklahoma your home.

Ryan : Yeah, I still live here. I live in the Midwest City now, but I grew up in Choctaw. It's all around the same area.


Given your extensive acting career, what is it about Oklahoma that keeps you so rooted in the community, as opposed to relocating to a more obvious location like Los Angeles?

Ryan : Well, I think I started of doing it so young, and it kinda just worked for our family. I worked, then I came back, I did school, and then I'd go back to L.A. , get a job, work, then I'd come home, relax , be with my friends, and it just kinda became more of a routine. You know, my whole family is in Oklahoma, my dogs, friends, I'm just used to this lifestyle. But as I'm getting older, me and my wife, we're thinking of moving to L.A., we think It might be a good time to move that way.


Is remaining true to your roots and being close to your family something that you deeply value and cherish?

Ryan : Oh yeah, I think it's great to grow up here in Oklahoma. In fact we want to move back here whenever we have kids and stuff, probably in 4 or 5 years. But I think right now at this stage I kinda have to be out there, grinding it out, trying to work as much as possible. But we definitely want to come back here, because this is where our family is, and our friends, it's great. I love Oklahoma.


As with any actor that starts their career at a young age, any success would not be possible without the love and support of their family.

Ryan : Exactly.


To what extent did your family provide support during the early part of your career, and how has that support evolved now that you are a well established actor?

Ryan : Oh man, everything….without your parents to really help you out, you can't do anything without them, you know. My mom took off work, and she was with me in L.A. and it's hard, because you separate your father and mother, because dad has to do all the work. So I owe a lot to my parents. My mom still takes care of my books, runs my company for me, takes care of my fan mail, and updates my internet stuff.


It's great to have parents who are so supportive of you as an actor.

Ryan : Yeah, I don't know what I'd do if they weren't. [laughs]


Since you began your career at such a young age, I believe you were just eight years old when you got your first start in commercials.

Ryan : I started acting classes when I was 8 or 9, and then at 10 I got into theatre, and then at 11, I got my first professional job, The Mommies.


What was it about those early experiences that made you decide you wanted to pursue acting as a career?

Ryan : You know, just basically, as I got into it, I mean, when I was older. I started doing it when I was young because it was fun, entertaining and all that, but when I turned 18, I did a movie called Spin, and I really got into the acting part of it, you know, characters, and just working on a movie set became really something that I loved to do. And I love working, I mean, when I'm not working, when I'm home for a couple of weeks, I'm ready to get back on set. I love working, it's just something that I love to do now.


One of the big challenges that faces every child actor is making the transition from child actor to adult actor. What was your approach to making that transition, and was it easier or more difficult than you expected?

Ryan : I was actually pretty lucky, because I didn't go through that awkward voice change and all that. I was actually doing a movie called A Ring of Endless Light in Australia, and while I was there, I started working out , and grew about 3 inches, and I just came back home, and over that summer, I changed . I kinda went from that little kid to a teenager, and then to a young adult quite easily. I was really blessed to go through that, especially in this business, because that can be hard on you.


Was there a time at all when you found it difficult to get roles because of the transition?

Ryan : No, I mean, I've always been surrounded by good people to work with, you know, good agents and managers. And there's always roles for that stage of a persons life, you know what I mean? That's actually a pretty big area, they need kids who are going through that change, or that time of their life, so it's actually a good age, if you have the right people promoting you. I've always been lucky enough to work, all through my career. Another plus for me was that I was older but could play about two years younger and in TV and film that is a bonus.


When you look back at the early part of your career, what were some of the lessons learned, or the building blocks used in the foundation of your career, that you still rely on today?

Ryan : Just really listening to your director, knowing where the camera is … the fundamentals you learn when you're young. Then when you get older, it becomes a lot more about acting, and really getting into character, because the roles get more intricate and difficult and have more depth, you know what I mean? And then , you know, just keeping your head on straight, and having fun, and that's what's great, I think , about young actors, because you get that instilled in you very early, that with opportunity comes responsibility, you know what I mean?


You definitely have extensive experience in both television and feature films, did you find any difference at all working on projects made for the small screen as opposed to those made for the big screen? Was there a difference at all?

Ryan : The process of a TV series is definitely different, because you work every day, the script changes daily, and then over the weekend, you get a whole new show. So I would say it's hard shooting a TV series, I would say, harder. Film, on the other hand, gets a little more intense in the fact that sometimes it's 4 to 5 months of playing the same character, and you're working on the same story, whereas TV changes every week. So that's kinda cool, about TV, but I love them both now [laughs], I love acting, I can't complain.


Do you have a preference for either?

Ryan : You know, I've never really been on a TV series for more than a year. I'll have to say film, probably, because a lot of times we just come in, and we have to be a certain character for 2 or 3 months, and you become family with the people you've been working with, then you move on to another character. So I'll have to say film, because it's a lot more versatile. I mean sometimes on TV series, you go on for 4 or 5 years, you get stuck playing the same person.


Going from that, your filmography is really very impressive, because you seem to have done projects of different genre and you've covered many different types of characters. Has this been a conscious decision on your part to explore as wide a variety of roles that you can?

Ryan : Oh yeah, definitely. I think it's important to really spread yourself out and do a lot of different projects. You never really want to play the same guy, and the more you spread yourself out, the more exposure to different audiences you get, because some people don't like certain types of movies…. you know what I mean ? So you kinda spread your fan base out by doing different roles and plus as an actor, you just prepare yourself for the future if you've already done something close to that. That's kinda like a rule, you never really want to do the same guy twice. I've done a couple of horror movies, but they've been in different genres.


Is there a role that you haven't done yet, but you hope to do at some point down the road?

Ryan : Yeah, I want to play a firefighter, I want to play a football player, I want to do a war movie, and a police officer would be kinda cool [laughs]


Wow, there's a whole lot more roles out there that you want to do [laughs]

Ryan : Oh man, I want to do it all! [laughs] Oh and I want to do a role where I can affect an Irish accent [said with an Irish accent] or something, or an English accent.


How about the various film genre, are there any movie types that you always have an interest in seeing? Would you say you are a fan of sports movies in particular, and do you have any favorites?

Ryan : I really like Friday Night Lights, I thought that was a really good movie. I like Hoosiers, Rudy, you know, stuff like that. I'm more of an action guy, I like thrillers and dramas …you know, not too dramatic, but I like suspenseful movies, which is what Home of the Giants has got. It's got a lot of suspense, it's got action, comedy, just a really well-rounded movie….


And it's got sports in the background as well [laughs]

Ryan : Oh yeah [laughs], it was the perfect one for me, I couldn't ask for anything more.


It's interesting, because one project that you were involved in from a few years ago was, "The Luck of the Irish". I believe you played a high school basketball star then as well?

Ryan : I did, yeah! I also did it in Smart House too, I played basketball.


Was there anything from those experiences you brought forward to help you prepare for your role in "Home of the Giants"?

Ryan : Well, I think it's growing up playing sports, you know. I never really played basketball, growing up, I wasn't tall enough, and then I shot up when I was a Senior. But no, Home of the Giants , that kind of basketball was way more intense than anything I had done before, so I actually did a 2 week rehearsal and training with a private coach there in North Carolina and some of the team members running different plays and stuff . It was pretty intense.


You've played the game before, but you really, really had to look good, playing basketball, for this role. Was there a lot of "special effects", to make you look good?

Ryan : No, we didn't have money for special effects. [laughs] That was all me! [laughs]

Discuss this article

In Part 2 of the Interview , Ryan Merriman tells us how he came to land the role of Matt Morrison on Home of the Giants , and what it was like to work with director Rusty Gorman and costars Haley Joel Osment and Danielle Panabaker. He also tells us why this role was so different and so special for him, compared to his previous projects, and gives us a fascinating glimpse at how he managed to stay in character throughout the entire period of principal shooting.

 

 

 

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