Interview with Ryan Merriman : Part 2
Chia . Researched by Fair
did you come to land the role of Matt Morrison in "Home of the Giants"?
: I was actually just finishing Final Destination 3, and I was in Vancouver,
and I was going to go home, but my agents told me "No, come to L.A., you've
just got off a movie, go on the momentum
". So I told them "Alright,
I'll come out there. " So, I wasn't even going to go out there, and it was
actually my first audition in L.A., I booked it, and it was great. I went in for
Rusty the first time, then they brought me back to read with Haley, and then I
did a Gym Test, you know, just shooting free throws and layouts and stuff like
that, and that's all she wrote.
there anything in particular about the script or the character that really caught
your interest about the role?
: Well, the things that the character went through. There's comedy, there's
drama, there's intensity, there's the sports aspect, there's the difficulty with
the family, with the father being an alcoholic and the brother being a screw-up.
It was just a great role for any young actor to be in, it was an amazing role,
and it was written really well, you know.
you tell us more, without spoilers, about the character you play, and how you
prepared for it?
Ryan : He's
a hero, but he's not, he doesn't want to be. He lives life by the seat of his
pants, and he really doesn't let too much get to him. He's a lot like me, I'm
an easy going guy, and I also like to have fun, but obviously some of the aspects
of the character weren't like me. [laughs] I had to do 2 to 3 weeks preparing
for the basketball scenes, and you look for physical things that you can practice
to help you get even more into character. That was another great part about it,
the whole basketball aspect, because I got into shape, I started shooting hoops
every day, I started hanging out with the basketball players who went to school
there, and you just kinda get sucked in, you know. And Rusty was great about working
with ideas that we had, and as you get into making the movie, you learn your character
more, and the scene, and all of a sudden you start throwing out ideas, and sometimes
they work, and sometimes they don't. But one of the things that I made sure that
I did was to keep my mind open to Rusty, and he was great about it, and so was
Haley. We did a lot of adlibbing, and honestly it was fun. It was a great experience.
much then, of Matt Morrison would you say was your personal input, as opposed
to what was written about the character by Rusty Gorman?
: Well, I mean, the script was great already. I'd say, maybe 20-30%? The script
was awesome, he's a great writer, and a lot of it was on the page, a lot of it
was already there, but as we got shooting, we got more comfortable, and we started
throwing out ideas.
because Rusty Gorman was both scriptwriter as well as director, and you would
expect him to be possessive about his own script and his characters , but it's
interesting that he allowed you so much room to develop the character on your
own, as opposed to what he originally envisioned the character to be.
: That's what's so great about Rusty, he's a writer, but he's a great director.
I mean, he's an Actor's Director. There are movie directors who focus on shots
and camera angles and crane shots and all that, and there are Actor's Directors
who really work with the actors and make sure that we get the best performance,
which is what I love.
It's the collaboration
with him that's important
Director Rusty Gorman
spoke quite highly of your performance as Matt Morrison. Having worked with so
many directors throughout your career, how did you find him as a director, especially
since this was the first feature film that he was directing?
: Personally, at the age that I am now, and I'm getting a little older, I'm
not actually a young guy, but just how much fun we had working together, I would
say this was probably the most fun I've had working with a director. We were family,
you know. That's why I like doing Independents too, you really focus on the movie,
all the B.S. doesn't get wrapped up in making it.
Gorman said this of you, "It was really fun to just watch him work, I think
he kind of became that character and remained that character on and off the set
the whole time we were down there. Whether we were working or whether we were
out to dinner afterwards or whatever we were up to, I think he really became Matt
Morrison for 7-8 weeks." Were you conscious of the fact that you had become
the character of Matt Morrison and that you were inhabiting the role?
: Yeah, as you get older and as you start taking your acting more seriously,
you try different things, and while I was down there with the basketball, and
hanging out with the other players and working all day, I just tried to stay in
that. I didn't fly my family down, I just stayed in it, and that's what I'm going
to start doing, I think. It's really when I'm working , to really focus on that
character and doing the work, not treating it like a job, like a nine to fiver,
like I go on set, I do my job, I go home. After doing Home of the Giants, I learned
that it was way more fun to stay connected to that role. If you're playing a psycho
killer or a depressed guy, obviously, you wouldn't want to do that, but whenever
you're playing a role like I did in Home of Giants, it sure is a lot more fun
staying in character.
How easy was
it, when shooting finally wrapped, to return to being Ryan Merriman? How long
did the character of Matt Morrison stay with you?
I mean, you know, like I said, in a lot of ways, me and Matt were kinda similar,
so I just go back home, and I got back to my family, hopped on my four wheeler,
went fishing, and I was back being me. It's sad though, you miss that every day,
you miss the camaraderie, and seeing those people every day, but usually it takes
a week to get back into your groove.
filming had wrapped in North Carolina in late 2005, there was more than a six
month break before you returned for completion of principal filming in August
2006. Was it difficult getting back in character after such a long break?
: It was, a little bit, but again, those were all scenes that we were supposed
to do anyway. And as I prepared for the role and for shooting, I already had all
those scenes in my head and knew what I wanted to do. So it was difficult to do,
but we were all excited to do it, we were all excited to get back in there and
Had you done any other project
Ryan : Yeah, I had
done Comanche Moon in between, the Western I did with Val Kilmer, Steven Zahn
and Rachel Griffith. It will be out end of October on CBS, actually.
must have been a completely different role from that in Home of the Giants. How
did you make that transition back from being in a Western to something much more
Ryan : It's just
what I love to do. Some people like to put on a suit and tie and go to work. I
just love to act. For me, it was just fun. I had a beard with long hair, and I
was riding a horse all day. And then I cut my hair, shaved, and I was back in
High School! [laughs]
What can you
tell us about what it was like working with the other two lead actors, Haley and
Danielle, in the film? Do you have any anecdotes that you would like to share?
: Oh yeah. I mean, Haley, he's a Pro, man. We got along really well, which
was kinda weird, because we had never really met before. We just had a great chemistry,
and I think you'll see that when you watch the movie. We just meshed, as best
friends, in the movie .Even now, we don't really talk on the phone, but whenever
we hang out, it's just like we hang out every day, almost, you know what I mean.
He's a good guy, a sweet guy and we're both easy going guys, so we just kinda
get along. You know, we always meet people we become friends with, and that's
kinda how we are, we became friends as soon as we began shooting together. It
was great working with Haley. And Danielle is just so awesome, so natural. She's
a very natural actress, and she's very beautiful and just so sweet. That's what
made the movie so much fun, you know, people
.there's no ego, everybody was
just so into making the movie great, so awesome.
I asked you what will remain with you the most about working on this project,
and with the people involved, what would you say? How rewarding or fulfilling
was the experience for you?
: Working on Home of the Giants was one of the proudest things that I've done,
partly because of Rusty who allowed me to keep my ideas going, and you know, just
the amount of stuff I got to do. Like I said, the character, the role, the different
types of emotions I got to show. It was definitely my most favorite thing that
I've done. From a learning process, I learned to just never be scared to take
chances, and to just work hard, man , because we did, we worked some late hours
[laughs]. That's what separates the people who want to make money, and actors.
The late hours when they say, "Do you mind staying another 2 hours, so that
we can get that shot?" and although you really want to go to bed, you say
"Yes, of course! Give me some food and I'll work!" [laughs]
and Haley Joel Osment seemed to develop a good friendship both on and off the
set, especially with the passion you both share for the sport of golf... just
how intense was the rivalry out on the links?
: [laughs] We're both good, I mean, he's really good. I'm pretty good too.
I'd say if we played 10 times, he'd probably beat me, maybe 5-6 times. He's probably
a little better than me, but I don't know, depends on whether or not I'm playing
good. If I'm playing well
but we don't get too competitive, we just like
to play golf.
And if it's for charity,
it would be even better.
Oh yeah! Oh yeah!
You attended the
May 9th special screening of the film, how well do you think the film was received,
and what was your impression of the finished film?
: Oh man, I was so excited. I can't wait for people to see it. My impression
of actually seeing it with all the people watching it was great. It was a packed
house, people were laughing, people were scared, they were excited, they were
cheering, and I think it's going to do really well, man, I don't see how it can
fail. It's just a great movie. If you see it, you'll know what I mean. It's got
a bit of everything, and whatever you are looking for in a film, you can find
it in there
Do you think audiences
should expect something so much more from "Home of the Giants" than
it being just another sports movie?
: Oh yeah. It's very character driven, and like I said, it's very funny, and
it's got twists and turns that you don't see coming. Yeah, it's not really a sports
movie, I mean, it is, but that's not what it's based on. There's a lot more going
on than just jump shots.
mentioned "Comanche Moon", which will be airing in October on CBS, and
you did another project called "Gravity". Is there anything that you
can tell us about either of them?
: Comanche Moon is a Western with Val Kilmer, Steve Zahn and Rachel Griffiths,
it's the prequel to Lonesome Dove actually, set 20 years before the one you guys
saw with Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. I play young Jake Spoon, young Robert
Urich. As for Gravity, it got cancelled before we even shot the pilot, but it's
still listed on IMDB, so we didn't even do that.
Ryan : Yeah, it's
sad, but, whatever. [laughs]
about "The Hard Ride"?
: Yeah, that's another Western. It's the story of Wild Bill Hickok, and it's
got a really great cast. If we actually get it made this summer, or this fall
hopefully that's a great cast that's hatched. I play the guy who assassinated
Wild Bill, which is a true event, the whole aces and eights and "Dead Man's
Hand", that comes from Wild Bill, because he was shot while playing poker,
and he had aces and eights.
seem to have a well established global following with fans in many countries,
what does it mean to you knowing that your work and the projects you have been
involved are able to cross language and cultural barriers, which allows for that
kind of support and appreciation?
: I think it's amazing. I think it's so cool. I haven't even traveled, I mean,
I've did a movie in New Zealand, and Australia, but that's it. I've never been
to half these places that my fans come from, and I think it's just a blessing,
man, to have such people that support your work, and hopefully, it's also because
of the choices in projects I make, and hopefully I keep picking the right one,
and people will keep enjoying them.
been on your website, and I see that you support quite a number of different charities.
Can you tell me more about some of them, and about how your fans can help you
in the support of these charities?
: Yeah, Infant Crisis
Services, Inc is a local charity here in Oklahoma, and if you actually
go on their website, you can find out more about what they do, they help young
mothers and young children who don't have the means, for things like diapers and
food, and it helps families. And then there's Eagle
Mount up in Bozeman, Montana, and it works with paraplegics and kids with
special needs through using horses, like horse riding. They have a special facility
that helps kids who can't even walk to ride these horses. You see their mood changes
when they get around the horses, and it's really cool. I'm actually going to start
getting into Operation
Smile, which is another charity that I was looking at, who help people
around the world with cleft palates and young kids and stuff like that, who need
that smile. Every kid should be able to smile, but they don't because they feel
insecure, in some ways. So I try to give the most that I can, you know what I
mean? I think people who are fortunate enough to have some money to spare should
always help out. I just spent nine hundred bucks on fireworks for the 4th of July,
and it was great seeing the kids and the families come out and "ooh"
and "aww" . It's nice to make other people happy, I think.
Ryan, you are young, you are an extremely talented actor, and I think the fans
respect you very greatly because family is important to you , you hold on to traditional
values, you have a good marriage, a lovely wife, and you are giving back to the
community as much as the fans are giving you their support and I think if we can
do our small part as fans to help you in your support of those charities, that
would be great. You have our respect, and I wanted you to know that.
: Well, thank you very much! I also want to work more, because obviously the
more I work , the bigger the paychecks I'm going to get, and the more I can chip
Well, we wish
you well in that too!
I appreciate it.
It's great to see
you keep on working and doing those marvelous roles that your fans love you for.
We really look forward to seeing you in Home of the Giants especially.
: I think everybody is going to be really excited to see it. I mean, you say
basketball movie with me and Haley in it, and they think it's going to be
I mean, the movie is just so great, and all the fans all over the world are really
going to be so impressed to see what Rusty is doing as a first time director.
I mean, if he had directed 20 films before this one, I don't think anybody would
be surprised, the film is so great. It is to Rusty's credit, that's how good he
is, but if you were to see the film, you'd never guess that he was a first time
director. And hopefully, you will all see it, in theatres and DVDs every where!