December 13, 2018 Interview – Garrett Clayton
An actor is as good as their ability to adapt to different situations. Acting professionally since he was 13 years of age, Garrett Clayton has willingly challenged himself in various roles, and has excelled at adapting to characters in a range of genres. From Comedy to Drama, to Horror and Musicals, Clayton has done it all, loving every minute of it.
Famously known for such roles as Tanner in the 2013 Disney Channel movie Teen Beach Movie, his reoccurring role in The Fosters, and in the 2016 feature King Cobra, most recently, he took on a role alongside Nicolas Cage in the Supernatural Thriller Between Worlds. Set for release On Demand December 18th, and in theaters on December 21st, Clayton recently took the time to chat about his experience on the set of Between Worlds, his vast experience in film/television/theater, future projects, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – Involved in acting professionally for some time now, starring in a list of features, as well as television series, first, tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career in acting?
Garrett Clayton – I’ve always enjoyed doing this. I probably started working since I was around 13 of my own volition. I always thought if I keep having fun doing the job, and the day I don’t, I will just do something else.
Cryptic Rock – You have done a lot over the past decade. Working in both television and features, playing various roles, what do you take away from these vast experiences?
Garrett Clayton – Of all these different experiences I’ve had, places I have been, a while to travel, and the people I’ve had a chance to get to know, I would say it is to appreciate the value of different lifestyles. That’s my greatest takeaway and understanding there is not one correct way to live. There are many different ways and we can all be happy in those differences. I think the more we embrace those differences in each other the better life can be.
Cryptic Rock – Agreed. Of the different projects you have been involved in, you also have worked in various genres. You have done your share of Horror films in recent years. Is that a genre you enjoy working in?
Garrett Clayton – I do think it’s a lot of fun. I’ve always wanted to do a real, true Slasher movie. I think that’s the one thing I haven’t had a chance to check out yet and I think it would be really fun. I’ve had a great time when I got to do things like Don’t Hang Up (2016). That was really fun, really intense, and we did block shooting for that whole movie. For how intense it got, and how emotional the piece felt in the four acts, I think the third one was the most emotional. Having to live through that for a couple of weeks, crying 14 hours a day, reminds you how important technique is in being an actor.
I think the Horror movie genre really offers that in a 360-degree spectrum of getting to play a lot of humor, drama, and extreme circumstances thrown at you. Having to find a way to make them feel real I think is the fun of the genre I appreciate the most.
Cryptic Rock – You can use your imagination a lot within the Horror genre. Your latest film, Between Worlds, is not really a traditional Horror film, but more of a Supernatural Thriller. How did you become involved with this project?
Garrett Clayton – My agency sent over the script and said the director was interested in speaking with you about the character and if this might be a good fit for your next project. I read it, it was really fun, I knew Nic Cage was involved, and who doesn’t want to do a Nic Cage movie? All my friends are the most excited I am in a Nicolas Cage movie. (Laughs) I think those things, plus the story was so unique, and I loved Maria Pulera’s intensity. It was a really fun, easy fit for us. I think Maria and I clicked really well. I was excited about the project and luckily it worked out!
Cryptic Rock – It is an interesting story. Without giving away too much, when you read the script what was your initial reaction?
Garrett Clayton – Interestingly enough, I think I was more comfortable of doing the movie, choking, and spirits leaving the body. I think I was more comfortable knowing it was a female director. I liked how it was respected in the script that Maria had written and it was a female director directing a woman who had to be choked, so she knew she was in safe hands.
I think it would be a little more precarious if it was a male director, and I don’t think that would have sat right with me. I was thankfully Maria was the one to take the helm. Maria is so intense and fun. She is ready to be gritty, dirty, and basically do the work. She really loves what she does and you can see the passion she has for it. It was very exciting.
Cryptic Rock – You can see that passion come through. The cast did well. A relatively small cast of characters, what was it like working with everyone involved?
Garrett Clayton – The times I was on set it was really fun and easy. Everyone was pretty professional and when it was time to work nobody was messing around, I appreciated that. It was a super fun, easy job for me. I didn’t have the emotional weight load that Penelope Mitchell, Franka Potente, and Nic had. For me, it was a really fun job in that I got to ride crotch-rockets, play a drug dealer, and play a completely different character out of my wheel house from the norm.
Cryptic Rock – You also get a good amount of screen-time toward the end of the film when everything comes to a boil.
Garrett Clayton – It was interesting. I didn’t realize until we were wrapping up and I was driving back with the costume designer Bonnie. She off the cuff mentioned that Maria wanted to make sure that you wore a few bright colors to make sure the audience was aware of you taking over the plot for the ending. I thought that was really sweet and I loved how thought-through that was. I think if I understand it correctly, she was directing from the point that the plot line was passed off from character to character, and she wanted you to get that feeling when watching it.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting. You mentioned being in a film with Nicolas Cage was exciting. A very seasoned actor, what was it like working with him when you were on set with him?
Garrett Clayton – When we were on set together it was great. He was super professional, really fun, and easy to work with. I liked how logical he was in his approach to the plot. If something didn’t make sense in the plot, he would flat on say this doesn’t make sense, to make sure we work it out before we film it. I liked that. He didn’t shy away from having questions and that is always something I really respect.
Cryptic Rock – That is a good thing, because he certainly has a lot of experience. The film will be released in theaters on December 21st, have you heard any early reactions yet?
Garrett Clayton – Not yet, but I am excited to hear what people think.
Cryptic Rock – It should be fun to see people’s reactions. Beyond Between Worlds, you have other things you are working on. What can you tell us about your other projects?
Garrett Clayton – I just did Reach, which is a teenage drama. It opens up on my character Steven who plans to commit suicide the first day of school. It deals a lot with mental health, bullying, depression, and that was an important thing for me. I have another movie called Peel with Emile Hirsch, which we are doing a bit with next year.
Outside of film, I just wrapped up Stranger Things the musical, but we go back in January for our extension for a month at the Rockwell in LA. This month I am in Nashville doing Peter Pan. It’s a lot of fun, great work.
Cryptic Rock – It sounds as if you have a good collection of things going on. Beyond films, you have had reoccurring roles in such series as The Fosters. What is it like to be able to take a character further into development beyond a 90 to 120 minute film?
Garrett Clayton – I think character development is always great. It’s wonderful to see how people grow, what they turn into, and the reasons why they do what they do. You can have a villain who is justified through their story and plot line. They may not think of themselves as a villain at all, in fact, they can be justified. There is so many different angles for approaching a character. I think the development of TV and playing characters over long periods of time is always the dream.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, and television has become such a strong medium over the past decade. There are so many great series out there. Last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, what are some of your favorites?
Garrett Clayton – I was a big Horror fan growing up. A Nightmare on Elm Street was probably my favorite series of Horror movies. With Halloween, Dr. Loomis is one of my favorite characters in the world. I think Final Girls (2015) was really fun as a recent one, it reminded me of Pleasantville (1998), and I’ve always been a fan of that movie. Right now, getting to Stranger Things, feels like an ’80s Sci-Fi/Horror movie. I have always appreciated the genre. Horror movies are the fun part.