April 5, 2016 Interview – Larry Cedar
There are certain actors in cinema and television who seem to have roles in almost everything. Larry Cedar is, without a doubt, one of those actors. Some of the almost two-hundred acting credits to his name include Constantine (2005), Stargate SG-1 (2005), Star Trek: Enterprise (2002), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), and a main role in HBO’s Deadwood (2004-2006). He has also voiced characters in numerous popular video games and animated series. His most recent release is in Director Jennifer Corcoran’s debut film She Sings to the Stars, in which he plays the lead. The movie has been making waves and collecting numerous awards at film festivals across the country. Recently, Larry Cedar talked with CrypticRock.com about his life, past experiences, recent release, and projects to keep an eye on.
CrypticRock.com – Larry, with such a diverse career that spans across all genres of film and television, what drew you into this career and inspired you as an actor?
Larry Cedar – It’s funny that you should ask this, because I just came from visiting my mom and she asked me the very same question. She never understood why I did what I did. When I told her that I wanted to be an actor, she looked at me like I was an alien. So, when she asked what inspired me, I said that some instinct just told me to find a way on stage. Once I did it, I realized that it was just what I was born to do. It just seemed natural to me to be on stage, to become characters, to perform for an audience, to make them laugh or cry, and to just be a communicator.
I started out doing little things and I put it on hold for a long time while I tried to be a lawyer. I got into law school at one point, I was ready to go and someone from the theater department saw me in a one-act play. They asked why I’m going to law school and I said that I had been asking myself that same question for two years now. He told me to audition for the theater department, I did and I got in. My first day, I felt like I was with my people and I had made the right choice.
CrypticRock.com – That’s great, and obviously your instincts were right. All these years later, one of your most memorable roles was playing Leon in Deadwood. The show had so many moving parts and gritty characters. What was it like on the set?
Larry Cedar – I’m doing a play right now and the thing you always want to do is find your character. Once you find your character and you’ve found a way to be that other person, you’re home. Then you just show up and say the lines they need you to say as that character. I’m coming close to finding that character in this current rehearsal process. It’s always a little challenging because you don’t think you will get there. But when you do, you think, “Oh great, I’ve crossed that bridge and now I’m home.” Same thing on Deadwood. Once I found the character, I found who I was and why I belonged in that world; it was like going to Disneyland. Every time I showed up on the set, I just entered this fantasy world and I lived there for however many days I was on the set.
The production values were so strong, you really felt like you were living in the city of Deadwood. The mud, the dirt, the costumes, and everyone just got really into it. It was just astonishing and it left a mark on me and my soul. I will never forget that character and I will never forget that experience because I felt like I traveled through time. That’s a pretty difficult experience to duplicate in regular life and it’s pretty addictive. Leon was certainly someone who is not very much like me, so I got to explore a whole other part of myself and interact with some amazing actors who brought their A game. As actors, we’re all big kids just playing dress up and it’s for the same reason kids do it. You want to disappear into that world.’
CrypticRock.com – It really was such an incredible show; it is awesome to hear that your time on set was so positive.
Larry Cedar – It was a very intense experience and no one wanted to let go of it. I was supposed to be killed off in the first year, but I was given a reprieve by the writers and they decided to kill off my partner instead. The day that I found out that I was going to live, and then subsequently went on for another two years, I felt like I was given a reprieve in my life. I wanted it so bad and I wanted to continue in that world. Needless to say, you’re getting paid and you have a job, which is the fundamental aspect of it, but as actors we get so nuts sometimes that we don’t even think about the work. We just want the fix, the rush, the experience because it’s what we live for. Deadwood was the richest experience in my career.
CrypticRock.com – Considering all of the roles you have had, that certainly says a lot for the show. Speaking of your other roles, many have been within the Sci-Fi and Horror genres, including The Crazies (2010), Would You Rather (2012), Constantine (2005), and even as Creature in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). Would you like to do more work within these genres in the future?
Larry Cedar – Yes! I love to work, although I won’t say that I love any acting job. I do prefer certain things over others, primarily those things that are interesting, a little twisted, or those things that require a commitment from everyone involved, and Horror definitely fits that bill. You are in a whole other world; it’s a frightening universe, its people at their wits end, in danger, and stuff of nightmares. So, yeah, I love Horror. But, I have to be honest with you and say that I don’t like Horror just for the sake of brutality, or torture porn. That doesn’t do it for me. I like to see more backstory and fuller characters. I don’t mind violence and gore, but I want it to either be really funny or genuinely terrifying. That is my preference when it comes to watching it or doing it.
CrypticRock.com – Although your current release, She Sings to the Stars, does not fall within the Horror genre, it definitely meets your requirements for rich characters, commitment, and an interesting story. What else drew you to the role of Lyle, a shady, down-on-his luck magician?
Larry Cedar – I read the script and went, “Oh please, oh my god.” This is this guy on a journey and he’s really a bad person. He finds his way through this passage that’s kind of psychological and it was just great. I like characters that are highly flawed, because most of us are anyway. Finding their way through to enlightenment and clarity in a way that allows them to tolerate themselves in the world, and maybe even be happy. I like to see them start out lost and strange, and Lyle is completely lost. Nothing is keeping him out of jail or the gutter except sheer determination to hang in there. Things go from bad to worse in the film. He loses his money, his car, he can’t get to his job, and it’s only when he hits the bottom that he is forced to look at things differently, thanks to Mabel. She has the patience to hang in there with him while he goes through this.
CrypticRock.com – Your character made a huge transition throughout the film. That seemed to be just one of the themes throughout the film. Are there any others that spoke to you when you first read the script?
Larry Cedar – It is redemption. You hope that in everyone’s life, they can step back and have a little perspective. That they can step back from the madness going on in their brain and actually see what’s really going on. It comes in a strange way, but he’s given a second chance at life. It is a hopeful movie.
CrypticRock.com – It definitely is, and the film has done exceptionally well during its award-winning festival run. The success is very impressive, considering that She Sings to the Stars is Jennifer Corcoran’s first film to write and direct. What was is like working with her?
Larry Cedar – I would follow Jennifer off a cliff. I mean, she really knows what she’s doing. She knows what she wants, she believes in people, and she finds the best in everybody. She inspires her crew and her cast. She brings you along to join her on her vision and journey, and she has a higher purpose. She’s not making a movie to get rich. She made a movie because she had a dream and, as an artist, she feels that dreams are worth pursuing and bringing to life. She’s a true visionary and a pure artist, which is rare these days.
CrypticRock.com – It was clear throughout the film that she had a strong message to convey and did so in a beautiful way. Are there any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
Larry Cedar – Yes, I made my own adaptation of some of the works of George Orwell, it is called Orwellian. It is an hour long one-man stage play, which I did out here in Los Angeles. I’m going to be taking it to New York in the fall, I just found out. There is a short trailer drawn from pieces of the show, which can be seen at www.facebook.com/LarryCedarOrwellian. I go back and forth between theater and film, I love mixing it up. I also had a role in Gus Krieger’s new Horror film The Binding (2016) and I did another film called The Midnighters, which is coming out soon.
CrypticRock.com – CrypticRock had a chance to review The Binding recently and we really enjoyed it. Speaking of Horror, we would love to know what your favorite films are within the genre.
Larry Cedar – I hate having to choose because there have been so many! For traditional reasons, as in the ones that kept me up at night: The Exorcist (1973), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Shining (1980), Alien (1979), and The Thing (1982). For blood and guts: The Fly (1986) and Dawn of the Dead (1978). The remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) made me not want to leave the house for a week and 28 Days Later (2002) temporally made me lose all hope for humanity. But, my all-time favorites will always be Eraserhead (1977) for its visionary, mind-bending, twisted view on the human condition. All hail David Lynch!