September 29, 2022 Interview – Matthew Lawrence
Active in entertainment since a young child, Matthew Lawrence is a name everyone is familiar with. From early roles such as in 1987’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles, 1990’s Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, or 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, to a main role in hit sitcoms such as Boy Meets World, Lawrence has certainly left a lasting impression.
Most recently working in a balance of television and film, plus competing on Worst Cooks in America, Lawrence is finding new and exciting ways to satisfy his creativity. An actor, producer, and musician, the talented Lawrence recently took the time to chat about his career, staying humble, his latest starring role in the Action-Comedy Double Threat, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – Starting in film/television at a young age, you have since sustained a long career. Keeping balanced work between television and feature films, how would you describe your career to this point?
Matthew Lawrence – I think the way I can describe it is I love it. I truly love it, all aspects of it, and I feel blessed to get to do it. It’s not always easy though. People always ask when they get to L.A., “What should I do to get into this?” I tell them, “First thing you need to do is get rid of the idea that you are trying to do it to be famous. If you want the attention… you’re in for a world of hurt.” It’s not as easy as it looks. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to work. That’s the thing for me, I do love it; I love it if I get to act or not, or if I get to be in the business behind or in front of the camera. I will be there until the day I die; that is just how I feel about it.
I hope I’ve been able to make people laugh, or sometimes, at least feel the heart. I know in my life I have also been a huge fan of entertainment. I can honestly say it saved my life at times. There have been moments where nothing else could get me out of where I was mentally or physically, except putting on a good movie. It’s that dream state experience that I just love.
Cryptic Rock – Well you have found success with that level headed outlook. Anything artistic, you have to do it for the right reasons. You cannot do it for the money or fame, it is about the passion.
Matthew Lawrence – Yes. It also sets you up for failure because fame comes and goes. For the people who attach fame to their own self-worth… you can see what happens. I’ve honestly lost fellow co-workers I came up with, or even some friends, that really attached the fame to who they were. When it left for a moment, they felt like they were worthless; that is just so sad and tragic. Those are byproducts, and to be honest, they are rough. I always try to explain that losing your anonymity is not really that great. After a time, it will really weigh you down and wear on you. Sometimes at points in your career you are treated differently; you can’t go to a supermarket and you have to worry about what you are doing at all times because you’re a role model. These things take responsibility and can take a toll. I always try to explain that these are the side effects that you have to deal with if you love doing this. It’s not something you should ever attach to your personal self-worth… that’s a really bad idea.
Cryptic Rock – That is a very good, grounded outlook. You said you enjoy making people laugh, and you have done a good amount of Comedy in the past. You have also done other genres such as Horror, Action, and Dramas. Do you have a favorite genre to work in?
Matthew Lawrence – They are just really different experiences. The reason I love Comedy is because, well, you get to just laugh all day. You’re constantly having a really good time, because if you are, that comes right through the lens. If you are not having a very good time on a Comedy, I don’t think that movie is going to be very funny. When you are working on a good Comedy there are just constant laughs on the set and there are constant new jokes thrown out and there is nothing better than that.
There is also the other side that makes you feel really fulfilled as an artist for digging down deep and pulling out emotions and things that are tough for you; it’s almost like a sacrifice for your art. That is very fulfilling as an artist, but it can take its toll on you because you’re constantly trying to go as deep into yourself as you possibly can to pull out these things. Artistically the work experience is much different and darker outside Comedy and it definitely affects you a lot more. If I’m in the mood to just have fun, there’s nothing like a good Comedy.
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. When you were coming of age in your late teens and early twenties you had a really good run with Boy Meets World. What was that experience like?
Matthew Lawrence – It was an amazing time. I was very fortunate to be able to join that show. They were already a tight knit family and then they brought this new guy on. It was very similar to a school; you go into a class and kids have been together since kindergarten and you are new. There was an acceptance phase there. I feel like I had to prove myself with my work and my own personal ethic. The first couple of weeks there were some bumps in the road. I will never forget I was just thrown into the fire. There is a certain pace and cadence to Boy Meets World, and although I worked on a lot of sitcoms, I was not familiar with it.
I had never been a part of a show quite like Boy Meets World; I had to learn it and learn it fast. That was tough, but once I got there and once, they realized I was there to be the best person I could be, I was fully accepted. Those next three years were just magical! When you are part of something like that it’s just magic and it could be once in a lifetime. It can’t be re-created. It’s a series of hundreds of people coming together with all their life stories and if it all works that well, it’s a rare thing. It was a magical time and I still think about how lucky I was.
I will never forget the drive to work when working on Boy Meets World, it was always filled with excitement. I was just so happy to get to go to work, get to be on set with these people, with this product, and the character I got to play. It was just awesome!
Cryptic Rock – It sounds like it was a fantastic experience. Which leads us to the present day where you still remain very active. You have this new film out now called Double Threat. A fun film, it has a good balance of comedy and action. So how did it come about for you?
Matthew Lawrence – It was in the middle of the pandemic and I had been in my house for probably six months. I wasn’t paying close attention to the phone all that much and I guess I missed a couple of phone calls. They then sent me a couple of emails and this offer came through where they asked me, “Do you want to go do something?” I immediately said, “Yes, are you kidding!” (Laughs) They just flat out took a shot in the dark and offered me the role. I read the script and I immediately thought it was a blast – I get to be this fish out of water, self-deprecating guy where there is comedy and action, I’m done, sign me on!
Cryptic Rock – Yes, and it is really a lot of fun. The style of films changes as times change, but this film almost feels like a throwback to mid ’90s style. Would you agree?
Matthew Lawrence – Absolutely! It even felt that way with the read; it had a total throwback feel to it. That was another thing I liked about it, because those were the movies I always enjoyed. There is a nostalgic feel to it for sure with Double Threat.
Cryptic Rock – Right, and that includes the soundtrack as well. Most of the film is you and Danielle C. Ryan together. What was it like working with Danielle? You two seem to have really good on-screen chemistry.
Matthew Lawrence – It was fun and we had a blast. Again, we were kind of forced together on this movie. Because of the pandemic you could only communicate with the people you were onset with a lot; otherwise, you were twenty feet apart, in masks, and everyone didn’t know what the heck was going on. It was cool, you never know though… sometimes you have chemistry and sometimes you don’t. We fortunately had chemistry and we were able to run with that.
Cryptic Rock – That is great. The movie is also constantly moving. It seems a lot of modern films drag at times, this film does not at all.
Matthew Lawrence – That is good to hear. Whenever I try to write a movie or whenever we go to make something, that’s always the key. We try and not let the audience hang from any point in time.
Cryptic Rock – Well, it works in Double Threat. This is also a road trip film where you are on the road a lot. Where did you get to shoot most of the scenes?
Matthew Lawrence – We were lucky. I love location shoots. We just filmed all over California. We’re lucky because California has a lot of different terrain; you have mountains for snow, plains for when we’re driving, and you have the coast. We were definitely on location the entire time.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, it makes it even more appealing. As mentioned, the film has a good balance of both comedy and action. There are funny scenes, but also with a bit of a serious tone. For example, the scene where your character is told to let go and you decide to scream it all out. That is funny, but it is real to life. That is where we are at in 2022…we have all these extra things stressing us out in life.
Matthew Lawrence – Yes, it’s so true. I loved reading that scene because I know people can relate to that, because I can relate to it! We have so many different pressures now. It’s difficult and you do want to try and let it go. It’s all about trying to live in the present, let go of the past, and not worry about the future; just try to be present. That is what it is about and it’s very relatable.
Cryptic Rock – Most certainly, and that is a breath of fresh air. So, beyond film you are also a musician. You and your brothers collaborate together as well as musicians. What can you tell me about what you have going on musically?
Matthew Lawrence – We have been working on scores more lately. We have been doing a lot of the music for the movies we produce. It’s kind of a one stop shop when we make our movies; we’ll write them, we’ll produce them, and score them as well. Making music for things is always a real fun part of it.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting. You are a lucky guy artistically because you have various creative outlets to turn to.
Matthew Lawrence – Yes, and at times I didn’t. I think especially as things evolve in the industry; you have to be multifaceted these days; you’ll start to feel stagnate if you aren’t. In any acting career things will fluctuate, they will wane, or they will be there… it’s feast or famine. In those times when the acting isn’t working great for me, I have other things to keep me busy and focused.
I love production and working with the crew. For me the high doesn’t come from being in front of the camera and having all the attention on me. The high comes from creating something that will help someone like it helped me. Film and TV, whether it is simply a toothache or serious depression, sometimes it’s the only thing that ever keeps me at peace for a couple of hours. That is what we’re trying to do. We are trying to make something that someone can put on a laugh or feel like they are in some dream state experience and escape their lives for a moment.