Johnny Simmons Ė One to Watch
By Anne Brodie Jul 21, 2010, 17:00 GMT
Johnny Simmons hits the screen with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Conspirator. © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
Twenty three year old Johnny Simmons has it all Ė talent, talent and more talent. The Montgomery, Alabama native has leapt into the spotlight mixing prestige productions with teen fare.
Last seen in Jenniferís Body, Simmons has gone on to work with Susan Sarandon, Robin Wright, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline, Michael Cera and Pierce Brosnan and he plays a pivotal role in Robert Redfordís Lincoln assassination thriller The Conspirator.
Simmons is currently starring in The Greatest now on DVD, as the grieving younger brother of a boy who dies in a car accident. His parents, played by Brosnan and Sarandon are in terrible pain and fail to recognize his. Monsters and Critics spoke with Simmons from LA.
Monsters and Critics - Working with Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan must have been like a master class in acting. What did you pick up from them?
Johnny Simmons - Everything. Everything they dropped I picked up, everything I could do I tried to do. I made a list in sixth grade of actors and actresses I wanted to work with and she was one of those. And so now I can say I did. She took me in and was really incredible and sheís so talented and an incredible woman at the same time. It was pretty surreal.
I just appreciate the opportunity and I think I took as much as I possibly could. And I enjoyed watching my co-stars Aaron Johnson and Carey Mulligan take off. These people are now the younger versions of Pierce and Susan. I get to watch one career at a time, who knows, one actor that winds up doing incredible things and now three. Iím fortunate.
M&C - Your character is the collateral damage left behind following Benís death. His parents are so focused on their emotions that they donít notice that Ben is falling apart.
JS - Everyone in their life has had a moment where they felt alone and angst. There is a big feeling of that in adolescence that everyone can draw upon. Iíve had moments where Iíve felt where youíd find it one way or another.
My approach is to use anything and everything thatís Iíve had in my life happen and draw parallels in my character and personal life that everyoneís got thatís separate from you own experience.
M&C - Is it something you actually re-feel or re-live for work?
JS - In a way. Phillip Glass quoted someone, an unidentified composer, who said, ďIs is escape or is it liberation?Ē Are we going into all this to escape it or be free from it?Ē With any artform, anything, its cathartic.
M&C - Do you have a physical memory of how things feel?
JS - Oh, yeah, I think so, anything thatís eventful. Movies deal with extreme versions of our own lives, extremes heightened, those experiences donít tend to leave your mind very easily. There is always plenty to draw from no matter what period itís from. Itís strange.
M&C - At the end of the day, can you walk away?
JS - I donít know what I wanted to walk away from it. It took me six weeks to figure my own things out, and thatís not actor bullcrap but it was. What I really wanted to do which was the greatest was not take a character out of what this family was going through and truly dig in.
Everyoneís goal was to be honest and stick with it and figure it out. At home Iíd rework the next dayís work, new ideas would pop up and Iíd play with them.
M&C - Why acting?
JS - I couldnít imagine anything else. If I had to, I would, but for me, every day is so different and there are new lessons. I love psychology and looking at human nature if you break it down, thatís one aspect. Itís very interesting. I started professionally I moved to LA when I was 18 and six months after I arrived I did Evan Almighty. I canít believe that! My first one! It was an incredible experience. But I donít know where the desire came from.
I was five years old when I told my parents I wanted to act. That seems to be an abundant story in LA. There is nothing unique about this story here. But I donít know why I had the desire, but I was born with that. Itís why my mother had the desire to be a nurse or my father to build things and why I became an actor.
No idea. I just knew I was very drawn to but and it never seemed like work when I was researching the possibilities, or the interest or the hours I spent on it, trying to figure it out or how to break into it. Itís very interesting.
M&C - Maybe it was the movies you watched.
JS - I didnít watch a whole lot of movies when I consider how much I watch now. I watched all kinds of stuff, I love movies and I watch one movie every day. I love them now but I didnít watch a lot as young kid. My favorites were Blow and Vanilla Sky. Now it changes all the time.
M&C - The Conspirator sounds amazing. And it sounds as though you have a central role. (A group led by John Wilkes Booth plots to kill President Lincoln, the Vice President and the Secretary of State.
Suspect Mary Surrat is the sole female member of the group; she is tried and executed. Her son John escapes and travels the world through Canada, Britain, Europe and Eygpt hiding in Catholic homes but is eventually arrested, tried twice and released.)
JS - Robert Redford is directing. I play Mary Surratís son John who was part of this conspiracy. Itís rooted in fact and its interesting how many parallels there are today in the current situation, politically.
M&C - Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is expected to be a big one, an ďepic of epic epicnessĒ. Are you excited?
JS - I play young Neil and heís a bass player. The storyís set in this extreme reality, based on a comic book and Edgar Wright who directed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Itís unbelievable! Iím so lucky!
The photographer was Bill Pope who did Matrix. And there was Jason Schwartzmann and Michael Cera. I saw the film three or four weeks ago and I love it! Itís genuinely a great movie!
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CJohnny Simmons Biography -
Johnny Simmons Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMegan Fox Biography -
Megan Fox Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesPierce Brosnan Biography -
Pierce Brosnan Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesSusan Sarandon Biography -
Susan Sarandon Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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