Los Angeles, known for its cloudless skies, sun drenched climate, oceanfront beaches, air pollution, traffic congestion, and entertainment industry. A place where you meet all kinds of interesting folk from all over this great big world of ours and other times you end up meeting people who are from the same city as you but your paths never crossed until LA.
Around this time four years ago my band Joyce Collingwood had recently arrived in Los Angeles. For our first “official” show we decided to invite all our Silverlake street neighbours to watch us perform in our backyard. It ended up being quite the party and a wonderful start to our LA adventures. It was on this night that I met Vancouver born and raised actor, writer and producer Matthew Kevin Anderson.
Gregarious, spirited, entertaining and hilarious Matthew started his career as the Host of the MTV Canada show “Select” with his interviews including Avril Lavigne, Moby, and The Goo Goo Dolls. He has starred in movies such as Tomorrowland, Trick ‘r Treat and Odd Brodsky, and TV roles such as iZombie, Supernatural, Impastor, The Killing and the upcoming Jonathan Abraham’s TV series The Arrangement.
I recently sat down with Matthew in Vancouver where we talked about his start in acting, his favourite actors, stand up comedy and what his dream role would be.
CG: Were you interested in acting growing up?
MKA: I enjoyed it but I wasn’t a theater guy, I mean I took drama in High School because it was easy and I was a slacker.
CG: You weren’t one of the Glee kids?
MKA: I wasn’t in all the plays and doing the musicals… that was Mark Hildreth. I wasn’t in the Glee club, I was out smoking weed and skipping class. I was always interested in it I just don’t think I ever considered you could do it as a job.
After High School I was floating around and a buddy of mine told me he thought of going to film school. We ended up checking out a bunch of film schools together. This one place we talked to sounded awesome but my buddy chickened out. So I went by myself and took a full time program for a year and the rest is history.
CG: And that was when you knew that you wanted to be an actor after that year in film school?
MKA: I don’t really have one of those moments where I was like “this is it!” but yes after going to school that’s when things started happening.
CG: Who are some of your favourite actors?
MKA: So many of them are dead now..Phillip Seymour Hoffman was one of my favourites.
CG: That was tragic.
MKA: Robin Williams. I just watched Goodwill Hunting the other day …it still sucks so fucking bad that he is dead. I forget about it, then I’ll watch something and get reminded he is not with us anymore. And the way he died it’s just the worst.
I’m getting to a place now in my career where I’m meeting a lot of cool actors and work with them on set. I’ve yet to come across someone where I’m like, “Oh really? Awe man you suck!”
CG: Well that’s good, no real assholes yet.
MKA: I’ve been lucky so far.
CG: They say you shouldn’t meet your idols cause you might be disappointed.
MKA: Ya but most my idols are dead so…hahaha!
CG: Awe! Too many greats have died recently. It’s not cool at all. My next question is, what has been the hardest role you have ever played and why? Also have you ever gone through an extreme change for a role?
MKA: No, I haven’t had to go through any big physical changes for a role. For me it’s beard or no beard. I end up doing a lot of comedy and I spend my days laughing more than I spend my days pretending to shoot heroin or kill people.
I do this show Impastor which is with Michael Rosenberg who played Lex Luther on Smallville for years. It’s a quirky comedy. I struggle with the tone of the character sometimes…I’m still feeling him out. I’m in this buddy cop scenario and I’m the straight man. I’m the Dean Martin to his Jerry Lewis type character. He’s the guy who gets all the jokes and does all the funny stuff. I gotta play it straight.
CG: When you’re in a comedic role how do you keep a straight face? That’s the hardest thing for me! Once I start laughing its hard for me to stop.
MKA: It can be tough especially when you are doing long days and all of a sudden you are on hour 12 or 14 and you get the giggles. That’s when its game over! The crew are just standing around annoyed cause you can’t pull it together and you’re wasting time but there is nothing you can do at that point. You just have to ride it out.
CG: The most fun or favourite role you have ever played and why?
MKA: My role in Impastors is hands down the funniest show I’ve ever worked on. They are really good at keeping the days short, the pacing moves really fast, and we get to do improv. We get to try things a different bunch of ways, we are constantly trying to figure out the funniest way to get it across. We are getting paid to show up and laugh all day…its insane. I can’t believe I get to do this. It’s so much fun. I love doing comedy.
CG: Have you done any theater?
MKA: I did some theater in LA which is not a theater town, I did a show called The Seagull which I didn’t know at the time was one of the toughest plays and I played Konstantin which is a very challenging role. I tried Stand Up comedy once. That’s tough! I was so nervous ended up getting black out drunk.
CG: Stand Up is terrifying to me!
MKA: I did a crash and burn night at Yuk Yuks just because I wanted to try it. I got so nervous that my lady at the time was like, “here have some drinks you’ll be fine”. So I had a bunch of drinks, got up on stage, got through the set, I think I was making some terrible joke about how I don’t want to ever watch a woman give birth because they crap themselves.
MKA: The host had to get onto the mic because the red light had been on for a minute and I didn’t know to be looking for the red light so I think he cut my microphone off and was like, “OK crapping baby guy get off stage already.”
CG: That’s too funny…
MKA: I woke up the next day thinking, “did that all really happen?” I blacked most of it out. Stand Up comedians are rock stars.
CG: Agreed. What would your dream role be?
MKA: Dream role? Luke Skywalker or just being in a Star Wars movie and having a light saber fight.
CG: That would be amazing. I want to be in a Star Wars film!
MKA: A lot of actors have said that those movies are what got them into acting. I think that was why JJ Abrams wanted to do movies. It has had such an impact not just on pop culture but our generation’s upbringing.
CG: Many generations.
MKA: And for the people who haven’t seen it…they don’t understand a Darth Vader reference?? How does that even make sense? So anything with a light saber would be great.
CG: What are you working on now?
MKA: There are a lot of Netflix projects shooting in town right now that I have been lucky enough to work on. There is a show called Travelers about time travel and the whole main cast is Canadian which is really great. I just shot my second season of Impastor and then The Arrangement which is about fixed Hollywood relationships and that one is on Network.
CG: Any advice for any up and coming actors? Just starting out in their career.
MKA: I would say find a good mentor, I think that’s really important. Having someone that can help guide you, especially when you’re just starting because there are so many unknowns. And work your ass off, you need to find a way to be acting more than you’re not acting.
I heard this the other day and it really resonated with me, a jazz musician said if you don’t practice one day you know it, you don’t practice two days the band knows it, if you don’t practice three days everybody knows it…stay sharp.