What inspired you to become an actor?
A teacher in sixth grade who ran the theatre arts class. She was really invested in helping me out and mentoring me. It was a means of expressing myself and I liked the thrill of getting onstage and giving a voice to the crazy characters I’d created in my head. I’m from a very athletic family and I thoroughly enjoyed sports as a kid but acting was a way of expressing myself and having fun. It was something I found on my own.
Any memorable early roles?
I played Bill Sikes in Oliver. For some reason, they always gave me a fat suit in high-school productions. If there was a character who needed to be robust, they gave me a fat suit and I put on a silly voice.
What were the highs and lows of making your TV breakthrough in daytime soap opera The Guiding Light?
I’d got a part in a Broadway show then 9/11 happened and I lost the job. I’d met a casting director for a soap opera who said if I ever needed a job to let him know. I don’t regret it for a second. It was an incredible opportunity for a young actor, you have to become comfortable in front of a camera and learn how to make choices quickly. My character went though so many changes.
I knew I wasn’t going to stay for long so I told the writers to give me crazy storylines. I started as a trust fund kid who made a bet with friends that he’d deflower the town virgin, then fell in love with her and she found out about his scheme and dumped him. Then he lost his trust fund and became a prostitute. Then his new girlfriend found out, he went crazy, kidnapped her, took her to a cabin in the woods, killed three people, told her he’d been molested by a female school teacher as a child and killed himself by injecting insulin – in front of her, her father and her new boyfriend.
Doing stripper film Magic Mike must have seemed tame in comparison?
Fear is a great motivator but it was a great experience working with Steven Soderbergh and those great actors. It was a great ensemble, everyone was very supportive.
Weren’t you molested by an extra on set?
Yeah but those were happy accidents. The extras were such a part of making that world real. They were really committed and very interactive. I wasn’t offended. If you commit to wearing next to nothing and gyrate in a woman’s face, you have to accept whatever comes your way.
You can read the rest of the interview here.