Josh Wiggins - If I am proud of what I have done, I am happyWritten by Eva Csölleová, Vítek Formánek
We often meet young people or would-be- actors who have very distorted views at real values and act if they won 3 Oscars already. While being at Zlín festival we met young American actor Josh Wiggins who introduced two of his films, one of them was called The Batchelors. At press conference he replied with real modesty and submission and we were impressed by young man having such thoughtful head on his shoulders. We asked him for interview and weren´t disappointed by his replies. We hope he has long and prolific career ahead of him.
Do you have any artistic background which would kind of focus you into film direction?
My career sort of “began” with making home movies with friends and family so I would say directing is very possibly in my future if I get lucky. I certainly have a lot to learn before I would be able to take the mantle of a feature film, however.
What and when was that trigger moment you decided you want to be and actor?
Funny enough, the trigger moment was when I began my first project. Acting sort of fell out of the blue for me so i didn’t know whether or not I wanted to do it until a few days into my first official project.
Could you talk through-step by step- how does young inexperienced man in US get to acting and get the job (to give us idea how it works)?
It really is just a matter of putting yourself out there and being patient. That’s how it started for me anyways, and I think if you have a genuine passion for the craft it will work out for you in some way.
You will be 20 and already have a manager. Is it just an agent who tries to get you a job or he is a manager who tells you what to dress like, how to behave in public, what to say to media and basically owns your life in exchange for you getting a job?
I think owning my life is a bit of a hyperbole ;). However, a manager is a big part of knowing what and what not to do in public though. I can’t speak for others but to me having a manager is great for feeling comfortable in the industry and having that person that you know you can ask tough questions and get a straight answer.
Young “green” people in sport, modeling or film business are usually blinded by a vision of wealth promised them by managers or groups so they are not careful enough and are usually driven somewhere or misused. Is it difficult to see through if he (or agency) means it honestly and really wants to help you in your career and who wants to use you for his own profit and then drop you off once you are not profitable enough?
Being able to spot when you’re being “used” is really just a matter of surrounding yourself with grounded people who you know can speak honestly to you. I think when people hang out with “Yes-Men” they become much more ill equipped with being able to spot someone who is using them for the wrong reasons.
When you get your big role at the age of 16 or 17 not knowing much, how do you have to approach it not too look like big head? Is it better to be self- confident or rather not to be bashful and ask director or starring mates for advice and help?
My most known film I’ve done was only my third, so I really didn’t know much. I think everyone has that bone in them where they always want to look like they know what they’re doing, and I think I had that too. I was never afraid to ask questions though, because I’ve never thought of myself as a hot shot. I hope I never do.
Born in 1998 means you took and take visual effects, green screen or digital effects as a norm. Have you watched classic films from 50´s, 60´s and 70´s admiring the artistic job of then directors or cinematographers and often wishing you could play in such movies instead of current hi –tech ones?
That’s a great question. I have seen a few movies from that strange time of black and white. “The Hustler”, “12 Angry Men”, “It Happened One Night”, and I’ve seen quite a few movies from the 70s. And the thing I love about those movies is they hardly cut between different angles, and that allows the viewer to see the entire scene as a whole, similar to a theater play. That’s where actors really get their skill tested and it’s really engaging to watch and analyze. You see certain modern filmmakers keep that spirit alive, such as Tarantino, and I really hope that it never goes away completely. I would love to be a part of a film like that one day.
You are not yet in position you could turn down the offer. What kinds of films would you like to make if given free choice and which you would refuse on principle, no matter what?
There are certainly offers I have turned down, but I’ve never gotten a straight offer for a really big budget studio movie. I always want to be a part of something I’m proud of, and I’ve been lucky enough to say I’m proud of everything I’ve done so far.
Critics-mainly in US- often destroy performance, film of work of dozens of people with one article. How important are these critics to you, they probably never made a film, never acted on stage or film, so how can they criticize you? Do you take them seriously or don´t pay attention to them at all?
I have certainly looked at my projects’ reviews and been proud or disappointed, but I try and take everything anyone says good or bad with a grain of salt. If you let the highs get you too high then the lows are going to be really low. So I try to not get too emotional about what people have to say. If I’m proud of what I’ve done, I’m happy.
In LA there are so many actors working as waiters and wait for the phone to ring with an offer. Are you aware of this so you have some safety net to lean on or you gave yourself say 8 years to either break through or pack up?
I’m about to move in with some friends near my hometown, so I certainly hope I work steadily enough to be able to live comfortably, but who knows, I’ve always thought working at a theater would be fun!
At Zlín Film festival you introduced your film for the audience. Do you watch your films and try to analyze how much progress you have made since last one and if you did something wrong and learn from mistakes?
I definitely analyze my performance, and usually I'm pretty hyper critical of myself. I do think I get better with each role though, and I hope that continues.
Movie The Batchelors, was about something that can happen in ordinary life. Do you forget about it after last take or you try to think about it and maybe take something for yourself from whole story?
A big reason I did The Bachelors was because I experienced the loss of my mother when I was 16, so doing that movie was kind of a giant therapy session for me, and I’ll always look at it as a good representation of what me and my family experienced.