Rob Carpenter Interview

Recently I had the chance to speak with Rob Carpenter about his recent work. The talented Canadian actor has appeared in the series Flash Gordon, Reaper, and the film “Terminus” which is one of the best genre pieces to come along in recent years. I want to thank Rob and Sara for setting up this interview.

GVK: What drew you to acting and who are your greatest influences?

RC: Acting is something that I’ve always been drawn to, for as long as I
can remember. We (my brothers and sisters) used to get together and
create sketches for events like Christmas or anniversaries and perform
them for everyone. We’d rent a hall with a stage back home and perform
all of it for our massive family (about 150 Aunts, Uncles and
cousins… Like I said, big family!), as a part of the celebration.
Amazingly fun.
As for the second part of the question, actors like
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper are a few that quickly come to
mind. I have a lot of respect for their character choices and how
they’re just amazing, interesting actors.

GVK: What was your big break as an actor?

RC: I always look back to the film ‘The Education of Little Tree’. It was
my first experience on a big production and I got to meet James
Cromwell and watch him work. It was the point that I got my drive to
progress and look at acting as a reality. As far as a BIG break, I
feel I’m just beginning to see some great opportunities and am looking
forward to some great stuff 🙂

GVK: What is the background and setting of “Terminus” and how did you come to
be cast in the part?

RC: Well, the outfit I’m wearing in the film is what I showed up with at
the audition! I really wanted the part so I gave it all I could.
Imagine, walking the downtown Vancouver streets wearing those pants!
It was a little test for myself to prepare for the part…….. I
remember walking by a construction site and a wave of silence and
looks from the workers for a couple of blocks were hilarious. Anyhow,
because the film was set in the 70’s I wanted to do all I could
performance-wise and look the part. That being said, I loved that the
film was set in the 70’s we got to film in the Montreal Subway
system. In my opinion, the subway is a character itself in the film.

GVK: The film is an interesting mix and in some ways I was reminded of
“Cube” so much that the plot kept you guessing. What drew you to the
part and how did you prepare for your character?

RC: I’ve always been drawn to awkward characters (not sure what that says
about me!). The character in “Terminus” had many levels and layers to
him that were a fun challenge. His lonely decent into madness was
interesting to look at performance-wise. Also, Trevor Cawood is one
of the best directors I’ve had the pleasure of working with. He knew
exactly what he wanted and was great at communicating that to me. We
talked a lot about the scenes before filming. I have to throw Trevor
his props, he created an amazing film on all accounts and helped me
prepare with as much information as possible.

GVK: Would you describe yourself as a fan of sci fi and horror since many
of your roles have been set in the genre? If so, what are some of your
favorite shows and films?

RC: I enjoy all genres of course, but considering some of my favorite all
time films are “Blade Runner”, “The Shining” and the “Evil Dead” movies, I’d
have to say yes 🙂 The sci fi and horror genres can have such a rich
sense of imagination that I love to see and for the most part can be
pure entertainment. One television show I love that’s great example of
that is Supernatural.

GVK: Since you have done Directing, do you desire to do more Directing
and do you find it harder or easier than acting?

RC: Back in September 2007, I directed a film I wrote called ‘Endings’.
It’s a challenge I’ve always enjoyed and feel I’ve learned so much
about film as a whole. It’s definitely helped me as an Actor being on
the other side of the camera. I think both areas can be difficult yet
gratifying and I’ll always keep myself open to either.

GVK: Were there moments in the film you could relate to and if so, what
where they?

RC: I think as human beings we all get weighed down with stress and
feeling alone with our struggles no matter what they may be. In this
case, his anxieties manifest themselves as an 8 foot cement creature
that follows him wherever he goes. He tries to ignore it, but it just
gets worse for him. I think my favorite part was in the office where
his co-workers all had the same issues, but no one would talk about it!

GVK: What were some of your more memorable experiences making the film?

RC: Wearing a pair of shoes that were a size too small comes to mind 🙂 I
think my feet are still recovering! Joking aside, I’ll always remember
that Terminus brought me back home to Montreal where my family got to
be a part of the experience on some level. That’s priceless to me.

GVK: What do you hope people who watch this film take away from it?

RC: It’s turned out to be quite the conversational piece as to what
Terminus means and what is being said. That is exactly what I
(personally) was hoping the audience would appreciate about the film.
Outside of the phenomenal CG work that’s been done, It’s great to know
a lot of people enjoyed it as a simple yet complex story being told.

GVK: Where do you draw your inspirations as a writer from?

RC: I always draw from what is going on in my own life or the situations
that surround me. Best source of inspiration is one’s own life 🙂 No
matter what the genre is, it’s important to me to write characters
that an audience can relate to on some level and that I can believe.
I guess it comes down to writing believable reactions to actions
regarding the relationship between two characters…… even if there
is a monster or ghosts involved!

GVK: What can the readers look forward to seeing you in next?

RC: I’ve been very fortunate over the past few years and have had the
pleasure of working on over 30 Indie and larger projects. Some
features to look out for in 2008 are ‘When Life Was Good’, ‘Smile of
April’, ‘Darklands’, and ‘Ray Diluted’. More Recently, I’ve had the
pleasure of stepping on the sets of ‘Reaper’, ‘Flash Gordon’ and the
film ‘Joyride 2’. All of these films and TV shows were great
experiences and had some amazing people involved!

Thanks so much for your time and the talk, Gareth! Looking forward to
talking again in the future. Cheers!