Ethan McDowell Talks Space Command: Redemption

You have an interesting background from writing to acting as well as doing

stunts. How did you get into the business and what was your big break?

Thank you, Gareth. I grew up in a small town in Wyoming, so writing and directing my own short films, with family and friends, was the closest thing to Hollywood for me. After college, I took the leap and moved to Los Angeles and started stage acting in community theater. Then, worked Background in TV and Film for a bit. Booked some acting roles in student films and small indies. And just kept going and going and going, and projects and opportunities started growing in size along the way.

My big break was when I submitted a self-tape audition into a worldwide Talent Search and booked the Lead role in the sci-fi franchise: Space Command. It was a huge deal for me, because not only was it a major role, but I was instantly tossed onto a sound stage with a life-size spaceship set, working alongside terrific actors, most of which are legends in the sci-fi world, and I became a cog in the wheel of a very welcoming, and hard-working, crew and creative team; whom I would consider good friends still to this day.

A funny thing about this business is I actually started getting more work when I left Los Angeles for Atlanta, GA. I’ve since been cast as Guest Stars in recurring roles, and featured in numerous films and television shows like The Walking Dead, Doom Patrol, Ms. Marvel, Echoes, Young Rock, and Found, as well as, films like: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Red Right Hand, and Son, to name a handful. All of which are big breaks in their own right.


Looking at Stunt work: how did you get into that and what do you think about the new push to make it an Oscar Category and for films like “The Fall Guy” drawing attention to the craft?

Stunt work came about from just having a love for action movies and wanting to play in that world. I trained at a sword fighting and stage combat company for many years in LA, I’ve done wire work, pratfalls, wall breaks, squib vests, and trained with firearms and all of that, which is a whole bunch of fun.

Yes, I think there definitely should be an Oscar Category for Stunt Work. I’m really curious to see how the voting will work, but being able to peek behind the curtain and know what goes into the coordination, timing, technicality, and physicality of what Stunt Teams create; it truly is a dynamic art form.

There are Actors, there are Stunt performers, there are some Stunt performers who can act, and every Actor claims they can do their own stunts… it’s the movie-magic circle of life.


What can you tell us about Redemption and how it compares to the earlier entries in the series?

Space Command: Redemption is an epic sci-fi saga that follows my character, Captain Jack Kemmer, as he comes into his own with his noble crew aboard the spaceship: Paladin. My character rescues an ex-archaeologist, just outside of Mars, that sets into motion a revolution that might change galactic history.

Something very unique about the Space Command Franchise is: that it has action, it has adventure, and most of all, it has heart. Marc and Elaine Zicree, the show’s creators, are really focused on a hopeful vision of what our future could be. In Redemption, it shows how the choices we make today can cause ripples of change in the generations to come.


How would you say that your character has evolved/changed?

I feel that Captain Jack Kemmer has evolved by learning to trust his instincts, but he also shows growth in not holding on too tight to his decisions, allowing him to accept help from others.


What were the biggest challenges for you with the part as well as your greatest memories?

The biggest challenge for me was to not geek out too much every day on set. Sure, we’re playing on a giant spaceship with actors you’ve watched on television for years… but, you have to reel it in a bit, have your moment, then get the job done.

There are a lot of great memories. For me, it was when I first set foot on the Paladin bridge, in full Space Command uniform, with the crew of people who were all eager to tell this story. It was definitely one of those “pinch yourself” moments.


How did you prepare to step back into that world again and was it difficult?

For me, stepping back into that world is made fairly easily, because it all comes down to the writing. Marc and Elaine co-write the scripts, so they can help each other when maintaining the through-line of the story, allowing the characters to each have a unique voice that all blend into the overall arc of the epic saga of Space Command.


Will you be doing any convention appearances for it?

We’ve been very lucky to be able to attend some great conventions with the team. Hopefully that will continue. We’ve premiered trailers and episodes at San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon, LosCon, WhoLanta, Star Trek Las Vegas, etc. My favorite part, aside from meeting a bunch of cool people excited about the show, is it feels like a creative family reunion getting the band back together.


What do you have upcoming?

Some exciting upcoming projects are: playing the lead role in a gritty thriller feature called, Love Dogs, directed by West Eldredge. I recently wrapped a post-apocalyptic feature called, On the Run, co-directed by Isaac Stovall and Tabitha Jordan, where I play brother to a fellow Space Command actor, Bryan McClure. And also, you can see my supporting role in KEMBA, directed by Kelley Kali, a BET Original Film based on the true-life story of criminal justice reform advocate Kemba Smith.

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