10 questions: James Murray

1) What the fuck is going on?
Well, I will be getting back into acting classes in a few weeks. My bathroom is clean. The new Robert Pollard album has been very good to me. I’m nursing a bar vodka/Bushmill’s hangover and my father just bought a $1000 kilt for the Tartan Day service at The First Presbyterian Church in my hometown of Pembroke, Ontario.

2) Most challenging role you’ve attempted?

‘Laertes’ in Hamlet. We were rehearsing for six weeks, and with a week left before opening it was cancelled by the SARS pandemic, which devastated all of us 30 million Canadians . . . devastated, in every sense of the word.

3) Seen any good theatre lately?

Hanna’s Suitcase. I really appreciated and admired how they conveyed those particular aspects of the Holocaust to the children. It was initially intended for children ages 10 and up but they mesmerized the 5-year-old girl sitting next to me. My emotional breakdown took place when Jo Chim’s character and the kids finally track down Hanna’s long lost brother George, who currently resides in Toronto. That specific moment when they hand him the suitcase, the expression on Eric Trask’s face . . . wow, that’s why we do theatre.

4) What’s the best thing to spend money on?

Venue rentals, publicity, advertisements, canisters of film, film equipment rentals, prop rentals, costume rentals, location permits, classes, C/Vs, theatre tickets, CDs, Leaf tickets, booze, duds, dinner, novels, mags, administration fees . . .don’t worry, I’ll stop there.

5) What should everyone stop doing?
I think insecure people should stop wearing designer clothes. Nice clothing should decorate one’s personality and character. I wish it was a more common pairing. For example: if you are insecure and decide to go as George Stroumboulopoulos for Hallowe’en, no one will know who the fuck you are. So to those of you who are fractured by the ‘clothes make the man’ mentality, please learn to accept the fact that you have a soul, place your ego in a more respectable position and then purchase the ‘Toronto Signature Series’.

6) What’s the best thing about theatre in Toronto?
That it exists, that I am a part of it and Praxis.

7) Johnny Depp or Sean Penn?

Penn. When his films hit theatres, I see them the weekend they open. I am far more interested in his choices of roles and projects than I am of Johnny Depp’s. One of my favourite films of all time is [the Penn-directed] The Indian Runner, and he’s not even in it.

8) Who would you most like to work with, but haven’t yet?

This week I’d like to work w/Asia Argento (Marie Antoinette, The Stendhal Syndrome) and Angela Bettis (May, Sick Girl). I’ve always wanted to work with . . . okay, the list would be too long. In general, I like/would like to work with people who inspire me, who I look up to and can learn from, who understand and respect me for who I am and what I do . . . all that stuff.

9) Do you have any unifying theories when it comes to acting?

I don’t mind talking about or trying to theoretically analyze acting on my own time, but it’s way more efficient when you’re actually doing it. Amid a rehearsal process or when a film is in production, ‘theorizing’ as opposed to ‘doing’ will impede the project. In a theatre school, it’s dangerous for students to pay too much mind on theory of ‘how to act’ because when they finally get down to playing a role, their minds will be fixated on recollecting what Stanislavsky or Hagen said instead of practicing being alive in a moment. Acting is an emotional sport that needs to be practiced at all times and acknowledging your life experiences

10) What are you working on these days?
I just finished an independent short film called Synapse, a psychological thriller that required a lot of research on a type of mental disease . . . I don’t want to mention too much since it’s just starting post-production. The creator/director is this precocious fellow named Andrew Stephenson who was a real pleasure to work with. It was one of the most interesting experiences I ever had.

2 thoughts on “10 questions: James Murray

  1. I hope that Scott’s kilt worked out for him. I’m sure all the blue hairs at First Presbeterian really enjoyed it. I was wondering if your Chip and Pepper shirt was one of those pieces of clothing that decorated your personality? ILS

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