Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creature Feature: Actor Bostin Christopher (Unbreakable, Otis, Scorpion King 3)

By: Sarah S.


 It’s safe to say that I’m a horror genre fanatic. Especially when it comes to movies. I was so fortunate to stumble upon the great film “Otis” while carousing Fearnet with a friend one night. “Otis” has become one of my favorite movies of all time. It falls in the horror genre but is way more of a fantastic dark comedy. The main character/villain “Otis” is played by up and coming star Bostin Christopher. The man did such a wonderful job playing the role of Mr. Broth that I just had to get in touch and ask him all about it! 

Times Beach (TB): Hey, Bostin! How’re you?

Bostin Christopher (BC): Hot! Los Angeles’ summer is finally happening and it’s going to get up near a hundred the next few days. 

TB: We must talk about the movie “Otis”! Such an awesome film and a personal fave of mine! What was it like playing a misunderstood, twisted character like Otis Broth? 

BC: It was great. I mean, aren’t we all a little misunderstood and twisted? In whatever way that manifests itself, ya know? With Otis, he’s just gone off the deep end of extremes. One thing that was important to both Tony (Tony Krantz, the director) and myself was to explore the characters humanity. I’ve had so many people comment on the fact that in many ways, we feel sorry for Otis. He’s a pedophile and serial killer and people feel some sense of empathy or sympathy for him. Let’s be clear, It doesn’t make his actions right or just! He’s insane. But, with most movies like this, we don’t really get to see that far into the “why” of a killer. There’s a few movies that do this. One that scared the living you-know-what out of me when I was young was “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”. So, being able to explore that was a blast. And, many actors who play darker characters say, that as the actor, they can’t judge their character. An actor is looking to play truth, even in a whacked out movie like “OTIS”. That’s what also made it fun to play. “OTIS” is a satire on all the recent over-the-top torture porn that’s been hitting the multiplexes as of late. Now, a satire is different from a send-up or a farce (like say “Scary Movie”). Satire is played straight. It’s not necessarily trying to be funny, but it’s taking characters and the story and throwing them into extreme situations and in holding this mirror up, makes a comment on some aspect of society. In “OTIS”, you’ve got a family that makes some decisions to take a course of action that they think is “just”, but end up putting themselves in a situation that is completely different and out of their control. And with “OTIS”, the film takes this and plays it for all it’s worth in the darkest of comedic terms. 

TB: It seems like it may have been a complicated role to play. Did you do anything to prep for the part? 

BC: You mean, like, kidnap teenage cheerleaders? No. As much as I was tempted (kidding!, please no mail), I was able to control myself. There is preparation, in that mystery-of-what-actors-do kinda way for sure. Each role presents its own set of challenges and with whatever tools I decide to use for a particular role, I’m always looking to find the truth of what it is I’m playing in whatever circumstances the world is presenting to me. It’s a intangible thing sometimes and I could go on forever blabbing about it, and I won’t, but in Otis’ case it was about finding something that I could understand and relate to. For me, it was finding that and then taking it to its extreme; to the place normal people might stop, but where with Otis, the switch has been flicked and he can’t help himself. At that point the imagination takes over and you just “play” or is it “play play along”? 

TB: Is horror and the dark comedy genre something you favor over other genres? Why or why not? 

BC: I love exploring the dark side of the human condition. Some of my favorite movies do this. I’m not a huge fan of horror films, but I love a good psychological thriller. I’m also a huge fan of movies from the late 60s and early 70s. I come from the theatre and in that’s where my love of the dark characters and drama come from I think. Sam Shepard was a big favorite of mine when I was a younger lad and nowadays I dig Martin McDonagh as well as many others who explore those extremes. Why? It’s a fascinating thing to explore what it is to be human. Both, our highs and lows, loves and hates, goods and bads, ya know? If I wasn’t an actor, I surely would have gone into sociology or psychology. We as a planet of humans have such unbelievable spirit and capacity for love and yet we also act like the basest of animals. That’s a complex and unending fascination for me. 

TB: I saw you played the comic book clerk in the movie “Unbreakable” what was it like working alongside Samuel L. Jackson?

BC: Are you kidding me? Working with Samuel L. Jackson was awesome! Who wouldn’t want to work with him. He’s so present, professional and on-point that even in a bad movie, he’s always good and very watchable. My scene was filmed in one day and it remains one of the coolest days of my life. TB: So what other film projects do you have going on right now? Anything we absolutely must know about? BC: There’s a film a I did called In My Pocket with Gregory Smith (“Everwood”, “Rookie Blue”) and Zack Ward (“A Christmas Story”, “Titus”) that’s been making the festival circuit and doing pretty well winning various awards. Hopefully that film will find its way to the world soon. I did some fun short film projects recently too. “Billy’s in Love” (watch here or here) is another creepy-mccreepster dude and was a fun thing to work on. Also “Choke” is an animated short I did that was based on a play. Very fun. There are some other things that may or may not happen. It’s that “many projects in various stages of development” thing. I’m also getting back to doing more theatre projects. 

TB: If you could work with anyone on any project who would it be, what sort of project would it be, and why? 

BC: Oh, there are so many things on the “wish list” that I’m not sure I could pick out one thing. I love independent films. Two of my most recent favorites are “Humpday” and “Good Dick”. Both great in their own way. Those are the kind of projects I want to be involved in. I’m also a big devotee of new plays and new play development. So, besides acting, that’s something I’m involved in. That work isn’t much for the limelight, but it’s probably the most creatively satisfying work I do. I’m looking to do more of that in the coming years. 

TB: What inspired you to become an actor? 

BC: I wasn’t really inspired to be an actor. It was more of that it “happened” to me. In high school, through various circumstances, I found my way into auditioning for “Antigone” and got cast. I think I was a sophomore. It stuck. I proceeded to work on every project until I graduated. I acted, directed and basically ate and slept theatre. 

I’d found my voice or it had found me. I’m grateful for that. There’s a poker saying that I think applies to a life in show business, “It’s a hard way to make an easy living”. 

TB: What’s your favorite genre of music? 

 BC: I’m going to be silly and say I don’t think I really have one. My taste ranges. As of today, some of my favorite music is the soundtrack to “Crazy Heart” and “Recovery” by Eminem. So, the taste is pretty eclectic. If you were to send me off to a deserted island and I could only bring one album, I’d have a “Sophie’s choice” between U2’s “Joshua Tree” and “Raffi’s Singable Songs for the Very Young” and then I’d probably choose Vivaldi. You see my dilemma? Don’t lock me in, haha! 

TB: What has been your favorite project thus far in your career and what made it so special? 

BC: Hmm, you and the tough questions. I’ve been so fortunate in my career to have so many fun and rewarding projects. Picking one to be a favorite would be too painful because I would have to leave out some other equally cool project. A playwrite friend of mine says that her favorite project is whatever play she is working on at the moment. It’s the thing that’s providing the creative space in the moment. So, for me, right now, I’m on a search for that next favorite project. I’m excited by what adventure it’s going to provide for me. I hate to talk in athlete-speak, but it really is the truth in this case. 

TB: Final question, what advice would you give to aspiring actors out there? 

BC: The best advice I can give to aspiring actors is to “be specific”. This applies to your craft as well as to the business end of this crazy thing you wanna do. As Stanislavski said, “Generality is the enemy of art”. Of course, in the craft, this has to do with your acting choices. Study, find good teachers, take what you can use and throw the rest away. Make choices that are uniquely you. Don’t try to “be” something you’re not. Find the circumstances of the moment and look to discover the truth within it. Keep asking questions of the play and your character. Questions lead to specificity. In terms of career, you’ve got to be specific about what it is you want. There are different paths depending on where you put your focus. It’s not enough to say, “I wanna be an actor”. What does that mean? Be specific. If film, what kind? TV, comedy or drama? Stage? Soaps? NY or LA? If neither, what does your local area offer you in terms of work? Define what the outcome of success looks like for you and you will be miles ahead of the competition. There’s a great website that just opened up run by Kristine Oller, a career strategist for actors. It’s called The Actor’s Library ( I recommend that site as well as The Actor’s Network ( The Actor’s Library is full of interviews, resources, and there is a monthly call-in that deals with specific situations. The Actors’ Network is most valuable to those living in Los Angeles, however, they do have a website only component that might offer some people a leg up. Be proactive! Get a group of like-minded actors together and create a mastermind group. Share resources! Challenge each other to achieve your goals. It’s an absolutely crazy business. Be prepared for disappointment and rejection. If these are difficult for you, don’t bother. Be prepared to be judged and typed. You’ve got to know who you are and what you, as a “product”, are selling. Also, a good piece of advice from director Bartlett Sher - “Stay out of debt”. For most, it’s not a great living, so keeping debt low or non-existent is important so that you’re not forced into a situation where you “have to”. And, lastly, Have Fun! If it isn’t fun, don’t do it. I know many great actors, I mean, they’re just fantastic, who would never move to LA or NYC. It wouldn’t be fun for them anymore. “It’s a hard way to make an easy living” 

TB: Where can we find you? 

BC: You’ve caught me within a possible transition period internetically, so I’ll provide a couple different avenues to reach me:
Main Website: working to transfer this to: (so eventually my main domain will point to this, probably, unless I change my mind…) 
Newsletter “BostinBlast”: 

Thanks so much!