Interview – Alex Shaffer – Win Win

BN: Do you feel you related to your character in any way at all?

AS: No. I mean maybe the way we look, as in goofy, or maybe because we both go to wrestling. I mean, I’m a big goofball and I love to talk and Kyle is much different from that.

BN: What kind of music do you think Kyle listens to? A lot of the same music you listened to in preparing for the role?

AS: I think he listens to a lot of the same music. I can’t imagine him jamming out to Jack Johnson.

BN: I was reading somewhere that there was something involving your hair color and Tom liking it and wanting you to keep it for the film. What was that all about?

AS: We were going to be wrestling this team, Phillipsburg. So we all went to this one kid’s basement and had a “bleach hair party.” I wouldn’t really exactly call it a party though, because that would be very lame, but we all bleached our hair. So then I went to the audition and I’m sitting there and there’s a kid to the left of me, shaved head, varsity jacket. There’s a kid to the right of me, shaved head, varsity jacket, just these really tough looking kids. And I’m sitting there with my bleached blond hair and like a teal-colored hat, a purple flannel, and pajama pants. So I’m looking just ridiculous. I remember sitting there and thinking, “I’m not going to get this part.” But, I guess Tom liked it. One more story about the hair is, during one of the auditions I told them I was going to dye my hair purple for States, which I was going to do, but Tom called me after my region finals to tell me I got the part, and he also told me to not dye my hair purple.

BN: What was your first day on set like?

AS: It was definitely interesting. I don’t even really remember it. It’s all kind of a blur, that whole being on set thing.

BN: Did you enjoy it? Being on set?

AS: I loved it. I love being on set. And you know what they did that was really nice? They always made me feel very comfortable. They never made me feel out of place. And I really was out of place. I was acting instead of wrestling. I wasn’t in my natural environment, to say. But they, Paul, Bob and Amy, everyone, they always made me feel really comfortable, really accepted. So that was nice.

BN: What do you like most about acting?

AS: I like…I like pretending like I’m somebody else. I like becoming someone else. It’s kind of cool to do that. I like looking back and saying, remember when I was Kyle? It’s really cool.

BN: It’s like living another life.

AS: It really is like living another life. Kyle is such a different person, and looking back and looking at him and what he’s been through, it’s like, I was that. I went through that. But no, I really didn’t.

BN: Did you ever have a moment with your character where you fell too deep into it and it was hard to put that character aside and come back to being you?

AS: No. I never had that problem, because after the camera turned off I became a whole other person, every single time. I never really fell into Kyle.

BN: What did you not like about acting?

AS: Waking up [laughs], and the long hours.

BN: Where you still doing any sort of schooling at the time?

AS: Yeah. I would do tutoring for about five hours a day. That was the worst part about it. I would be in this environment with all these people who didn’t have to go to school and then I would leave and go to school; it was the worst. I hated it.

BN: Are you going to move out to Los Angeles at all?

AS: I want to very badly. In a month or so I think I’m going to move to New York first, that’s a safe environment for me. So, I kind of want to learn to live by myself there first and this summer maybe move out to L.A.

BN: Any desire to do theater acting?

AS: No. I’m not a theater actor. That’s a really big fear of mine, is acting in a theater, because when I get on stage my legs start to shake from under. It’s just this very nervous experience that I don’t get from acting on camera.

BN: Do you ever get nervous when you’re wrestling in front of an audience?

AS: No, because wrestling is where I’m really putting on a show for people. You know, I’m glad you asked me that because now I have a new thing to say to interviewers. That’s the similarity between wrestling and acting; I’m really putting on a show for people.

BN: Now that you bring that up, did you ever have any desire to do professional wrestling?

AS: No. No. No. No. No. I never saw myself wanting to do any of that fake wrestling stuff. I always kind of wanted to try to do the Olympics though.

BN: I was just going to ask if you ever wanted to try for the Olympics. That is before you injured yourself.

AS: I really did want to go. Especially because I wouldn’t expect anyone to think I could. And that’s one reason why I would, because people would think, Alex Shaffer would never go to the Olympics. But, that would be cool if I ever did go. That’s one part of wrestling I guess I miss is that I wanted to become a national champ in college. But you know what? I’m really glad I got into acting.

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Benjamin Nason is a writer, film-maker and critic from the Pacific Northwest, where he lives with his cat Lulu.

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