Interview: Leon Charles Farmer
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:03:41
You're going to be hearing a lot about Leon Charles Farmer very soon. As an actor, he exudes an undeniable presence that's both passionate and powerful. Immersing himself into every role, he breathes life into his characters with the personal care and attention of a method master. His upcoming work will introduce his style, and it's quite impressive. He's starring in two high-profile 2015 releases Scouts Vs. Zombies and Clint Eastwood's American Sniper. Get to know him now...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Leon Charles Farmer talks his techniques, playlist, and so much more.
As an actor, do you ever use music to get into character?
Yes and no. Depending on my interpretation of the script and the character, I may need to find a deeper connection and discover something new, or I may turn to music to help me. Music can really help bring depth to a character. However, that's not the case for every project.
Who will you listen to? Have you been able to associate any of your characters with songs, albums or artists?
I never know right away what kind of music or which artist to listen to. I let my gut tell me that. I recall when I was working on Clifford Odets', Golden Boy, my gut right away turned me to The Roots. I mainly listened to Phrenology and The Tipping Point albums.
How do you typically get into the rhythm of a role?
I start by reading the first half of the script, then I drift off into this world of imagination up to the point where I stopped. I finish the script, and again I drift off into this world of visualization on how I imagine the story to be. My job is a lot of fun. Next, I do my script analysis and pull from various techniques I’ve learned over the years to mold a character.
Is there a moment where you become one with the character, so to speak?
Yes. Always. I always become one with the character.
How different are the thought processes between acting, directing, and producing for you? Or, do they intertwine?
They intertwine. My thought processes adjust accordingly. As the actor, I focus on character and the circumstance given. As a director, I focus on EVERYTHING. And as a producer, I focus on how pretty my John Hancock will look on that check. The approach is very similar. I approach every project with an open heart.
What can you say about the experience of working on American Sniper?
Oh, it was cool! It’s my first feature film attached to a studio (Warner Bros.) and directed by Clint Eastwood. I was super hyped about working with Mr. Eastwood and Scope Productions, but was even more thrilled about being a part of THIS STORY. It's the story about the life and experiences of Navy Seal Sniper and a fellow veteran, Chris Kyle, may he rest in peace. I think Jason Dean Hall did a fabulous job with the script, too. Now, here is an example how music helped me with the character. I had a significant part in the story, but it was a smaller role, one with few scripted lines and a lot of room to improv. I listened to a lot of OutKast. This helped give me depth to my character where there wasn't as much on the page for me to go off of. It helped give my character a little life.
Who's usually on your playlist?
My playlist is sporadic. I have many different types of genres, artists, styles of music that are in it and if I were to put my playlist on shuffle, you would hear Peer Gynt, or something from Brotha Lynch Hung, or P!nk. Truthfully, I haven’t been listening to much of my personal playlist lately. I’ve been listening to this guy named Bryan Ellis. Come to think of it, I remember you publishing an article on the singer-songwriter. That was a cool piece. Bryan’s music is very cinematic and artistic. I’ve had this kid’s EP on repeat for a minute now. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear his entire album, and I’m baffled that he’s not all over the radio.
What's next for you?
I’ve been casted in Paramount Pictures', Scouts vs. Zombies being directed by the amazing Christopher Landon. I’m playing the role of Steve Daniels across from Sara Lane who play’s my deaf wife in the film. The script is amazing. It’s so funny and it’s casted perfectly. So, I’m gearing up for that and working a lot on my sign language.
Yes! My partner and I are weeks away from launching Breathe for Peace, a non-profit organization that helps active duty military and Veterans cope with survivors’ guilt and PTSD through Yoga and Meditation. And what I’d like to do Rick, is hear from your readers, especially those whom are veterans or currently still serving, whomever wants to participate, I’d like for them to share how yoga, sitting meditation, music meditation or music in general, has helped them through adversity. They can tweet their response to @igiveyouLeon or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share their stories. And lastly man, I love ARTISTdirect.com. I check in all of the time, you even have a special bookmark on my computer to link me right in.