Interview With Bobby Calloway II
We recently sat down with Bobby Calloway once again, following on from our last interview exchange with himself. It was a great catch-up and a fitting way to kick off the 2019 escapade of this blog.
Check out the interview below:
WH Rebelz: So tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to, since we last spoke.
Bobby Calloway: Since we last talked, I’ve been plugging away and got a few more credits on the CV. Mostly short films and music videos, with some small TV credits there as well.
I finally got to make a dream project of mine. In the last interview, I mentioned High & Tight – a short film where I play a man joining the army. The pre-production process was an absolute nightmare – which you can read about here – but I was delighted with the finished product.
I’m also delighted to announce I’m a part of No WiFi’s upcoming web series Blue Valentine. It’s a crime thriller and the part was written for me, so it’s going to be lots of fun to make!
In addition to acting, I decided to become a YouTuber – which was something else I’d been considering for a while. I now do advice vlogs for actors just starting out, and video essays critiquing film.
WH Rebelz: Do you feel 2018 was a step forward for your acting career?
Bobby Calloway: I don’t want to be too negative, but I feel I didn’t possibly work as hard as I could have. I did accomplish some things, but I definitely wasted a lot of time, and could have done so much more. But life is for learning, and I’m just going to have to work that extra bit harder in 2019.
That being said, I did accomplish a few things I’m proud of in 2018. The first of which was my first feature film credit. A director on his second feature Gerard Lough says I auditioned for a short of his last year and said although I wasn’t right for it, he liked my reel and kept an eye on me – so now I have a part in his next film Spears. I can’t say too much, but I’ll be playing a bit of a rascal called Jeff and it’ll be a fun neo-noir story with lots of twists and turns. It’ll also be a different role for me, since I’ve been playing a lot of soldiers or else teenagers and young adults lately – Jeff is a bit older and I doubt he’d be that good with a gun.
I’ve also taken steps towards doing more voice acting – which has been another dream of mine. I got some great coaching from Tommy Ellis at the Velvet Voice Studio – who I will be making many more trips to in the year – and a great VA called Alex Hanly who I met while working on Vikings. He reminds me a bit of you actually.
WH Rebelz: As the world of the film continues to change coming into 2019, has it been easier for you to become inspired?
Bobby Calloway: Absolutely. I see more and more people just taking charge and doing their own stuff. I’ve done that of course, but I made two shorts in the space of two years. It’s time to do so much more. In the last few months I’ve been pumping out all sorts of scripts to create work for myself and my friends – and we’ll be banging them out like no tomorrow.
I owe a good chunk of this inspiration to my friend Rian Mahood-Gallagher – who I’ve now worked with three times. Our last collaboration – a dark fairy tale called Scrios – really lit a fire under me and we have so many projects we’re going to do together.
It’s a streaming world now and this just opens up more opportunities to get your films shown to a larger audience – whether it be through Netflix, Amazon, Vimeo etc. There’s so much opportunity for us all.
My biggest inspiration has to be my mentor Ross Grant. He runs a website called Act On This TV that’s dedicated to giving actors the information they need to properly make waves in the industry. He’s such a good, genuine person and I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without his help along the way
WH Rebelz: Are you always prepared to bring something new to the table?
Bobby Calloway: Yeah I always try to do something different, if I feel I’m not challenging myself enough. For example, in 2017 I played a lot of villains, psychos and thugs. So 2018 saw me trying to do some more varied roles. I ended up playing a lot of soldiers – I think I played about five in this year alone.
So the next few roles will need to be distinct from that. The key is to find your niche and then find ways to play around with that, as opposed to just doing something different for the sake of it. For example, I play wise-asses quite well but I also do vulnerable nicely. So it’s finding ways to play to those strengths, while also stepping out of the comfort zone.
WH Rebelz: Primarily an actor, you previously mentioned you’re also a writer. Have any stories been able to hit paper to screen lately?
Bobby Calloway: Regular content is the key to making an impact, so the first order of business is to mention my upcoming web series The Gumdrops. It’s a slightly surreal comedy about four college girls and the antics they get up to in their house. I’ll be behind the camera for most of it – though I do cameo in one episode – and it’s a vehicle for a very talented actress I know called Rebecca Flynn. She’s always cast in serious dramatic roles but out of character she’s hysterical – so the character she’s set to play will be showing a different side to her. She’s already read some of the lines out loud to me, and it couldn’t be a more perfect fit.
I mentioned Scrios earlier. That was a short film I did back in November as part of No WiFi’s Autumn film challenge. It’s a dark fairy tale putting a different take on Sleeping Beauty. It was quite different for me – as I often rely on witty Kevin Williamson-esque dialogue – and there was no dialogue at all. It was completely silent. I just saw a rough cut and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Two of my friends – James Byrne and Brian O Suilleabhain – made their No WiFi debuts, and I finally got to work with my good friend Sefora Castro (who was delightfully terrifying).
A short I’ll be doing soon is a drama called Passing. It’s set in the 90s and I’ll be playing a Northern Irish man who grew up in the middle of The Troubles and he’s now living in London, trying to forget his Irish roots. Rian says he “fell in love” with the story and thinks it has feature film potential, so I guess we shall see.
There’s also a musical of all things in the works. Called The Thing I Like, it’ll be a six part series following five people finding an escape from their day-to-day lives in forming a singing group. Singing is another passion of mine but I’ve always been self-conscious about doing it in front of people – so it’s going to be ambitious but I look forward to it. I’ve been working on it since mid-2017 so here’s to finally getting around to making it.
Rounding off the projects, there is of course a feature film called Letters To Tyler – which I’ve been writing since late 2016. Myself and Tom Fitzgerald will reunite from Aaron and High & Tight to star in this road movie about three strangers bonding as they take an impromptu trip up north. I’ll be playing an American tourist who’s haunted by memories of a complicated relationship with his childhood friend (the eponymous Tyler).
WH Rebelz: As a fan of movies, what would you say are your top 5 favourite movies of all time?
Bobby Calloway: Top five of all time? Only five? Jesus.
First of all, have to mention Aliens. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world when I was thirteen, and it still holds up! It was really my gateway to the sci-fi genre, and I eternally thank James Cameron.
I was a Disney kid, so we have to include one of their films in there. I’m going to go with Sleeping Beauty for how much of an impact it made on me and my childhood. It’s a masterpiece of animation and the whole film is just amazing to look at.
Going for something grittier, I’ll pick A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints – an indie drama featuring some of the best work from Robert Downey Jr, Shia Le Beouf, Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson and Melonie Diaz. It really struck me when I saw it two years ago. I’d love to do a stage version of it at some point.
Of course you can’t not mention Lord of the Rings – which really got me and so many others interested in filmmaking itself. If only one film can represent the trilogy, we’ll go with Fellowship of the Ring. That’s my favourite of the bunch, because it has more Sean Bean. If the option is more Sean Bean or not more Sean Bean, you have to pick more Sean Bean. Why would you not want more Sean Bean?
I really love war films, so why not include Saving Private Ryan? Pretty much every war film I’ve watched since seeing that I’ve kind of hated for not being that.
WH Rebelz: Whom has been your favourite person to work with in 2018, and whom would you like to work with in 2019?
Bobby Calloway: Favourite person to work with in 2018…it’s a tie.
First is Paul Sparkes, who played my older brother Shane in High & Tight. I met him at a No WiFi meeting earlier this year, bumped into him at an audition a few weeks later and ended up hanging out with him for a couple of hours afterwards. Having seen some of his work beforehand, I knew he was right for the part, and offered it shortly afterwards. He brought such an intensity and vulnerability to the character, it blows me away. I legit don’t see him when I watch the film – he becomes that character. Pretty much any time I see him, we just become Scott and Shane for a while. Someone said “I can’t un-see you and Paul as brothers now” and we pretty much are at this stage.
Second is Andrew McNeill, who I acted alongside in a World War I short called Victories. I honestly struggle to find the words for how great he was to work with. When the film was screened, a lot of people praised the chemistry between us – which is a credit to how easy he is to work with. We met and had one rehearsal beforehand, and I stayed in his house during filming – so acting alongside him felt pretty natural. He put a lot of heart into his role, and it really shows in the final film. You should see some of his other work. He does a southern American accent so well it’s weird to hear him speak au naturale.
It’s also a tie for who I’d like to work with in 2019.
Going back to Victories there was an actor called James McKenzie who had a small part towards the end. The sneaky little fucker said beforehand he might need my help making sure his English accent was okay – and he didn’t slip once in the scene. He sounded more English than I do! When I was talking about him to a friend, said friend said I’d never described anyone as “fucking unreal” before. So he’ll be starring alongside me in Passing – mentioned above.
The other person I can’t wait to work with is a promising Liverpool boy called Luke Anthony Jr. I’m going to take you back to the summer of 2017. A few actors had posted their reels online and I was watching a them to be polite. I saw Luke’s reel and I was blown away. I literally added him on all platforms and said “you have no idea who I am but I just saw your reel and you are fucking amazing” – he’s got a real James Dean vibe to him. Definitely a star in the making. And he’ll be playing Tyler in Letters To Tyler. I actually had real trouble with that character when writing the script. I wanted to flesh him out but just couldn’t think of anything. Then one day I thought “what if Luke plays Tyler?” and the inspiration just flowed. In addition to acting, he’s also a great headshot photographer – so check him out.
WH Rebelz: So, if you had to pick, Marvel or DC?
Bobby Calloway: Gonna have to go with Marvel. No disrespect to DC, but Marvel have the X-Men and that’s a deal breaker for me.
WH Rebelz: If you could guest star on an episode of any television show, what would be your role and why?
Bobby Calloway: Any TV show ever? Or one that’s currently airing?
If ever I’d love to have been on Once Upon A Time playing Prince Philip. He was my hero when I was a kid, so playing him would be the dream. But I liked what Julian Morris did so no harm done (and I got to meet him when I did a day on Little Women back in 2017!)
Currently airing I’d have to say Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I loved the original and still watch it, but this new version is pretty great too. I’d have to be a witch and show those Weird Sisters a thing or two at the Academy.
And truth be told I’d love a voice role on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Let me voice someone who’s in love with Pinkie Pie, and I’ll pretty much be playing myself.
Bobby Calloway’s Social Media links: