Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interview: Chris Kerson and Will Blagrove Talk 'Cost of a Soul'

Read Shockya's roundtable interview with actors Chris Kerson and Will Blagrove, who portray Tommy Donahue and DD Davis, respectively, in the new independent crime drama ‘Cost of a Soul.’ The movie follows the two soldiers who have recently returned home to North Philadelphia after serving in Iraq. Tommy and DD must not only readjust to civilian life, but learn how to cope with the crime, violence and drugs that are plaguing the streets of their slum neighborhood. Rogue will release ‘Cost of a Soul’ into 50 theaters across the country on May 20, 2011, as part of the AMC Independent program. Kerson and Blagrove discuss, among other things, how they prepared for their roles and what characteristics they feel make a good soldier.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Question (Q): Can you give us your background?

Will Blagrove (WB): I went to Benjamin Cardozo High School in Douglaston (New York). I went to St. John’s University in Queens. I was born in Jamaica, Queens.

Q: Do your parents still live in Queens?

WB: Yes, both of my parents are still in Queens. They’re actually from Jamaica Jamaica. Yay mon! But yeah, they still live in Jamaica, Queens.

Q: When you’re in New York, do you still spend time with them?

WB: Yes, I just got a good home cooked meal!

Chris Kerson (CK): I’m from Westchester (New York), and I live in Westchestser now. But I was born in New York City, and my father’s from New York City. My mother’s from Westchester, so I would go back and forth between the two a lot. But I went to Westchester high schools and all that. I had an apartment in Mamoroneck (New York) for a time. I went to college down in Virginia. I’ll say it, and all of a sudden, the accent comes back. I attended William and Mary. I also spent a little time in Los Angeles. But I’ve been back ever since.

Q: How long have you been back?

CK: I would say over ten years.

Q: Will, did you study acting at St. John’s?

WB: No. I studied at the William Esper Studio (in New York). I studied with William Esper.

Q: So what did you study at St. John’s then?

WB: Law. I was going to be a lawyer! I did this United Negro College Fund spot with Spike Lee. I said, “Maybe I should try the acting!” You gotta go where life takes you. Sometimes life tells you to go left. sometimes we go right for some reason.

CK: I was a psychology major at William and Mary. I had a job as an investment banker, in corporate finance. I was at the trading floor at 277 Park Avenue. I was hired by DLJ (investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette). I had a summer internship, where I was working 100-120 hours a week. My family was so excited because they thought I was going to make all this money coming out of college. Then I got an acting class my last semester of college. My teacher at the time, John Goodlan, said “You’ve done some of the best work I’ve ever seen here.” We had some good people come out of there, like Glenn Close. He said “I really think you should reconsider what you’re doing.” I came to New York and studied with Al Pacino’s mentor, Charlie Laughton. That’s one of the reasons why I went to L.A. to study one-on-one with him. I jumped in, and didn’t look back with the investment banking. My family wouldn’t talk to me for like two or three years after that.

Q: Was that a downside?

CK: That was one of the downsides My father was a poor Jewish kid from Brooklyn and the Bronx who wanted to see his son have his finances secure. that was very important to him. I was going into a profession where only half of a percent of people we hear about. It was a tough situation. If it’s what I’m supposed to do, so be it.

To read the rest of this interview, please click here.

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