Photo Credit: Brandon Soder
New Mexico is a bit of a ways from Hollywood, but after finding some success as an actor, Sam Quinn found himself back in his native land for his biggest role yet. The actor has certainly explored various theatre and music scenes, but nothing compares to his adventure in the highly anticipated film, Jane Got A Gun.
You've most likely heard of it. The sprightly Western has been making headlines since Natalie Portman was announced to play the title role back in 2012. Jane Got A Gun follows Jane (Portman) who must defend her family from a vengeful outlaw (Ewan McGregor) and his gang of killers in the Old West with help from her ex-fiancé (Joel Edgerton). Sam plays Jeremiah, who is part of the gang and preys upon Jane.
We caught up with Sam to discuss the recently released film, his career and what's next.
RP: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
SQ: I started taking theatre pretty seriously in high school. I went to a performing arts high school in San Antonio, Texas, not too different from the one in the Musical, Fame. We were trained in acting, vocal performance, and dance. The program was very similar to a conservatory but for high school students. By my senior year, I was pretty certain I wanted to persue acting as a career.
RP: What was your first "gig?”
SQ: My first professional theatre gig was at a storefront theatre in Chicago, playing David Bowie in a comedic holiday show that poked fun at Christmas special type shows that were popular in the 1980's. It was a blast.
RP: Sounds like it. I'm sure your role in Jane Got a Gun was as well - Congratulations! How did you get involved? Was it a regular audition situation?
SQ: Thank you! It was a pretty straight forward audition process. I think I had the initial audition and then two callbacks in front of a few producers and the project's original director, Lynne Ramsey.
RP: You play Slow Jeremiah, a member of Colin McCann's (played by Ewan McGregor) gang. What can you tell us about your character?
SQ: Slow Jeremiah is a slimy, lecherous outlaw. Between his tattooed face and rotting teeth, he's pretty hard to miss. He's not the kind of guy you'd want to share a cup of tea with.
RP: What did you learn from working so closely with Ewan McGregor?
SQ: He was just so darn humble. It was really refreshing being around such a talented, easy going, and down-to-earth superstar.
RP: The whole cast is stacked! What was it like working with talent Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton?
SQ: Natalie was a sweetheart and Joel was the epitome of a professional. When Joel wasn't acting he was discussing the next shot with director, Gavin O'Connor, or assisting in rewrites with Anthony Tambakis. He really hustled to make the film as good as it could possibly be.
RP: And how did it feel to film in New Mexico, your home?
SQ: It's always nice to have the homefield advantage. I'll never grow tired of New Mexico's breathtaking sunsets and unique southwest aesthetic. When I had a day off from shooting I could drive an hour away and grab lunch with my mom. It was a pretty comfy gig.
RP: The project has been in the making for quite some time. What do you hope the results will be once people see the film?
SQ: I hope that people will go see the film with an open mind regarding the uncontrollable events that were the source of the film's troubled past. I'm very excited to see Jane finally reach an audience and hope people enjoy the story and recognize all the hard work and creativity that's been pumped into this film.
Sam at the Jane Got A Gun premiere.
RP: What do you take away, overall, from that experience?
SQ: Never quit. Any idea can become a reality and every problem has a solution.
RP: On a different note, I know you study comedy. This is a tough one, but what do you think makes for the perfect comedic moment?
SQ: Woof. Hard question, but I'll take a stab at it. I think perfect comedic moments are made from taking simple, relatable ideas and turning them on their head in a unique, unassuming way. And of course, timing/delivery is vital. Here's a simple example of that hypothesis: A stewardess asks a passenger on an airplane if he'd like a snack, he chooses pretzels, the stewardess then asks if he'd like something to drink, he hastily says no, she leaves and a minute later, with a dry mouth full of pretzels, the man says to himself "I've made a huge mistake." (I'm answering this interview on an airplane right now, hence the airline humor).
RP: Any upcoming projects you'd like to share?
SQ: In the spring you can catch me sharing some screen time with Nick Nolte on his new TV show, Graves. And later this year, my rock band, Virtual Friday, will be releasing it's debut album.
RP: Cool! To end on an inspiring note for our readers, what is the most valuable piece of advice you have for aspiring actors?
SQ: Find something else that makes you happy, and when you're not auditioning or acting, do that. Actors accumulate a lot of stress and anxiety, so we need to find productive ways to take our mind off that last audition. Learn to play an instrument, take language classes, start a podcast, or whatever. Your well-being will thank you for it!
RP: Thank you so much for your time!
SQ: It was my pleasure :).
You can catch Sam's performance in Jane Got A Gun in theatres now.