10 THINGS – Jeff Gum
10 Things with Jeff Gum
How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
My first taste for the film industry was on the movie set for the film ‘That Thing You do’. I fell in love with the process and that really started the ball rolling for me. The movie starred Tom Hanks and Johnathan Schaech – who I have just starred alongside in the cult remake: ‘Day of The Dead -Bloodline.’ I studied acting at Playhouse West in North Hollywood. Funnily enough, I trained there with James Franco and have recently worked with him in ‘The Vault’, which is also to be released this year. It’s quite cool how things come back around.
Which actors work do you admire and which ones have had a positive impact on your career thus far?
I admire the work of so many great actors. Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman, Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, just to name a few. They’ve had an impact on my career with the type of roles they choose. They’ve never allowed themselves to be typecast and they can convince you in any role that’s thrown at them. That variety of characters is something I am very conscious of when choosing projects.
You’ve done a fair amount of television and film work. From your perspective, what are the major differences between the workflow of both platforms and which one do you prefer?
I prefer film due to the slower nature of the process. I feel that the greater prep time involved in film yields a much deeper creative process. With that said, TV has really come around in recent years and the process is becoming more and more similar to that of making a movie. So, you get a lot of time to dive into a character with TV too these days, as there is far more storytelling time to find a real arc.
What types of characters excite you the most when bringing them to life on screen?
I love characters that I can delve into the mindset of – it’s a given that no one wants to play a 2 dimensional character but some are still even more complicated than others. Villains are the most fun to play for me, they’re usually that way for a reason and I love the process of finding out why that is and their back story of how they got there and became that way. One man’s villain is always another man’s hero and it’s a really interesting character type to prep for – finding both who is and what are their weak spots, and when and why they finally show it. It’s often quite liberating to be able to break the barriers of the stereotypical villain.
Your latest project is The Vault, which also stars James Franco and Taryn Manning. How were you first introduced to the film and what made you decide to be a part of it?
I was introduced to The Vault by producers. They gave me the script to read and I was instantly intrigued by how different of a movie it was. It’s not a horror movie I’ve ever seen or done before, so I was really excited to be a part of something new and unique like that. Also, with the talent attached to it, (James Franco, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood) I knew it was going to be a great project and I hope people are as happy as we are with the result.
In the film, you play the role of James Aiken. What can you tell us about James’ personality and what makes him tick?
Aiken is a good guy caught up in a bad situation. Once he loses control of the bank and becomes a hostage, he puts himself in a situation where he ends up helping the bank robbers so he can save the lives of the hostages. Unfortunately, this leads the police on the outside to think he is part of the robbery itself and has created an “inside job”. He’s an innocent guy, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, but rises to the moment.
What can viewers expect to see from James and the rest of the crew on The Vault?
Expect to see what happens when a bank heist goes wrong, horrifically wrong. The film is action packed and filled with suspense. I really hope the audience has as much fun watching it as we did making it.
When it comes to your everyday fashion, which designers and styles appeal to you most?
I guess it depends on what I’m doing. I’m a T-shirt and jeans guy most of the time. The rest of the time… I’m a T-shirt and jeans guy!
We look forward to seeing you in The Vault. What other projects do you have coming up?
Day of the Dead, which is a remake George A. Romero’s 1985 cult classic Day of the Dead. I star alongside Sophie Skelton and Johnathon Schaech and play Miguel Salazar who is based on the Captain Rhodes character of the Romero classic. It’s an epic take on the original with some really awesome twists. It’s wonderful to have been a part of George’s legacy before his recent unfortunate passing and I’m so humbled to be alongside such a great team of people honoring both him and that legacy.
The Forgiven, a film about Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forest Whitaker) in the post Apartheid era meeting with Piet Blomfeld (Eric Bana), a brutal murderer seeking redemption. I play Francois Schmidt, a former brother in arms to Bana’s character from their hit squad days. Schmidt is a villain to both Desmond Tutu and Piet Blomfeld throughout the film.
Photos: Steven William