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Exclusive Interview with Caleb Ruminer from MTV’s Finding Carter

FlgMePJ6For a relative newcomer to the world of television acting, Caleb Ruminer is already establishing himself as a person to watch. One of his first guest appearances was on the hit ABC show, Castle, with Nathan Fillion.  Not long after, he booked the role of  – the main love interest of the title character – on MTV’s Finding Carter.

Keep reading to find out how he got into acting, what goes on behind the scenes of Finding Carter, what he can tell us about “Crash” in Season 2B, and what he’s working on doing next.

How’s your week going? 

“Not too bad, actually. Not too busy other than, I just flew down to Atlanta and I’m shooting later today. I just have one really fast scene and then I’m back to L.A. tomorrow. So yeah, it’s a quick trip. This is the second quick trip that I’ve had in the last two weeks. Before that I’d been in L.A. for about a month and a half, off from the show while things were still going on in Atlanta. I kinda pop in and then go back out to L.A. (laughs). That’s kinda how it goes.” 

At least you have a very popular character.

“Right, right. (Laughs) I was actually just joking about this yesterday. ‘Cause I got in and I had to go into fitting and, every time I come in – of course, first season I was in for a while – but even at the end of first season and second season so far, I kinda just, I come in at the end of the season and everything just gets really messed up and then I leave again. (Chuckles) It kinda seems to be a pattern. I just come in and mess everything up and then leave and go away to jail or the army or something. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.” 

I don’t know but it seems to be working for you.

“(Laughs) Yeah. It seems to be going ok.”

What made you decide to go into acting? 

“I was really little. In, like, third grade. I saw the movie Spy Kids and I really wanted to be a spy. (Laughs). I always really liked running around and playing with fake guns. I would pretend to be a spy and stuff. My friend and me would play spies all day. My dad would be mowing the lawn and I would pretend-shoot at my dad while he was mowing the backyard (chuckles). I guess that’s where the creativity came from.

Me and my brother would always do – I don’t know if you’ve ever had just some sparkling cider – my mom would have that and it looked like wine bottle. I would pour some for my brother, and me. I was way too young to be, but I’d be pretending to be drunk at the kitchen table. My mom would get mad at us. (Laughs).

I was always doing stuff like that. Then I guess my mom kinda saw that in my brother and me and got us into the drama group at our church. We started performing skits that we would come up with for church. Then I went into Forensics…an acting thing in Arkansas. I did that and I went into theater in high school and I guess that’s where it all stemmed from. Doing skits and stuff in church was the first time I ever really performed. In high school I continued to do plays and musicals. Then as a student in college.”

So how did you get into it as far as auditions and all of that?

“I went to L.A. for college to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. That was the only way my mom would let me go out to L.A. (if I was in school). I took off for the summer and went home and when I was home I did a thing called Pro-Scout. I don’t think they’re even in business anymore, but it’s like a big convention where they invite – they have connections with all these agents and managers – 35 representatives from New York, L.A. and New Orleans.

Pro-Scout was in New Orleans. So I went down there and I met Shepherd Smith, who is my manager now. He’s based in L.A. so when I went back to school after I took off for the summer, I met up with him and he started trying to get me auditions. He set me up with my agent and we just started getting as many auditions as I could. Since I’ve graduated, I’ve just been full-time auditioning. It took about 8 or 9 months to really kind of get my foot in the door.

Once I met my manager, we started – you kind of have to get new headshots and you’re trying to meet people. You’re really just trying to go into casting rooms to get your face out there a lot. You end up going to the same rooms like 3 or 4 times until they’re finally like, ‘Hey! I remember you!’ Then they really start paying attention more. You end up going back in to see the same people at auditions.”

It’s a lot about who you know. 

“Yeah…it is. And you hear people say that a lot but you don’t get to know people until you’ve started to do the same thing over and over. Like going into the same auditions and like I said, my manager set me up with my agent and I was really only represented commercially by the agency. Once I did a couple of commercials, then they kinda trusted me more with their head agent, Stella. She started representing me theatrically and putting me out for TV shows. 

It is about who you know but you have to build that trust and that relationship over time with them. Even still, now, I try to work with Scott Spear who came on this year as a producer for Finding Carter. He did the pilot episode. I’m still trying to work with him, and a bunch of other people. You meet people along the way.”

Now that you’re actually into it, what does your family think of it? Is your mom ok with it now? 

“Yeah, yeah, she’s ok with it. (Chuckles). She’s ok with me acting drunk now, I guess. No, she loves it. My mom actually did some commercials when she was younger. I think after she graduated high school, she went to college in Oklahoma and was trying to, really just trying to do anything, to see what she was interested in. My mom in that aspect, she doesn’t mind me doing it. She lives vicariously, I think, sometimes.

Actually, my whole family…my dad loves movies. My brother loves movies. My dad really likes history so he likes the stories. He really loves anything that has to do with history. Whenever any movies come out about history or anything like that, he loves watching them. Even my sister-in-law, she graduated from Arkansas State University in Film and Theater, so the whole family’s kind of in and around performing. They love it.

None of them really do it professionally now. They all have other things. But that was my exposure to movies and stories and stuff growing up. They’re all extremely, extremely supportive. They’re the ones that I call whenever I get a script and I’m like, ‘Well…I don’t know…’ so I send it to them and they’re like, ‘Well, I wouldn’t do it,’ or, ‘I would do it. I love it.’ “

In what ways are you like Crash or is Crash like you? What do you bring to the character that is you?

“We’re very different. I guess we’re a little more alike now than we were in the first season. He..,was not a great guy. Not that I’m a great guy. But the one thing I enjoy telling people is we have the same favorite sound. Because in episode…I think it was 9 or 10 of the first season, we did a scene where Kat [Kathryn Prescott who plays Carter] and I were in a truck. We’re supposed to be driving away, like leaving town, and we start playing games and she asks, ‘What’s your favorite sound?’ That was all improvised. Our director and producer that were on set wanted to kind of mix it up some and wanted it to feel more free. We improvised a lot of it and Kathryn Prescott asked me what my favorite sound was and my response was ‘a train in the distance.’ So Crash and I share the same favorite sound. (Laughs). That’s something that a lot of people don’t know, but that comes from my house in Arkansas, a few miles away from the train track. I could always hear the train late at night so that’s kind of interesting.

10269423_459233150903067_9160322086069551056_nI guess we don’t have a lot of similarities. I don’t know. Umm…what else is there? We’re the same height, the same age (chuckles). Crash has a real love for Carter and I have a real love for my friends, so that’s pretty similar, too, I guess. I never went into the army though…”

Have you ever been to Fort Bragg? 

“No, I haven’t been to Fort Bragg. I looked it up when I saw it was in the script. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ We’re supposed to be based in Virginia, I think. I don’t know how the placement system works or anything. I didn’t know anything about it so I had to look up a lot of information when I found out about that. It was interesting. I’m glad they used a real place. That’s cool.”

With Crash being so different from you, have you had to do a lot of research on all the crazy things that he’s done?

“Yeah, especially in the first season! He comes in and the first time we see him, he’s in a police station and selling drugs and then caught for everything. That’s all stuff that I had to feel out because I think the worst thing I did was shoot bottle rockets when I was a kid in my neighborhood. That was pretty risky (chuckles).

There were a lot of times during the first season that I would kind of go – not to go too method as an actor – but I would try to wake up really early so that I didn’t get as much sleep. Since I knew that Crash would be tired. I knew, especially when they were out on the run at the end of the first season, he wasn’t sleeping a lot. He was sleeping in a truck. So I would stay up late and then get up early and try to – uh, I didn’t function as well. (Laughs). I would try to take a nap on set or something. Just to kind of look tired and feel how he would be feeling. It really made me an emotional wreck (laughs).

Every time I would do a scene and I would get emotional, it would just kind of come out. People don’t realize when you don’t get sleep it’s terrible! The scene where Crash gets caught, when Carter kind of rats him out and the cops follow her, that whole scene was shot at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning and we had all gone without sleep. We were all really exhausted.”

Do you have a favorite story from set? Or from hanging out with the cast or anything like that?

“The whoopy cushion prank. You might have heard about that one. That one is pretty hysterical. There was a bet that Cynthia Watros [who plays Elizabeth Wilson] made in the beginning of the first season. I think Zac [Pullam – who plays Grant Wilson] had brought a whoopy cushion to set and was trying to get everyone. He’d try and slip it under their seat or something. Cynthia said, ‘I will give everyone 50 bucks if you can get me with the whoopy cushion by the end of the season.’ She was on guard all the time. I mean, the whole season, she would come near a chair and then look at it and then sit down. Everywhere she sat. All the time. Which was hilarious to see. Especially when Zac wouldn’t be on set and I’d be like, ‘ Cynthia, it’s just me. I don’t have a whoopy cushion.’ (Laughs)

One of the very last scenes we shot in the last episode, they were in the hospital and the director (Peter Lauer) got in on it. They got all the footage they needed and then Peter came in and gave Cynthia a note and said, ‘I really want you to be really quiet, really reserved, and just sit down and be quiet.’ And she said, ‘Ok…I’ll do that.’ So when you watch (chuckles), watch it back, I think Anna [Jacoby-Heron who plays Taylor Wilson] had slipped it under the cushion of the couch Cynthia was sitting on. When Cynthia sat down you can hear it go off and her face just goes flush. At first she didn’t know what it was and then she was like, ‘You gotta be kidding me!’

Everyone, the whole set, was in on it. It was hilarious! That was a lot of fun. I wasn’t even on that day, well, I wasn’t supposed to be on, but I came on set just to kinda hang out and I got to see that. (Laughs).  

Other than that, we film in Atlanta, in Georgia, so it’s so hot during the summer. There’ve been a few times where we’ve had to kind of slow down ’cause it was burning up and we’re in like two layers of clothing. We’ll have to stop shooting for a second just to freshen up. I know for a fact that I’ve stopped a scene because there was sweat running down my face (laughs). They had to cut and then fix it. I was like, ‘I can’t help it! I don’t know what else to do!’ That’s been kinda crazy. When we’re shooting inside one of the old cars that we have, they turn the air conditioning off for sound, so yeah…”

This one came from one of your fans. Can you pick two words to describe Crash in 2B?

“Oh, in Season 2B…I’m trying to remember back at the beginning. I would say brave. I want to say brave and growing. Or growth. Something like that. I want to say reformed but he is still who he is. He’s definitely brave. Just kind of in all aspects. In what he does with Carter and then going into the military and serving the country, I think is brave. Maybe I could come up with a synonym for growth. He’s just growing as a person and really as a kid coming from where he’s come from. I guess those two. Growing and brave. That sounds kinda cool. (chuckles).”

Who’s your favorite character on the show? 

“I really like doing scenes with Max [played by Alex Saxon], because it’s fun. No other reason, but it’s fun. I really like Max’s character. If I had to choose…that’s so hard. Because I mean, you know, I love Carter [played by Kathryn Prescott]. I love doing scenes with Carter. But Max, Alex, he always makes me laugh whenever I do a scene with him.”

Have you heard what the ‘ship’ name for Carter and Crash is? 

“Is it CarCrash?”

Yeah. 

“Yeah, yeah. That’s so funny.”

I thought it was kind of fitting, at least for first season.

“Yeah. Absolutely. We found out about that in the first season. ‘Cause there was stuff going around, I guess names being optioned (laughs). Kat, she was like, ‘Did you hear about CarCrash?’ And I was like, ‘What are you…you mean a car crash has happened?’ She was like, ‘No, no no, that’s us! That’s Carter and Crash.’ I was like, ‘Aw, that’s ridiculous.’ It’s funny.”

Is it safe to say that with everything that happened in the finale that Crash is gonna stick around for a little while, support Carter? Or does he need to leave right away for the army?

“He’s definitely still around, especially at the beginning of the season. He’s definitely there to support her. She needs it, I think she needs it. Especially at the beginning with all these – she’s having a lot of things thrown at her. The whole family, really. So yeah, the first couple episodes she needs that support system. But, you know, she’s growing as well, as a person. Crash is around at the beginning to really help her and support her. That’s kind of what the whole season is about. Having that foundation, that support system. Having people you can kind of fall back on. It’ll get really interesting. I don’t even know what happens towards the end, but I know that has something to do with it. Heavily.”

Do you watch it when it’s on air, then, since you only get to see the parts that you’re filming? 

“Yeah. Definitely. I try to watch every episode that I’m not in. I definitely try to watch. The ones that I’m in, if I get to watch them I love it, but I already know what’s going on (laughs). All the scenes that I wasn’t in in Season 2A, I tried to watch. I’ll do the same for this one. I don’t like reading the scripts whenever I’m not in it. I just like to watch it after it’s already come out. Because, you know, Crash wouldn’t know – I mean, he goes away to the military – so he wouldn’t really know exactly what’s going on. I don’t want to ruin it for myself or for the character. I try to watch it every chance I get when I’m not in it. It’s more fun that way.”

Do you like watching yourself on screen? What’s that like?

“I don’t mind it that much. I don’t necessarily like watching myself, but, as of now – and that could change in the future – but I’m not overly critical of myself. I don’t bash myself whenever I watch something or think I could have done it better. I just kind of take the note and continue on. At first, I kinda liked to judge myself and then see how the audience would react. I’d go off of, or take note of both reactions – myself and the audience. And then kind of go from there. So yeah, I don’t mind it. I do like seeing what the result was, because having been on the other side of the camera, I kind of like to see where the director takes it or what the company ends up, you know, putting on the screen.”

Right. With editing and everything.

“Right, right. And music. Sometimes there’ll be a scene that I do and I don’t think it’s that major of a scene. But they’ll put the music behind it and they’ll really feature a few lines and I’m like, ‘Whoa! That was great! I didn’t think it would be that good, but that was awesome!’ (chuckles). That’s happened a few times.”

Do you have any other projects in the works?

“I’ve been auditioning a lot. I’ve been close to a few projects, but I’ve got two things in the back of my mind. Well maybe three things. I could possibly do an episode or two of another show if I get the chance. I don’t have anything going on right now, but hopefully after this season, I’ll get to do a few more things. I’ve got a couple of scripts that I’m reading and I’ll hopefully be able to work on. One of them I know is a year away from being actually made.

I’m also writing some of my own stuff. I’m trying to come up with some of my own things. And maybe I’ll be able to do a stage play. At the beginning of next year or something. I’m trying to be creative in any way that I can. I want to stretch myself a little bit, especially in down time. So that’s what I’m working on. I have been writing a lot, which is fun.”

 

Make sure to watch Finding Carter when it returns on October 6th at 10pm EST on MTV!

    

   

 

Written by Erica Schaaf

Erica is a former social worker and mother of three who has been writing since she was a child. She currently writes fanfiction for the Veronica Mars and The 100 fandoms and is published on Kindle Worlds as well as fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org. She hopes to one day have the chance to be a fly on the wall on set of her fave shows while filming!

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