Boston-bred actor, Andrew Bowen, who was raised in The Green Mountain State of Vermont, gave TNWU the opportunity to interview him about his successful acting career. Bowen studied Modern Jazz & Ballet for 12 years, has appeared in over a hundred commercials, dozen’s of TV shows, films and TV pilots. Some of his TV credits include Starz’ “Magic City,” “Mad TV,” ”Criminal Minds” and ”Leverage.” On the big screen, he has been seen in the sci-fi comedy Rock Jocks, Conjurer and The Gift. Bowen is also an established voice-over actor and has lent his talent to the WB’s Mortal Kombat X, The Saint’s Row series and the Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Read our interview with Andrew Bowen below, where we discuss his recent and upcoming feature films Tribes of Palos Verde, Po, Holidays and All For Nikki.
How old were you when you realized that you wanted to be an actor?
I was six. My parents took me to see GREASE. I walked out and said I wanted to be like John Travolta when I grew up! (Laughs). My parents said that sounds awesome, my Mom put me in dance class and the rest is history.
What was it like working with Jennifer Garner in The Tribes of Palos Verdes film?
My scene was not with Jennifer when we shot (the movie has a pretty big ensemble) so we only met at the table read but she’s incredibly nice, very funny and so talented. She’s really good in this movie.
What can you tell us about your role as Jack in the upcoming movie, Po?
Well, unfortunately not a lot “yet” (when you see the film you’ll understand why) but I portray Jack, a character that plays a very important role in Po’s (the main character played in the film by the remarkable Julian Feder) journey in the film. It’s a role the director (and my friend) John Asher wrote specifically for me – which I will forever be grateful for. I basically got to play five completely different incarnations of the character in one film. It was one of the most imaginatively fun, challenging and creatively fulfilling experiences of my entire acting career. It was an amazing shoot and the film is just phenomenal.
Have you learned more about autism through it? What’s something you didn’t know prior to filming?
Well, my eldest son has Autism. He was diagnosed when he was about four, so I already knew a lot about Autism before we shot. The script was the only one I’ve ever read that I had to put down three times because I couldn’t stop crying. It’s beautifully written by Colin Goldman (who also has a son with Autism), incredibly authentic and director John Asher just made a powerful film with a massive amount of heart and imagination. I’d been through a lot of the things David (Po’s father in the film played by Christopher Gorham) deals with in the film with my own son, so it hit very close to home.
I didn’t necessarily learn anything new about Autism while shooting – it was more of a constant reminder about the real challenges parents face raising kids in the spectrum today – and the true scale of this disorder. Autism affects 1 in 68 children born today and is the biggest childhood epidemic in human history. It affects more children than Aids, Cancer and Diabetes combined.
I think the biggest thing I took away from this experience was how much the film reinforced my own belief in how important it is to see these beauty kids for how amazing they are. That being different doesn’t have to be scary.
You have acted in a variety of film genres such as comedy in MadTV and being the voice of video game characters in Mortal Kombat X. Which is your favorite film genre to work in and why?
Well, I’m a huge sci-fi nerd and was raised on Marvel comics. So, I was watching Vision lead the Avengers before audiences ever will. So, sci-fi is definitely my favorite genre to work in – but I will love doing comedy until the day I die. Ultimately, I just like playing complex, well-written characters and working. Acting is still such a thrill for me to be able to do professionally and I feel honored and lucky to be able to make a living doing it.
How do you prepare for voice acting work as opposed to live action?
Well, with voice over you don’t get to read the script beforehand. It can be 100-200 plus lines that you’ve got just four hours to record in a typically session…. so you have to move fast! With live action, you have time to study your script, flesh out your character, make notes, build your arc and actually work with your co-stars face-to-face. In VO, it’s just you and your director, writers and producers in the studio – so you just have to be on your toes, adaptable, able to take direction quickly and trust your choices and instincts. It’s rapid-fire character development and delivery. It’s thrilling in its own way. With voice over, you really only get to make your first choice. Which, in a way, is kinda nice because most of the time as an actor when you get your dialogue, you analyze the shit out of it – only to return to your first instinct 99% of the time. (Laughs). In VO, you just have to let your craft and internal mechanics do their job.
How do you feel about being a part of the Star Wars canon?
Totally —-ing awesome! (Laughs). That’s bucket list territory there, you know. I was so jazzed when I booked DOC. Being a part of that canon is like winning the lottery. Super honored to be a part of that incredible universe.
Do you feel your training in dance made stuntwork and slapstick easier to learn and perform?
Absolutely. The best advice I could give any actor is to get dance training. Dance teaches your brain how your body moves. It gives you flexibility, teaches you timing, mimicry, rhythm, how to learn quickly from a visual standpoint and be able to translate that information into a language your body can understand. It makes learning anything from sports to martial arts so much faster to do.
There is NO WAY I’d be able to do the things I can in my career, had I not studied dance. My impressions, physical comedy, and ability to deliver believable action all came from that foundation in dance.
And on a side note – being a white guy that can “move” didn’t hurt dating in my early twenties 😉
Do you still do any musical theater work?
Not as often as I wish I could. Theater really is the actors medium – and musical theater is so much fun – but if you make your living as an actor, it’s a huge time commitment and unfortunately the pay isn’t great unless you’re on Broadway. But I’ll be back on stage again someday, that I can assure you.
What was your favorite TV show to guest star on? Why?
So far, definitely LEVERAGE. Charles Dodgson was an incredible role to book – and so rare to find when you guest-star. Most of the time guest starring on a show is one or two days of work and you’re done. “The White Rabbit Job” was two full weeks of 16-hour days. Charles was a wonderfully complex character and the episode was fantastically written by Geoffrey Thorne. The whole team on that show, from crew to cast was just incredible. I mean working with Beth, Gina, Aldis, John Rogers, P.J. Pesce directing… It was like being a part of the A-list for a few weeks.
What can you tell us about Holidays and All For Nikki?
HOLIDAYS is this really cool horror anthology produced by John Hegeman and Adam Egypt Mortimer that features eight original short “holidays” tales, each made by a different director. I starred in producer/director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s “New Years Eve” which closes the film. It’s this creepy, darkly funny tale featuring one hell of a twist, about two individuals with “not such good intentions” who end up colliding with each other on New Years Eve. Fantastically written by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (and produced by Georg Kallert and Peter Nieves), NYE was just a total blast to shoot. Reggie (the character I play) was one of those rare opportunities to completely disappear into character and me and Lorenza Izzo (who stars in it with me) just had so much fun with it – and Adam’s such a talented director. Megan Duffy is terrific in it too. Everyone involved pulled off something pretty unique and cool. I mean, you don’t get asked to premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and get released globally the next day if your movie sucks. (Laughs).
ALL FOR NIKKI is kinda a modern-day True Romance I shot in late 2014. It’s a black comedy where I play this paramedic father who makes a pretty bad choice that leads to a night from hell stuck with a coked-up couple having an affair (played in the film by Grant Harvey and Gia Mantegna), a severed finger and a crazy possessive Rock Star husband. It’s a great cast and a super fun flick that will be released later this fall.
Do you have any funny stories you can share from the NYE set?
Adam (the director) wanted to go as creepy and repulsive with my character as possible (which was awesome) so I decided to give Reggie these disgustingly dirty teeth. Most of the cast and crew could barely look at me because of them. Which, obviously, I then made a point to showcase and display whenever possible! 🙂
What are your favorite and least favorite holidays?
Favorite is tough… Halloween and Christmas are neck and neck. Least favorite?…. I don’t think there is one. I love any excuse to party with friends and family.
Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us: Do you have any nerdy inclinations?
Are you kidding? (Laughs) My wife spends most days removing the Aliens and Marvel action figures I surreptitiously place around the house. I’m currently wearing BB-8 socks, Doctor Who underwear, a Winchester Brothers tee-shirt, Guardians of the Galaxy is playing on the TV behind me – next to the two-handed broadsword of William Wallace mounted on my wall – and I have a Flux Capacitor plugged into the lighter of my car…. I couldn’t hide my nerdy if I tried. (Laughs).