Henry Ian Cusick

Henry Ian Cusick

Henry Ian Cusick teamed up with Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber last year for Not Another Happy Ending, a movie that is now heading to DVD.

We caught up with Cusick to chat about the film, shooting in Scotland, and making his directorial debut.

- Not Another Happy Ending is about to be released on DVD here in the UK, so can you tell me a little bit about the film?

Not Another Happy Ending is a romantic comedy starring Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber. It is about these two characters and their relationships.

Like most romantic comedies, it is about miscommunication, falling in love, falling out of love, and getting back into love.

My character is a dastardly character who gets in the way; he is the one who you don't want Karen to end up with.

- You take on the role of Willie in the film, what was it about this character and David Solomon’s script that you really drew you to the project?

I hadn't worked in Scotland for such a long time, and I was really eager to get back home: not only to work, but also to see friends and family.

This opportunity came up. I got a call asking me if I wanted to do this role, and I had only done a romantic comedy one before.

I thought I could do something fun with the part and it was a very charming script. Therefore, it ticked a lot of the boxes, and so I wanted to do it.

- Can you talk a bit about your character and how we are going to see him develop throughout the film? As you say, he has a dastardly side to him.

Yes, he does have a bit of that. His backstory is that he was quite a successful writer back in the day. He went off to America, but didn't really make it.

He came back home to Scotland and is living off that one thing he did many years ago. He hooks up with Karen's character and is trying to feed off her talent. She finally realises what he is up to and goes back to Tom.

- You have mentioned that you have only done one romantic comedy before, so how did you find stepping into this genre?

I have mainly been working over here in the U.S. on drama and stuff like that.

I like romantic comedies as it is a fun and light thing to get involved with. I would like to do more of it. However, I don't see it as daunting; if a script is good then it should work.

- The movie sees John McKay in the director's chair, so how did you find working with him? What kind of director is he?

I had come across his early work He is very bright and a very articulate and intelligent director. I loved his ideas of what how he was planning to shoot it; I think Glasgow looks absolutely beautiful.

I think he has made some really clever choices. I read the character fairly straight, but he said to me 'how are you going to make this character delicious?'

He was very keen that I play my character a little bit heightened and a little bit bigger than real life. I went with that because I trusted him.

- How collaborative filmmaker is he? Or did he very much stick to the vision that he had for the piece?

It is very much his vision. I was pretty much an actor for hire; I came in and did my role. We did have conversations before filming during the read through and rehearsals.

I understand that as an actor: I am there to help create the director's vision. I am very much behind that.

- You have mentioned the likes of Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber on the cast list, so what was the feeling like on set?

It was very much a skeleton crew. I had just done some low budget projects in New York - I love doing low budget movies.

It was very well organised but it was a skeleton crew - there was hardly anyone there; it is amazing how beautiful it looks with so few people. It was efficient, it was well run and fun. But I remember thinking 'wow, there is nobody here'.

- We have seen you move between TV and film throughout your career, how do you find the two mediums compare/differ?

I have also done a lot of theatre; that is where I started off. My theatre background is probably more extensive then my film and I have done a fair bit of television.

In film, there is a lot more hanging around. TV, which I really enjoy, is very fast; you shoot quickly and you make decisions quickly.

In film, I think that you do have a little more time to invest in the character compared to television where you are shooting from the hip and making quick choices. It is the speed of things that is the major difference - certainly in my experience.

- How imporant is it for you as an actor to be able to move between the three mediums?

As actors, we always want to say that we can do anything and everything. If the right opportunity comes up, I am happy to work in any medium. Television is the one that I do work in the most and I am the most comfortable in.

I haven't done any theatre in a long time. I am not really interested in doing any classical theatre, but I would love to do some new writing. Of course, if you get to do a big film then that is great.

- We also saw you move into the director's chair last year with short film Dress, how did you find that experience?

Yes, I have just directed a short film, and it is playing at some festivals here in the U.S. That was interesting, and I have a whole new respect for other people in the business.

It was just good to get a different perspective on the business. It was also something that I really enjoyed doing; I directed, wrote with my wife.

Working together and working with friends was a lot of fun. I am very pleased with how it came out. It was a great learning curve for me.

- It is playing on the festival circuit over in America, so how are you finding the response?

We played and won the audience award here in Hawaii; I was so happy that it got such a good response. It is going to play three or four festivals on the mainland now.

I have never done the festival circuit, and so I am looking forward to going along and meeting all these filmmakers and having that sort of experience.

- You directed, wrote, and produced this piece, so now that you have made that leap, how much is being behind the camera something you want to explore a little more? How did you find the transition away from the front of the camera?

For me, it was a natural transition. You get to a certain age and you feel like you can make more contribution than just act.

I feel that I know enough now to do a little bit more than act; I think that it is a natural progression for a lot of actors who want a little bit more control of what they are doing and in their lives. It just seemed very normal.

The pre-production was a bit tiresome. The production itself, I enjoyed immensely. The post-production was something that I had never really done before.

For me, that was not only the most expensive part of the process but also the most interesting. I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I did learn a lot very quickly.

- How do you feel that being an actor helps you as a director?

I can certainly communicate with actors better. I understand what they are going through before you say 'action', the insecurities, trying to figure out stuff and trying to make their own reality.

Technically, I am not as prolific, so I do think I need to work on other sides of what I can do. Getting performances from actors is something that I am quite strong at.

Also, I have been doing this for twenty-five years, and so I should know something by now. I don't credit myself with being honest and saying 'I do know a fair bit and I can do more than just say my lines in front of camera.

- Finally, what is next for you?

I am trying to get my directing credits under my belt, so I have some projects that I am working on here in Hawaii.

I am also doing a television show, which is coming out here in America in March called The Hundred; that is a sci-fi series set in the future after the world has been destroyed by a nuclear war. The only survivors are the ones in space, and they are trying to come back down to earth. It is a very fun show.

Not Another Happy Ending is released on DVD 10th February.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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