Clifton Collins Jr., Exclusive Interview with Cinema Static

An interview with Clifton Collins Jr. with Cinema Static

Back in July of ’09 I was lucky enough to be able to interview Clifton Collins Jr..  (This is a redux of my interview that got scrapped at my old site’s host.  Grr.)

At first, when I mention Clifton to friends, they say who?  Yea, imagine that.  My readers:  Don’t you dare say who!  In fact, by the end of this article, you’ll know who and in fact, you may have seen him in numerous films.

In fact you may have seen him most recently in films like J.J. Abrams Star Trek (as Ayel), Troy Duffy’s Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (as Romeo), Mike Judge’s Extract (as Step), Crank: High Voltage (as El Huron) or The Perfect Game (as Cesar).  If you dwell on just these roles alone, the diversity or range of roles and appearances is astounding.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You can catch him in his upcoming roles in Paul Scheuring’s The Experiment (as Nix); Freeloaders or The FP.

When I had a chance to chat with Clifton, he was fun to talk with and we covered a lot of territory.  He has a seemingly abundant amount of energy and a multitude of aspirations.

His aspirations don’t just include a myriad of roles, but he’s also produced or co-produced 4 of his on films:  Tom Cool, Little Chenier, Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders and TV: The Movie.  But wait, despite all that, he carves out the time to direct music videos.  On his birthday he won “The Best Breakthrough Video of the Year” at the 2009 CMT Music Awards.  The music video was for The Zac Brown Band.

I just finished up watching J.J.Abrams Star Trek.  Clifton told me that his approach to portraying Ayel was to remember that as a commanding officer, he does his best to serve his boss, all the while keeping it close to his heart that there’s an underlying source of evil to the character.
Check out the time I spent with Clifton and what we chatted about:

An Exclusive Cinema Static Interview with Clifton Collins Jr
Below are my questions.  If Clifton Collins Jr. is super limited in time, the questions in bold are more important to me than the others.

Q:  You’ve played a lot of roles and I admire that kind of character range.  Sometimes you see actors in different parts and, well, they’re that actor in a different role.  But the range of characters you’ve portrayed rocks.   How do you switch into these different roles?

A: I ask myself who am I?
He said with his circle of friends he has different influences that helps with addressing different roles..  He’s able to quickly acclimate to different environments and from watching his grandfather when he was acting with John Wayne.

Depending on the role, he’ll call up different cities and talk to locals and listen to their accents and how they sound.  He disappears into his characters.

Q:  I see you played serial killer Kenneth Bianchi in Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders.   How do you prepare for a role like that?  How do you get into something like that?  Was it odd co-producing your own project?

A- This was one of the few roles he had a difficult time with.  It was fun to explore but he had to find a way to make Bianci’s actions feel O.K..  He read 2 books & watched documentary footage.  Clifton said it built up his own threshold for this subject but often found himself in an ugly, dark place.

He said that his portrayal of Bianchi shook up the crew at times.

I wondered out loud to Clifton that with Bianchi under his belt, if he had possibly auditioned for the Showtime series Dexter?

He said that he had a creative meaning with creators but the studio was looking for someone older

Q:  Is there anything you can tell us about yourself or your plans, something new to tell fans and maybe new fans alike that you haven’t told anyone else?

A-  I have lots of music videos coming out as a director.
Throughout the entire conversation the one thing that resonated from Clifton was that he always remembers where he’s from.  He’s a 4th generation actor.  His grandfather was Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez.  Pedro usually played the humorous western sidekick from the 50’s and 60’s.  Still curious?  Think innkeeper from Rio Bravo.

My last question for Clifton Collins Jr:

Q:  Where do you see yourself when you’re settled down, sitting in that rocking chair, looking back – what would you like to be proud of in the accomplishment department?

A-  The fact I made a difference, touched people’s lives, allowed people to forget their problems for just a few hours, to be able to say I was that guy that helped them do that.


And sadly, that was it for our conversation.  Despite being a busy man, he made me feel relaxed in the conversation…  as if he had all the time in the world for me.  That’s a rare thing, especially from a man who’se IMDB credits show 41 different film and television projects since 2000!
“Alias” …. Javier Parez (3 episodes, 2003)
“Fear Itself” …. Richard ‘Family Man’ Brautigan (1 episode, 2008)
“Masters of Science Fiction” …. Frendon Blythe (1 episode, 2007)
“Resurrection Blvd.” …. James Garcia (3 episodes, 2000-2001)
“The Shield” …. Hernan (2 episodes, 2007)
“The Twilight Zone” …. Andy Perez (1 episode, 2002)
“Thief” …. Jack “Bump” Hill (6 episodes, 2006)
American Girl (2002/I) …. Buddy
Babel (2006) …. Officer at Border Crossing
Bounty Hunters (2005) (TV) …. Mouse
Brothers (2009/I) …. Major Cavazos
Capote (2005) …. Perry Smith
Crank: High Voltage (2009) …. El Huron
Dirty (2005) …. Officer Armando Sancho
Extract (2009) …. Step
Freeloaders (2009) (post-production)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) (VG) (voice) …. Cesar Vialpando
Hip, Edgy, Sexy, Cool (2002)
Horsemen (2009) …. Stingray
I Witness (2003) …. Claudio Castillo
Lessons Learned (2000) (TV)
Life of the Party (2005) …. Kipp
Little Chenier (2006) …. T-Boy Trahan
Mindhunters (2004) …. Vince Sherman
Price of Glory (2000) …. Jimmy Ortega
Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders (2006) …. Kenneth Bianchi
Road Dogz (2000) …. Raymo Serrano
Star Trek (2009) …. Ayel
Still Waters (2008) …. Jacob
Sunshine Cleaning (2008) …. Winston
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009) …. Romeo
The Experiment (2010/I) (post-production) …. Nix
The FP (2009) (post-production) …. CC Jam
The Last Castle (2001) …. Cpl. Ramon Aguilar
The Perfect Game (2009) …. Cesar
The Rules of Attraction (2002) …. Rupert
Tigerland (2000) …. Pvt. Miter
Tom Cool (2009) …. Tom Picasso
Traffic (2000) …. Francisco Flores
TV: The Movie (2006)
Undefeated (2003) (TV) …. Loco

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