Interview with Actor George Williams

ED- The Eerie Digest is extremely happy to present actor George Williams to all our readers. George, you moved to the Washington, DC area when you were young. Please tell us about this aspect of your life.

GW- I lived the majority of my life in the DC suburbs (Md. & Va.), from babyhood thru 1993. DC’s a wonderful city, full of the arts, especially music, restaurants, and theatre, and great people. It is THE typical 4-season climate. I loved it there! And still LOVE my Washington Redskins!

ED- You served in the Army and were wounded in Vietnam. You were also highly decorated. Please tell our readers know about your experiences during this period.

GW- Back in my day, the Army wasn’t all-volunteer, as it is today. You either went in, or ran and hid, or made up some scam reason to get out. I chose to go in and, as corny as it sounds, “do my duty”. After training in Ft. Bragg, NC, and Fort Knox, KY, I went to Vietnam in an armor unit (tanks) in ’70. And after 10 months, I came home with some pretty nasty scars from mortar shrapnel. It makes for an interesting conversation piece.

ED- Acting was not your original career goal, and you originally made a living for over twenty years as a musician. Please describe your musical career to us and what led you into acting.

GW- After getting out of the Army in ’71, and taking several music courses in college, I picked up where I left off in high school, playing in bands, and worked my way up to a professional level, actually making a living as a musician. While I dabbled in many instruments, electric bass was what I played professionally, plus MC’ing the bands. And I’m proud to say that 2 of my bands (Second Nature and Our Pleasure) were among the all-time best dance bands in the DC area, playing all over Md, DC, Va, and up and down the east coast. We played what is called today “Classic Rock” and “Classic R&B”, plus oldies, and even recorded many originals. But after taking this is as far as it could go, I realized, late in life (age 50) that being an actor was ALWAYS the true goal, deep down inside.

ED- Tell us about your training in this new venue.

GW- I was lucky to jump right into a GREAT acting class, led by the late master Milton Katselas, and have had many great teachers and coaches over the years, in both the theatrical and commercial arenas.

ED- Your earlier achievements included ‘Things Fall Apart’, ‘Date or Disaster’, the TV movie ‘Supersleuths: The Menendez Murders’, followed by a quick succession of projects in 2003-4, namely ‘Don: Plain & Tall’, ‘One Time Session’, ‘Betrunner’, and ‘In The Dark’. Tell us about these and how they strengthened your resolve in your new career. What were these about and what roles did you play?

GW- It was such fun to get my feet wet, and get copies of my work! Some of the early stuff was pretty bad (both my acting AND the project), but some was pretty good, and both got better as we went along. It was exceptionally exciting to see myself on the big screen at screenings (and still is!! I never lose that thrill and probably never will). It was also exciting to establish an IMDB profile and start building up some credits! Some of them were pretty cool – for example, “Bet Runner’ was directed by Vincent Spano, and the director of “Don: Plain & Tall”, Scott Peters, went on to become the creator and Exec producer of “The 4400”.

ED- You also played roles in ‘Wrigleyville’, ‘ Shattered Day’, ‘The Beast of Bray Road’, ‘Scarred’, and ‘Black Dragon Canyon’. Tell us the themes behind these and the other cast members in them.

GW- ‘Wrigleyville’ was a pilot, filmed in Chicago, which unfortunately didn’t get picked up, but was a LOT of fun to travel there and shoot it. It was about 4 college students (I was the father of one), and including some pretty established actors, such as Mark Matkevich (Dawsons Creek) and Randy Wayne (Sons and Daughters, Dukes of Hazzard). ‘Scarred’ was a horror movie, a bit formulaic (everyone got killed one by one, on a camping trip) but was great fun for many reasons: the cast & crew were great, it was my first outdoor night shoot (shot in Topanga Canyon), and I got to wear a prosthetic slit throat! And ‘Black Dragon Canyon’ was a Western, shot in the postcard scenic plateaus of Utah, so that was great to get to go there and shoot in that locale!

ED- You then appeared in ‘Ten ’til Noon’ and many popular TV shows including ‘E-Ring’, ‘House M.D’, ‘The Young and the Restless’, and ‘American Heiress’. Tell us of your interactions with your fellow actors in these.

GW- ‘Ten Til Noon’ was a nice breakthrough for me. One of the ensemble cast members was Morgan Freeman’s son Alonso, which brought some media attention, and the film was nicely received by critics and festivals (won around 9 awards). My part was a major one, my largest film part to date at that time, and one of the actors referred me to his agent, who signed me (my first purely theatrical agent). From there, I booked my first network drama, NBC’s ‘E-Ring’, with Dennis Hopper and Benjamin Bratt. And as a reminder how tough this industry is, the show was cancelled (and replaced by Deal or No Deal, GOD I hate that show), JUST before my episode aired. But it all worked out when I booked ‘House’ and worked with Hugh Laurie. He was just absolutely as nice as he could be (as was Benjamin Bratt)! Then things continued upward with ‘American Heiress’ – this show was also cancelled mid-season, but I had this one covered, appearing in the premiere episode! I was naked in bed with Annalynne McCord (currently in 90210), who was the ‘bad girl’ sleeping with her father’s business partner. And the scene in Y&R was with the main star, Peter Berg, who was also just as nice as he could be.

ED- Never one to sit still, in 2009 you were seen on the TV show ‘The Middleman’, and performed in the film productions ‘Amongst Thieves’ and ‘Chasing Happiness’. How did films differ from working on television for you as an actor ?

GW- ‘The Middleman’, sadly, was also cancelled after only one season, as it’s hard to get a following on ABC Family Channel, but it was a quality show, much like ‘Chuck’. In fact, my director directed 4 episodes of Chuck! My part was very small, but I had a BLAST becoming a zombie, with full-blown prosthetics – face, teeth, fingernails, and contact lenses done by the same Hollywood eye doctor who did the eyes for Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. The stars were SO nice, Matt Keeslar (whose film/TV credits are mind-blowing), Brit Morgan (recently seen as a werewolf on True Blood), Natalie Morales (Wall St 2) and the hilarious Mary Pat Gleason. Re film versus TV, honestly, with my level of experience, there’s no difference really. Acting is acting to me. TV is more strictly and predictably scheduled, whereas films can run over a bit, and one must be careful of too much facial movement for the big screen, but again, for me, its not really different (except most of my TV roles have been 1-2 day shoots, whereas some of the films make for more days of work, which is good!)

ED- Your latest appearances were on ‘Leverage’, ‘The Forgotten’, ‘Touch Wood’, and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’. You have definitely racked up many solid performances in your career, even at such a late start. What other events are taking shape in your near future ?

GW- You’ll notice a recurring theme in my answers, of just how NICE the big stars are to work with, to my experience. Christian Slater, for example, was just so incredibly nice to me in ‘The Forgotten’. I really love actors, and when the big ones are so nice when working, it’s just a beautiful thing! For the future, I hope to be a regular for Jimmy Kimmel (I get called in a lot for this show), and I recently shot a comedy pilot with the working title of “Miss On Scene”, which will hopefully catch fire, but other than these, nothing specific, other than to just continue working hard, promoting/marketing myself, persisting through the tough times, and being nice to everyone, all of which will lead to larger and more frequent roles on TV and film, especially drama, which is my dream!

ED- George it has been an honor and a pleasure in being able to introduce you to our legions of readers and fans. We’d like to thank you and wish you much luck in all your future endeavors, and hope that you will share all of them with us again.

GW – My pleasure indeed, and thank you so much for having me!!