Warren Christie was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but moved to Canada as an infant. After college, he picked up and headed to Hollywood and has been working in TV and film ever since. Warren has appeared in numerous films, but might be most recognizable from his stints on various TV shows, including Supernatural and Battlestar Galactica. He currently plays Ray “Big Cat” Cataldo on the new ABC drama October Road. Warren stopped by and talked with us at BuddyTV yesterday about his career and his experiences with October Road.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of Warren’s interview.
BuddyTV: Can you give us a little background on yourself, personally? I know you were born in Northern Ireland. When did you become interested in acting? When did you arrive in Hollywood?
Warren: You know, I was born in Ireland and I moved to Canada when I was just shy of two. And then, you know what, I wasn’t like a child actor or anything like that, pretty normal growing up. And it was when I actually went to University that I started to become interested in the process of acting, what was being made and how it was being made. And I really, truly didn’t know anything about it. So I finished up my degree and packed up and headed to the west coast to kind of get started in something that I literally knew nothing about.
You’ve done a lot of both TV and film. Which do you like more and which do you see yourself doing in the future?
You know, I think that they’re more similar nowadays than they used to be. That line between film and television has kind of changed. It used to be you were one or the other. Now, I think it’s just a matter of what projects appeal to you, what you think you can do something with, whatever comes across your way. If you feel like there’s something you can bring to it or whatnot, that’s about as good as it gets as an actor, is just finding roles that are challenging and interesting. Me personally, I always try to just put myself in a position to work with people who are great because I think that gives you the most opportunity to succeed. It’s a tough business. If you put yourself in a position, I’ve always found, to work with the best possible people it gives you an opportunity to get the best work out.
Was there one film or TV show that you did in the past that you thought, this is kind of my breakthrough, this is kind of what it’s all about?
You know, I’ve been pretty fortunate from the beginning to work on a wide variety of things. I’ve done things from indie movies to television series and anything in between. I still find everything exciting. It’s such a good time. I was chatting with someone earlier today about how it’s such an interesting lifestyle, you know, because you chase the work wherever it is. I’ve been traveling a lot for the last six or seven months, but it’s different everyday. Every day there’s no real monotony in the business, every thing is different, every day you’re trying to create something different; you’re trying to find different things. I don’t know if there could be one specific thing that I’ve done, but not to bring it back to this, but the October Road experience was…it was pretty great. I mean from the top down the people were excited about the project, they were happy to be there and everyone really came together. Being that we were also away on shoot, we became a little family quite quickly.
For October Road, can you tell us how you got involved with the show?
Yeah October Road…I was actually down in LA, I was working on a film and I came back to Vancouver and this pilot came across my way. It was just really…there was something about it. And I think that what people are starting to find is there’s something endearing about it. The show fills them with something…it’s very straightforward. It’s about people; it’s just humans and characters dealing with life issues. To me, that is always a lot more fun. I still enjoy doing action things; those are always fun things to do. But character driven pieces are what normally appeal to me in general.
I know you shot the pilot for October Road over a year ago. What was it like just waiting to find out the fate of the show?
It was interesting because we shot over a year ago and we went through the usual waiting game that everyone has. But then, you know, it passed to a point where we weren’t picked up for the fall but we were still told there was an opportunity possibly down the line. We all became so close on the shoot that we were constantly talking, “have you heard anything, what’s going to happen,” that when the word finally came down that we were going to get to shoot five more episodes, we were ecstatic about it. We were excited to get all back together and really see what we could kind of do and where these characters were going to go. So, it has been a bit of a drawn out process to get to where we are. There seems to be an audience response to it, which is what you hope for in the end. People seem to be taken by the show. I think we’re all pretty proud to be a part of it so it’s nice to see that it’s affecting people in some way.
After such a long break coming back to film after the pilot, was it difficult for you as an actor to re-familiarize yourself with the character?
I don’t think so, because you know during the pilot, it’s so difficult nowadays because in the pilot you have to set everything up, you have to let the audience know who all the players are and especially because we have so many characters in it. So, when we actually got the opportunity to come back, it just was a time to say, “All right, let’s really dive into these characters now. Let’s see what’s going to happen here.” You know, how is the ripple effect of the Nick character coming back to town, how is it going to start to affect people? Every week when we would get a script we were excited to see it because we didn’t really know where it was going. And at the same time you’re still figuring out your character and different parts of how it’s going to be with this person and how it’s going to be with that person. So, it was still a process. And I mean to be honest with you; you know we shot six episodes, which isn’t a lot. So, I think we’re just starting scratch the surface of what hopefully will come down the line if we’re lucky.
You’re character “Big Cat” is a big source of conflict on the show. Do you enjoy playing an antagonist?
Honestly I do, I really do. You know, this thing with Ray is he doesn’t always make the best decisions, as we’ve seen. It’s funny because being labeled the “bad guy” is an interesting thing. Yeah, he doesn’t always say the right things, he doesn’t always do the right things, but when you come down to it, you know, he’s done a lot of good things as well. He stayed; he stuck around. He loved Hannah, he loved Sam; all he wanted to do was build a family. Things obviously haven’t worked out that way, so then you sort of see the darker side. But as far as playing that, I think the way it was written was we have these moments where we get to see a more human side of Ray where he’s just a man who is trying to struggle to hang on to this family that he’s been working on building. So you get those moments and then on the flip side of it you get the other moments where you feel you have to destroy other people. So because of that it makes it a really interesting, fun character to play. You know, you got to pick those moments where he lets down his guard and we see him as this guy, regular guy who is just fighting for something. But you know to play the bad guy, in some of those scenes where there’s just…the good thing about playing the bad guy is sometimes you get to say the most outrageous things that you don’t get to say in your regular life, so it’s kind of nice.
October Road hasn’t officially been picked up yet. What have you heard? Do you have a good feeling on whether it’s going to be picked up or not?
It’s so tough to say. Like I said before, we’re really proud of the show and we’ve had such nice audience response. That’s a big part of it. We obviously all hope for another season because, like I said, I think we’re just scratching the surface of where we can actually go with these characters, how their lives all start to intertwine. Nowadays, though, with the way television is you’ve got a really small window of opportunity to make your mark. We hope that what we’ve put out there, like I said we’re proud of it, we hope that it interests people, but in the end we’ll have to wait and see just like everybody else.
I know you’re filming a movie right now; you’re on set as speak. Can you tell us a little about that?
Yeah, I’m in Miami right now, which is nice right off the get go. But we’re doing kind of a remake of 1984’s “Bachelor Party”. So, we’re in Miami and it’s a hilarious cast and we’re having a lot of fun, so we’ll see. Hopefully in the end…you know I grew up with the original Bachelor Party, it’s such a classic and so we hope that we can do some kind of justice to that.
(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)
(Image Courtesy of TV.com)
Senior Writer, BuddyTV