A Crooked Somebody: Clifton Collins Jr. On Playing Complicated Characters And Indie Films

Many characters that Clifton Collins Jr. played in movies and television tends to be complicated in on certain way or another.

His character of Nathan for the indie darling A Crooked Somebody, is certainly a tortured soul who seeks atonement through a psychic.

A Crooked Somebody follows an attention-seeking psychic, who was kidnapped for a certain atonement. Instead, he somehow takes advantage of the opportunity to boost his popularity.

The film also stars Rich Sommers, Amanda Crew, Ed Harris and Michael Mosley. It is written by Andrew Zilch and directed by Trevor White.

LRM Online spoke to Clifton Collins Jr. about his involvement on the indie project of A Crooked Somebody, including his character with the challenges and beauty on something like this.

A Crooked Somebody is currently available On Demand.

Read our exclusive interview below.

LRM: Thank you for taking some of your busy time to talk about this movie. This is an indie gem. Why were you initially attracted to a project like this with A Crooked Somebody?

Clifton Collins Jr.: It’s a new kind of story. It’s something that I’ve never done before in regards to this context and in the backdrop for the story. I was challenged. I enjoyed and appreciated both Rich [Sommer] for his passion for the project. They’re great collaborators too. It was just the fun get down.

LRM: Let’s talk about your character. Your character goes through a lot of different emotions possibly on the violent end in a certain way. Can you talk more about that? Why you think this character is so special and what you love about him?

Clifton Collins Jr.: It was trying to find atone with something that he did in his past. The struggles that were happening internally with Nathan. Without giving a spoiler away, as he starts to address things in his past with the real truth doesn’t come out till later. Even in an attempt to atone, he’s having so many difficulties in actually dealing with the truth. It’s not until the very end he decides to take it on–face on.

LRM: Do you find a character like this challenging to play on screen?

Clifton Collins Jr.: I do. It’s just to play in general. I’ve played such a major complicated individuals. And so is Nathan. I don’t think he was the sharpest person, but he did believe he’s got great empathy. I think that in part is what stimulates his desire for to atone for his past, but he’s still struggling. He’s still. It’s always hard when you see good people do bad things. Then try to get back to that good person and not really know exactly how to get there. My heart always goes out to those people. I always hold the best for everyone. There’s just something that just makes you think. And I think that’s important.

LRM: What about acting alongside with Rich Sommer, who plays sort of like a psychic, but not really a psychic in the movie?

Clifton Collins Jr.: Oh, it was a great time. I had a blast with Rich. I wish we could do another one. It’s just a fun collaboration. For something that was so dark, we laughed quite a bit in between takes. If they saved the outtake gag reel, they need to put it out on DVD. There were some funny, funny moments. [Laughs] We got stuck in this car on a trailer. It’s easier to just sit in the car on the trailer than to getting out. There’a lot going on between takes that I don’t think we caught on camera. We’ve caught a lot of really hilarious moments. It’s just such a great chemistry with Rich. He’s a good dude. He’s very present and very prepared.

LRM: It sounds like you also had a lot of fun even though this is kind of like a little dark, a dramatic thriller.

Clifton Collins Jr.: I had a blast. [Laughs] You’ll overcoming the obstacles and challenges to make an independent film. We’re trying to be the best work during the whole time. You just want to take to be beautiful and be good for different reasons. You have to focus. Then you got to move on.

LRM: You’ve done countless projects for TV, for major production movies. Why do you still love doing like smaller indie projects?

Clifton Collins Jr.: There is a lot of creative collaboration. I love the sense of I’m doing things together, especially like tackling things together. It’s so difficult to get made and oftentimes, you can get a slightly more honest voice in my opinion. You don’t have these giant money people involved. In the independent world, it’s just fun and people are more honest. It gives you a chance to be a little bit more rawer. Or more raw. [Laughs]

LRM: How was Trevor [White] as a director? What was his style like?

Clifton Collins Jr.: He really trusted his actors. We did a couple of rehearsals. He gave me a little guidance here and there. He let you go about your business. It’s funny. I trust him tremendously. So there’s that and that’s huge. I can lean on him for certain things that wasn’t clear about on Nathan. I had a blast. I can’t wait to work with him again. He’s a great sounding board.

LRM: When are you going to be in the director’s chair?

Clifton Collins Jr.: Pretty soon. I’m wrapping up these two music videos that I’ve directed and editing them right now. One is for Chris Stills and another for David Saw. David Saw’s will be a campaign for suicide survivors and people who had families that had been involved with suicide. I’m doing stuff for some people. I’m also working on my grandpa’s life story. That’ll be in first gear after I am finished with David Saw’s video.

LRM: I didn’t know you were making your grandpa’s life story. You’re talking about Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez?

Clifton Collins Jr.: Yeah.

LRM: What angle are you going with your grandfather’s life story? Just on what he accomplished?

Clifton Collins Jr.: Literally it’s his journey to Groucho and it’s solved out. It’s the confidence for him to go after it. He started off as a young kid actor. He couldn’t read, but he was great at creating these shows with these routines in song and dance. At a very young age, he was the headliner of his own shows. For him, it was more Broadway. He thought his success would come from theater, because all this stuff was done on stage and not really in front of cameras. It’s literally his climb to getting an opportunity to be on the Groucho Marx Show and the impact he had. That’s really what launched him. From the age of seven until twenty-seven years, he had twenty years of practice. He was pretty ready for the Groucho Show when it happened.

LRM: He’s a pioneer for Latinos in his own way.

Clifton Collins Jr.: Thank you, brother.

LRM: Speaking of which, how do you feel about Latinos in the Hollywood market today? It is a lot different, right?

Clifton Collins Jr.: I can’t really speak to that. I kind of stayed focused on all the work that I have to do. I try to attend certain events when I can. There’s a lot more work for Latinos–that’s certain. I don’t generally keep up on those details. I just like stuff that moves me regardless of nationalities or cultures or things that nature. There’s some good stuff out there right now.

LRM: I agree. There are lots plenty of good stuff. Let me wrap it up on one more question. I know you can’t really talk about the projects on Westworld or Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, but could you give us a tease on how much you’re going to look forward to those future projects?

Clifton Collins Jr.: [Quentin] Tarantino and Westworld are two of my favorite projects I’m working on. [Laughs] I’m just as excited as everybody else. It’s a lot of anxiety. It’s a lot of fun working with Tarantino. I had a lot of fun and watching [him work].

LRM: Hey, Clifton, I thank you very much for taking this afternoon to speak with me. I really appreciate it.

Clifton Collins Jr.: Hey, thanks again. Next time.

Source: LRM Exclusive

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Gig Patta

Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.

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