by Ryan Meehan
His first work was in repertory at The Colchester Theatre and The Farnham Redgrave. It was here that Ethan, evolved as an adult on the professional stage in shows like “A Chorus of Disapproval,” “The Rivals,” “Comedy of Errors,” and “Aladdin.” In London he spearheaded original works on the stage such as “The War Boys” by Naomi Wallace and “A Walk on Lake Eerie” by Heather McCutchen at the famous Finborough Theatre as well as the first major revival of “The Boys in The Band” at The Man in The Moon Theatre. After his work in the UK, Ethan moved back to the US to transition his stage work to film. His first role was in the cult classic Mallrats with Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Shannen Doherty, Jason Lee, Claire Forlani, and Jason Mewes. He later played a brutal character and the younger version of Actor Fred Ward in a film called The Chaos Factor about A Rogue CIA agent. Ethan did not abandon his love of theater while pursing film, he has worked in many shows at Shakespeare and Company in Massachusetts, The Baltimore Stage and in NYC with famous actress Viveka Lindfors in “The Life of Strindberg” at The Actor’s Studio in her last stage play before she passed away. Most recently, Ethan can be seen in the tech sci-fi thriller Dragon Day. Next up, Ethan will appear in an episode of the comedy “Spoils of Babylon” along-side Tobey Maguire. His previous television credits include guest starring roles in “Go On”, “Parenthood,” “The Young and The Restless,” and “E.R.” And he’s our guest today in 5 questions.
RM: What made you decide to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and what was your first big break? At what point did you realize that this was something that you could do professionally?
EF: Hey Guys, great to be talking with you. I am sure you have better things to do like drinking a nice beer in a garden somewhere, so lets get to it. I want to warn you and your readers, you are in for a ride. This is not going to be some pansy ass interview just because my last name is Flower.
So your first question was a really boring typical question but I appreciate your interest so I will take it as a positive and answer it with glee reserved for Kangaroos prancing with freedom of the open bush. At least they are prancing, poor fellahs, until some nasty hick Aussi decides he wants to shoot at them from his 4Runner.
So, to the point, I decided to be an actor because it seemed a whole lot safer than stealing from parked cars and trying to light my local Mobile gas station on fire. I figure I have a statute of limitations on that ‘cause I was only about 10 so that gives me upwards of 30 years. Ok. Moving on.
I mean, I really liked being a part of the theatre as there seemed to be a whole host of lunatics just like myself that made me seem by comparison actually quite sane. It just snowballed from there the longer I stayed out of jail and a correctional facility, the more I performed in front of a paying audience and realized that I could do this and get paid to have fun with a bunch of crazy people.
I discovered film after watching Apocalypse Now and I thought God I have to be in the Movies. But, I went to the usual places to “Study Acting” they were all very interesting, Like Interlochen Arts Academy, and Carnegie Mellon University. Back home for a bit to see if this acting thing was really what I wanted. Managed to get myself back into trouble in my local area again and my Step Father threw me on an airplane to visit my Grandmother and watch rehearsals for a play at the National Theatre in London directed by a famous director named Sir Peter Hall. Many might know of his hot daughter Rebecca Hall. Anyway so I went to London for three weeks and ended up staying 6 years. I would watch Judy Dench and Anthony Hopkins perform on the stages at The National Theatre from behind the wings for like 50 performances of Anthony and Cleopatra and King Lear. Then I got into The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art for three years, but for the most part all that theatre just took me away from the movies. Maybe I should have moved straight to Hollywood with my suitcase full of Marlboro like I had originally planned and found a cute older woman to give a good time to and sponge off of ‘til I actually became famous. So in reality, my big break took years to come by and if you ask me, which you did, has not really even happened yet. I am just pluggin’ away making movies and TV and living the chilled life. I mean does anyone say my name in the morning while they eat their Cheerios? No. So I have not had my big break yet.
RM: What is a rehearsal for a theatrical production like when one of the leads is having a really bad day and becomes temperamental? How do the other actors and actresses deal with something like that? Do you have any examples for any particular production of that happening?
EF: Wow, ok, that is an interesting question. Sort of from left field. Are you implying that I might be temperamental? You talkin’ to me? You have some Nerve you A*%holes! Oh, wait, no, I am sorry, my wife has just explained to me that it was indeed a genuine question regarding working with other people in my industry.
Ok, so to answer: Actors can sometimes be a real freaky pain in the ass. But they more often than not are super cool and interesting people. I mean, what do I do when they freak out and start acting like they shit ice cream? I say “Your being an asshole, chill the fuck out. Have any babies died? No, so go sit down and shut the hell up.” Then I never get to work with them again.
Most everyone just sucks in the shit when it happens. Oh “So and So”, you are such a wonderful actor, feel free to shit all over my face and I will just sit here while you do it. You see everyone wants to keep his or her job. Except me I guess.
You gotta understand something about actors and the total bullshit I am about to spout out, real actors, that is, because there are plenty of un real actors. Actors are a weird bunch to say the least but what actors do is literally take words and story and turn it into something real and tangible that people can relate to visually, so to do that is no easy task. It takes sheer self-importance, massive egotism and an immense sense of ownership to a reality that we perceive to be much more important than everyone else’s reality at the time. How else could we believe the crazy shit we are doing is real and make it look real to you? At least while we are playing that particular role. So we dive deep into this inner mind of ours and start imagining sometimes that we are indeed these characters, we actually forget who we are a little while working on those roles. So when someone does something that brings us back to reality, like offering us a nice warm cup of coffee when we are supposed to be dying of thirst in the desert after a Nuclear Holocaust well that can take us out of the moment and give cause for causticity. So don’t take it the wrong way when we get all temperamental and hit an innocent production assistant or directors assistant in the face and such. It just means we are really getting into character so that you the paying audience feels like the $30 they just gave to a Chinese conglomerate that just bought all of the US cinema chain AMC got their money’s worth.
And by the way, this kind of losing of temper thing has never happened on any set I have ever been on. Every actor I have ever worked with has been a consummate professional and decent human being, well except for one time at band camp.
RM: What can you tell us about “Dragon Day”? Do you consider yourself to be a fan of science fiction movies?
EF: Yeah man, I love Sci-Fi. I freakin’ love it. But I also love all sorts of fun story telling. I am always captivated by the fact that what the human imagination can think up will one day in the future become reality. But when I started work in this Dragon Day movie, the first thing I asked was where the hell are the Dragons. I thought this was supposed to be about Dragon’s damn it!? Once I got over the fact that there were no Dragons and this was supposed to be some sort of China takes over America through Cyber Attack film, and then I began to be interested again.
Dragon Day started out as Sci-Fi, but if you keep up with the news and read all sorts of tech columns like my director Jeffrey Travis and I do, then over the course of the 3 years it took to finish this film, more and more of it seemed to be less Sci-Fi and more reality. And now I shit you not and I will supply references.
Just so happens, China buys a lot of our debt and they have been none too happy by what has been happening by our braniacs running the US government recently. They have called for the world to be “de-Americanized,” its leaders ridiculing Washington over the shutdown impasse. Buying Land, Building, Businesses to such an extent that it almost feels like an invasion in itself. China is expanding into parts of the world at a massive rate. They are in fact re colonizing Africa and building cities for their people to move into to work there. They are a fishy bunch in that almost 5000-year-old empire. I mean I love the Chinese people. But I wonder what the government is up to on a daily basis just as any country is wary of the USA and what we are up to with out forays into Oil and weapons production and sales across the world.
We have also been bombarded with classified information regarding the NSA and it’s full on observation of our lives via the leaker and ex NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Well my role in this film is that of Duke Evans, an ex NSA government contractor. Ahem. And it just so happened that my character was developing in a sandbox (safe and separate) and secret form of back door into microchips that could be used by the NSA to gain access into microchips. Just to see if it could be done. And now I give you an article published in Networkworld that talks about “a crypto random-bit generator known called “Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator” promoted by the National Institute of Technology was subverted by NSA cryptographers that worked on it several years ago.” Basically this means that a widely used and trusted piece of software that is used to protect information was purposely infused with a back door for the NSA to crawl in through and see everything and anything they want to within the protected machine or network. Well this is the crux of our story line. That China and people within the NSA have sold out and thereby allowed a super power access into our back door allowing them to shut our world down, as we know it today.
Ok lets think where all these micro chips are made that run our everyday phones and communication appliances, our vehicles, our infrastructure. China. These chips are made in China. So what if, just imagine, inside these chips were a secret code or Trojan that allowed these chips to be communicated with over a secret wireless network. Sounds crazy right. Check this out: phys.org article: “Researchers report on hardware Trojans that are undetectable. A research paper titled “Stealthy Dopant-Level Hardware Trojans.” The authors are a research team from United States, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. They showed that integrated circuits can be maliciously compromised. The changes elude detection. Even physical inspection of the chip will not pick up the changes made.”
Still don’t believe that a crippling Cyber attack can happen on American soil with out the use of a physical foreign invading force? Ok have you ever heard of EMPs? Electro Magnetic Pulses. They can be generated by sending kill codes and pulses through cell towers and satellites to knock out anything electrical. Hmm lets think about that for a second or for years as the case may be if we get catapulted back to horse and carriage days. No more wasting time at the coffee shop reading Huffington Post on our phone or downloading Angry Cockroaches. It’s carry the water back from the stream Maggie so we can boil the potatoes. What kind of chaos ensues in our society if our society completely breaks down after the death of Millions of people and our military has turned against its own people for the sake of self preservation?
Ok it’s all a Sci-Fi movie right?
RM: You’re in an upcoming episode of the IFC series “The Spoils of Babylon” which is co-written by Will Ferrell…Do you have any good stories from the set of that show?
EF: Yeah, I loved filming that. The writing is so whack. We had a lot of fun on set. I loved working with Tobey Maguire. He’s a coot I tell you. Give him an inch and he takes about 12. Great guy to have fun with in a scene. We did a ton of improvisation and really got to go wild. It’s going to be really fun to watch what they decide to use in the end.
I went on set another day after I had finished filming and watched a scene end with a love scene with Jessica Alba and Tobey. They were hilarious. They ended up kicking and necking all over the furniture and knocking things down on the set. Tobey basically slobbered all over her and then she just got up afterwards and had to wipe herself down. They loved it in a very fun way. Really great chemistry and team work on that set. It was a privilege to work with them all.
Kristen Wiig is so much fun as well. I think she is one of the funniest women in the world. I would sell my baseball card collection just to work with her again. Oh wait I sold my baseball card collection already to help pay for college. Shoot.
RM: How does working in theater compares to working in television and film? Which do you prefer and why?
EF: I prefer film sets and TV because I don’t have to get up on stage and see the same people and say the same lines over and over for more than a few weeks. Good theatre actors will say “Oh well he doesn’t know how to keep it fresh because he is not a great actor. Well I say hogwash, I know how to keep it fresh, it’s just I keep it so fresh that it pisses older actors off cause it throws them for a loop and out of their comfort zone of paycheck and tea at intermission. It’s just a nice variety to work on a new script and a new scene more often than not. Saying that Theatre is one of the most amazing experiences in the world. To get up in front of a live room filled with people who are hanging on every word or action is like a drug and when you do work with other stage actors who know how to roll in the moment then you have the makings of Magic.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2013 and the beginning of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
EF: Big in the works. I like that. I got something Big in The Works for you. Well I film next week with Lorraine Nicholson who is Jack’s daughter for a really cool film called “Room 105”. Also in the small cast are John Robinson and Jon Abrahams. Great thriller script by the same director Patrick Mulvihill with a nice character feel. Look for it next year sometime. I have a meeting in a few days for a new Michael Bay project, so try not to rush me and let’s see how that goes. 😉 Now can I go get lunch?
Ethan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EthanFlower.Official
Ethan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ethanflower
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