John Timothy "Tim" Griffin is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who is the Lieutenant Governor-elect of the state of Arkansas. He also has served in the U.S. Representative for Arkansas's 2nd congressional district since 2011. As the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014 and defeated Democrat John Burkhalter. He was interim United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas from December 2006 to June 2007, appointed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales but never confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
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I'm a regular person, born and raised in Chicago, who became an actor against his better judgement and somehow has ended up following in Kevin Bacon's footsteps of being six degrees from nearly anyone... my latest project is WAYWARD PINES, which premiered on May 14th on Fox (http://www.fox.com/wayward-pines). I play 'Adam Hassler,' the friend and boss of Matt Dillon's character 'Burke.'
Victoria's helping me out on the phone since I'm traveling today. AMA!
Edit: I just wanna thank everybody for taking time out to get to know me a little better. I hope everybody continues to watch WAYWARD PINES on Fox, Thursdays at 9 pm/8central, and I hope to do this again sometime! Cheers!
Of all of your many many roles, which was your favorite? Least favorite?
I can feel I'm about to throw somebody under the bus... let me think... most favorite, that's a Sophie's Choice, because you're asking me to choose between people like George Clooney and JJ Abrams, or doing television, but I will say that one of the biggest thrills was going to do BOURNE SUPREMACY with Matt Damon - that was my first taste of a major blockbuster, and when it came out and smashed all the records, I was like Wow, I could really get used to this!
And then getting to work with JJ Abrams, I was such a fan. I actually got into CLOVERFIELD on the hopes that he would put me in STAR TREK, and he did, just not on the Enterprise... because I was an original STAR TREK fan - never watched TNG, just the original - and then he made the Scotty of Chris Hemsworth's doomed ship in the beginning, and I joke that if only he had left me on the Enterprise, I'd be on a franchise right now!
And least favorite... even though I had a great time, one of my more cringeworthy credits is doing the Saved By the Bell reboot, where I offered Dustin Diamond, aka Screech, nitrous oxide - or I tried to get him to steal it for me, because I was throwing a rave, and I wanted Screech to steal nitrous oxide from the science lab.
Probably won't win an Emmy for that performance.
I was probably... 19?
Dude! I was looking at your credits on IMDb, you were The Rabbit in Charmed?! UP TOP! I'm a massive Charmed fan and that episode always entertains me. What was working on Charmed like? Any stand-out memory from your time shooting that episode?
Um... I remember that was one of the...let's see... OH! I remember one story, that Alyssa Milano, whom I'd worked with previously on WHO'S THE BOSS, got irate at me because there was a stunt that happened where I had to fly - she casts a spell, and i go blasting backwards or something - and she said "Dude... your foot came THIS CLOSE to my face!"
So... I felt terrible. I was like Alyssa Milano is going to have me fired!
But it all worked out. She was a trooper.
Had you read Wayward Pines before taking the role? What interested you in the project?
I heard that M. Night Shyamalan - we always just call him 'Night,' that is what his friends call him - when I heard that this was his first foray into television, and he wanted to assemble accomplished film actors, and it was sort of a dark & mysterious TWIN PEAKS meets the TWILIGHT ZONE... I actually told them that whether or not I'm in this show, I'm definitely going to be watching, and then they were nice enough to put me in the show.
I had not read the books, and then after they cast me as Adam Hassler, I had a lot of WAYWARD PINES fans tweeting me hints about my character, but I did not want to know my fate, because I am a huge GAME OF THRONES fan, and I'm always joking that "if you're in the Red Wedding, you don't want to know that it's coming."
But Terrence Howard didn't know if his character was good or bad, so I felt like I was in good company in my ignorance - to let it remain a mystery.
How do you prepare for an audition?
That's a good question.
For me, I try to be very prepared, so that I don't have to look at the pages.
So for example, when I auditioned for AMERICAN SNIPER, there was a very long speech I had to read - for Clint Eastwood - so I wanted to be so prepared that I looked like I was delivering the same speech that I gave in the movie.
That being said - there's a million things that can happen in the room. So no matter how prepared you are... anything can happen. Which can be good, or bad.
You can walk into an audition, and see 10 actors that you know are fantastic - and that can make you feel either DISCOURAGED... or give you total confidence, because you go OH, this'll never go my way... and then you give the performance of your life.
What was it like working on Iron Man?
The cool thing about IRON MAN was I had gotten the call to work on it a few months before. But i was unavailable because we were finishing LEATHERHEAD. Then, Jon Favreau called back and said they wanted to use for a couple days of re-shoots. And apparently what had happened was they had shot all the mission control stuff, where they're watching IRON MAN from the military bunker, before the special FX had been finished. And Favreau told me when they got the footage back - the original IRON MAN footage blew the doors off of everything. He said that when he cut back to Mission Control, it looked like everybody was sleepwalking, so he literally wrote all of my scenes to "ratchet up the intensity and excitement."
So we were literally inventing lines - we were literally shouting things out, like "It's not the Marines! What is it?!?!"
And the funny thing is that more people saw me in IRON MAN than saw me in LEATHERHEAD - and I spent 5 months working on LEATHERHEAD, and just a few days working on IRON MAN, and it became an iconic performance. So you just never know.
Wow, you really have been in everything... How did you manage that?
Just good ol' Chicago luck, I guess?
I think the nice thing is your reputation precedes you. And it's important to be courteous, and professional, and always prepared, so that you are an asset to whatever production you are hired by. And I like to have fun onset. I'm a very easygoing, optimistic person, so people tend to like to have me around, I guess?
Makes sense! Is there a show or project you really want to work on, but haven't had the opportunity yet?
GAME OF THRONES.
YES! I don't know that it would ever happen - I always say that the movie franchise that i wish I'd been a part of is Lord of the Rings, because growing up, I was an insomniac, and I would read LOTR from beginning to end, because it was the only way I could fall asleep. I would read for 6 hours on end - so I must've read through LOTR as much as Stephen Colbert! So when I heard they were making them into a film, I would've given anything to be a part of it, even to say one line, but by the time I learned, they were already halfway through the 3rd movie.
But GAME OF THRONES, I am a beyond-fan. And I actually hope - since I've worked with JJ Abrams - I hope I have a future in the STAR WARS universe as well.
what's the biggest out of pocket expense you've incurred to research for a role? smallest?
You know the strangest thing? The one time, back when I was trying to make a name for myself in Los Angeles, as a young kid, I did a show called PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE, and there's a bit where there was a conceited guy who was obsessed with his cowboy boots, called "Tony Llama's." And I went out and actually purchased a pair of "Tony Llama's" and they were like $200 - back in the 1990s - and I asked the production if they would pay for them, to repay me for them, and they didn't, and I remember thinking Oh MAN, I'm going to lose money on this job! But it worked for the show, it was a gag.
But it just shows I was committed to the craft.
Many years later, I gave the boots away. I made sure I wore them in every western production I ever did.
I was the MILK DOES A BODY GOOD guy after that, and I insisted they use those cowboy boots! Somewhere, it exists. That was the job that put me through college.
I just finished the 2nd episode of Wayward Pines and I'm loving it. It's reminding me of so many different shows/movies but is still able to seem fresh and keep me guessing. My question is, what was it like working on the show and did it feel as familiar, yet original, while filming/reading it?
It really felt like... that M. Night set out to create something that hadn't been seen on television. And he specifically hired people to make it look cinematic - whether it was the actors, the directors, the art department - the whole show just had an amazing, spooky vibe. And it's exciting to come to work every day, and have no idea what is going to happen next!
Everyone on the show seems to have done flying stunts if they were a regular or guest role I've noticed! That's awesome.
Thanks very much for taking the time to answer my question! All the best.
Hahahaha! Lotta wirework in that old jar.
Hi Tim! I'm really enjoying Wayward Pines. FOX seems to be marketing the show as a 10 episode miniseries. Is the story going to wrap up by then, or will we see a season 2?
The show - the way that they got us to all sign on - was to have it be a self-contained 10 episode miniseries. Like FARGO - I don't think you could attract this level of talent, there are so many Oscar-nominations, I don't know if you could attract a cast like that without it having a sort of finite end. That being said...who knows? But the story is definitely a self-contained, all-questions-answered, the finale is definitely wrapped up type thing. But never say never!
If you were playing real life sim city and you were in charge of Chicago - how would you change it?
Well... let's see... I remember growing up and feeling like corruption was pretty rampant in the city. I think they've cleaned it up, but they've left all of the waterfront for the public - and now that I've been all over the world, I realize how much I've taken it for granted. It's one of the best things you can do for your citizens, to have public parks & lakes. So I don't know if there's anything I could do to improve the city.
Congrats on your work on Wayward Pines. Your co-star Toby Jones has a habit of 'being in everything' as well. Is there any competition to see who can be in more of everything?
Hahaha! With Toby? Absolutely not. First of all, he's in England, and I'm in the States. He was actually somebody that i was most looking forward to working with, because I'm such a huge fan of his work, and he is like one of those people who exceeded my expectations. He's so prepared, so kind, so humble - just a wonderful person to be around, and one of the great pleasures of working on WAYWARD PINES was just being around these amazing peers, and trading stories - he told me stories from the making of TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY - it's really fascinating to hear other people's stories when you're fans of their work. Every single actor in WAYWARD PINES i was a fan of. And they all had stories.
What was it like working with Paul Greengrass?
Except for the fact that got my nose broken by Matt Damon - a joy!
People forget that at the time we did BOURNE SUPREMACY, he was a complete unknown. He had shot the documentary film BLOODY SUNDAY - and Matt Damon was the one who gave him the greenlight to take over the franchise - so when we did SUPREMACY, it was uncharted water for all of us. And what he did with that movie, and he has a tone of realism - you can tell by his other films, like CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - he is one of the most incredible storytellers, he really blurs the line between realism & fiction - so to be chosen to be in one of his films is a testament to him believing that you can really inhabit a character.
But it's also what got us into trouble when were shooting the sequence where I got pistol-whipped by Matt Damon - the interrogation sequence. We had rehearsed this fight for 3 days in Berlin, and when we got into the actual room that we were filming, it was a little more cramped than we had anticipated, and as a result, Matt delivered a spinning hit with the butt of my gun, and I accidentally walked right into it, and he deviated my septum, and it's in the film!
If you look carefully - you can watch my eyes go unfocused. It's all in the film. It's kind of hilarious.
What was working on "The Men Who Stare At Goats" like?
That was a dream come true. Because, first of all, it was my second movie with George Clooney, so I felt like that maybe i was going to be in the inner circle now, and he would invite me to his house in Italy? But it was great to reunite - Jeff Bridges was working on CRAZY HEART, he was prepping for that role, so he wanted to get together in his trailer and jam, and we'd get together in his trailer and have sing-alongs, me and Jeff and Kevin Spacey... but one of my big thrills was we were filming in Puerto Rico, and we were having dinner with George and Ewan McGregor, and I was a HUGE STAR WARS fan, and my son is a huge STAR WARS fan, and we were joking that the characters we play in THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS were like Jedi Warriors... we were the Jedi Warriors, that WAS the actual Army Code name for our unit - truth is stranger than fiction - and to have Ewan there, one of the greats sitting down to dinner and talking with him for hours on end - he's just a wonderful guy, and here we are playing the Jedi Warriors, and here were that Obi-Wan Kenobi is our co-star. Just so surreal.
Why did you end up becoming an actor? you say it was against your better judgment? What would you be doing now if not acting?
I actually went to college for Political Philosophy & English. And I was firmly convinced that i was going to be a professor, to the point that I turned down a scholarship to go study English at the University of Kent - because the summer of my sophomore year of college, I booked a HUGE after-school special - and it ended up being such an amazing job that i opted to forego England and go to Los Angeles, and gave myself one year to make it as an actor.
And somehow, it all worked out.
And I went back to college after I'd worked the whole year in Los Angeles, and my mentor - when I told him I wanted to go on to grad school - he asked me how much I had made as an actor in the previous year, and i told him I'd had a previous year, and he hung his head, and he said "I have a baby, I wrote a book, I have tenure, and you've made more in a year than my entire career. You have a gift and this career will always be here for you if things don't pan out."
And that really changed the course of my life. So... it was interesting. I was a very reluctant actor.
First off, thank you for your time. I guess my first question would be: What's your favorite set you've worked on?
Lastly - I'm a pretty big fan of Wayward Pines! Are you able to tell us anything about upcoming episodes? Will it stick close to the book or have a typical M.Night twist?
I will say it was pretty cool shooting STAR TREK because we filmed - the name of our ship was the USS Kelvin - in a power plant in Long Beach, and the actual power plant was my engineering room. And there were sparks flying, the crew was all wearing hard hats, because OSHA regulations said this was a dangerous worksite... and I remember the minute they would yell ROLLING on the cameras, the actors would have to take off their safety hats, and I remember asking JJ Abrams "What the hell?! The sparks start flying, the explosions are happening, and now we take off the safety gear?!"
Which is probably why he had me killed - that's literally where we were filming, we were in a nuclear power plant, and it was SO cool.
I think we're fairly true to the books. But definitely, like GAME OF THRONES, there are some plot twists and additions that are original to the TV show. The cool thing is - all of the secrets are revealed within the 10 episode arc.
Did you ever get to take home any props or parts of the set?
If so, what was your favorite one?
Was there ever one prop that you really coveted?
Let's see... there are many props that I have coveted from many movies. I wish I could've taken my football helmet from LEATHERHEADS... my uniform from STAR TREK... it's interesting, when we did PRIME SUSPECT, I loved the suits they put me in - my character was a very dapper guy - and they were very nice to us, and they let me keep my wardrobe at the end of that show... but yeah, I always like to try to keep one souvenir from every show that I do. Which I guess makes me a closet klepto. Sometimes it's just a pair of socks, or a mug. Just something to remind me of my time on the show.
Where in Chicago?
I am born & raised in Lincoln Park. Right inside the DePaul Campus.
If you close your eyes and think of your childhood, what food comes to mind?
Do you have a recipe for that food you could share with us (I may even attempt to make it)?
Is there a specific story or memory associated with the food?
Due's Pizza. And I always go to Due's - sometimes it's such a craving - I used to have pizzas flown out for my birthday, and sometimes I'll fly back to the city, my parents still live there, near Wrigley Field, and I will sometimes go right from the airport to Pizzeria Due.
You know, the strange thing growing up is that my neighbors were the first people to market the Pizza Stone - it became this HUGE phenomenon - so as kids, we spent summers making pizzas and trying out pizza recipes using this Pizza Stone... so I must've eaten TMNT amounts of pizza as a child. It's a miracle. But yeah, just fresh mozzarella... Chicago Italian sausage... that's what's key for me. And actually, Wisconsin cheese. Even in California, I think Wisconsin Cheese is the bomb.
Which show/movie had the best food spread?
Well, I'll tell you - the movie I'm doing now, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE. Maybe it's because we're in Boston, maybe it's because both The Rock and Kevin Hart are in incredible shape, but the food that they're serving us is world-class. And the Rock has to eat a LOT, so they're serving us crazy amounts of it.
Oh, and by the way - all these super-fit guys - Clint Eastwood would only eat wild salmon, and he was cut like a rock. Is there a memo that I missed, "How to remain super-fit at any age by eating salmon?"
It's just...everything. Whether it's meats, chicken, every assortment, a veritable cornucopia of every food, and it's all prepared at 5 Star Chef level. So a guy gets spoiled!
What do you miss most about Chicago?
Wrigley Field, and my family, not in that order. Not the weather - as much of a die-hard Chicagoean that I am, I've been in LA 20 years, and I spent the first 5-6 years in LA saying "Oh, this isn't a real city, these aren't real people," and then one day I realized when I woke up I'm never moving back, I love it here. So my heart is in Chicago, but I have to give props to LA, because that's where my home is - so it must be doing something right.
Saw the first episode of WP and was intrigued. What's it like working with Shyamalan? Any acting tips?
One nice thing about M. Night is he is so prepared that when I showed up to shoot my first scene with Shannyn Sossamon, I thought it would take all day, but by the time I set foot on the set, he had already lit it and blocked it with the background actors. It was a long, walking /talking scene, and he had storyboarded the entire episode, so that it went so efficiently. And he also was very trusting to let us deliver the sort of performances that we felt were right for us, and he would adjust us if there were things that he wanted to keep mysterious.
So it was really great working with him. Because he knows what he wants.
Being in everything must get tiring. How do you unwind?
Haha! I will admit to a guilty pleasure - watching "mindless" television. I'm a huge Bravo fan. I watch all of the real Housewives. And Judge Judy. Because (A), I know that it's not something I never want to be on, so it's such a pleasure to turn off my brain and watch this incredible, entertaining content.
Is there anything that you would happily NOT be in?
I never want to be on Judge Judy, Real Housewives, or COPS.
If you had multiple roles offered to you, would you pick the one with Kevin Bacon just so that you could further improve your six-degree standings?
Or what roles do you prefer to take or avoid?
You know, I've been spoiled - if you look at the history of shows that I've done - if you're surrounded by a great team, the end product, even if it's not the hit you were hoping for, you were striving for quality. So for me, I will always choose to work with people whose work I respect & admire, as opposed to taking maybe the high-paying disposable job that might end up being an embarrassment. I'd rather surround myself with quality.
Are there any TV shows from overseas you'd love to find yourself working on? Doctor Who or anything of that sort?
Growing up, my father (who is a pediatric cardiologist) would only allow us to watch Public Television. What he didn't know is that while his back was turned, we were watching Monty Python, Doctor Who...Monty Python and Doctor Who were my touchstones growing up, so my kids are now HUGE Doctor Who fans, so it's sort of crazy the way that - here it is, 20 years later, and these franchises are more popular than ever! So I'd love to be in Doctor Who. That would be amazing. I'd like to be the first male assistant to the female Doctor!
What is the best single piece of direction you have ever received?
Well, it's a cliche, and it comes from every great acting teacher & director - the number one rule of acting & improv is just listen.
Listen to what your fellow actors are saying, and react in the moment. And you'll never go wrong.
What went through your head when you first stepped onto the set of a big budget production?
Well, I just remember thinking, like Homer Simpson when they did the first 3-D SIMPSONS, when he says "Wow, this stuff looks expensive!" It was like Wow, there are cranes eVERYWHERE, it's probably costing $100K a minute, I sure hope I don't screw up my lines!
It can be intimidating when you know you have one shot because they're about to blow something up next to you, and you don't want to be that guy.
What was your time like on The Mentalist?
LOVED the Mentalist.
And I had such a good time that they ended up writing me into multiple episodes because I got along so well with everyone. That cast and I just got along so well that they decided to make my character re-appear in multiple episodes.
What is Joel Edgerton like as a director?
The BEST. And this new movie that he has coming out, THE GIFT, is his directorial debut - I think it's out in July. I was HUGELY honored to be a part of it. It's Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, and myself, and it's a psychological thriller, and he'd been working on it for many, many years, so his true gift - I believe he's going to follow in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood and other famous actors who have gone on to direct, because he's truly gifted at it (no pun intended).
If you could shoot on location anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Well, I actually love to shoot in Chicago. You know? I always wish I was in EIGHT MEN OUT, because John Cusack and all those guys got to film in Wrigley Field. But also, as a LOST fan, I used to say to myself That is the dream job - go off for 7 years and film and live in Hawaii. Who could ask for anything better?
So I think it'd be a toss-up between those two.
Dare I ask who your favourite Doctor is?
To me, it's Tom Baker. That was my Doctor.
I'd probably bulldoze the downtown area and put in a garbage incinerator. I'd just tell myself I was "taking out the trash" and try to look as cool as you as I said that cheesy line to myself.
Of all the places you've traveled - where did you meet the most interesting people?
Well, my family's from Ireland, and when I went there, I think I was 23 years old, when I first visited Ireland? And to have people sort of come up to you, and share your family history, and they're the kindest, warmest... it really felt like going back to extended family, and I felt so embraced by the people of Ireland. And I'm so proud of them, they passed that huge referendum, and they're leading the world right now - I'm so happy, because there's a lot of strife for so many years, and to see them blossoming is warming my heart.
But I love the people of Ireland.
How do you manage your time with all these acting jobs?
I have been very fortunate - I try to shoot as close to home as I can - like, PRIME SUSPECT we filmed at Universal Studios, which was very close to my house, and those kinds of jobs are a dream come true. And when I'm not acting, my wife and I build houses together, so I try to stay as close to home as I possibly can.