THE C&E INTERVIEW: JOSH HEINE
When you make a show where the main character’s name is in its very title, it’s a pretty good bet that whoever you cast in that role is going to become a big part of your life. That has certainly been the case with C&E, and Josh Heine. Lucky for me, Josh is not only an amazingly talented actor, but he’s also been an extremely great collaborator.
I’ve actually known Josh since we were both at NYU, but unlike some of the other cast members, we’d lost touch for several years before reconnecting. I guess the fates had a hand in putting us both in the right place at the right time to be able to team up on C&E. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought it’d be cool to revive our semi regular C&E Interview feature so we could catch up with Josh. After the jump, get his take on the show, learn why he wanted to become an actor, and find out how he would accepted an award or best actor.
AVI: What’s your background as an actor? Where did you train and when did you make the move from NYC to LA?
JOSH: I first decided I wanted to be in the entertainment industry when I was in kindergarten… and I decided I was going to be a Beatle. I saw the cover of one of their albums. They were all in white tuxedos and I thought, “That’s pretty cool. I want to be one of those guys.”
But then that sort of turned into a debate on the playground about what everyone wanted to be when they grew up. And I decided that actor was pretty much the best thing you could be because it was sort of a trump card. If anyone said “I want to be a fireman” I could just say “well, I’ll just be in a movie about firemen!” So that was pretty much when I decided that’s what I was going to do.
And early on, when I was still in elementary school, I decided I’d go to NYU because I heard they had a good acting program. As luck would have it, that’s exactly what I did. I studied at the The Atlantic Theater program there and then stayed in NYC for about 4 years after college, doing theater and then I moved out here about 5 years ago to try and do a little more in terms of film and television, and I’ve been here ever since.
A:You’ve been out here for a while now. Are there things about being an actor in NYC that you miss? Are there big differences in the type of work or the logistics of just being a working actor in these two cities?
J: I think the obvious answer is the amount of theater that’s going on in New York. That being said, I’m a member of an amazing theater company now, IAMA, that’s doing really great work and I’ve been able to track down other great theater in L.A. as well. So that difference is really less prevalent to me than it was when I first moved out here.
In terms of the logistics of getting around, you still have to travel a lot in New York, it’s just a different kind of travel. As much as I love public transportation and I love the NYC subway, I feel like sitting in your own car, with your own music, in your own space, is a lot more conducive to focusing before an audition. So you know, you’re in your car, you pull into a studio lot, and you go in and do your thing. As opposed to trying to run around in a rainy New York street.
A:In previous posts, I’ve talked about how you became involved in C&E… but how do you remember it coming about?
J: The way I remember it, it really all stemmed from us reconnecting at Carina’s (Carina McLaughlin, nour very Aveta -a) wedding. I remember you describing this sort of magical artistic, almost commune you lived in, where everyone who lived there was a cool artist and you were all starting to collaborate and make cool projects together. I remember admiring that, and us saying that we should stay in touch and try and do something together.
[He's talking about the aprtment building where Andy, Jefferson, Erin, Jo and I all met... it kind of was an artists' commune. Only there were no white robes or spouse switching :) -A)
J: I’m kind of bad at remembering exactly how long certain periods of time were, but I feel like it wasn’t that long afterwards that you called me. Only a few weeks maybe? You called and said you had this web series that was in the works, and the person who was supposed to play Cupid tore their Achilles tendon and had to back out, so would I come in and read for it?
And I remember we did the read at this wacky little upstairs audition space above a theater. I read with Jo, who was awesome in the room. I think we worked on the material a little bit, but it felt like it was all going to work out right there in the room. When you called me, I wasn’t really that shocked. It had just felt like we were on the same page about the part, and the project as a whole.
[After we spoke, I went back to see what the time frame actually was. Turns out, we reconnected in April of '09, but didn't start work on Cupid until February of '10. But Josh is right, it's never felt like it was actually that big of a gap]
A: You really made the role of Cupid your own, and at this point you probably know him as well as I do (if not better). I’m curious, how would you describe him?
J: I feel like Cupid is all heart. Which makes perfect sense. He just loves his job. And he is his job, he’s a total workaholic… it’s just that his job happens to be the business of love and the business of finding that connection between people.
And like most workaholics, the degree of success he has at his job is very much tied in to his own sense self worth. So if he’s not making it happen for other people he is miserable. But on the flip side, nothing makes him happier than creating a real connection and seeing that love blossom.
A: Do you think when he’s down and out it makes it harder for him to do his job?
J: Yeah, that’s right on. When he’s distracted by his own lack of what he’s supposed to be giving other people he’s not as good at it. He gets sort of stuck in this downward spiral of doldrums, that make him worse at his job, which just makes him feel more sad, which is why it’s so important that Eros is there to help him be his best self.
A: The core of the show was the friendship between Cupid and Eros. And I loved watching you and Jo develop that relationship on screen. What was it like working with her?
J: Working with Jo was super fun. She’s generous, giving, gregarious—both as a person and as an actor. Being giving as an actor is really important, not just being like, “ Yeah, yeah, b.s., b.s., when do we get to MY LINE?” But really being in that moment and wanting to do good work. The show really became, as you say, about that friendship between Cupid and Eros and about them helping each other and so without Jo as an actor really being willing to be present in those scenes and those moments, it wouldn’t have worked. But she really brought it and made it easy for me to behave naturally in those moments. She’s also really funny. And she likes to laugh. I respect people who like to laugh.
A:We shot the season in two chunks, first eps 1-3 and then 4-9. (plus Cupid’s Vlogs in between). Did you find yourself approaching the shoots differently as time went on?
J: I think what it was, was that the first time, I was really more concentrating on the love life or lack thereof of Cupid. Because that’s kind of what the initial logline of the show was when we started. And so I think in the beginning I was probably concentrating more on that. But when we came back to it for 4-9 it became more clear to me that it was really about their relationship. And it made more sense to me to think about why he keeps coming back to Eros, and why it was really important and really distressing to him when things aren’t going well in their friendship.
And that’s a combination of how things developed in the first shoot, and also the writing. How the characters developed on the page the second time around.
A: Well, it’s interesting that you say that, because the truth is, I think you’re right about that initial logline. I think I thought that’s what the show was when we started shooting episodes 1-3… but the truth is, seeing you and Jo embody that friendship just made it more clear to me how central that was. And even though the overall plot was already laid out before we shot the back 6 episodes, I think how it played out, and what I was focused on, changed for the better because of how real you guys made that relationship.
J: Yeah, it really is the adventures of Cupid AND Eros. It’s their joint adventures. And I think that just became more clear as we went along.
A: What was your favorite episode or scene to shoot?
J: I really loved everything about the Inter-Pantheon Mixer. The episodes and the shoot itself. Shooting at the Moose Lodge in Glendale was awesome, all the stuff that happened there, the band was awesome and the darts contest was really fun.
It was also the first time I worked with Jeff Cannata who is a force of comedic genius. I love that guy, so that was really great.
But also the 3rd episode (1st shoot) when we did the race to Kiera [Kiera Anderson who plays Josephine in episodes 1-3 -A]. That was a really fun sequence to shoot. It was essentially a chase scene, but with just dodging people as the obstacles… That was really fun.
A: Indie Film sets are often controlled chaos. Anything crazy, wacky, or just plain nutty that you remember?
J: I remember the deluge while we were shooting at the Good Night bar [Episodes 8-9 -A]. That was nuts. That was, I think, the most rain I’d ever seen in L.A. and we were just all crammed under these little tents in the parking lot when we weren’t on set.
Another wacky moment I always remember is when Neikia shows up and unleashes the bad vibes throughout the bar. And so what you wanted was for all the extras who were playing bar patrons to go from having fun and hanging out, to suddenly being angry and fighting. I remember you were trying to explain to them that we needed clean sound, so they needed to have these big angry looking body movements, but without making noise. And invariably, they just were unable to do that. So it would start out quiet and then it would just get louder, and louder and louder until the room was just overflowing with screams.
A: Wow. I totally forgot about that.
J: You probably don’t remember because you were really polite about it… if I was in your shoes I probably would have told them to shut the eff up.
A: You were, rightfully, nominated for best actor in a comedy at ITVFest and the Indie Intertube Awards. Sadly you didn’t win (I may be biased, but I think you should have). If you had, what would have been the key line to your acceptance speech?
J: I think I would have sent you up in my stead to deny the acceptance of the award in the name of >insert wronged-political group here<
And then after winning, I would have let myself get really fat and more crazy.
In all seriousness I would have thanked Jo, and you and everyone who was involved. Because you can’t win anything like that unless there’s a project to be made in the first place.
Or maybe I would have just stuck with the whole faux political protest thing.
A: Lastly, what have you been up to since C&E wrapped and what’s next?
J: I’m working on a couple music videos, which is something that I’m starting to really enjoy. I produced and edited a video for Sam Shelton last Novemberand now I'm editing another for her.
I love acting, but lately I’ve been hungry to be more creatively involved in content creation. You know, bringing something to life from scratch. So that’s something I’ve been exploring; producing, editing, writing. That’s kind of been my new year’s resolution, to be making more, even in my downtime.
I’ve also become a member of the IAMA Theater Compay, which is an amazing group of people trying to reinvigorate the theater scene in Los Angeles by putting up new work, by new artists. Not just stuff you’ve seen a ton of times before, but really fostering a new and original voice for theater in L.A.
There’s a show up right now which I’m not in, but I built the set! Because when you’re part of company you have to pitch in where you can. It’s called 60 MILES TO SILVER LAKE and I built a car for the production. It’s a great show and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.