Actor Will Blagrove Delivers Comedy Through Characters
Comedy is subjective. What makes one person laugh, doesn’t always work for another. But actor Will Blagrove seems to have something funny for everyone lately and it all starts with finding the character.
Will recently hit the comedy slopes during the holidays along with Malin Akerman and Amy Smart in the new movie, The Christmas Classic. Prior to this, he emerged in two recurring roles with Amy Schumer on her Paramount+ show, Inside Amy Schumer, as well as her Hulu series, Life & Beth.
Of course, his credits also include plenty of dramas, such as Lionsgate’s mega-hit, Divergent, and his notable role as a soldier returning home from war in the indie, Cost of a Soul. Will can be seen coming soon in the indie drama, Thirsty, starring Kyra Sedgwick and Sung Kang, and in Amazon’s Freevee crime drama, American Rust, starring Jeff Daniels and Maura Tierney.
Originally from Jamaica Queens, New York, Will is using his ability to create unique characters into a solid career.
What made you want to be an actor?
Will Blagrove (WB): My father used to take me with him to see movies at a small theater in Long Island. We saw everything, some stuff I probably was too young for, and I loved every minute of it. He basically helped me understand I could do that for a living, if I worked hard at it. The rest is history.
Where do you start when preparing for a new role?
WB: My old acting teacher Bill Esper used to say, “Repetition is everything.” I start by saying the lines a thousand times and then slowly keep rereading the script in a quiet room with instrumental music, so my imagination can wander, and I can create the character with a blank canvas in my mind.
Briefly explain the storyline and your role in the new indie movie ‘The Christmas Classic’.
WB: Elizabeth works for the father of her fiancé’s real estate business. In order to keep Elizabeth employed, her soon-to-be father-in-law sends her back to her hometown to persuade an ex-boyfriend to sell his ski resort to the company. I play Akeem Baptiste, an island man who marries the hippie Aunt Betsy, and has just been introduced to the family. Problem is, my character is not used to cold weather and this family loves to ski!
What was your first impression of Akeem Baptiste, and what helped you take him from script to screen?
WB: I loved the comedy of the character. He’s kind of like a fish out of water, but he’s in love, and he’s game for whatever adventure he and his wife partake in. My Caribbean background helped me bring the right vibe for Akeem. In Jamaica we have a saying, “One love.” So, I brought that spirit to this character, albeit he’s from St. Vincent.
Did the cast collaborate creatively from scene to scene, and how did that effect your performance?
WB: Yeah, Malin Akerman, Amy Smart, Austin Nichols, and Ryan Hansen were all great leads. Very supportive and always open to exploring the scenes creatively. It made it easier to perform, because you knew they were all so open minded and had your back.
Was the director open to playing with the material or did you stick to what was written?
WB: I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — I loved working with Shane Dax Taylor. Shane doesn’t usually say “no,” he says “how.” He’s an artist, and just flexible, so nothing was set in stone. We used the script as our compass, and just had fun with the scenes, which made it more exciting, while still staying within the parameters of the script. My type of movie.
You work in both indie films and studio projects regularly. How do they differ for you as an actor, and does it matter once you step in front of the camera?
WB: Nope, same thing, different budget. I love working in both mediums. Of course, there’s less perks like, crafty. But as far as the work goes, I treat it all the same, and it feels the same to me. I’m always the happiest when I’m shooting a movie of any kind because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do with my life. I think the hardest part of filming an indie, is running out of money, therefore not having enough time to try new things. But it’s a good reminder, to stay focused and economize on your shots, ‘cause you don’t always have the luxury of time. Which is actually a life lesson.
What challenges you most as an actor?
WB: The biggest challenge is probably the demand for self-tapes to be submitted. The industry has become a bit rushed with casting, and sometimes you don’t get enough room to create, because there’s always a new deadline in 24-48hrs. I try not to let it stress me, and remind myself that I “get to audition” not I’ve “got to audition.” However, that can be challenging. Hopefully things change, so we all produce more quality work.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received about acting?
WB: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I thought I’d only do film when I started out. I’m so glad I kept working in all the mediums, because you don’t realize that a pharma commercial might prepare you for something like a doctor role on “Grey’s Anatomy” one day, and since you learned about how a defibrillator works in that one spot, you might handle the dialogue in the script more skillfully because of that previous experience.
Who is your creative idol and how have they influenced your work?
WB: Denzel Washington in “Malcom X.” It’s a 3-hour movie, and he held my attention the whole time as a kid. I can’t always sit still, because I have a lot of energy, but a great performance will always keep you invested. Plus, I learned more about that part of history, because of that film. It inspired me to work on storytelling that could have a positive effect on youth, like it did for me.
Connect with Will Blagrove on Instagram: @willblagrove and WillBlagrove.com