Welcome Johnny. We really love how you play your character Ray Tensing in Kings. Tell us more about yourself.
JG: Well, I’m an Irish guy who moved to CA with dreams of starting my own tech company but then I became an actor. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, most of my family is still trying to figure out how that happened 🙂
How did you get into acting? Share your experiences in acting.
JG: I got into acting late in life. I grew up in Ireland and came to work as software engineer silicon valley in my late twenties. I was working long hours in that job and a friend got me a gift voucher for a berkeley extension class. I took an acting class and was hooked. I quit my job a few months later and moved to New York to study acting for 2 years. I then moved to LA for 4 years and then back to bay area when my wife got pregnant with our twin girls. Didn’t think I get a lot of acting work in Bay Area but I’ve been pretty busy thankfully.
What made you audition for Kings?
JG: It sounded like cool project and the enthusiasm and passion of the people involved, like the director Jamaal Scott and producer Connie Sechrist was also a big selling point.
Tell us about the character you play in Kings.
JG: I play veteran police officer Ray Tensing.
How is it to play such a controversial character?
JG: I don’t really think of whether they are controversial or not as I’m working on them. I try to figure out what would motivate a person to make the choices they make and bring that truth to life. Each character truly believes that they are right when they are doing the things they do no matter how terrible they may seem to others.
How do you personally relate to your character?
JG: They are many things I don’t relate to but I think he has a lot pain in heart and I believe we can all relate to pain at some level. So I related to that. If the character feels very strongly about something that I disagree with I substitute that thing with something I do agree with but feel equally strongly about.
Facing the realities of our time, what is a key take away from the film that you think people will resonate with.
JG: I think it highlights the fact that staying silent about the injustices and wrong doings in society only helps to further those injustices and wrong doings. We all need to stand up and speak up about what we believe is right even if it doesn’t effect us directly.
Why is doing this movie so important to the current climate of relations between the black community and police officers?
JG: It will generate much more discussion and debate about those relations. I firmly believe in the over all goodness of the human spirit and that the more people that stand up and debate/discuss an issue the more of a chance for positive change. Not enough people are standing up and talking now. This film will hopefully change that.
Why do you think its important for everyone to support this film?
JG: People need to support this film to generate debate I talk about above and drive positive change. Otherwise these problems will just get worse.
How has working on Kings helped you to grow as an actor?
JG: Like with anything in life, the better the people around you, the better you become. I’m a better actor because of the great people I worked with on this project.
What are you working on now? What is you ideal role?
JG: I’m working on a feature film called “Broken Rose” where I play a detective, a yet untitled short film where I play a therapist and a play called “Sales Force” where I a corporate executive.