Published on August 28th, 2015 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Tyler Labine
With more than 80 acting credits over the a career spanning nearly 25 years and counting, Tyler Labine is easily recognizable for roles on series like Reaper and Deadbeat or films such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (for which he won a Leo Award).
For his latest film release, Tyler Labine has returned to his Canadian roots to co-star with Chace Crawford in Mountain Men, opening in Vancouver at the Vancity Theatre on August 28th.
We spoke with Tyler Labine to get his thoughts on Mountain Men, collaborations with family, the differences between acting in Vancouver vs. Los Angeles, and how online streaming platforms can have a positive impact on film and television development.
Your newest release, Mountain Men is opening in Vancouver on August 28th. Can you tell us a little bit about the film and what the process was like for you as an actor from the early stages of the film all the way to theatrical release?
The film is essentially a two-hander about semi-estranged brothers who get stranded on a mountain and run into some serious life or death stakes trying to get down. I was always really invested and involved in this project because it is about brothers and the essence of being a brother and it also happens to be written and directed by… my brother. So to help him bring this vision to life was my pleasure as well as my brotherly duty. Gotta rep up.
Your brother is Cameron Labine. You’ve also worked with him in the past on projects like Control Alt Delete. What is the experience like working with your brother on films and what are the advantages of that dynamic?
Cam and I have a certain understanding and a real, effective short hand. So short that sometimes it’s almost non-existent. He can communicate a lot to me through a look and well-placed “hmmmm”.
Same goes for me. Although I am definitely the mouthpiece of the two of us. I’ve never been accused of not having enough to say. I think the depth of our understanding is so deep that we don’t actually understand it. Understood?
You’ve enjoyed a lot of success in film and television. How does your preparation for a role change between television and film roles?
TV is always a much more lengthy process and you and the writers have some time and a bit of a cushion to “learn” your character. Learn the arcs. Learn the story.
I feel like in film, much more prep is needed. You only have a finite amount of resources, time being the most precious of them, to tell this exact story and be this exact character. To go on this specific journey and to do it well. That just takes a bit of a mental shift going between the two. But it really is required in different ways for each.
What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned in your career?
That everybody’s time is equally valuable. I’m not just talking about actors being late, or directors behind schedule. I’m talking about basic respect for others’ time. Whether that means that those people get to do their jobs to their fullest potential or if it means that everybody gets to go home and see their families for dinner that night. Respect everybody’s time and effort. It takes a village.
You’ve worked a great deal in Vancouver and Los Angeles. What are the advantages of each city in terms of what they offer for film and television productions?
I have a real soft spot for Vancouver. I love this city. I think the landscape itself is pretty unbeatable. It’s very versatile. The crews and the talent in this town are amazing. The talent period, is amazing here. But there was a ceiling here for how far I could go as an actor. I hope I’m not speaking out of line but personally, I needed to go south to pursue the jobs that I wanted. That sucks. But it’s what a lot of us have to do.
Los Angeles is a great town to shoot in. It’s a well-oiled machine. Let’s just put it that way. No shortage of grease in that town. Plus California is a beautiful state. Gorgeous. No tax credits to help snag productions. A bit cocky in my opinion.
What would be your advice to actors who are thinking about making the move from Vancouver to Los Angeles?
Nothing is written in stone. It’s an easy commute, and you can always leave. I think honestly, if you are an actor here and you don’t ever give yourself the shot at going there and really grabbing the brass ring, you may miss your shot.
Again, no disrespect to people who choose to stay here. I’m saying if you feel it in your guts that LA is the place you wanna be or at least go try on, go! You’ll never regret trying, you’ll always regret not trying.
You’ve enjoyed a lot of comedic roles in your career. What do you think are the three most important elements for making a successful comedy scene?
Rhythm. Rhythm. Rhythm.
If you can’t feel the flow of a scene… If you can’t literally feel the flow of comedy, then the rhythm is off. We’ve all felt it when the rhythm is right. It’s lightning in a bottle. But you can learn to harness that lightning by finding your rhythm. Listen to your fellow actors, listen to their rhythm, their cadence, find their groove. Pretty soon it’s all you’ll hear. It’s like the comedy matrix.
Your series, Deadbeat was created for Hulu. From your standpoint, how can online streaming services like that benefit the entertainment industry?
In so many ways. It opens a flood gate of material that would not have necessarily seen the light of day otherwise. I think more unique and offbeat voices will get heard and find their homes on these platforms. It is also just the way of the future. It is the way we as people want to view things. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyhow. Where there is a void, someone will fill it. Does that mean that inevitably, more horses**t will also be produced? Yes. But there will be so much more to choose from.
What books and authors have been influential in your career so far?
Stephen King. I mean, pretty much name a book of his and I’m a fan.
Haruki Murakami’s Hard boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. My favourite book of all time. I have read it at least 6 times.
Where can we go to find out more about you and keep up with your projects?
IMDB as always, is a great tool. I’m also very active on Twitter @TyLabine and I have a podcast on WolfPop called Picking Favorites with Zach Levi and myself. You can find that on TheNerdMachine.com and iTunes and EarWolf.
Please keep your eyes peeled. I have lots coming up.
Our thanks to Tyler Labine for speaking with us!
To see Mountain Men at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver, please visit VIFF.org for showtimes.
Stephen King, Adapted by Simon Moore
The Shooting Script