Interview: Sally A. Edwards
Photography: Donald Milne
Introducing a face many of you may well be familiar with: Justin Theroux. He has graced über-cool films such as ‘Mulholland Drive’, ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’ and ‘Zoolander’, and will be a regular in the upcoming ‘Six Feet Under’ series.
Justin, who resides in New York’s Greenwich Village, is not only a cousin and nephew of Louis and Paul Theroux (respectively), but also started out as an artist. All that and he says he’s boring. Yeah, right. Now he has a few days off, he’s finally got the time to start a forty-foot mural in his apartment and catch up with BLAG.
YOU STARTED OUT AS AN ARTIST, DIDN’T YOU? TELL US ABOUT THAT, AND DESCRIBE YOUR STYLES.
I did, yeah. I did commercial and non-commercial stuff. I did murals actually, that’s what I fell into doing – for clubs and some billboards. Sort of in a graffiti/animated style, I guess, but it eventually became a little more refined than just sort of spray cans with hard lines and ink on the sides. I don’t know, I guess I did anything I could to make a buck. Anything from real estate ads on the sides of buildings to discos, clubs, restaurants and bars. Things like that, but mainly all big stuff.
IS THERE ANYWHERE IT CAN BE SEEN NOW?
No. All gone, I think.
I think so, I mean there might be a couple of restaurants on the Upper West Side. A few things, but nothing major.
WHAT CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS DO YOU LIKE?
I like of lot of contemporary artists. I like some of the people you feature: Kaws, Espo, Reas, Shepard Fairey. I love Phil Frost, he’s probably one of my favourites. And Twist is one of my favourites as well, and his late wife [Margaret Kilgallen]. I have a few of her little figurines. I guess that’s it. As far as mainstream, I like some of the pop artists, Rosenquist and Rauschenberg, things like that.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEIR WORK THAT YOU LIKE?
Well, I like the scale of Rosenquist. He didn’t do many interviews. But from what I’ve read of the interviews he did, he’s got a real simple-minded approach to what he likes. I remember one quote that he said. He said – because he used to be a billboard painter as well: ‘Sometimes you can put a colour up and it looks white from the street, then you get up close it’s bright, bright pink. It’s a funny thing.’ Ha ha! Which I always liked, because he never really talked about his art. I loved the images he produced that were out of the commercial world of spaghetti, and F14s, and hairdryers, and babies and things like that. I liked the way he put them together. He had a good wall of stuff at the pop art exhibits in the early Nineties in England, I saw it in London. I just like the way that you can appreciate his stuff on an abstract level, when you walk up close to it and get far back, and sort of get bombarded with these beautiful, colourful images.
YOU WERE ACTING AROUND THE TIME OF YOUR ART WORK. HOW DID YOU FIND JUGGLING TWO CAREERS?
I wasn’t juggling, really, I wasn’t doing very well in acting; I was basically just doing painting and then sometimes just straight-up house painting – apartment painting. Then I got a job doing a play, and then got an agent, and eventually one started taking over the other and that was it. But I still keep a sketchbook, every now and then I’ll do a painting, but not very often.
SO WHEN DID THE ACTING TAKE OVER?
I guess in ‘95, ‘96. I didn’t have a very long career as a commercial artist in New York; it was only about six or seven years. I don’t know, I’m really bad with dates. I don’t remember what year I did my first acting job, but the first few things I did were theatres in New York, so I still had to pay the bills with some commercial work. I did logos, that was the other big thing. I would do logos for little companies, and dotcom companies, and a couple of film companies, and stuff like that.
WITH REGARDS TO YOUR FILMS, CAN YOU TELL US SOME MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM ON-SET?
Memorable moments from on-set? From which films? I don’t know. I mean, I’m pretty straight forward when I go to work, I’m pretty boring! I go to work, show up, and film my lines. I don’t know, I’m not too crazy on the sets, but each experience is different. When they’ve been awful, they’ve been interesting in their own way. Of course David Lynch sets are probably the most fun, but I don’t know. I had a really good time doing ‘Charlie’s Angels’ too. So, it depends on the director – each director provides a different set to work from, you know? It’s a different vibe for each thing.
MOVING ON TO ‘ZOOLANDER’. YOU PROBABLY GET ASKED THIS ALL THE TIME... DID YOU REALLY PULL OFF THOSE MOVES?
Yeah, I did! I knew a little bit of breakdancing from back in the day, but we had a breakdancing instructor who was the steadying hand! He made sure we did everything as well as possible. Owen Wilson, on the other hand, had major stunt help. He has completely no rhythm!
The full interview appears in BLAG Vol.2 Nø 1
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Front: André 3000 | Back: 50 Cent Double Cover
Theme: World Peace by Sally A. Edwards & Sarah J. Edwards
Gloss laminate cover, 100 pages, original photography and stories, heavy weight satin paper, 245mm x 303mm ISSN: 1366-4552 11
Spend some time with:
André 3000, 50 Cent, Scott Barnhill, INTRODUCING... The Twilight Players, Giant One, Justin Theroux, Bubba Sparxxx, Fashion: There Goes The Neigbourhood, Perfect Fit, Art: Delta, Mode 2, Robert Del Naja, Strictly business, Real Voices, World Peace: Chuck D, The Neptunes and Will.I.Am, City Guides: Atlanta by Big Gipp, Tel Aviv by Mamamess
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