Talking theatre, TV & Deadpool with Hugh Scott
No stranger to the silver screen, having appeared on shows that range from CSI to The Closer, Hugh Scott leapt onto the big screen in the smash hit, Deadpool. Scott stars as ‘Cunningham,’ Wade Wilson’s confidant during the darkest and most painful chapter of his life and we talked to him about what it’s like to be a part of the Deadpool fandom, what he learned from the experience and a huge lesson in tenacity.
Where did your love of acting originate and what drove you to pursue an acting career?
I was exposed to acting through participating in high school plays. The first play I did was Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love and I was immediately taken with the experience of live theatre. I was lucky to be able to focus on acting during my college years, and a lot of the things I learned while studying acting reverberate in my life as a professional actor. I love the way each audition or new role presents a challenge and an opportunity to go back to the beginning of the creative process.
How did Deadpool come into your orbit and how does it feel to be a part of something that has a life outside the theater?
The casting office (Ronna Kress Casting) knows my work as an actor, and I was so excited when they brought me in to audition for such a major project. There were a few weeks when I was on edge because I was on “hold” for the project, but had not yet been finally approved for the role. Now that the film has been released, it’s unbelievable to be able to take part in something that is having such a huge impact on audiences and fans. Deadpool fans are the best in the world. The screenings I’ve been to feel so inclusive and energetic, almost like a really big community, and it feels great to take part in that, both as guy in the movie and as a Deadpool fan myself.
How did working on Deadpool stretch you as an actor?
The movie is absolutely hilarious, but my scenes take place in a very dark, dramatic section of the Deadpool origin story. My character is sick and being subjected to the same extreme treatment that Ryan’s character is enduring. Despite that, Wade Wilson (Deadpool) and I manage to become friends. The challenge of my scene work was to explore what hope and friendship means during a terrible time in one’s life. The material has this huge emotional undercurrent running beneath our banter and dialogue. Our characters are going through absolute hell, but we are glad not to be going through it alone.
Working with someone like Ryan Reynolds, what will you take away from this experience?
Ryan is fantastic in the film and he brought a tremendous amount of commitment to the role, both in terms of what was physically required of him and the work he did in creating the Deadpool persona for the big screen. Seeing that level of work come to life, even when I was just watching the monitors, was very motivating for my process. He was also one of the head producers on the film, and he and director Tim Miller ran a set that was very conducive to collaboration, and I think the movie succeeds because of that.
You’ve worked on some of the biggest TV shows on the air including CSI, NCIS and The Closer. What have been the biggest differences between working in TV and in film?
Most TV schedules have to move a lot more quickly than film, and the performance requirements are slightly different. At the end of the day though, it is all screen acting and it calls on the same set of mental muscles. I cut my teeth as an actor playing TV bad guys and those roles continue to be a lot of fun for me, but I was thrilled to play a more sympathetic character this time around. I loved the amount of care and attention they were able to bring to the process on Deadpool. Tim Miller is a visual effects powerhouse, and it seemed like he had solved almost every visual puzzle long before he was on set, and he could focus on storytelling and performance. That’s definitely an ideal scenario for any actor.
For any person who sees Deadpool and thinks, “I wish I was doing that,” what advice would you give?
I would remind them that this movie got made (in large part) because fans responded so well to a leaked video on the internet. I think that is beyond inspiring. They didn’t ask permission from the studio or wait for things to align in their favor, they went to work. Getting things made is always challenging, so I think it’s doubly inspiring when I hear that Ryan Reynolds was working on getting this movie made for more than 6 years…and he’s Ryan Reynolds! I learned a huge lesson in tenacity in that.
I just recorded a voice role in a live action movie and I am excited about that because I got a chance to do a Scottish accent and my grandfather had a heavy Glasgow brogue. Right now, I am really determined to get a long recurring or regular role on a TV series as I want the experience of staying with a single character for an extended period of time. Being in Deadpool was definitely a dream come true, but every acting opportunity I get is a piece of that dream.
Photos by Bobby Quillard
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