Quantico is one of this season’s biggest new hits one of the cast’s newest faces, Lenny Platt, talks to us about the ABC hit show, about joining a cast mid-season and about his love of immersive movie screenings.
Where does your love of filmmaking originate?
My love of movies started when I was a kid. We would go to Blockbuster on Friday nights to get a movie and I loved the art form. Directing and writing short films focused that love by letting me be more a part of the creative process. I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a kid, I would write short stories and make crayon drawings to go with them. It’s fulfilling to be involved with building a story from the ground up.
You joined the cast of “Quantico” at the mid-way point in the season. What’s it like jumping in to an already established group of people?
I went to Montreal to start filming in November, so I came into the cast as an audience member having seen the episodes when they aired. I was learning about the characters and the story that way so it was fun to have jumped into the middle of that and learn the actors after I already knew the characters they were playing.
How have you prepared for the role?
I actually spent Saturday at a gun range with our on-set armorer, learning firearms that are important for my character to know. I’ve been able to do a lot of stunts and I’m having fun doing a lot of running and gunning. It’s been a dream come true in a lot of ways, to be a part of this brilliant ensemble cast.
That brings up the fact that the cast is so large and diverse. How has that transition been from being the new guy to being one of the family?
The cast and crew have been really inviting. It’s difficult to be brought in when they have already established a rhythm, and you want to show that you deserve to be there. It was exciting and I was lucky to come in with two other strong New York actors. We quickly formed this family since we were from the same city and had similar experiences, which was important for the characters we play as well. We play members of the upper class of agents who had been around longer so we spent time together and hit the gym together. It’s been a great experience.
“Quantico” isn’t the first buzzworthy show you’ve been a part of. You were also a part of “How To Get Away With Murder.” With both of these shows, were you aware of the fandom that surrounds them when you began working on them?
The marketing teams behind Shonda’s shows know the power of social media. The current TV landscape is that people watch shows and talk about it online as they watch. It’s interesting to see a show embrace that in the way “How To Get Away With Murder” has. It’s novel and it’s productive. Now, the show is a huge hit, so it was cool to be on a show at the vanguard of that kind of marketing. In the same way, it’s been great to engage with “Quantico” fans online. These days, it’s important for actors to engage with the audience that way. It’s fun and I love doing it.
Let’s shift gears and talk about your production company, BBQ Films.
It’s changed my life. I went to an event three and a half years ago. It was a screening of “American Psycho” that was themed like Patrick Bateman’s 27th Birthday. It was one of the most transformative nights at the movies I’d had in a long time. It was a room full of 75 to 100 people in costume, who bought a ticket to a film they’d seen a dozen times, just to experience it as community. These events get back to the root of why we go to the movies in the first place: to laugh, cry and appreciate films together.
Okay so explain what exactly someone should expect when they come to one of the screenings.
We screen a movie, a cult film like “Back to the Future” or “Empire Records,” inside a venue that feels like a place from that film. We have actors in costume, music and drinks to bring the audience inside their favorite films for a night. It’s been a blast. I’m now the executive producer and I help manage the creative elements and writing scripts for the events. It’s a beautiful thing to work on between acting gigs. The next one we are doing in New York is Beetlejuice’s wedding and our actor playing Beetlejuice got ordained so there will be couples actually getting married.
How does the work you create with BBQ Films feed a different side of your creativity?
Apart from producing events, I get to play a part in them every once in a while. From playing George McFly in “Back to the Future,” Master Shredder from “Ninja Turtles,” or Frost from “Blade,” I got to play characters I idolized as a kid. I dressed up as them for Halloween so get to do that with your friends puts a smile on my face. It’s really a gift and a great outlet. We love the films and getting people together because they love the movies.
What’s coming up next for you?
We have events with BBQ Films coming up and a whole lot of “Quantico.”