How did your mind-set alter coming off of "SPD," a large syndicated
show, and back to your personal Toronto film?
To be honest, my mind-set never really waned. Other than not having my city's
play in (with the people I like to play with), I still did the same things,
regardless of working on the show. Any
spare moment I had on set, or at home,
was spent creating scripts/music. Much like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, as
legend has it, did with "Good Will Hunting," I was sending drafts back and forth
with my director/co-writer
of the feature film adaptation of my play In Between.
My intention while I was there was to aim for the project to
be in production by
late fall. I was also rewriting a short film that I'm now shooting in August, and
my pen to paper for another feature film called "Sequoia." In Between
(pardon the pun) all that, I was also learning
how to use GarageBand on my Mac.
After wrapping most days, I started recording my music in my apartment. I have
over 30 songs and now have 12 new ones, created while in New
Zealand, on disc. Now that I'm back, I'm focusing on
following through with all
that. There's also so many episodes of the show that I haven't even seen yet, so
really looking forward to catching them on the tube and seeing what the
reaction is. I miss the show and the people.
Knowing its end was inevitable, was anything learned from "SPD" that
will carry with you into your own craft?
Definitely. As with any experience, I try to learn as much as possible. I've worked
on films before,
however, the hours were nothing like working on "SPD." Working
for 13 hours straight, 5 days a week for 8 months,
and always being required on
set, whether I was on or off camera or had any lines, was amazing training. My
attitude, day in and day out, for the next time I'm on set will definitely be
influenced by that.
What led you to include Journalism as part of your studies at Western?
you intend to relate it to Film Studies or was it a separate interest?
The theatre program was canceled and journalism was going to be my
I made it my major. The program I was part of at Western was
called 'Media Information Culture and Technology'. Basically,
it was an
examination of how books, film, and people alter and evolve language, and how
we relate to one
another. And in turn, as a journalist, how to be aware of that and
infuse it in your writing. It completely relates
to my interest in developing stories
as an actor/writer/director, because it all comes down to manipulation. How
get you to see/feel what I want you to based on what you've seen/felt before?
Your performances as Merrick in "Denied" and Bridge on "SPD" present
interesting contrasts, and you demonstrate remarkable versatility. As an
actor do you find it easy to slip
into most roles or do certain ones require
Thank you. To be honest, I pride myself in my love for the light and dark. I'm
nature and have good timing, so characters with a bit of, well,
'spazzyness' or quirkiness are easy... but I'm also
a very emotional person and
have a strong energy when I'm upset, or mad, or sad...so these "brooding"
allow to me attach to that.
I really enjoy playing those parts... with depth. It's the ebb and flow of the tortured
artist. I relish in my happiness AND my depression. It's simple to me. In a
dramatic turn, it's my ability
to relate to the emotion of my character, and the other
players, and then hope that people watching can understand
inside. In an action/comedy, it comes down to electric instinct, and an
and a choice to commit. That's character. It ultimately
comes down to a director's trust in you and his/her trust
in the writer. Entertaining
people should not require effort if you are an actor. But there is a lot of pressure.
Personally, I approached "SPD" like it was a sitcom.
Jimmy's cinematography was a stunning combination of the beautiful and the
voiceover and the isolated heartbeat give it an eerily
biographical feel, as if the narrator were describing a third
unfamiliar to him. Does Jimmy or Ron reflect elements of your life
I wanted to leave the audience with an unsettling impression; in terms
sound, and story. I wanted them to be uncomfortable and left with no answers
and a lot of questions...
about the film, it's characters, or even me. I guess, that
as a filmmaker I like to make people think... and I like
to see how people react
when they don't know how they feel. In that way, yes, Jimmy and Ron are a
of me. Ron's desires and Jimmy's dreams.
is your favourite part of "the big smoke" [Toronto] to hang out when
you have free time?
I like College Street and Kensington area, a lot. It feels beat up
and authentic to
me. And I love sitting on Queen West and watching people and grabbing a bite
on a patio.
But I find myself mostly wandering on Yonge street – how could I not?
It's the longest street in the world.
Do you have a favourite quotation which motivates you?
My old favourite quote was "the best thing about today is the idea
of tomorrow" –
meaning to me, that no matter what is good or bad about today, the next day can
offer more promise. However, my newest favourite sign off/quote is "Be
For me it embodies the
whole notion of reminding me and others to go after
what you want in life. Anything that's difficult or scary is
worthwhile. Embrace it.
Challenge it and overcome it. Keep moving. Don't stand still. Always try to be
of yourself and have integrity.
are your filmmaking inspirations? And do you have an overall role
That constantly evolves as I'm exposed to new writers and directors. Right now
it's a mix of the young and old. Just based on the fact that Woody Allen has
created roles for himself to
act opposite an extremely diverse and talented group
of actors, puts him at the top of my list. He has made so many
films over the
years that are consistently original and daring and for the most part funny and
Anderson/Owen Wilson/Ben Stiller are also people who have been able to
do things that I admire. Right now I would have
to say Dan Harris (he's 26 and
wrote "X-Men" and just directed his first brilliant feature with Sigourney Weaver
and Jeff Daniels – "Imaginary Heroes") and Zach Braff are inspiring me to
continue to strive. They
show me that it can be done. My role models/heroes are
my peers but – to quote "Imaginary Heroes" – "Two
things happen when we
meet our heroes: we either realize they're just like us, or they're a$$holes."
On what shows, past and
present, would you have liked to employ your many
Are we talking television? I'll assume you are. Let's see – past – I would have
to have played Alex P. Keaton on "Family Ties" or worked with Bruce Willis
on "Moonlighting" or Mikey Seaver on "Growing
Pains." Present – "Six Feet Under"
– "Scrubs" – "Lost" – "ER" – and I how could you
not have had a lot of fun on
What do you enjoy writing outside film and theatre?
I just finished work on a children's illustrated book for kindergarten kids. And as I
I write music and play piano and guitar.
Right now I'm working on recording a demo professionally – (I have a
rough demo recorded on my laptop) and I'm working on creating original songs
for new artists or
Dinner and a movie? Theatre
and walking on the beach? McDonald's take-out
over the football game? How does one show Matt Austin a good time?
It's got to be energetic and creative or something I've never done
Something we could share together... it could be as simple as taking me to a
restaurant with food
I can't get anywhere else – or have never eaten before – or
cooking it yourself. I want to forget everything
else and just play like kids. And if
you make me laugh... it's good.
And of course, the proverbial question: Boxers or briefs?
Depends what's clean.
–– SPD: So Please Divulge ––
Do you keep any copies of old "SPD" scripts?
I've recycled them all. Too many trees!!!
Did you have an opportunity to use some of your talents in "SPD" besides
playing Bridge? Would you have been interested
in writing an episode?
I always pitched
Bruce and Greg ideas I had for the rest of the season or
something that I could do in a scene. Most decisions were
however they did allow me a lot of flexibility with the dialogue and sometimes my
up being implemented. Everyone has a job so you don't
want to step on toes... I was brought on as an actor, so I
had to concentrate on
I really like writing original pieces based on my own ideas and characters...
I would have been interested in collaborating on a episode idea that the pro's
would have written –
and then directing that episode. I would love the opportunity
and know I could make it fresh.
Your face is seen on websites, toys, and a children's TV show. What
make of your popularity as a Power Ranger?
Still getting used to it. I've been home just over a month so I've yet to really be
Due to toy licensing, my likeness on a Green Ranger toy is nowhere to
be found. That's okay.... I did terrible things
to my G.I. Joes when I was a kid.
much of Matt Austin influenced Bridge Carson? Do you two share any
unique traits or quirks? Would we find a bath
book floating in your tub?
and Bridge Carson are similar for one major reason: they're both me.
When casting, they were looking for someone
that could carry off the character a
certain way. When you see actor after actor take the character and a) not
understand how to play him or b) just have the wrong vibe, it can be frustrating... I
guess when I walked in
and met Bruce at the call-back, they felt that Bridge had
We share things like: a genuine love
of people, adventure, rambling, and a rubix-
cube-like-way of figuring things out. I think Bridge is someone who doesn't
he's funny – and might be a little insecure when people laugh AT him or don't
both make people laugh but I am a little more sarcastic and aware (and
would like to think witty). You wouldn't find
a bath book simply because I don't
take baths... I mean... I wash myself but I'm not known to pamper myself with
hot bath....That might change if I ever get a Jacuzzi....
What is the story for Bridge being Jewish? Was the decision to mention his
the writers' or did you suggest it? The fans love the first
Jewish Power Ranger!
That's great to hear. It really came from the producers and the writing team. The
idea stemmed, I believe, based on my call-back when I mentioned I played in a
Jewish hockey league. The
producers then told me that they weren't aware of
any Jewish actors on the show or any Jewish characters in the past.
honored to be the first character on the series to be Jewish and to be respected
for it. I wanted
to do it with a Yiddish accent, but no dice.
As with many shows, some fans interpret the relationships of "Power
Rangers" characters variously as they see
them, and some interesting
discussion and fanfiction has resulted. One of the most popular from "SPD"
the portrayal of Bridge and Sky as lovers. Do you have any thoughts on this
Well, we all have our fantasies, but rest assured – that's not
There was a point in time (talking about pitching ideas earlier) that Sky and
Bridge could have
been brothers – separated at birth – they have a very cold
interaction on the show – I think Sky
thinks Bridge is nutty, doesn't belong, and
should get into better shape. I think Bridge thinks that Sky should chill
out a little
and not take everything so seriously.
I think the entire cast had a really rare amazing chemistry.
Chris and I are both
from Toronto and he was the first person I met. Off camera we had a older
brother relationship and I think that translated on camera – only
With whom among the "SPD" cast have you kept in contact since your
We all keep in touch the best
we can. We all lead very busy lives, but thanks to
email, I get updates regularly.
Do you feel honored to be part of a huge television legacy? What will
fondest memories looking back on "Power Rangers" in ten years?
Not many shows have been on for 13 seasons and not many can claim a
and evolving fan base. I once wrote a project in elementary school on
Disney – so to be working for them is
quite special. I'll remember the off-camera
bloopers and off-set moments the most.
And last but not least: When did you realize "It's Buttery" had become
popular catch phrase among the fans? It's already been printed on some fan
Get me a shirt! I love that it's caught on. Bruce and Greg and the
rest of the cast
seemed to be pretty positive it would catch on, but I wasn't so sure. After it was
into an episode and I had crew wiggling their fingers at me – I knew that
I'd soon hear about it from fans.
of the show, its origin lies when I was trying to describe a certain kind of
Indian food that I love but it's intentions
are that it can be implied to and for
anything. For example: "That car is buttery,"
or "How did your interview go?
Buttery." And so on....
I just want to thank you and all of my fans
for the amazing support, letters,
pictures and general interest in my career. It means a great deal to me.