Friday, September 4, 2015

Masked Cast Interviews: Arthur Clifford (Paul Reynard)

Arthur Clifford plays Paul Reynard in Masked.  
(Paul's character is based on Citizen Armand Chauvelin.)

From his bio on our website--
Arthur found acting later in life, but at the age of 33 started to become involved with theater because of his son's involvement at The Culture House. Luckily, he was given an opportunity to audition for The King and I and was cast as the Kralahome. Once he got on stage and found out how fun entertaining people is, he changed from a sports-only person to someone who really loves and enjoys the arts. Some of his favorite roles have been Marcellus in The Music Man, Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof and Monsieur Thenardier in Les Miserables.  Arthur is married to Kerstin who is an amazing person and not only puts up with him, but actually loves him despite the fact that mentally he's still 14. His son is pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater at UCM in Warrensburg, MO. In his free time Arthur is a Jayhawk, Royals and Chiefs fan, and last year got to knock a bucket list item off by going to the World Series. Let's hope he can do it again this year!

Arthur was the very last principal actor to be cast in the show, and found our casting call through a friend's recommendation.  At the time of his casting, we were literally down to the wire before shooting was to begin, and a bit apprehensive about casting such an important character in such a last-minute fashion.  But his audition seriously impressed our casting team, so we went for it.  I actually ended up interviewing Arthur over the phone while I was on vacation with Melody (so professional, I know :P) and was incredibly pleased by how well he seemed to understand the character, so I offered him the role-- and he proceeded to blow us all away with his interpretation of Paul.  I'm thrilled to have him as part of this show and I think you're all going to be delighted by his portrayal of the guy everyone loves to hate.  (He's really a very nice person though.  Despite Paul being Very Decidedly Not.)  It was great to work with him and he did a fantastic job of juggling commitments to this show along with appearing in a large-scale production of Into the Woods at the same time.  (Now that's dedication!)

Okay, so, here's what I asked him and what he said.

How’d you get interested in acting?

Actually it was my son who got me into acting. He started going to The Culture House (which is a performing arts academy in Olathe) when he was 9. He had done a couple of musicals there and fell in love with theater. When I got the chance to get out on stage with my son, I jumped at the chance to see what it was all about. I never though I could be a person who could perform in front of people because I am naturally introverted, but I auditioned for The King and I and got a lead as the Kralahome. I was so nervous about the very first show, but as soon as the scene started I went into my character and transformed from myself to someone else. That feeling is why I fell in love with acting and why I still pursue it today.

What was your favorite scene to shoot?

I would have to say the last night of filming because I really enjoyed working with Alexandra Rovirosa. Getting to work with her has been a real treat because she is an amazingly talented actress but she's also goofy and fun to get to know in between takes. We had so much fun and at one point she burst into song and had us all cracking up.

What was the hardest scene to shoot?

It was the first scene I did. We filmed at my house and in the scene I was supposed to be talking to the character Margot on the phone. I have never done film work before and I knew my lines, but if you have never acted in front of a camera it can be more intimidating than a theater full of people. I started to freeze and my mind went blank on when I was supposed to come in on my lines and then I kept forgetting my lines. Luckily there was a wall off camera where I could tape up my script and remind me of my lines as I "acted" like I was listening to her. It was a life saver and as I got more comfortable with the camera the day went a lot better and we got through 3 scenes that day.

What do you like best about Paul's character? What do you find the most interesting?

I like Paul because he's a bad guy, it's always more fun when you get to be the bad guy, but Paul is also interesting because there are some different levels to him. He tends to blend in and smuggle drugs under the radar so he has to be an actor himself so that people don't suspect him of anything. He shows his dark side and his creepiness throughout the show, but he has to fool Margot to get what he wants. 

What’s been the biggest challenge for you with this role?

Getting used to film work. When you are on stage it's pretty easy to stay in character because you rehearse and play the character over and over. When you film it could get weeks in between shoots and sometimes it's difficult to remember what you did before and how you played the character. 

Have you read any of the Scarlet Pimpernel books or seen the films prior to this project?

I have never been exposed to The Scarlet Pimpernel, I watched some on youtube, but I have never watched the movies or read the books. Because this was a modern adaptation I wanted to create my character without influence of the books or movies.  

If you could play any role in any movie, play, TV show, etc., ever, who would it be?

I love comedies so I immediately thought of King Arthur in Spamalot, but after thinking about it if I could be anything in Star Wars that would be the ultimate for me. I am such a Star Wars geek and I can't wait for December 18th.

What do you hope people will take away from your performance in the show?

I hope that people will appreciate all of the hard work that has been put into this project. Everyone involved from Amy and Sydney to the crew and other actors has put their hearts and soul into this. I have only been involved for the past few months but this has been in the works for a long time and I am so proud to be apart of it.

Arthur as Monsieur Thenardier in Les Mis

What else have you appeared in, to date? If people would like to watch another of your performances, where should they go?

I have been in several theater shows with both The Culture House and Jewish Community Center. Some of my favorite roles has been Monsieur Thenardier in Les Mis, Marcellus in Music Man and I just got done being Milky White the Cow in Into the Woods. But If you want to watch my other performances you would have to come to my house and watch the DVDs of the theater shows. You bring the popcorn and I'll supply the entertainment!!! But hopefully we do another season of Masked and you can see more of me then.

Thanks for joining us here today, Arthur! Everyone, stay tuned for more interviews featuring other members of our cast!


jessica prescott said...

This looks so cool :) Can't wait for the 8th so we can finally see it!
I suppose it must be rather fun to act the bad guy . . . I never really thought about it that way. I'm a writer, not an actor, so personally I feel like the good guys are more fun to write--but acting, I expect, is very different.

Awdur said...

Ahem. At what time on the 8th are we to expect the illustrious premier?