Spotlight on Will HolmanBy Laura & Mike Clark • Dec 2nd, 2006 • Category: Interviews
Listen to our interview with Will Holman [MP3 12:07 3.5MB].
Mike: Welcome to the ShowBizRadio Spotlight. This is Mike.
Laura: This is Laura.
Mike: And today we’re talking to Will Holman who is appearing in Legends! at the National Theatre in downtown DC. Thanks for talking with us Will.
Will Holman: Thanks a lot for having me.
Laura: Well I guess my first question is, does your mother know what you do?
Will: That is a funny line from the play, but of course she knows what I’m doing. She’s proud of me. She hasn’t seen the show yet. She’s in Chicago and the show doesn’t go to Chicago until February 20th which is actually my birthday. She’ll see it in Chicago.
Mike: That’s funny. The show is starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans as two retired actresses being called to do a Broadway play. Of course they don’t get along too well. The whole show is them trying to one up each other and getting into a fight. Will comes in and does a strip tease for them because he thinks it’s a wedding party. It’s kind of slapstick and kind of serious at points so it’s a wide range of stuff happening in the show. My big question was after seeing the show was the rehearsal process for the strip tease, how does that work?
Will: We rehearsed three weeks in New York. What happened there was our choreographer, Denis Jones. He helped me out for the three weeks. He taught me the steps. I’m not a dancer. I’m an actor, so it was a little difficult for me to learn the steps right the first week. But after I learned the steps, learned the movements I just made it my own. So I rehearsed with the ladies. Me and Tonye Patano, plays Aretha in the play. We rehearsed more together because we had more action together.
Will: It was a fun process. We were actually getting to know each other while we were stripping together. It was a good process.
Mike: Right. Was it intimidating at all working with Joan Collins and Linda Evans?
Will: To tell you the truth, I used to watch the show with my family when I was growing up. I was in love with Linda Evans. So when I met her I was definitely star struck. And with Joan Collins. So it was intimidating definitely. I think it was more intimidating because I’m not a dancer. I really didn’t know how to tackle the project. When I first got in there I was real serious. No talking. I was like, “Just let me learn the steps.” Then when I got there it was nothing but fun.
Mike: You did the dancing really well.
Will: Well thanks.
Laura: I was very impressed. You were jumping all over everything. When you jumped up on the piano my heart stopped for a minute, but you did it really well.
Will: Well I aim to please.
Laura: What was your first show Will? Was it it in college or high school?
Will: I believe I was like eight or nine. I took tap dancing and ballet and everything, but I was never really interested in it. It was something my sister was into and my mother just made me do it because my sister wanted to do it. So I just sat around and wasn’t really interested in the dancing. So one day my dance teacher said, “Since you’re not interested in this, we’re gonna make you do something.” So he made me play Cab Calloway in a traveling production. We went to retirement homes and things of that nature. State fairs. So I listened to the music. I liked the music and I got up there and sang and danced. So that was my first experience on stage.
Mike: Did that first experience, did you know then that you wanted to do acting as a career?
Will: No, not at all. I just knew that I liked performing. Not too long after that I started swimming at the age of ten and I didn’t have time for anything else. Up until I was 20. Between school and swimming I didn’t have much time.
Mike: So then you went to college?
Will: I went to Florida A&M for Engineering and Technology. I wasn’t really fond of that. I went there on a swimming scholarship. I wanted to be an architect so I studied engineering. I wasn’t really fond of engineering and I no longer wanted to be an architect so I came back to Chicago. I worked odd jobs or whatever. I started modeling and doing films in Chicago. They had auditions for Ali, the movie Ali. Once I got on set there, I knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing. It was the perfect fit. So I moved to Los Angeles and I’ve been there for the past six years working. Television, commercials, and a couple films. You know, this is my career. I’m here to stay.
Mike: The press packet we got said you worked with Marlon Brando in Lying For a Living, which is acting about acting. So what was that process like?
Will: The whole process was, it was just extremely funny. My first day in Los Angeles. I was driving home from the airport and I almost hit a guy. He liked walked right into the middle of the street. He turned and looked at me and I thought, “This guy looks familiar.” So ok, I just drove on and went on with my day.
About three weeks later I was on the show, “The Division” or something like that. I ran into the same guy. The actor Jim Sable from “Nightmare on Elm Street.” So we were talking. He was like,” Well how long have you been here?” I told him I’ve only been here for three weeks. I really don’t know the lay of the land. So he gave me his number and told me he would help me out. So we talked on the phone the next day and he told me he was going to an acting class and he would call me the following day. He called me and said, “Be ready tomorrow at 8 AM and I’ll bring you to the class.” I was like “ok.” He didn’t tell me anything. I walked in. It’s Marlon Brando, Whoopi Goldberg. It’s Robin Williams. It’s Edward James Almos, Leonardo Decaprio, Sean Penn. I almost fainted. That went on for three weeks.
It was beyond belief. Marlon Brando came out everyday. Sat on this big throne. He dressed in drag. He put on makeup. He sat up there with his Saint Bernard. I learned so much from him. And so much from everybody else in class. The highlight of the whole experience. Everything was good, but the highlight of the whole experience was they said we were going to have a special guest today. I’m like,”OK, who can top this?” Guess who walks in?
Mike: No idea.
Will: Michael Jackson.
Laura: Oh my.
Will: Exactly. That’s exactly. I started screaming like a girl and almost fell out. It was definitely amazing. It’s my first month in LA. We all had to get up there and perform. That’s when I really knew I could hold my own. I’m definitely an actor. Everybody gave a great response from my scenes.
Mike: Do you have any advice you can give to someone who wanted to get started in acting?
Will: Someone who wants to get started in acting they definitely have to really love what they do because it’s not as glamorous as the media would make it seem. 95% of the people who are acting can’t really live off that income. You have to love it. You have to study as much as possible. You have to read as much as possible. You have to be a student of the world. You have to be interested in everything. Because you never know where you have to, what experiences you have to pull from to relate to a part. Like stripping and dancing. I’m like that’s not my forte. Taking my clothes off in front of thousands of people. I was nervous about that. I got comfortable with the material. That helped me with the moves and comfortable with the people I’m working with. Boom Boom is definitely not Will Holman.
Mike: Have you had any wardrobe malfunctions?
Will: Have I. You’ve seen the show so you know what happens.
Will: The first preview we had for a select audience which was mainly the family of the crew and the theatre. So I’m dancing. When I pull my pants off, which is basically the second move of the scene. Everything came off. I mean everything! The pants, the boxers. Even the thong came off. So I just finished the dance with my hands over my privates. I should have gone into the audience and charge more money for that.
Mike: Gotta be flexible.
Will: That’s right. The type of things I’m doing I know that eventually something’s going to happen. In theatre nothing is the same. Always different. So that’s how I look at it.
Laura: This is your first national tour. What kinds of things have you learned so far?
Will: Touring is difficult. You’re away from your family, away from your friends. But you take on a new family. Everybody in the production I consider my family. We hang out pretty much 24/7. We’re going to be together for the next nine months. It’s a little more difficult than I thought it would be, but it’s a great experience. I’m in a different city almost every week. Cities I’ve never been to so it’s a great environment to learn. I’m seeing different sights. I’m in DC right now. I’ve never been. I went to all the monuments and I’m going to the museums tomorrow. It’s just a great learning experience. This is my first tour. This is my first time doing theatre consistently. So I’m learning a lot about the differences between film and stage. It’s just a great learning experience.
Mike: What are your future plans after the show closes next summer? Do you think you’ll be chosen to be on Broadway if it actually makes it to Broadway?
Will: If it makes it to Broadway, definitely. That’s a dream of mine. Actually I saw The Color Purple in February. It was my first time in New York as an adult. So I saw the Lion King, the Color Purple, Chicago. Just had a theater fix. When I was a teenager I told myself this what I want to do. I eventually want to be in a show on Broadway. It would definitely be a dream for me. I’m still gonna do television and films because I’m based in LA. Broadway is high on my list.
Laura: Well, is there anything else you’d like to share with us tonight Will?
Will: I just want to thank you guys for coming to the show. Thanks for interviewing me. I just want everybody to come see the show. It’s definitely a good time. It’s not Shakespeare or ground breaking material. But you definitely have a good time and you laugh a lot.
Mike: It’s in DC through the 3rd I believe? Or is it the 2nd?
Will: The last show is this coming Sunday (the 3rd) at 2 o’clock. And then after that we go to Kansas City.
Mike: Well this has been the ShowBizRadio Spotlight on Will Holman.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
Note: Our review of Legends! is available: Collins and Evans Are the Draw of Legends!
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1825.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.