Interview with the cast of Terri: Creed Bratton, John C Reilly, and Jacob Wysocki

I recently had a chance to sit down with the cast of the new film Terri, a very unique film about a misfit student who develops a special bond with his assistant principal who helps him try to find a way to navigate his life amid the pressures of bullying, sex, drugs, and well, life itself.

I first spoke with Creed Bratton who plays Terri’s uncle with dementia in the film but who is well known to audiences from his role as Creed on the sitcom The Office. In addition to acting, many might be surprised to know that Creed was an original member of the 1960’s group The Grass Roots who had some serious hits with songs like “Live For Today” and “Midnight Confessions.” So I asked him about what it’s like making it as both a rock star and a Hollywood star and which had the better sex to which he replied “so far this film Terri has opened up so many doors with the Uncle James character, you’d be amazed!  I thought being in my twenties in the summer of love with the Grass Roots would’ve been it but Terri is just really…they see the Uncle James character and there’s something very appealing with the glazed look and the shaking of the hand, they feel that there’s some hidden sexuality there.”

I also had an opportunity once again to speak to Academy Award nominated actor John C. Reilly, an industry vet with roles in films ranging from Boogie Nights to Chicago to Talladega Nights to Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie which he is currently filming.  So after twenty years in the business with a trail of successes I was interested in how “Hollywood” his life really was? “Sooo… Hollywood, I have a guru, no, I have a very un-Hollywood life, I live on the outskirts of L.A., I don’t go to Hollywood type events unless I have a reason to be there and I really treasure my time off and my time with my family.”  So I asked him, after working with so many other talented people in the film industry, which experiences did he learn the most from? “Hopefully you learn a little something on each project you do, even the ones that are not successful- I have this one friend of mine, he’s a little bit younger and he sent me an email from some location on some huge budget movie saying ‘dude I’m dying, it’s so boring, I can’t believe I took this stupid movie, why did I do this!’ and I was like listen, just because the movie is ending up lame doesn’t mean you cant take a good experience out of it’- I think that’s one of the reasons I was drawn to becoming an actor. Because I get to do everything, I get to do 6 months of the most exciting part of being a swordfisherman or being a cop or being a porno actor and then move on.  Those are the things you learn, you know, the experiences where you get to put yourself in the shoes of another person and really see the world through another person’s point of view, it teaches you to do that in life, the greatest thing you learn as an actor is empathy.”

Finally, being a high school teacher myself, the theme and the struggles in the film hit home, so I spoke to the whole cast about their advice for students who have a tough situation in school and Jacob Wysocki who stars in the lead role said “I’ve been out of high school for almost 4 years and I look back and said I had no idea, I had no clue” and Reilly agreed adding that “If you’re in high school and you’re freaking out about your place in the pecking order and you feel like a monster or an outcast and you feel like, in the deck of cards that is high school there’s the aces and the kings and queens and you’re like the three of clubs, just know that this is true for every single person in the world- the moment you get out of high school that deck of cards is thrown into the air and those who were kings and queens often end up the assistant manager at the grocery store and those who were the three of clubs end up on press junkets for movies starring themselves, it gets better for everybody, and you just have to get through it.  Keep growing, keep moving and you’ll find the world that you need.”

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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