If you don’t know who Natalie Rodriguez is, now’s the time to peek at her work. Her notable experience includes: writing, directing, producing and advocating for mental health. Natalie’s directorial debut, Extraordinary Ordinary, premiered this August. I had the pleasure to speak with two actors from the film: John Posey, who starred in MTV’s Teen Wolf and Alex Montalban, lead actor in Extraordinary Ordinary. We talked about life in the entertainment industry.
John Posey, Finding Comedy in the Drama
It was a typical SoCal day in Old Pasadena. The streets were filled with lively people. Inside a popular coffee shop, sat John Posey, established writer and actor. His elixir, green tea. The pragmatic artist sat patiently in his relaxed cotton blue shirt. I was greeted with a smile and then we talked.
John Posey has been chasing a dream since he was 17. The advertisement industry had given success and opportunity to the eager and enthusiastic goofball. At 27, Posey dropped everything to become an actor. Having experience in advertisement, John developed a voice—one that ultimately led to 10 of his scripts being sold and 1 turned into a film. Posey now spends his time giving back, after being in the entertainment industry for 33 years.
When asked why he took this role in Rodriguez’s production, he responded with a simple yet secure, “I’ve done a of work, filmstage, film, tv, commercial, you name it. At this age you start finding yourself wanting to give back to some people who are trying to get cranked up.”
Posey explains his acting process is, “Biting into the material. I find it very easy to fall into any number of whatever characters you want me to be. I come from a comedy background, so I try to find the drama in the comedy and the comedy in the drama.”
Parenting and Teen Wolf
A popular show John was in is Teen Wolf, which also starred his son, Tyler Posey. The adolescent ages can be trying for some with the whole “trying to fit in, do they like me, I need to fit in” phase. But John explains how he helped guide his sons to be successful. “There wasn’t really any discipline in the house, they [sons] were my best buddies, I started talking to them like adults at a very young age…I feel really lucky to have a close relationship with them. My dad didn’t really talk to his kids, and I think that’s why I’m so close to mine. [Tyler] was interested in acting at a very young age, so I warned them about rejection. I made sure to stress to them, ‘Don’t do this if it doesn’t bring you the most joy.’ That is, being in front of a camera, stage, microphone.”
John also mentions the importance of being respectful and humble. He knows he had something to do with their success and is filled with glee to hear how professional his sons are on set. Most importantly, John is satisfied with his kids being happy. John understands the pressures of walking into an audition room and selling the only thing you have to sell, which is your persona. “I’ve seen a lot of actors who were brilliantly talented, but also very troubled. It can be very hard when that’s all you have to sell [persona], you’re not selling a car or jewelry; so you know people always talk about ‘oh another actor or writer’ and they think they’re nuts, but when you have to convey a certain amount of emotion or drama on a day-to-day basis, it can be challenging.”
Alex Montalban, The Stigma of Showing Weakness
Alex Montalban, star of Extraordinary Ordinary, answers some of our questions. He dives right in and explains his acting process. “No matter your background, your training, your experience, once the camera rolls, all this training goes out the window, so to speak. You simply live in the moment and hope that all of your training is now so deeply etched into your DNA, that it just shows organically on-screen.”
Montalban studied the Meisner Technique under Ranjiv Perera at the Sanford Meisner Studio in Burbank, CA. After a two-year intensive course, Montalban broke wide-open. He evolved from a cocky, arrogant, and self-righteous entity to an actor. He explains why his role as Alex in Extraordinary Ordinary was the most challenging. “Under the Meisner technique we are all about ‘living our truths.’ Like they say, the truth hurts. But if you are able to embrace that hurt and let it overcome you wholeheartedly, the camera captures the rest. Those moments are beautiful and unique.”
Alex explains the importance of his role, “I’ve been stigmatized my entire life: the tall dark, handsome, man’s man…People are afraid to show weakness, to show vulnerability. It’s sad, but we live in such a society where any sign of weakness is judged, frowned upon; an opportunity to take advantage of that ‘weak’ being. Being able to share with an audience that it’s okay to feel vulnerable, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to show ‘weakness.’ How do we change the narrative? How do we flip the script and show the world that even the strongest MMA fighter still goes home and cries?”
The High and Lows of Acting
Both John and Alex have unique perspectives as working actors. They’ve experienced the highs and the lows, endured rejection and have taken it with a grain of salt. Being an actor is questioning yourself, knowing what you can bring, and ultimately believing in yourself. It’s knowing when you need to take a break and admit you are overwhelmed. Extraordinary Ordinary tackles modern day subjects that are intertwined with an unrealistic stigma, that we can’t not be okay. The times are changing. We’re seeing the conversation change about mental health for the better, have you checked in with yourself lately?
This article originally published on GREY Journal.