Q&A with actor Gaelan Connell on Bandslam

CityNews.ca spoke with Connell recently about the movie, meeting David Bowie, and how film school is going.

You’re in a rock band but don’t play an instrument in the movie. Was that a disappointment to you?

We’d do a take and then I’d pick up a guitar and jam with the cast. If anything there was less pressure. I have no problem acting in front of a huge amount of people but anytime I have an instrument it becomes a lot more nerve-wracking.

Your character writes letters to David Bowie in the film. Are you a fan of his in real life?

One of my favourite songs is “Life on Mars”. It was pretty crazy when we got to meet him. [Director] Todd Graff brought Charlie Saxton [who plays the character Bug in Bandslam] and I to meet him during the filming of his scenes. We went back in this room and Charlie had this huge smile and Bowie looks at him and was like ‘Aw, kid. You’ve got a great smile!’ And then he looks at me and slaps me in the face and says, ‘You do too, okay.’ It was so surreal and weird but I don’t think many people can say they’ve been slapped by David Bowie.

How was the vibe on set shooting ‘Bandslam’?

We shot it in Austin, Texas during South by Southwest, the premier music festival for up and coming indie bands. So we’d shoot and then go out and get to see all these bands. Most of the crew never shot a comedy before because they all work on Robert Rodriguez movies like Grindhouse and El Mariachi so that was cool too.

You attend the Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. How do you find working on a movie and then going back to school?

Having worked on these big budget films brings so much knowledge to the whole process when I go back. It’s an opportunity…you have access to a lot of equipment and can share your stories. It’s the only time in your life where you can screw up and people will still forgive you. My friends and I are going to shoot an indie movie over the summer and hopefully get it in some festivals.

Can you tell us about your next film ‘The Secret Lives of Dorks’?

It’s with Jim Belushi and Jennifer Tilly and the producers were behind (500) Days of Summer. We’re hoping it goes the film festival route. Where Will Burton is an introverted character, in The Secret Lives of Dorks my character Payton has a problem of saying too much. Lucky for me it also involves a three way love triangle that I’m mixed up in.

What would you say to someone who scoffs at a movie called ‘Bandslam’?

It’s been marketed towards a primarily young audience but critics have really gotten behind it and it seems that people who are older have been really surprised by it. If you can get past the title and poster and trust that all these adults and older kids have [embraced it] then I think you’ll enjoy it a lot.

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