Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
The Secret Fluffiness of Josh Stewart
Words by Falene
Pictures by Josh Stewart
Josh’s ‘Heart’ illustration by Matthew Gray Gubler
Having seen (and enjoyed) many of the characters that Josh Stewart has played, I’m not going to lie—I was expecting a rather brooding fellow. He so convincingly embodies individuals, who more often than not are slightly “troubled.” Men who are constantly perturbed, or teetering on the edge of something truly awful happening. Leaving us all wondering what the character does after the day is done, the scene is over and the credits have rolled. Truth be told I know I do and it’s never good. Whether he’s agent, mute or thief, it usually involves a window, a sense of foreboding and a large glass of Bourbon. I mean do you see ‘Detective William LaMontagne, Jr.’ going home, relaxing with a hot mug of cocoa and soaking his tootsies in the Foot Spa? Nor me, although he really probably should.
So imagine my surprise when a few minutes after our “hellos,” I realized Josh Stewart is in fact one of the fluffy bunnies of the world. Those few genuinely ‘good’ people, who enjoy dappled sunshine and feeding ducks. The ones you would want to give big hugs to and protect from all the troubles of the world. Which is odd when you consider that nine times out of ten (on screen), it’s usually the world that seems to need the protection from him. The actor who portrays the ‘melancholy and macabre’ so well, has an alluring coziness about him. A comfort inducing tone, that makes you want him to read you a bedtime story before tucking you in for the night. It’s bizarre, but I think I want Josh Stewart to be my dad! WTW? Which makes no sense at all, as I’m at least one year his senior. So instead of trying to convince him to adopt me (*which I was very tempted to do), or that he and Robert Pattinson could pass for family; we talked about how utterly gruesome his new film “The Collection” is. As well as his impressive portfolio of fictional character names and why he wouldn’t mind being is his wife for a day.
I give you (the-not-at-all-creepy) Josh Stewart!
Your accent is none descriptive, where are you from?
Originally from Diana, West Virginia, I was in NYC for a while working, so it’s kind of all over the place now.I don’t why, but a lot of people think I’m English.
Perhaps it’s because you are very pale?
I am Scotch-Irish (laughs), with a bit of Cherokee thrown in.
You also tend to play the rather unhinged sorts, don’t you?
Yep, yeah. Exactly.
Saw you on “Grimm” I think you were a beast of some kind?
Well, there you have it. At least it was the kid who was really troubled this time, I was just a decoy.
I did think you were the culprit on sight.
That might have been deliberate, maybe they thought “who can we get, that everyone will believe is completely unstable and guilty? Josh Stewart!“
Even the cops you’ve played, seem to have issues?
If I’m the cop, it’s the one you probably don’t want to be partners with (laughs).
Why do you think that is?
To be honest I think…
… it’s because you’re so pale, isn’t it?
Yes, yes that’s right, ha! No, when you first get to Hollywood and work, it’s whatever you remind people of, is how they cast you.
(Now he sounds almost like a New Yorker, I’m so confused).
When I first got here, some people kept saying I reminded them of a young Sean Penn. Who was associated with the more intense or complicated roles.
Well, that’s a compliment.
Absolutely, but that’s how they saw me. So you are steered towards those types. I can play those types, they come to me easily and it’s been good to me.
They suit you.
So why fight it and it’s fun to get in the heads of those kinds of people.
Mmm, you are troubled aren’t you?
(Although his giggling, doesn’t really back that idea up).
Put it this way, I’ve been here over ten years now and I’ve auditioned one time for a sit-com. No joke, one time.
Wow they don’t even look at your picture and think “happy.”
No, more like “what’s wrong with this guy, let’s call him in.”
You ever auditioned for “Twilight”?
Nope, I’m not pretty enough for those kind of movies.
(Although he can sound like a seasoned cop, grizzled FBI agent, or cowboy storyteller, he doesn’t photograph that way).
Have you seen those dudes?
(Bless, I find it so much more satisfying to silently objectify the ones that are completely unaware of their looks).
Besides I have a few years on all of them.
Just how gruesome is “The Collection”?
It’s completely offensive in EVERY possible way.
Seriously, I’m in it so I know what’s gonna happen next, I can’t watch the really bad parts. I still cover my eyes or turn my head away.
I saw the trailer with the dance club scene. Oi ve, ouch.
Do you still snowboard or box?
I use to be a competitive snowboarder. Everyone still thought it was a fad then, the ski patrol didn’t really want you there, or the skiers. We were constantly getting our lift tickets taken away from us. When you look how it’s transformed free skiing and how far it’s come. With boxing you figure the older you get, it’s not really that much fun getting punched in the face.
Especially with what you do for a living, are you allowed?
I guess that’s more the question right (laughing). Fortunately for me, the characters I play if I get a real black eye, they say “ah it’s fine.”
How did you start acting, being into more athletic pursuits?
My father was a baseball, basketball and football coach. So I grew up in that world and theatre wasn’t even on my radar. By chance, my speech teacher from high school was directing a play and she told me to audition. First time on stage, I knew, this is it.
You have the best character names; ‘Arkin’, ‘Barsad’, ‘Holt’, and ‘Pleasant Curtis’ my personal favorite .
I tell you Pleasant Curtis is the best name, in history. I’m not gonna argue with that. Wouldn’t that be the best name for a bar?
What are you talking about, I’m gonna call my first born that!
Barsad comes from a “Tale of Two Cities” a lot of the Batman film’s storyline came from that.
(I’m ashamed to admit, I thought as he was a mercenary it was a take on Bastard. Just pronounced like a rough Londoner, without the T).
What TV shows are you watching now?
To be completely honest, I barely watch TV. If I do watch anything it’s usually The Outdoor Channel or movies.I did watch some of the “Dexter” season with John Lithgow, my wife is very into that show. There’s something to be said for a guy that can play a serial killer and make him a likable hero. You root for him, which is really creepy.
Very handy on the creators part, mind you. To have him kill serial killers.
And you don’t want him to get caught, this person that’s doing something that’s morally reprehensible.
Then there are some, like the angel of death nurse, she wasn’t that bad.
(laughing) So, you are deciding who Dexter should and shouldn’t kill? Who lives and who dies, Falene?
(Oh poop, I’m sorry Dad, you are right).
Any thoughts about MIMP?
I read an interview, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind these last couple of weeks so I haven’t had a chance yet. I was flying to Texas, then to NY, for the tour for “The Collection.”I just got back from directing my very first movie, which I’m in and I wrote too. I think my brain had a meltdown. I’m sure two thirds of it is no longer in use.
Any hobbies or skills, are you a secret knitter?
Carpentry, I have the potential to be a good carpenter.
Last film you saw in a movie theater?
“Beasts Of The Southern Wild.” So good, so freakin’ good. On the plane I watched “Stand by Me” and “On The Waterfront.” I thought, Tom Hardy is like our Brando.
Well technically, he’s our Brando. I speak for my fellow countrymen (and my lady parts).
(laughing) Well, he is your Brando, but I meant our generation’s. I’ve said this before about him, the guy has so much power in just his eyes. He had that mask covering half his face, all he had was the eyes. He’s like a throw back to a different time.
Josh genuinely has a strong passion about good films and good acting.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a working actor?
I would probably be a carpenter. I enjoy building things, I built the dining room table, chairs, some furniture in our kids room. It’s nice creating something tangible, something tactile.
What is your true hearts desire?
Fly-fishing, standing in a river. I love it, there’s nothing better, sun just poking through the branches. With Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” in your back pocket.
(I’m so glad I recorded this raconteur’s tale, I shall sleep well tonight kids).
If you were a woman for a day, who would you like to be?
That’s both lovely and really, really, really dirty. (God, I’m an absolute guttersnipe, although he is cracking up).
Wait, OK, my wife when she isn’t around me. My wife, not going to bed. I see where your mind went there. I can see it now, “Josh Stewart really wants to be with himself.”
Awe, playing with his own bits.
That’s right and playing with my own bits.
Fly fishin’ and touchin’ me own BOOBS!! Ah, good times.
Who do you love, musically?
Johnny Cash, recently I’ve been on this kick of folksy, bluegrassy, instrumentals. Also been listening to Mumford & Sons and The Avett Bros.
Oh yeah, ‘Headful of Doubt’’ is a great, great song and ‘Kickdrum Heart’ as well. Where I’m from, the Appalachian Mountains has a big bluegrass music following. It’s also where all the Scotch-Irish settled, the fiddles, the banjos, it all comes from a similar place.
Your biggest vice.
Oreos. I can whack a bag of Oreos, in one sitting. I’m talking at least 25 cookies in one go.
There’s an illustration of you by Matthew Gray Gubler that says you had Salmonella?
I did, I actually went into cardiac arrest and my wife performed CPR on me for 7 mins until the paramedics arrived. Then they had to shock me back. Yep, that really does happen from Salmonella. So now when you go back a few questions, to why I say I wanna be my wife.
You want to save yourself?
Yes, I want to save myself because I have so much to do (goofily to himself). The weird thing is she doesn’t know CPR, they walked her through it over the phone and I died for almost 10mins. I got Salmonella from feeding ducks and now I have a defibrillator in my chest. So I took a picture and sent it to Matthew as a source for his drawing.
Josh exudes a reassuring sense that everything is going to be ok, he’s got it covered.
That’s really serious, man.
Erm slightly, yet he’s so incredibly calm as he recounts his own death.
This is meant to be a light and fluffy interview Josh?
OK… I want to be my wife (giggles) I wanna be with myself… and play with my own boobs.
If you were a chocolate what would you be?
A snickers bar.
Lovely, as you should be.
Quick word association round.
a) Red - blood
b) Kittens - not so much
c) Giggles - River (his son)
Mmm that makes the last one a bit awkward
d) Vagina - babies
Or maybe not, that works. Clever, well done!
“The Collection” (the sequel to 09’s “The Collector”) is out November 30, Josh Stewart is ‘Arkin’. According to some “it’s Jigsaw on Crack.” So, go see it!!