Jeremy Ray Taylor Brings Fun Back to Horror
Jeremy Ray Taylor is at the forefront of a new scare movement, a movement that goes beyond jump scares to entertain movie goers. The star of the incredibly fun “IT Chapter 2” caught up with us a for lively and stylish photo shoot in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Canada. Then later Jeremy talked to us about reviving not one but two classic horror franchises, his inspirations as well as the biggest obstacles he’s had to overcome in his career thus far. Not to mention so much more.
T: Tell me a bit about your background, and how you got into acting?
JRT: I grew up on a farm in East TN like any other kid. I played basketball and soccer and was a roadie for my friend’s band. That is how I got discovered in Nashville! I was with them on a music trip and got picked up by an agent. My first job was with Harrison Ford in 42: The Jackie Robinson Story and I fell in love with it and had to keep going.
T: Tell me a bit about the show, what are you most excited about?
JRT: It Chapter 2 is the continuation of a story about a group of Losers who confront Pennywise 27 years later. The Losers are reunited to take on Pennywise one last time. It was so exciting to see everyone again and have a great little family reunion.
T: How is it playing Ben in the IT series with the rest of the cast?
JRT: Being Ben will always be a huge part of my life! Playing him is the best and it’s the foundation of my career. I don’t think we see each other as individuals; we are truly an ensemble cast
T: What can we expect different from the first IT movie in this sequel?
JRT: Well, we all grow up! And I must say, if I look like Jay Ryan when I get older, then it won’t be a bad thing! The story definitely takes it up a notch in all ways. It’s intense, scary, and as our director, Andy Muschietti says, “you better bring your adult diapers!”
T: What was your experience like filming Are You Afraid of the Dark were you aware of the cultural significance?
JRT: It was so much fun filming Are You Afraid Of The Dark! Being a part of the iconic Midnight Society is fantastic and surreal. My character Graham is a bit neurotic, tightly wound, and a germaphobe. I do get to be the comedic relief of the group, so that is fun for me for sure!
T: Who or what inspires you? Why?
JRT: This might be totally cheesy but the biggest inspiration in my life is my family. My brothers have always pushed me to be the best I can possibly be and the never-ending support from my parents is wonderful. My parents are very strong and never let things get the best of them even at the worst times.
T: What are you up to when you're not acting?
JRT: When I am not acting I like playing Fortnite of course, hanging with family and friends, and unfortunately, doing homework.
T: What's one fact people might not know about you?
JRT: People don’t typically know that I stream gaming on a platform called Twitch. I love doing it because I get to talk to all sorts of different fans and answer questions that fans don’t usually get to ask.
T: What advice would you give to a talented, driven actor who’s just starting their career?
JRT: I would say to never give up and don’t take the no’s personally. I mean, the no’s are a big part of the business. They build character and strengthen your resolve. The role that is meant for you will come.
T: Can you tell me the biggest obstacle you've faced in your career, and how you overcame it?
JRT: The biggest obstacle I have faced in my career is probably denial. When I first started, I got a role pretty quickly, and just kind of figured it would be easy from there. I was wrong. It took a ton of hard work: Lots of tears, sweat, and time were put into all of my auditions. To just get denied and denied made me so frustrated to the point of quitting many times. As an actor, you’ll get denied many times. You have to keep going and pushing and treat every audition like it’s the biggest role you will ever get.
T: What’s your process for preparing for a new role? Can you share any routines or habits you practice to approach playing a new character?
JRT: I get into a character by always thinking and digging very deep into that character’s spirit. I like to think of secrets these people have that are never shown on screen. It gives more depth and feel to the character so I have more than just what’s on paper to truly immerse myself.
T: What qualities make a great actor?
JRT: Compassion and a true love for what they do is a giant part. If you don’t enjoy acting it shows on screen. That doesn’t mean you have to love every second of it. Of course, there are hard days that are tough to enjoy, but even if you love the idea of it, it helps a ton. Another giant factor is being able to listen. You have to take direction well and truly have your whole mind in the action. When you’re on camera you have to use your whole entire body to show your character and what you’re doing.
T: Any other projects you're involved in or looking forward to, besides what you’re working on now?
JRT: Right now, I am working with Safe and Sound Schools to promote The Good Days Tour. The Safe and Sound team, the band Chasing da Vinci, and I will be coming to 3 schools around the country to inspire and promote positivity and good vibes on school campuses. There will be live music, workshops, inspirational speeches, and lots of fun! We want everyone to enter the competition to compete for a chance to win! I can't wait to get to know the students and brainstorm with them about ways we can change the world, one SPARK (Small Personal Acts of Real Kindness) at a time. Students can visit www.safeandsoundschools.org/tour to apply.