Lucas Till hit the radar of pop culture and genre fans with his starring role in 2011’s ‘Battle: Los Angeles.’ Shortly thereafter, he graced the screen in ‘X-Men: First Class’ at the mere age of nineteen. His hard work and dedication to his craft has paid of in spades as the Texas native continues to gain steam. He would follow those massive roles with appearance’s in Park Chan-wook’s acclaimed ‘Stoker’ and sharing the screen with film legends Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman in the techno thriller ‘Paranoia.’ 2014 ushered in his return to the role of Alex Summers (a.k.a. Havok, Cyclops’ brother) in Bryan Singer’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ a role which he will soon reprise in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse.’ When he isn’t landing roles in blockbuster films, he is exploring his craft further in solid indie flicks that showcase his range. His latest role in ‘Bravetown,’ co-starring Josh Duhamel, Laura Dern, Mario Bello and Kherington Payne, i son exception to the rule.
In ‘Bravetown,’ Lucas Till plays Josh Harvest, a hardened New York City teen from a broken home – and quietly one of the country’s top dance club DJs and remixers. After a life altering incident, he is sentenced to counseling for a minor drug infraction, along with an extended stay with his estranged father, who lives in a small town in North Dakota. He is slow to warm to his new environment, a town best-known for sending its young off to war, many of whom never return. But when Josh is asked to help out the last-place dance team as they vie for the state competition title, his rough exterior begins to soften. As his relationships emerge with both the team’s captain, Mary, and his therapist, each of whom have lost someone special to war, it forces all three to begin to face and heal their pasts.
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Lucas Till to discuss his journey as an actor, his influences, his time on the set of ‘Bravetown’ and what he learned from the talented cast. Most importantly, we learn what he has in store for us in the months to come as this star on the rise continues to shine brighter with each passing day!
What intrigued you about the world of acting early on?
Oh man, I think I was too small to play sports and I really wanted attention from girls when I was younger! [laughs] In all honesty, my whole family is full of charismatic people, so I had influence from them. I did a lot of plays when I was in elementary school and stuff like that. When I was 10 years old, I ended up getting an agent and pursued it professionally. I had always loved entertaining people but, until that point, I didn’t know I could do it as a career.
Did you have any reservations about taking the plunge as a full time actor when it came time to choose your path?
Oh yeah! People tend to think that all actors are millionaire playboys but it’s really not the case! You have to really make sure it really is the one thing you want to do in life. That being said, I had been accepted to a local university and almost didn’t move out to Los Angeles to pursue acting when I was 18. It was almost a 50/50 chance things could have gone another way but I ended up going the other way and doing what I wanted to do.
It seems to be working out so far!
Yeah! [laughs] Maybe I made the right choice? I guess that remains to be seen as far as if the right decision was made.
No worries, Lucas. I have faith in you.
[laughs] Thanks, Jason!
Who are some of the people who had a big impact you; the guy we see off-screen?
My parents had a big impact on me. They were the perfect combination of supportive and indifferent to what I do! [laughs] I will think I have really accomplished something with a role in a movie and I will go back and tell my dad about it. He will be like, “Oh, man. That’s cool! You got to go up there and travel. That’s great.” I will say, “Yeah! And I got to work with this guy and that guy and this director.” He goes, “Wow. I don’t really know who that is but it sounds cool, man!” [laughs] It really keeps you grounded and they are really supportive as you would imagine parents would be.
They should definitely be proud of you with your latest performance in “Bravetown.” I thought it was a terrific performance. What can you tell us about the project and what attracted you to the project?
There were a lot of things that intrigued me about the project. The cast was mostly put together before I came in or at least it was being tossed around. I liked everyone in it from Maria Bello to Laura Dern to Tom Everett Scott to Josh Duhamel. I have always liked Josh Duhamel since “Las Vegas.” I had definitely never played a DJ before and I was fascinated by that world. Originally, I felt like you just pressed the play button and there was nothing to it. That is not true at all! I know that now! I was also intrigued by the elements of the veterans and their families, which I think might have even been bigger in the script. The film is centered in a town of veteran families, which I was surprised to find out was fairly true to life. Half of my family is veterans, so it was something I could really relate to.
What did you bring to this character that might not have been on the written page?
It is almost as if I flipped as this character is opposite me in a lot of ways. There are some similarities and some people I know say I am a lot like that character but some say I couldn’t be anymore the opposite. A lot of times, that is what attracts you to a character, wanting to do something you have never done before by going outside of the box. It is always a challenge to become something you are not naturally, if that makes sense.
It does. There is a lot of focus on music in this film with the character’s passion for DJing. Did you have to learn a lot on that front and want can you tell us about it?
You know what? I did learn a lot. I worked with a DJ and really tried to get good. Truth be told, I could almost pull it off. I could do it for about 20 minutes at a party! [laughs] You really have to know your stuff. It is an art form. You have to be so smart and the beats have to be so similar and know how to connect them. You really have to have a knowledge of music history or know thousands of songs in order to connect them. If you are doing the battling, there are a lot of skills that go into it. For me, because the song is simply playing back, all I had to do is fake it. I really just went over the motions, watched YouTube videos and applied it.
The entire cast had a great chemistry, specifically the chemistry between your character and Josh Duhamel’s character. Did you and Josh hit it off immediately?
I think so. Let me explain it this way. It’s a funny story. To answer your question, we did hit it off and I liked working with him a lot. Like I said, I have always liked him and he has always been pretty solid and he is a really nice guy. I do remember kind of shaking him. Our scenes were sometimes 10-and-a-half minute long takes. There was a lot that goes into it. On bigger movies, you often find yourself shooting three pages a day and with “Bravetown” we were shooting 10 or 17 pages a day, which means there is five times the dialog and you are sitting there forever. He thought, “Oh no. This kid has no idea.” We were running the scene before shooting it and I was messing with him. I was like, “Uhhhhh. What is it again?” I acted like I didn’t know any of my lines. When we got on set, I could see he was sweating because he wanted to do a good job with this movie and he is thinking about this kid who is being lazy not learning the lines. Anyway, I knew the whole thing and I think I surprised him in the scene that I was able to pull it all off. So, I definitely liked him enough to try and pull a prank on him! [laughs]
What was the biggest challenge for you as an actor on this project?
The film has changed a few times since I have seen it but I will say that I did have to cry a lot. [laughs] Ya know, I am a pretty happy guy, so when you have to cry for three days straight you are so wrecked by the end of it! You find yourself throwing stuff because you think you are supposed to be angry but the director, Daniel Duran, would say, “That was amazing but this time you love your mother and are not angry at her.” Three days of crying puts you through an emotional and mental blender! Honestly, the DJing was the biggest challenge. I remember being frightened right after I had really sat down with the turntables for the first time. I went to the doctor’s right afterward and he asked, “Are you feeling OK? Are you normally pretty healthy because your heart is through the roof right now!” So, that was definitely the biggest challenge for me.
You mentioned one of the things which attracted you to the role was the cast. Are you the type of actor who sits back and tries to learn a little bit from your co-stars from their process?
Ya know what? Yeah, now that you say that, I do. When I was shooting, a series of three weeks, each week was a different actor I looked up too. There was no time to settle down and relax. I would get done with a week and feel like I was finally worthy of being in a room with this person and then the next week it would be a new actor coming in and keeping me on my toes. Everyone is different. For example, when Josh and I were at the house it was almost like we were actually there. When I finally went up to him, he would say something to me in character and I fire back at him in character and we were getting pretty heated. It got pretty intense. Then, with other actors in the movie, they could go 100% into character and come back to being super sweet. Everyone was so different but I think you definitely learn something new from every actor you work with.
Your roles grew through the years and it looks like you have a lot of good stuff headed our way. Do you ever take time to reflect on your work and how have you most evolved along the way?
I try not to, man! Every time I look back, I keep getting more and more depressed! [laughs] No, I am kidding! [laughs] I think I have learned to relax a little bit more. That is for certain. I used to feel so high-strung. It is hard for anyone to watch movies they are in but I really felt like been a little more focused, not that I wasn’t before, but I have learned to relax. It was more that I couldn’t tell I was high-strung, as opposed to other people seeing it. I felt like I was twisted up like a windup toy! I just felt I was wound up on screen all the time and that was annoying to watch. Now, it is like, “OK, kid. You are picking it up! You’re gettin’ it!” [laughs]
What projects do you have in store for us in the near future and are there specific roles you would like to tackle?
There are so many masters out there and the guys who would like to take their careers a little more seriously but, at the same time, I don’t know those are the type of movies I watch over and over. Then you start thinking, “Would I rather be in the type of movies I watch over and over?” I don’t know, so I am not even going to put a name on a role I would love to play but I do love action and I do love comedy. Nowadays, action comedies are a real thing. They are their own genre. I would like to be in more stuff like that. To answer your other question, I have a movie called “Sins of Our Youth,” which I am definitely plugging that one right now because I feel it would lead to more attention than anything else. Definitely check it out because I couldn’t be more proud of it and I think it is one of the best things I have done in my career. Everyone involved, from the director to the cast, was amazing and it is a terrific little film. Then next year, I have another movie coming out called “Monster Trucks.”
How did being a part of a huge franchise like “X-Men” impact you and the way you work today?
It had a huge effect on me. Like I said before, it is the type of movie I would watch a lot. I think I am such an annoying cast member to the people on “X-Men” because I am such a fan. That is the film that I definitely think chilled me out a lot. I realized, “Oh! I can be in movies that I really like and had a built-in nostalgia for.” To get to be a part of something you know the history of and get excited when you see a certain actor you recognize from their past role was amazing. It was so cool, being a nerd, to be able to watch it and appreciate it on that level, as well as to be a part of it. It has definitely made me pretty happy to be a part of something of that caliber.
That is great. Clearly you are busy in front of the camera. Do you aspire to explore the world behind the camera in the form of writing and directing at some point?
Yeah, definitely. I have some things going on. I am afraid to put that out there in the ether. I didn’t want people knowing that yet and have been keeping that close to my chest but, yes, to answer your question.
It will be our little secret. [laughs]
Thank for your time today, Lucas! I have to say you are a lot of fun to watch and it has been great chatting with you! Keep up the great work!
Thanks so much, Jason. I really appreciate! Have a good one!
Alright. Our secret and however many thousands of readers! [laughs]
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.