Speaker: Jeremy, welcome to Talk City!
Questions: mysterygirl says: Jeremy, welcome to TalkCity! Growing up, which shows or movies were your favorites, and why?
JeremySisto: I liked Breakfast Club, and I liked a lot of silly movies. It wasn't until I was older that I got into more intense things. It was basically whatever we had around! We didn't buy movies, and our video machine would break, so we'd watch the same movie over and over - Mystic Pizza, Summer School, The Rapture - I watched them millions of times! I liked TV a lot for a few years when I was younger; I would watch it all the time whenever I had the chance. And I'd watch pretty much anything with silliness - like Three's Company - truly silly and wonderful! Jack Tripper was a real influence. Hunter was good - The A Team. I call this girl I hang out with Face now... but not from The A Team. Oh, I liked The Bozo Show, on locally in Chicago. The clown Bozo, and his friend Cookie the Clown! One day a friend of my sister's showed up from school and we went to the Bozo Show. Nothing eventful happened, but that's how it went!
Questions: montero says: Which films and actors most influenced your acting style?
JeremySisto: I can't really say because I don't really know what my acting style is! But people I've worked with, like Jeff Bridges, my ex-girlfriend Mercer Ryan.. they influenced me a lot. But basically it's finding my way into things, and learning how I had to do it. I had to learn from myself, and find out what felt true to me. One thing that seems to really be a common denominator is anything that feels real. Whatever feels false I don't like. My first film was Grand Canyon, with Danny Glover, Steve Martin, Alfre Woodard - brilliant actors who all had a strong approach to their acting. And that was a lesson that each person has to find their own idea of what it was. Fortunately that idea is turning out okay so far, I think. :-) It's always a tightrope though, you never know if it's going to continue to work. I worked a lot of theatre - Brian Dennehey was my first influence, who told me that it was important to just exist in whatever moment in the character's life it was. That was my first glimpse into what it was like to be in acting, although I still had no idea what it would be like.
Questions: terrafirma says: What would you consider your most major achievement so far?
JeremySisto: At this point my outlook on things is much more positive, more able to take things lightly and enjoy things. It's an achievement to be able to enjoy life, whatever you're given - and I've been very privileged to be able to enjoy a lot of things. No matter what you have, you can still look at things negatively, but as you get older, having been through enough experiences and situations, that everything's not so huge to me - so burdening. Every single occurrence doesn't weigh me down; and situations don't get in the way of me enjoying people and the work that I love. I can enjoy my work now, and before I was too hard on myself to do that. I used to think I didn't deserve that success - but now I can enjoy it, and that takes the pressure off it. If you put so much weight on each decision, you'll never be happy with what you've chosen. You never know what's going to happen, so it's important to enjoy people, the things you have, and the things you don't have. To laugh, and smile, and enjoy life! You never figure it all out, but being okay with that is part of it!
Questions: latenight says : Has your family always been supportive of your career decision?
JeremySisto: My father, when I was growing up, was a farmer, but before that he was a jazz musician, and is doing that again. He's a prominent jazz musician in Kentucky. My Mom and step-Dad are actors themselves. They've always supported me. My Mom drove me to auditions, to plays - and she was extremely supportive. She's an amazing, wonderful woman, and I'm very lucky to have her in my life. My father is a Zen Buddhist, and he tries to veer away from any drama in his life - drama stirs up the peacefulness he seeks in his life, so he doesn't exactly understand acting, but he's very proud of me.
Questions: anderson says: Do you have a website we could visit to read more about you? If so, what's the URL?
JeremySisto: I don't have a computer, and I don't know anything about it! Someone told me they looked up my name and there were about 187 pages, but they were mostly cross-references from Alicia Silverstone! :-)
Questions: smoke^ says: What is a typical day in your life?
JeremySisto: There is no typical day! I don't have an ordinary job. A typical occurrence to my life is going to an audition with strangers and one or two acquaintances, and I have to read scenes and talk to them. For a long time that was very hard, getting constant rejection. That gets to be pretty insulting after a while. After a while you get to realize it's not usually about you. You always want to go in and have them like you, but you realize that you don't have any control over that - not everyone is drawn to everyone else. I don't like everyone! And what draws a person is that you may look like an uncle from when they were a child - or an image of what they have in mind! So, there are auditions, I try to have a good time. I try to spend as much time as I can with my friends - because I love and enjoy them a lot.
Questions: thomas says: Where is the most exciting place you have ever filmed? Why is it your favorite?
JeremySisto: That would have to be with White Squall, which I filmed all over the Grenadines, Bermuda, South Africa, Malta off the coast of Sicily. It was intense - four months of travelling around, working with these guys.. Jeff Bridges and Ridley Scott. I was 19 years old and got a chance to experience many different cultures... to see how their lives were so different from mine. It was very eye-opening!
Questions: lillianna says: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?
JeremySisto: If you're out of high school and on your own... if you're sure you want to do it, it's all specific based on each individual person. You should look into why you want to do it, and go for it! Start where you are, maybe get into an acting class and work locally. Or move to L.A. and pursue different seminars that allow you to audition for casting directors, and get experience that way. But enjoy the journey, and don't count on it. Look at what it means to you. Take that and make your action fuelled by that. If it's very deep to you, act that way. If you just want to have fun, just be crazy, and enjoy it! A friend of mine went in to an audition, without an agency, and he went in, auditioned, was called back, and got the part in a film with Jack Nicholson! But it's something that's very meaningful to him, and he was prepared to be bold to achieve it! If it's all for money, do it like a business, and there are a lot of actors like that - people whose business heads were so good that they achieved that way. Others think of their talent as an art. None of it is right or wrong - it's just what feels right to you!
Questions: toleto says: Where do you hope for your career to be in 10 years?
JeremySisto: I try not to hope for anything, because that's just setting myself up for a letdown. Of course I hope to be making really good movies - character roles, as well as leading roles - in influential films. To be in a place where I can make a difference in some way. Another part of me doesn't want that because it's a lot of responsibility! I want to just go with what happens, and learn to be able to handle whatever comes my way. I asked Jeff Bridges if he ever prayed, and his prayer is just "bring it on", asking for the strength to be able to handle what comes your way - to be able to deal with whatever you have to deal with.
Questions: uxorious says: Who is your 'dream' co-star? Which actress (or actor) would you most like to work with?
JeremySisto: At this point Sean Penn. I think he is just such a great actor, and he's done so many great things. I love his directing as well. That's a huge dream of mine! There's a ton of great actors out there, and I've been honored to work with those I've been able to work with. It's exciting to me to do any project, because I know each person I work with will have something no one else does! It's like meeting friends of friends! You get very excited to meet those people, because they reflect your friend's tastes and interests. :-)
Questions: tazmania says: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? How did it change your life?
JeremySisto: There has been a lot! My grandfather's rules were: Don't fall down. He also said: Make everyone you meet feel special. My sister says: Pay attention. She's telling me to enjoy life; to see things; to open my eyes. My ex-girlfriend used to tell me to get into other people; meet, explore and understand them. Try to know what makes them tick. My Mom says: Don't get any parking tickets. Another friend tells me to learn things from every step in the journey, rather than waiting for the result. My friend Eric teaches me a lot from his curiosity, and my friend Pat has showed me how to enjoy life and not take things so seriously.
Questions: shawks says: What was your inspiration to go into acting?
JeremySisto: When I was young and my parents were getting divorced, it was a hectic time for me. My Mom was doing Shakespeare in the park, and I saw that there were these actors and audience members who were all there to create this experience together. It was beautiful and magical.. the costumes and the lights. And because things were rather hectic in my life at the time (I was about 6), I saw this place where adults were enjoying playing like kids! I did plays from that time on. Actors have the capacity for enjoyment like kids do, with none of the meanness that kids sometimes have. And then I got Grand Canyon as my first job, and I don't know what my life would be if that hadn't happened!
Questions: romeo42 says: How was it like working with Christopher Walken?
JeremySisto: He's always been one of my idols, and has done some of the most amazing performances of all time! He's very funny, with a contagious laugh, and a terrific sense of humor. We worked very hard on this film and it was an honor to be part of it. After all these years, it's great to see someone working so hard, asking so many questions, and trying so hard!
Questions: reggie says: If you could play any role, on stage, film or TV, what would it be?
JeremySisto: Hmmm... I really like the roles that I get, and I'll think "this is the best thing ever!" I'd have liked Al Pacino' role in Dog Day Afternoon. Christopher Walken's role in Deer Hunter. Martin Sheen's role in Apocalypse Now...De Niro's role in Taxi Driver. Charles Grodin's role in Midnight Run. It goes on forever!
Questions: evergreen says: They say the test of an actors talent is for a dramatic actor to do comedy or a comedic actor to do drama.. have you ever done any comedy?
JeremySisto: Clueless was a comedy. I find comedy much harder. It's really hard for me. You never know what's funny, really. What's funny to me maybe only is funny to me. You risk the possibility of people saying "what was THAT?" I'd be bad at a sitcom, because I'm bad at doing what people expect me to do at a certain time. I'd mess it up. I like comedy a lot, but I like to watch it! :-)
Questions: honey1 says: Jeremy, What kind of role would you like to do next?
JeremySisto: I'm doing an independent film - the lead in a really small story. I've chosen to do it because it's my first lead, with the film resting totally on my shoulders. It's a very quiet film; it's very real.. and there's not so much plot that I will have to handle that.. I'll be able to create a character and allow it to live in this world. That will be my goal. I think jumping into a lead where I'd have to handle extreme circumstances would be difficult, and I'd love to get the opportunity to do that soon, but for now I'm doing this role. It's an independent called The Space Between Us, and it will probably start in the festivals. It allows me to take these things on solely, instead of jumping into a huge responsibility.
Questions: `toby says: Is there any charities that you are involved in? And if so, why did you choose that particular charity.
JeremySisto: I used to drive lunches around for Project Angel Food, an organization which helps AIDS victims. Now I hear from a lot of organizations, and I'm starting fresh. I know certain things about different organizations, but it's a matter of choosing. Amnesty International is one that does good work. I hope to get involved with an organization that helps dying patients who don't have loved ones to be with them.. training volunteers to help those people feel loved and cared for.
Questions: evergreen says: ever cry in a movie scene for real? any wild stunts go haywire?
JeremySisto: Yes, I have cried in movie scenes for real. I try not to fake it, because I think you can see when someone's faking it, and it's not as real when you don't feel what's going on. On one film, a stunt man who was doing stunts for me fell and landed wrong, and had to be carried out. He's okay, but we were worried it might not turn out so well.
Questions: jtwentworth says: Do you find your personal time limited more now that you are doing bigger things?
JeremySisto: Yes, definitely. But, you also make a lot of new friends, so in a way that's personal time too. It does take away from my family and close friends though. I wish my family and close friends could be with me all the time, but that would be a little strange - like Hammer (M.C., that is). ;-)
Questions: nigel says: What is Juliette Lewis like to work with?
JeremySisto: She's really cool! She's done a lot, and she's very professional. I had to do an intimate scene with her, and she made me feel very comfortable. We laughed a lot, and when it came to the scene, she was very much there. I didn't get to work with her a lot, but when I did, it was a real pleasure.
Questions: karen says: What is your ultimate goal with your career? Acting... Direction... possible writing?
JeremySisto: I do write. I try to write with friends, and it's getting a little easier, so maybe that will happen. I've always loved directing, and directed plays in high school. I've worked with some wonderful directors, and have had a chance to see what great directors do! (my friend Eric, who's here thinks I'd be a great director) ;-)
Questions: grassskirt says: If you could film your new movie over again...would there be anything in it you would like to do over again?
JeremySisto: If you mean Suicide King, then no.. except there was one scene we forgot to do my close-up on, and they cut out the middle part of the scene. For me, that scene doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, because in my scene with Christopher Walken, you don't see the transition that's there in the piece that was cut out. I'm probably the only one who sees what's missing. When I did the film, I didn't like what I did that much, but when I saw the film, I could get a sense of what the character was, and why he would do what he did. If you mean Some Girls, I think the choices I made worked, and what the guy does makes sense - although I didn't like my performance at the time!
Questions: karla1 says: Jeremy you were a great actor in Hideaway. I enjoyed the movie.
JeremySisto: Thank you, Karla. That's very nice of you! That was my second big part in a big movie, and I felt a lot of pressure. I learned a lot about how not to act on a film, but it was extremely enjoyable, and we worked hard! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm a really nice guy - I'm not that mean. ;-)
Questions: obnoxious says: What comedy actor cracks you up? :-)
JeremySisto: Bill Murray. Old Chevy Chase. Steve Martin. Jim Carrey. Mike Myers. Adam Sandler. Jay Moore. Christopher Walken. Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. Donald Duck.
Questions: ruley says: which do you believe is easier to do... Theatre, Movies, TV... ?
JeremySisto: I would have to say TV although they all have their own challenges; completely different challenges!. In TV you work so consistently, and you get to know your character so well, and just live in it. It's so ongoing. In film, you know that these scenes, this art, this story, can only be told once, whereas in a TV show they're ongoing characters. I can only assume that because I haven't done that much TV. I know film is hard. For me theatre is a lot more freeing to do than film, but you also don't have a second or third take, so once again it has a separate challenge, and completely different from the others.
Questions: hexi says: Is there anything special you do to make your characters seem more real? Like studying the types of people you are going to play.
JeremySisto: Hopefully I know someone, or a couple of people, who are similar to what I'm playing, so I can take from them. I played a transsexual once in a film called The Crew, and I went to a lot of support groups for transsexuals. I played a retarded person in a play, and I hung out with some mentally-challenged people. Ultimately for me it's best to find that side of them that is in me, but hopefully I won't do a caricature of the person; I want to find myself in their situation.
Questions: Speaker says: Jeremy, it's been a pleasure to have you with us tonight! Are there any final thoughts you'd like to leave us with? Where can we see your work in the near future?
JeremySisto: I have a film called Some Girls coming out.. a film called Without Limits, and another one called Bongwater, and a film called Nobody's Children - and hopefully more if we all cross our fingers real tight!
JeremySisto: Thanks very much for talking to me, and for all your really good questions! It's been a pleasure! Thanks for all your support!