4/7/2017 10:02:00 AM So far, so good on trio of big screen projects 'Wilson' released; with 'Anniversary' and 'House of Tomorrow' on-deck
Dad, Hank Cram and brother Zay Cram attended the special premier at St. Louis Park as part of the Twin Cities Film Fest March 22.
Editor’s Note: The following is a Q&A with actor Paul Cram, who grew up in Chisago County. He is in the film “Wilson” with a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern and Judy Greer among others. It hit theatres nationwide about a week ago and was celebrated with a premier at the Twin Cities Film Fest in St. Louis Park. It’s in wide release now.
1. Describe your all time favorite paid role, even if it was in a commercial or a video, and what it did for you, or what you got out of it, that makes it your favorite. My all-time favorite role thus far is one of the lead roles in a dramatic-thriller movie titled "Anniversary" that is not out yet. So many things converged together that made it very memorable for me. I worked in Maine, USA for a few months while shooting it. We traveled along the Canadian border there, and then spent weeks shooting in and around Portland, Maine (not far from Boston.) What can I say about it all? I loved the food there, the crew and cast were just amazing people, and I had a lead role in a feature film.
The role was challenging in a few ways- the character is so simple that he borders on possibly have some mild autism, but has such a good caring heart in the film. I loved trying to find that balance in some of the more dramatic scenes where I am angry. That balance of emotion and yet caring. It was so delicious to sink my teeth into. And to work on a set with actors and a director (Jim Cole) who really grasps the nuances of dramatic story telling- like I said it was just delectable and I hope to return there and work again. Also, I am hopeful that the film itself will get international distribution to theaters. People can see photos and a trailer for it at www.what isanniversary.com.
2. Are you at the point where the industry seeks you out and knows of your work or do you still spend a lot of time hunting up roles? I guess we are wondering how long it took, before you felt your foot was in the proverbial door? I am at a point where locally, yes, I don't have to be hunting for roles all the time. I have an agent here in town that does that for me when the bigger films come through Minneapolis. And I have a good working relationship with the casting directors here as well, and get requested to come in for roles that I fit for.
On a national level I am still knocking on doors- so to speak. I am not famous by any stretch of the imagination, and I still have to audition for every role (just about) that I work on, even here in Minneapolis, and certainly abroad on a national level. But fingers crossed that what's happened locally will begin happening on a larger scale too.
3. It was cool that your family could share in the "Wilson" experience. Has that been a conscious effort on your part, to bring them along for the ride? Oftentimes you hear from people in entertainment who are putting distance between negative family or hometown experiences. On that same train of thought-- what's something you look forward to doing-- or a place you hangout --when you are taking a break and spending time in Chisago County? I loved having my dad, Hank Cram, and little brother, Zay Cram, at the red carpet premiere of "Wilson." Largely because this is the first movie I am in that is playing across the country. My dad and family have come to many movie screenings over the years that I've been in locally, ya know local showings of movies that only play once at a local theater and we all slap each other on the back for making a film. They are great! But this is a fun step-up from that.
My family is always super happy when I am doing commercials and they see me on TV. They've always been very supportive and excited about my endeavors as an actor and artist in general, but I am picky in what I bring them along to see me in when it comes to movies. I've been in a fair amount of horror films, and I also am often cast in really dark, raw character pieces- such as my role in the gritty film "Imperfect Sky" that came out last fall to online outlets.
I specifically didn't involve my family in that much at all because I play a troubled drug dealer who's entangled in a gay love affair with one of his customers, and my character dies a very dramatic death. I realized long-ago that it's hard on my family to see me "die" on screen. Which makes sense. While it's all fake, there's just something to seeing someone you love being someone else that maybe isn't something ya want to have in your mind. They can handle it, it's just not all for them.
One of my sisters just moved back to Chisago county, built a house on the lake; when things settle down a little this summer, I am looking forward to sitting on the dock, dipping my feet in the lake, and laughing with my sister and her family.
There are a lot of actors that didn't have great lives, and distance themselves from where they came from, and while I had some bumps-along-the-road of my teen years, I feel like I was very blessed and overall had a really great life and experiences. Chisago County is where I grew up, it feels right, it feels like home. It brings back so many good memories. I really started doing acting a ton while I was going to Faith Assembly church there. I remember Chisago County local Cindy Madison, who still lives there actually, directing me and the rest of the youth drama group in church plays. It was a really wonderful time, and I rather cherish all those memories. Recently when I was working on "House of Tomorrow" that filmed in North Branch, one of the extras came running up to me and threw her arms around me. It was one of the Raleigh girls, who I had done drama at church with.
4. Why should people see "Wilson" (aside from the fact you are in it.) Does it impart a life-altering message, are there characters that make a lasting impression or is it just all around thoroughly entertaining? People should see "Wilson" because there's an underlying message of hope amidst all of its prickliness. While the film is very entertaining and makes me laugh-aloud, it also has some very poignant messages. The biggest one for me, and why I am so proud to be in the film, is the message of life. Once you watch the film, I think people will know what I mean. Seriously, look for the adorable baby!