Heartthrob Graham Patrick Martin discuses Major Crimes, and working with young Jennifer Lawrence on The Bill Engvall Show
Heartthrob Graham Patrick Martin discuses hit show "Major Crimes", and working with a young Jennifer Lawrence on "The Bill Engvall Show" which launched her career. Also Graham talks about attending French Woods Summer Camp.
One of my favorite TV shows currently is "Major Crimes" where you play the character of Rusty Beck a once-homeless teenager of illegitimate teenage parents struggling to make ends. The character actually got started on "The Closer" before moving on to "Major Crimes". Can you take us through your audition process and tell us what you have learned from playing Rusty?
I'm glad you like the show! Major Crimes came into my life in such a surprising way. I woke up to a phone call from my manager saying that I had three hours to prepare an audition for a one episode guest star on the series finale of "The Closer." I scrambled to work on the audition in the limited amount of time that I had, and somehow ended up booking it. Halfway through shooting the episode, James Duff – the show's creator – approached me and asked if I would like to join the spinoff. He's since told me that he had no intention of continuing the Rusty story line, but things just sort of fit. I got lucky.
You played Trent Pearson on my favorite sitcom from high school "The Bill Engvall Show" alongside actress Jennifer Lawrence that, catapulted her to fame. The cast had such a natural on-screen chemistry for example in "Let It Go" when Bryan struggles to accept his first B on a science test and Lauren uses it to her advantage to tease her little brother. What was in like working with Jennifer Lawrence at that early stage, and did you think she would become the most in demand actress in Hollywood?
Wow, I haven't thought about that episode in ages. What a blast from the past! It's no surprise to me that Jen has become the powerhouse that she is. Its been a while since I worked with her. But during those three years I was taken aback by her strength and commitment to her craft at such a young age. She also comes from a fantastic family. I love seeing good things happen to good people.
You grew-up in New York City attending LaGuardia High School and French Woods Summer Camp with your sister and brothers which, is where you first become interested in acting. The first musical you were actually cast in was "The King and I" at summer camp where I understand originally you didn't attend for the acting. Do you have any favorite memories from French Woods, and what did you learn from your experiences that helped you become a professional actor?
French Woods played a huge part in shaping who I am as a person. It's a tremendous summer camp that serves as a playground for young artists to discover and explore their artistic abilities. During those summers, I would do three musicals in three months, I learned to fly the trapeze, performed in magic shows, and sang in an 80s themed cabaret troupe. I wish that every kid could have some form of this artistic exploration like I did. It helped me to break out of my "trying to fit in" tendencies and allowed me to feel comfortable being an individual, which was a beautiful thing for an insecure kid like myself to have.
In 2014 you stared in the independent film "Somewhere Slow" which, is about Anna Thompson played by Jessalyn Gilsig who sells beauty products to doctors but, her company lets her go when her performance is not up to par. Can you tell us what it was like filming "Somewhere Slow, and playing the character of Travis who was going threw his own emotional problems?
Somewhere Slow was probably the most fun I have ever had working on a project. We shot in Rhode Island, which is one of my favorite places in the world. The film had a smaller budget, so I stayed in the house we shot in along with Jessalyn and the film's director, Jeremy O'Keefe. It was a bit of a rebirth for me as an actor. Prior to the film, I had only really worked on multi-camera sitcoms-despite wanting badly to break into dramatic work. Jeremy and Jessalyn took a chance with me-and I am so grateful that they did, because it ended up being a wonderful experience, and the movie turned out great.
The character of Trent Pearson from "The Bill Engvall Show" was the not bright teenager but, what you brought to the show was a comic performance that to ushered in a new era for teenagers in sitcoms to embrace that the fact there not super bright. Do you remember what a typical day on set was like, and looking back on the show what do you think the legacy of "The Bill Engvall Show" will become?
Well inevitably, the legacy of the show is that it was Jennifer's first gig- and that's pretty damn cool. But it was also one of the last true family sitcoms. I mean sure you have all of those hilarious single-cam shows like Modern Family. But Engvall was the last of that 90's-style feel good family sitcom. It never got too big when it was airing, but people still come up to me to this very day and tell me that they love the show because they randomly came across it on youtube and couldn't stop watching.
In 2013 You just starred in the Lifetime movie "The Anna Nicole Story," depicting the tragic life of model Anna Nicole Smith from small town dancer to Playboy centerfold, to her marriage to a billionaire, and her death in 2007 where, you play the late Anna Nicole Smith's late son Daniel. Do you have any favorite memories from filming the TV movie?
I just loved the creative team that was behind that film. Adam Goldberg is a tremendous actor and I loved my scenes with him. The director was Mary Harron, who directed American Psycho, and she was badass. It was interesting working on a true story that most people watched unfold really not too long ago. I had only known about it from the headlines that I saw at the time-so diving into the humanity of a sensationalized tabloid story was compelling for me.
A few years back you where an Honorary Celebrity Co-Chair for the Louisiana SPCA's Howling Success Gala, which, is an organization that helps animals in need. Can you tell us more about the organization, and what other charities are you currently involved in these days?
I have two favorite charities that I work with. First is the Sunshine Kids. They are the official Charity of Major Crimes. I love this group because they provide super fun life experiences for kids with cancer who are undergoing treatment. The other organization that I work with is Covenant House California, which is a shelter for homeless youth in Los Angeles. I am directing a PSA for CHC that will be out in October.
I wanted to revisit "Major Crimes" because, the character of Rusty is a queer youth and seeing LBGT themes on television is still a taboo subject with some of the most daring shows being "Modern Family", and even Will and Grace. What do you hope your character Rusty will do for the LBGT community, and how far do you think Television has to go with highlighting gay issues?
I actually think TV has come a long way, especially these past 5 years. Rusty and Major Crimes don't get a lot of credit or attention for the gay storylines, and I kind of like it that way. I like it because its not considered abnormal. It's just another show with a storyline about someone who happens to be gay. Though I understand the importance of the revolutionary shows that "pushed the boundaries" by having gay storylines, I am proud to be on a show where its not that big of a deal. Its just...normal. And I think that is what the future should be like. Where gay characters aren't celebrated or given a special gold star, because at the end of the day, gay is normal...and that's pretty cool.
Watch the season six premiere Major Crimes October, 31st on TNT network.
Follow Graham on Instagram, and Twitter,.