We met Ross Cain a few years ago at a charity gala in the Dusit Thani Hotel. He had that dazzling superstar aura even then, with several people going up to him that night asking for photographs. Little did we know that the British expat would end up starring in one of Thailand’s most epic, most highly-anticipated action-drama films of 2019: The Cave, Nang Non
This is his BangkokHaps interview.
Bonus: Ross tells us about casting, rehearsing, and what it’s like being a professional actor in Bangkok
BangkokHaps: Tell us about casting for roles, in general, for people who are interested in getting acting jobs.
Ross: I would ask for the script (not just the lines), to understand the character and then do my take on it. When you go to a casting, you are kind of trained to guess what they’re looking for. Your casting is like a job interview. Preparation is everything. What other angles should I be looking at? Could I run the character a different way. Could I have him be more flamboyant? Or reserved? I learned different styles of the character’s emotions and what happened in this casting I went to the other day is there were three very different clips that show the character in different emotions. I had to do them one after the other, quickly. Acting is perfect for people with split personalities! You should try it.
BangkokHaps: Do you have a favorite type of role, a role you’d like to play?
Ross: No. I look for things that are going to take me out of my comfort zone. I would ask for the script, to understand the character and then do my take on it.
BangkokHaps: Is improvization a big part of acting?
Ross: Yes, in theater but also in film. Right now, a lot of directors want to capture things in the moment, usually off-script. And you kind of free-form. You should take time to understand the character, understand his style of talking because if you’re in the character, you can free-form believably. In The Cave, that happened quite a bit. Tom, the filmmaker and director would say “OK, here’s the scene guys. This is what you’re gonna talk about. Go!” More and more, I’m seeing directors like that because they want to capture things that are real and it’s very nice.
BangkokHaps: Did you have to learn any new skills in order to play the diver from The Cave?
Ross: Yeah. Part of being casted as the diver was answering the question “Oh, can you dive?” I used my dad’s analogy. “Yeah, OF COURSE I can dive.” And then I went to learn to dive. And I didn’t wait to get the part. I started learning as soon as I saw the opportunity to be this character. I had all the kit on, breathing, swimming. Of course, I was in a safe environment. If something goes wrong, somebody was going to drag me out. But that was new, yes.
BangkokHaps: Is it true that when actors and actresses get into character too much, it’s kind of difficult to shake off?
Ross: Character encroachment, when the character starts taking control of your life. And that happens, that happens. It happened in The Cave for me. But he’s a very nice character, so it’s fine. It wasn’t as noticeable. But when I did 12 Angry Men, my character was explosive. He’d go off like AH! And I started doing that with my mom. And straight after doing it, I was like “I’m acting. I’m sorry.” Because you’re subconsciously reacting to a situation as a character would react. And think about these incredible actors who have to play psychopaths! And you look at them and you’re fucking terrified of them, right. And it affects their psyche. Some people have to go into therapy after. For me, playing a psychopath would be very disturbing and my kind of style is to really immerse myself.
BangkokHaps: We know that you have a very special relationship with your mother. Does she help you practice your lines?
Ross: I use my mom a lot as my soundboard. She really helps me rehearse. People say “Act to the dog,” because cats don’t give a shit, right. They’ll lick their arse while you’re trying to say your lines. Whereas a dog will be like, looking at you ALL THE TIME like “Is he gonna take me for a walk?” But they’ll look at you, so you get eyes looking at you while you rehearse. And my mom’s the same, right. She’s a bit of a captive audience because I say, “Right, sit there.” I’ll put the breaks (on her wheelchair) on and she can’t move. So she’s stuck! I play off of my mom a lot and if there’s lots of dialogue, I get her to read it with me and I get her to check my lines. In both theater and film, you have to give people cues. So if you don’t deliver that cue, unless the actor is really clever or you have an intuition going on between you, they wont know when to go on. If people drop lines, you don’t get your cue. So if you don’t say this, and I don’t say that, and people can’t say that... it’s like a domino effect.
BangkokHaps: That sounds like a lot of work. You know how for some people, they love doing something but once they start doing it for work they kind of hate it. Do you ever feel like that about acting?
Ross: I don’t think acting is ever like that because you’re doing something different every time. So unless you’re always like “Hey, I’m the rambo man.” You’re doing something different. You get tired, though. You get very very tired. You can be on set for 18 hours. But the bizarre thing is that you just do it and it feels great.
BangkokHaps: Has acting changed how you view life?
Ross: Yes, I have a broader perspective now, understand how different people think.
BangkokHaps: So, love or fame? Tell us a bit about your answer.
Ross: I’ve had enough love in my life. Love is everywhere. Fame isn’t everywhere. Love is how you are. If you’re a loving, caring, giving person, it’s always going to come back in karma. And I feel it. I feel it. So I don’t have to get love to be loved. Fame, it brings me back to acting. I like how acting, in a way, it gives me a platform which helps me help others because my profile is developing. I can have influence in a lot more places.
BangkokHaps: I know you’re involved in a lot of charity work. We met through a charity gala. So you view acting as a way for you to give a voice to these charities?
Ross: I started taking acting lessons to become more creative in my work which was business, not because I thought I was going to become a professional actor. Anyway, I admire many, many people’s work in the sector of community and charity. And if I can help anybody in any way, I’ll try to do it.
The Cave 2019 Official Trailer:
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