ES: Congratulations on your upcoming recurring role on the Amazon series Bosch. You play the role of Preston Borders. Can you tell us a little bit about this role?
CB: Thank you! Preston was a rock ‘n roll guy from the hair band era of the 90’s. He was convicted by Harry Bosch back then for the murder of a girl Preston had dated. For the last 23 years, he has been on death row. Some new DNA evidence has surfaced and someone else has confessed to the crime. Borders has a lawyer and is trying to get a new trial, get released and sue the city for millions.
ES: What was the audition process like for this role?
CB: Nothing very impressive here. I’d love to say that producers saw my work in prison movies like Felon or Shot Caller and decided that they had to have me on their show…but they didn’t. This was just another audition like any other.
ES: You often play dark or villainous roles in film and television. Do you prefer these types of roles?
CB: No I don’t prefer them, I just got a lot of those roles because I moved to Taos, NM in 2004 and had quit the business. But that was the year NM started a tax incentive to attract productions to the state. Films would come, with all their main actors in place, and hire the bad guys and bit parts locally.
ES: Do you have a process for getting into a role, especially when the role is that of the bad guy?
CB: I’ve never really had a bad guy approach to those roles. I’ve always found it more interesting to play those guys in a lighter, more fun way. If a guy screams “I’m going to rip your heart out and eat it!” then you get it – he’s a bad guy, and he’s really mad. But if they calmly just say those words – with a smile on their face – then THAT shit is scary! At least I think so.
ES: How did you first get started as an actor? Was this something you always wanted to do?
CB: I always knew I wanted to be in the industry. I would sneak out of bed as a five year old and watch scary movies at midnight. I’ve always loved the world on a tv screen, but I originally thought I’d be a screenwriter. I thought I was way too shy to be an actor. It turns out that being shy can help, because you’re more likely to hide in whomever you’re playing, so yay shyness!
ES: Sons of Anarchy was a critically acclaimed series that looked at life in the subculture of a motor cycle club. Tell us a little bit about your experience on this show in playing the role of Gogo.
CB: I was hugely excited to be in that show because it was one of my favorites. And I had a great time – don’t get me wrong – but by season 5 (when I got there), the family was already in place. I always knew I was just a guy passing through. I was also hiding a poorly healed broken neck from producers because I didn’t want to lose the job…so I was on a lot of pain meds and really hurting most of the time. Still, it was a blast to be part of that show. On a side note, I worked with Ryan Hurst (Opie) on Bosch, after all these years! He’s a great guy.
ES: In addition to recurring roles on Sons of Anarchy, you have recurred on Hardball, In The House, Easy Money, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Agent Carter, Continent 7: Antarctica and The 100. What is your favorite of these shows and why?
CB: I was actually a series regular on Hardball and In The House, and in Continent 7: Antarctica, I was the narrator. It was just a voiceover gig for a NatGeo series, but they were all great experiences, for sure. I loved Hardball, a sitcom about a baseball team. One day a week, we filmed at Angels’ Stadium, and I pitched off the mound! As a baseball player to this day, that was a dream come true. I would say my favorite would be from one of the shows not listed. Westworld, Ray Donovan, Bright, Last Rampage. Those shows were amazing to work on, but if I had to pick one, I’d say Last Rampage was my favorite. Robert Patrick and I played escaped convicts in 1978 Arizona. It was a true story and pretty dark material, but Alvaro Rodriguez wrote an amazing script. Dwight Little also directed it brilliantly. It was also the biggest role I’ve ever had. Heather Graham was awesome as Robert Patrick’s character’s wife. After that, David Ayer’s Bright (Netflix) with Will Smith would be a close second. I only filmed three days on that film but was on the clock for a month with personal trainers, sword experts, and dialect coach David Peterson, who literally invented entire languages for the orcs and elves. I also had a Kempo karate teacher, Richard Mesquta, because David Ayer wanted us to bond over getting a yellow belt together. I hear I’ll have much more to do in the sequel, so fingers crossed…
ES: You have had the privilege of working with such actors as Will Smith, Gerard Butler, Jason Statham, Val Kilmer and Denzel Washington. Do you have a favorite actor that you have worked with and why?
CB: Christian Bale. I worked with him twice on 3:10 to Yuma and Terminator Salvation, and although we didn’t work together in many scenes, he was so generous about sharing things that were shared with him – by people like Michael Caine. Getting tips passed down from one Oscar winner to another can’t be bad. Christian is a great guy.
ES: Can you tell us a little bit about the experience of working with Jason Momoa (Aquaman) when he directed you in the film, Road to Paloma?
CB: Jason just asked me to do it one day when we were dropping our kids at preschool in Topanga. He had never seen me work, but he had a feeling I was right for it. He tells me I saved his movie (which isn’t true but very nice to hear), because my role was the only place in the dark story to lighten the mood. I do feel like I helped with that. He is a very good actor. Much better than a guy who walks around looking like that should be. And he’s one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. He never gave me a script. H didn’t want me bogged down with the dialogue and said he knew I would come up with better words. That was very freeing. In my first scene, he told me the story of what went down at the murder scene and I just passed the story on to Tim Murphy, with some cool moments that Tim and I worked in. It went perfectly.
ES: You have three young daughters. Do any of them want to follow their dad into the acting field? If so, what advice would you give them?
CB: I want them to chase whatever dreams they have, and I’ll support them in whatever those are. If it does happen to be this business, hopefully dad will be a star by then so they have a decent chance at a career playing the ever-effective nepotism card!