Johnathan Chase is a multitalented film, stage and TV actor hailing from Boca Raton, Florida. Much more than just a pretty face, he may be best known as a comic actor in his role as Cash off of UPN show One on One. His impressive filmography includes Monk, Gamer and Eagle Eye. He's no stranger to TV either, with appearances on CSI:NY, Roommates and Leverage. He's lent his vocal talents to gaming too, voice acting as military man Patrick Connolly in Rockstar Games' LA Noire, and as Brian 'Lynx' Ross in the eagerly anticipated Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. He's genuinely hilarious, read our interview below and see for yourself!
You trained with the Upright Citizens Brigade - where you learned improv amongst other things, right? What kinda stuff do those guys teach you, how'd you find the experience?
I started training improv in NYC at Upright Citizens Brigade years ago and I fell in love with it. I continued my training with them out in LA and I was a regular performer at Improv Olympic West for years as well. I had to take a break from improv for my shooting schedule with HBO/Cinemax's "Chemistry." Improv teaches you how to handle anything that gets thrown your way. Of course, they teach you comedy, but they definitely prepare you to respond in the moment.
How does acting for film compare with acting for TV? Which do you prefer?
When it comes to films, you get to tell a complete story. Or at least a complete section of one larger story. In TV, you tell a story as well, but a smaller length of it. You are always saving more for the next episode. I love both mediums. I can sit and watch Takashi Miike films for a week, or I can knock out the entire series of Sons of Anarchy. There are so many great films and television out there. I don't treat TV or Film differently, from an acting standpoint. I take it scene by scene, and ask myself, "what story am I trying to tell now?"
If you could have dinner with anybody, real or fictional, who would it be, what would you discuss?
Javier Bardem. So many questions. I have seen every one of his films. I would probably start with picking his brain on how he approaches his work. How does he delve into a character? If Javier couldn't make it, we might have to resurrect Sergio Leone. He directed my favorite film of all time, Once Upon A Time in America.
If a famous musician was to write the Jonathan Chase theme tune, who'd do it, and what'd the song be like?
My theme song would be composed by Ennio Morricone and would sound like The Man With The Harmonica score from Once Upon A Time In The West. I'd take any soundtrack to a spaghetti western. And I would slow walk in the music video...wielding a gun. Nope....two guns. Let's say Ennio is tied up, then my song would be from the film that just came out, Attack The Block. Get That Snitch by Mikis Michaelides. "Brap brap brap!" If you saw the awesome alien invasion film set in a south London, you would understand.
I read that you got to play Patrick Connolly in L.A Noire. What's it like to portray a video game character?
It was brilliant. I love video games. I am a huge gamer. I was super ecstatic to finally be in one. And being in one of the biggest games of all time couldn't hurt. Shooting those scenes were intense. I don't want to spoil the story for those who have yet to play it, but I was in the military section of the game. My scenes are action packed.
What was your experience like working on big film productions such as All About Steve and Gamer?
Big budget films are great. I was in Albuquerque for 3 months shooting Gamer. It was the dead of winter and I was leading my Geek Squad thru a section of downtown. It must have been below 20 with the wind-chill. Now, on an indie film you would have to just deal with it. But with big budget, we had Under Armor, skin tight suits under our costumes. Baller!
Would you say you are the hard partying type?
I would say no. Then again for the last 2 months I have been out drinking with friends and family 2-3 times a week. And I've been partying everywhere too. From Malibu to Downtown LA and Chicago to Aspen. I would "love" to say no. Ha ha. But last night I had a few Manhattans at Firefly for a bachelor party!
When was your 'big break'? What did you do to get it?
I have been very fortunate in my career. I like to think I have had so many big breaks. UPN's One On One was a big TV break for me. It gave me 22 episodes on the air and I like to think I was hilarious in it. I did say, "I like to think." GAMER was a big break for me in the land of huge films. And HBO/Cinemax's "Chemistry" is my new big break as being the number 1 on a show. Breaks come and go. I like to enjoy 'em while they last.
Your favorite place in all the world?
Siena, Italy. Amazing. Beautiful cobble stone streets. If you have never been, go. Seriously, stop this interview. Go now. No. Stop asking questions dammit! Siena!
Whats the best part of your job?
The best part of acting. Is when you are on set, actually working thru scenes in front of the camera.
And the worst part?
The auditioning and waiting to hear if you got the part is the worst.
The best tasting food you ever had was?
Last week. At the Yamashiro Farmer's Market. Every Thursday night in Hollywood all summer long there is an outdoor market, which incidentally, a friend of mine created. They have some amazing food carts there. I had black cod with miso tacos, and chicken satay tacos. Also they have a guacamole infused with wasabi. And the salsa had ginger in it. Best food I ever had.
And the worst was?
Worst food. Hmm. I was in London in college, studying abroad. And in Piccadilly Circus area there are some food vendors. I had a sausage dog wrapped in bacon with grilled onions. I was drunk at the time and would have eaten my shoes if someone served them. I don't eat like that anymore. That was ages ago. Of course they fueled me with the idiocy to jog to Kensington in the rain. Worst my stomach ever felt.
Of all your work so far, which is most important to you?
I worked on an indie film last year called "Dorfman." I play Daniel Dorfman, one of the films main characters. I hope that film comes to theaters one day, because I felt my work on it told a very personal story. I was going through a huge shift in my life during shooting and I brought it to my character. I also pitched the name for that film from its previous title. It is dear to me. Also, I got my start in NYC, right out of college, as part of a Shakespeare Company called Gorilla Rep. That was some of my most important work. Performing in parks for crowds of hundreds for free.
The role that you'd most like to play?
I would kill to be in a sci-fi or medieval TV series or film trilogy. Like "Game of Thrones" and "The Hobbit." I love fantasy and dragons and dungeons. Hell, put those in a sitcom and I'll do it. A very bloody, British sitcom set in the 1054AD. We can call it 'How I Met Your Highness.'
Your biggest inspiration?
My parents. They have always pushed me to do my very best. Without Ray and Kathi, I would be nothing.
Finish these sentences "Though I have never, I'd like to..."
Though I have never been to space, I would like to. Now if only I had billions of dollars, I could buy all that scrap metal NASA is dumping and take some friends.
and "Putting fireworks in the microwave is..."
Putting fireworks in the microwave, is much safer than putting them in your mouth.
If you weren't acting what would you be doing instead?
I would own a juice bar and health food chain, called Greenfields. Hey, you asked. Wait...why aren't you in Siena right now? WTF!