photos: Triumph Street Photography
A true artist who is multi-talented can transform and adapt easily from one form of art to the next. The transition from the musical play stage to the movie screen to the music studio is so simple that it’s like breathing. Jeremy Raymond falls perfect in that category. With his love for the art of acting and music he has been able to perform in different areas of the entertainment world. SayWhatNews was able to sit down with Jeremy and speak one on one about his most recent film, ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ and his up and rising acting career and more:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Jeremy. Thanks so much for interviewing with SayWhatNews. First tell us who is Jeremy Raymond?
Jeremy: Well, Jeremy Raymond is still figuring that out himself, but he seems to be an actor, musician, and lover of bad jokes and currently residing in Vancouver, Canada. Jeremy Raymond is also getting a little uncomfortable referring to himself in the third person, so he’s going to stop doing that now.
SayWhatNews: Jeremy, you started in Theater at a very young age. How did that come to be?
Jeremy: The Company my mom worked for put on plays for the yearly Christmas party. When I was just four or five they did The ‘Night Before Christmas’ and for some reason I was cast as the father, although I wanted to play Santa. The next year they did a play called ‘Gus the Impish Elf’ and gave me a chance to play the title role.
After that I joined up with a youth theater company and started doing larger plays. When I was thirteen I toured around Western Canada for several months with a play, it was a tremendous learning experience.
SayWhatNews: Wow, so you continued to do theater as a teen and musicals in High School and in College. Tell us about your most memorable moment on stage?
Jeremy: There are a lot of great memories, but one that I recall very fondly is a play I did called ‘Private Lives’. It’s a Noel Coward play in which people in a very absurd situation try to act like nothing is happening at all. At the end of the play my character was sick of everybody else acting so prim and proper so during high tea he starts to do increasingly bizarre and disruptive things to try and rattle everyone else’s cage. So as an actor I tried to make all of my fellow actors break down and laugh.
It was one of those wonderful situations where my character’s goals and mine were in perfect alignment, and the audience would lose their minds with laughter each and every night. Plus, one of my fellow actors’s nearly bit through a pipe trying to keep from laughing.
SayWhatNews: So what exactly inspired you to focus on film from doing theater/musicals and majoring in vocal performance in College?
Jeremy: While I love the experience of doing theater, it’s always been film that speaks directly to my heart. I deeply love movies and have learned so much from them over the years, so when I think about communicating something to the world as an artist, cinema just seems like the most powerful medium for me to do that.
photo: 'The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie'
SayWhatNews: Jeremy your acting resume is full of TV and Indie Film projects. What was it like starring alongside the iconic actress Gena Rowlands in “The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie”?
Jeremy: Meeting Gena Rowlands for the first time was a little intimidating. I had known about her from films like ‘Gloria and A Woman Under the Influence’ – really powerful stuff – yet when I first met her she was so warm and loving that it took about half a second for my heart to melt.
And then getting a chance to watch an actor of that caliber work was like getting a master class on acting. I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity.
SayWhatNews: Your role in “The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie” earned you a Gemini nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Program or Mini Series. How amazing was it for you when you learned you were nominated?
Jeremy: There may have been a happy dance involved.
The whole Gemini experience was very surreal. It was still very early on in my career and I really didn’t know what to expect, so I just rode the wave of it with wide-eyed amazement. Being in Toronto for the Gemini Awards Ceremony was a huge milestone for me and interacting with actors and filmmakers whose work I had grown up on gave me a certain feeling of validation as an actor that has carried me through some of the fallow years.
SayWhatNews: Jeremy you also starred in SyFy’s ‘Alice’, HUB’s R.L. Stines ‘The Haunting Hour’ and ABC Family series ‘Kyle XY’. Which of those roles were more challenging and why?
Jeremy: I’d say Kyle XY provided the most unique challenges of all of those examples. I played a character with autism and I did a lot of research to make sure that I was properly honoring those people who actually had autism with my representation. It was also a pretty physical scene and by the end of the day I was bruised and sweaty, but happy.
Photo: Star Trek Into Darkness
SayWhatNews: In 2012 you were handpicked by JJ Abrams to star in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. How did that happen and what was that moment like when you received the phone call?
Jeremy: When his people first got in touch, it was very exciting, but part of me was suspicious that the whole thing was a really elaborate practical joke -even when they flew me down to LA to meet with JJ Abrams and the rest of the team there was part of me thinking, “Wow! Whoever is pulling this prank is really going all out with this”.
The whole thing came about because JJ had seen a film I had done called ‘The Pastor’s Wife’ (which his father had produced) and it was at a time when there was a specific role he was looking to cast in the Star Trek sequel.
And when I got the final word that I was going to be a part of that film, there may have been even more - happy dancing.
SayWhatNews: What was it like working on a major film production set? Did you have your own trailer?
Jeremy: A film of this size has so many people involved, with so many moving parts, that it could get overwhelming. The trick is to just focus on your specific job and doing that as best you can.
I did have a trailer but I didn’t really spend much time in it. We were shooting on an outdoor set so we made the most of every minute of daylight we had. The set I had the opportunity to work on was incredible. It was surprisingly large, yet you could walk up to any single piece and examine it, and it would look completely authentic. On a lower budget film you’re often using the camera to hide incomplete scenery, but on this film they had created an entire world for the cameras to explore.
SayWhatNews: Star Trek is a huge franchise. What was it like going to the movie premiere and hitting the red carpet for the first time?
Jeremy: I had always understood that Star Trek was a huge franchise, but it wasn’t until the premiere that the size of this film struck me. They had closed off an entire block of Hollywood Boulevard and had erected bleachers and fencing. As I stepped into the red carpet frenzy, thousands of fans were pressing against the barriers trying to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars and cheering wildly when they did. It was a little overwhelming actually.
Seeing the full movie for the first time was thrilling. I was proud to see the result of the work I had done, and as I watched the rest of the movie, I got to sit back and enjoy a great movie as a fan. It was a lot of fun.
SayWhatNews: What was it like working with Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto?
Jeremy: Out of those three, the only person I actually worked with was Chris, but he was great. Over the course of the production I got the opportunity to meet the rest of the cast and I couldn’t say enough good things about them. You could tell that they had bonded like some sort of family and even though I was a newcomer they were very warm and accepting.
SayWhatNews: Jeremy, you know I have to ask, were you a Trekkie before starring in “Star Trek Into Darkness”?
Jeremy: I used to watch the original series with my dad when I was a kid. Then over the years I became more acquainted with the other series in the franchise, and of course the movies. That being said, I would hesitate to call myself a diehard fan. I’ve had some good friends who were very much into Star Trek – the kind that would correct you if you called them Trekkies (“It’s Trekker, thank you very much!”) – And through them I managed to learn more about Star Trek than I ever wanted to know. I can respect anybody who is that devoted to something.
SayWhatNews: At one point you worked as a stand-up comedian who traveled with a ventriloquist/magician as his opening act. Looking back now as your acting career continues to soar, what advice would you tell yourself?
Jeremy: As far as comedy goes, I would go back and tell myself to go to more comedy shows, but to stay the hell off the stage! I love comedy but I learned the hard way that it wasn’t for me. But knowing how stubborn I was back then I probably wouldn’t have listened to future me and gone right out to try it anyway. Really though, I got some great horror stories out of it, so I’m glad I did it.
As far as giving my younger self career advice, I’d probably push myself to see it as the long-term game it is. Mastering the craft, building your career, finding out who you are as an artist, all these things take time and being impatient can really hinder your progress. I’m still impatient, but when I was younger I was really bad with that.
SayWhatNews: What was your worst job ever?
Jeremy: I worked briefly on my uncle’s llama farm and hated it. I spent my days shoveling mountains of feces……an experience that would prepare me well to one day navigate the Hollywood scene.
I’m just kidding, on its worst day Hollywood smells way better then that llama farm.
SayWhatNews: I hear you are going back to your roots and currently working on recording album of original music. What inspired you to return to singing and songwriting?
Jeremy: I’ve actually never stopped singing and writing songs. Since I’ve decided that acting is my primary career, there have been times where I’ve needed to put music on the back-burner for a while, but at the end of the day I’m still playing music and singing to unwind.
After I finished filming Star Trek I wanted to make music more of a priority again, so I chose twelve of my favorite songs that I’ve written and performed over the years to record on an album. I wanted to capture where I’ve been, musically speaking, so that I can move forward with something new.
SayWhatNews: Jeremy you play the guitar and the harmonica. Did you take lessons or did you learn by playing by ear?
Jeremy: I started playing guitar when a buddy of mine showed me a few chords and I found I really liked playing. Over the years I have taken some lessons, played in a number of bands, and even gotten educational videos from the library. Basically I’ll learn from anywhere.
The harmonica I more or less picked up by ear. I recall one particular summer when I was a teenager where I would spend hours in my room listening to blues albums and trying to copy the licks I heard. It obviously wasn’t my most social summer ever, but it did pay off down the road.
SayWhatNews: What’s next in the future for Jeremy Raymond?
Jeremy: I’m pretty excited about the things that are happening in my life and my career these days. Obviously I’d like to build on the momentum my film career has gotten from Star Trek, but I’m also making more of a point to reach out to independent filmmakers. And I’m also figuring out a way to get back to the stage every now and then. There are also some cool things with my music that are starting to unfold.
Basically things are changing so rapidly that I’m once again in a position where I would be best served by going with the flow and seeing where it carries me before I start making too many specific plans.