10 Questions with Scott Allen Rinker
Born and raised in Virginia, Scott studied Acting at George Mason University and graduated with a B.A. in Theater. His work in shows such as Two Gentlemen of Verona and Hedda Gabler earned him four separate nominations to the American College Theater Festival to compete for the Irene Ryan Acting Award. After graduation he worked in Washington, D.C. at such theaters as the Kennedy Center, the Source and the Washington Stage Guild and was invited to become a company member of the Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, Md. His stage work includes Buried Child, Romeo and Juliet, I Hate Hamlet and The Living. Since moving to Los Angeles he has had guest appearances on shows such as Crossing Jordan; Without a Trace; Star Trek: Enterprise; Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; Boston Public; The Drew Carey Show and the telefilm, The Day Lincoln was Shot, for TNT. He has starred in several independent films including: Shoot or be Shot, Falling and Code Hunter. His work in Tomorrow by Midnight earned him a nomination for the Breakthrough Acting Award at the 2001 Method Festival. He currently lives in Sherman Oaks with his wife, actress Cathleen Kaelyn, and two enormously possessive cats.
1. What made you want to be part of the film Gamers?
Well, obviously it wasn’t for the money. I have to say I hadn’t laughed so hard reading a script in a long, long time. Chris Folino, the writer/director, really managed to capture the essence of these guys in a really funny way. I grew up playing this game and actually was one of these guys in high school. There were five of us who, for about six years, spent every weekend we could, playing the game. I remember some marathon sessions of like 48 hours straight. I went so far as to walk about six miles through the snow to play at a friend’s house once, because my mom wouldn’t drive me. I felt it was time to come clean about it all. My little dark secret had been hounding me for too long. I suppose in a lot of ways I’m still that guy, I just keep it under wraps so that my wife will continue to sleep with me. (I’m really gonna regret that tomorrow, aren’t I?)
2. Tell us a little bit about your character, Paul.
I see Paul as the glue that’s kept these guys together throughout the years; and when glue wasn’t enough, he was the hammer and nails too. He’s obsessed with the game and even more so with setting the record for the most hours playing it; and with making sure those bastards in Iowa lose their crown. I think ultimately he’s a pretty lonely guy who is trying to hang on to the one thing in his life that’s ever made him feel a part of something. He loves these guys, each of them, and would kill to keep them together. He’s really a decent, moral person at heart; it’s just that his priorities are a little off.
3. Paul is arguably the most underhanded and fanatic character in the film. How did you prepare for the role?
Well, once I figured out what made him tick, what drove him to do the things he does, the rest came pretty quickly. We were fortunate to have some rehearsal time beforehand to really work with each other and develop the relationships between these guys, which is rare. Usually you show up and it’s like, “Oh, you’re my best friend from childhood and we’ve been together every day for the last twenty years? Great. Roll camera.” So this was refreshing and as it turned out to be really necessary given the time crunch we were shooting under.
My job mostly seemed to be about trying to keep up and stay out of the other guys’ way. In fact, Kevin Kirkpatrick told me that at our first rehearsal. He said something like, “get in my way and I will squash you like a fucking insect, got it?” So that was my goal from then on. That and making sure the world knows what an incredible prick he is. And that Chris Folino is a big man-baby.
4. Tell us a little bit about your career thus far. Do you have any background in improv?
I started in the theatre and that’s where my training comes from. I try to approach all the work from that foundation of making it real and honest, no matter how wacky and fantastical it ends up seeming. I studied at George Mason University in VA, and worked in the D.C. and Baltimore theatre world before coming to L.A. I’ve been really fortunate in that, since coming to L.A., I’ve been able to work quite a bit in a variety of genres. I’ve had guest appearances on stuff like “Buffy,” “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Drew Carey,” and “Without A Trace.” I’ve starred in a couple features with some pretty cool people: “Shoot or Be Shot” w/ William Shatner and Harry Hamlin; “They Crawl” w/ Mickey Rourke; and a TNT biopic of Abraham Lincoln w/ Lance Henriksen. It’s been a great ride so far.
As for improv, I’m a newbie compared to some of these other guys who’ve really studied it. I mean they’re just fucking comic geniuses. It’s like I always say, “Comedy is hard. Kevin Sherwood is easy.”
5. Have you ever played RPGs? How do you feel your experience (or lack thereof) contributed to your performance?
I knew I had to be in this film when, at the auditions, guys were asking me questions about how the gaming world works and what the whole role-playing thing is about. As if I had a big sign around my neck saying “I was a big role playing geek in high school. Ask me.” My biggest worry came when I couldn’t find my old dice from high school, which I really wanted to use in the film. I tore the house apart looking for them. I finally found them in the box where I keep all my old star wars figures. I don’t know what’s worse, that I actually still have my dice or that I think it’s cool I got to use them in the movie.
6. There was a lot of partial nudity in this film. Were you kind of bummed that you didn’t get to participate?
I did a lot of porn right out of college, so I kinda felt I’d been there, done that, you know? Let the other guys have a crack at it, if you’ll pardon the pun. Actually, I was relieved not to be involved in those scenes for a change. Typically, I’m the guy running around a football stadium in his underwear or caught with the raccoon stuck in his ass. Don’t ask. Plus, Dave Hanson, he just seems born to wear pink underpants, don’t ya think?
7. What was your favorite moment either on the film set or in the film?
It’s a tie. The paintball sequence at the end was a blast; we just nailed the shit outta Dave Hanson in one shot. Kevin and I peppered him with about twenty shots right in the keester. He cried like a little girl. The other was this crazy conversation between the actors late at night during a long lighting set up. We spent hours playing this silly game of trying to come up with the lamest superpower you could have. I don’t know what’s geekier, the winning power – you could once a day fill one of your shoes with sand (Kevin Sherwood) – or the fact that we actually played the game. We all realized that we actually were these characters that night.
8. Do you think you will play Paul if there is a sequel made? How do you envision the future of the character?
I’d love to get another crack at playing Paul in the future. I think he’s headed for some hard times at the end of this film. Chris and I often joked about what Paul would be up to now and the scary image of the gimp from Pulp Fiction comes to mind. You can just picture him in a dark basement on a farm somewhere in Iowa being totally abused and Paul taking it just so he can keep playing the game. Although, I hope it turns out to be Reese that it happens to, should we shoot another film. I’m not really interested in wearing latex and hearing guys say, “You look just like a hog,” you know?
9. Would you say this film has allowed you to achieve a more enlightened state of being?
Hell no! Have you seen the movie? If karma is real, then this damn film has probably set me back about six lifetimes. We’ve offended so many people that my time in purgatory will be long and miserable, man. The only consolation is that I’ll have a lot of company.
10. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead (who is not a relative or religious figure), who would you choose?
Wow, how very James Lipton of you. I find it tough to narrow it down to one person because there’s so many, like Abraham Lincoln, Einstein, Plato, J.R.R. Tolkein and Obi Wan Kenobi. I mean, how do you choose?
I guess I’d have to go with Leonardo Da Vinci, ‘cause he was pretty much the original Renaissance Man. I’d love to sit down and really pick his brain, you know? I mean, he was dreaming up stuff that was scientifically hundreds of years ahead of his time. Plus, I’d really like to get to the bottom of what he was really doing with that whole Last Supper image. Not that I’m obsessed with Dan Brown’s book or anything.