In his short time with The Asylum, actor Gerald Webb has accomplished quite a lot: since 2010 he has appeared in six Asylum films including Titanic II, Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus and Battle of Lose Angeles, as well as assuming the role of casting director on eight films, most recently the Shane Van Dyke-directed (about to enter production) A Haunting in Salem, in which he will also appear as "Mayor Collins." Mr. Webb was kind enough to take a small window of time out of his hectic schedule to answer some questions for Committed. Enjoy!
COMMITTED: Give us some basic info: where are you from? How old are you?
COMMITTED: Give us some basic info: where are you from? How old are you?
GERALD WEBB: I was born in the land of Philly at the beginning of time and am ageless. I was raised in southern NJ where I remained then and now ageless.
C: You started in the entertainment industry as a DJ. Did you always have ambitions to act, or was it a passion you discovered through your other work?
GW: I have been a performer since I was 2 years old, or at least since people thought I was two since I’m ageless. DJing was a way for me to perform and enjoy music while I created the courage to pursue my acting career. I wanted to come to Hollywood from high school but looking back I was fearful of leaving everything I knew and taking a chance on the unknown. Fortunately the more I performed and the more success I had as a DJ the more I knew what I needed to do. At one point I was touring all over the country and winning the DJ of the Year award while realizing this was not the full expression of my inner performer. DJing definitely kept my unrealized dream of acting alive and gave me a great foundation to leap from. Jam Master Jay (RIP) from Run DMC was very instrumental in helping my DJ career grow and in helping during the infancy of my acting career.
C: You worked regularly as an actor for a number of years before coming to The Asylum. How did you get hooked up with those guys?
GW: I was in the first two films Christopher Olen Ray directed. He was line producing Titanic II for the Asylum and recommended me to the director Shane Van Dyke. I came in and auditioned and booked a small role in the film and that was the first time I was committed to the Asylum. You never know how a relationship or opportunity will flip on you, fast forward about a year and I’m currently finalizing the cast for the next Asylum film Shane will direct, A Haunting in Salem.
C: What sort of roles are you attracted to as an actor? What sort of characters appeal to you?
GW: I just like challenges. There has to be something about the role that intrigues or resonates with me. It could be almost anything but once I find that hook I embrace everything I can about the character and the role. I also like to break stereotypes and play roles traditional Hollywood would NEVER cast me in.
For example, David Latt our producer suggested I play Mayor Collins in A Haunting at Salem. Not a role you would normally expect to see played by someone my age (or agelessness) or race in most of mainstream Hollywood. That’s one pretty cool thing about The Asylum, in my time here, our producers have been open to diversity across race, gender and age lines. Though I wanted to play Thor and they gave me the are f—ing crazy look. ;)
C: DJ question: best beat of the last year?
GW: “Now or Never” from “How I Got Over” by The Roots and just about any other beat off that album! That band is the tightest band on the planet and they’re from Philly. Doesn’t get much better than that!
C: In the last year or so, you've also gotten into casting at The Asylum. This is an aspect of the company many of my readers are fascinated by. How did you come to that position? And in terms of the big names you guys use - Barry Williams, Tiffany, Kel Mitchell - do you go to them, or do they come to you? If the latter, how do you match a project with an actor?
GW: I was asked to help cast MegaShark vs. Crocosaurus for The Asylum last year. I worked really hard and long and that kinda just hasn’t stopped. I’ve cast every Asylum film since except for The Princess and the Pony. Ten films later I’m still here. You work way harder than you could ever expect at the Asylum but if you pay attention you learn a ton and gain experience faster than most can handle.
The actual casting process varies from film to film. Some star names or their agents reach out to us but most times our producers will attach star names and leave me to weed through and pitch the rest of the cast to compliment them. But other times like in the case of Richard Greico and Kevin Nash for Almighty Thor, I went out and found them and pitched them to our producers and was given the green light to get the deals done. More often than not we have a project, script or concept and then look to see what name actors will make the project successful. A lot of factors affect this process like: Who do we think will be successful, as far as acting, selling and promoting the film? Who’s available within our budget? Who can we actually get to call us back, etc. For non-star names, I read the script, write and release a breakdown of all of the characters on breakdown services and review thousands of headshot and resume submissions. From there I set up hundreds of auditions looking for solutions to each of the unfilled roles in the film. I’ll then confer with the director to pick top choices for any key roles and pitch those actors and their recorded auditions to producers. Finally a consensus is met between our producers, the director and myself, generally in that order of importance. I believe our casts consistently keep getting better.
C: So you act, you cast, you DJ; any ambitions to write or direct, or anything else in the industry?
GW: PRODUCE!!! Which is coming very soon. I write sketch comedy most of which is social satire. My writing makes very sharp statements on some controversial issue ie: race, politics, pop culture, or religion through biting comedy. I’ve been thinking of directing one of the shorts I wrote for submissions to film festivals. I would actually like to direct a play and would definitely do that and some shorts before moving to a feature film. In addition I private audition coach several actors and was Cody Deal’s on set coach for Almighty Thor.
BTW: More and more in order to break through and “make it” in this business requires doing everything. For that reason I learn all I can, bust my hump and never say I would never write, direct etc.
C: Favorite Asylum film you've made thus far?
GW: Put me on the spot why don’t you. Battle of Los Angeles and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus both stand out. They were my two biggest roles in our films. Battle was full on action hero stuff with real explosions and a pretty cool death scene, though I generally prefer not to die and to be available for sequels! I felt like a super hero and a kid while making that movie. Kel Mitchell, Nia Peeples and the director Mark Atkins were all great to work with. Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus was great for a bunch of reasons. I was reunited with director Christopher Olen Ray. I’ve been in every feature film he’s directed even pre-Asylum and always enjoy working with him. Working with Sarah Lieving, Gary Stretch and Jaleel White was a great little adventure. Plus I had that gnarly beard that I grew and lived with for almost 3 months that had an interesting affect on me and really helped me sink into the Jean character. But if I had to just pick one I’d have to say...
C: I read you play organized kickball. Tougher gig: battling aliens or keeping the ball on the ground?
GW: I play in a World Adult Kickball Association co-ed league and love it. Though I’m currently sidelined healing up a surgically repaired Achilles tendon. Keeping a kickball low to the ground is waaaay tougher than you would ever imagine but like most challenges I’ve achieved a level of expertise at it now. So battling aliens would definitely be harder. You never know what form they’re gonna take, when they’re going type of new technology those boogers are gonna spring on you! Besides I love technology so once they hit us with an electromagnetic pulse I’d be just about done.
C: Any dream roles, characters or types of characters you're dying to play?
GW: A really long list: I’d love to play Tiger Woods and do his story, Los Angeles Laker Derrick Fisher has an amazing story I’d love to bring to the screen.
Playing Jesus Christ in a film that portrayed him being born, raised and crucified in 2011 is a challenge I’d love to take on both as a writer and actor. I love westerns and actually watch "Gunsmoke," "Have Gun Will Travel" and a bunch of other old reruns regularly. So being the good guy or the villain in a western is on my bucket list.
C: Anything coming up for Gerald Webb we should know about? Any movies or gigs or sites to plug?
GW: I’m currently a recurring LAPD Sergeant on NBC’s "Law and Order Los Angeles." I’m stepping into the producing chair along with Christopher Olen Ray for Shadow of a Doubt with both of us pulling double duty, me as the lead and Chris directing. I have a small cameo appearance in The Asylum’s Almighty Thor premiering on Syfy May 7th. I also have a small role in Born Bad. Battle of Los Angeles is coming on Blu-Ray in May.
Please vote for me as “rising B Movie actor” and “leading man” actor for the Golden Cobb awards:
Please follow me so I can keep you up to date on all of my work: Facebook Fan Page I have TONS of behind the scenes video from many of our projects on my FB fan page.