Interviews

Steve Lund – The Art of Us

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By: Jamie Steinberg

 

Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?

A) I did nine episodes of “Reign” for The CW this season that is currently airing. I did that in the summer and fall of last year. I’m currently shooting a show called “Private Eyes” that is a Canadian original show recently bought by an American network. I just wrapped on that, which stars Jason Priestley from the original version of the show “90210.”

Q) I hope he got to do some directing of the “Private Eyes!”

A) He did direct a few episodes of “Private Eyes.” What’s funny is that he actually directed me in an episode of “Haven” five years ago. We got to reconnect on hat and I was honestly surprised he remembered because it was such a short scene, but it was a highlight for me in my career at the time. So, it was really nice to finally get to act alongside of him after all these years.

Q) Please tell us the premise for your film The Art of Us and about your character.

A) It’s a unique little love story. It centers around a female art professor who is downtrodden because her high profile artist for an upcoming show that will all but ensure her tenure at her university has dropped out at the last minute. It has left her scrambling to find a new artist to fill the void. Simultaneously, he she meets me who is a former soldier who is retired now to a simple life as a dog walker and hobby painter. She sees my panting s and believes I have some true talent. She finds out that I am of Dutch descent and decides to spin the narrative that I am the long descendant of Vincent Van Gough and marquees the show based on that (a complete lie). She gets all these high profile clients and art dealers to come to my show. She forces me to keep up with the lie hoping it will further her career and in the meantime sparks fly as well as paint specs.

Q) What made be you want to be a part of the film? Was it the connection to the story of My Fair Lady?

A) [laughs] You know what? I didn’t really think of the My Fair Lady I’m realizing that now. We didn’t necessarily play into that theme, but that’s an interesting observation. I was a big fan of the script originally. Of the characters I have played in recent Hallmark movies, this one had a little bit more depth and a more interesting backstory. I made the choice of putting on a slight Boston accent, which was a lot of fun for me as an actor I’ve never done that before. I watched Good Will Hunting three times in a row and tried to nail it down. Also, the prospect of learning how to paint as definitely a factor I wanted to participate in. I haven’t done any painting since grade school.

Q) Was it challenging for you to learn how to paint for the film?

A) It was definitely a challenge to learn the techniques and how to hold the brush to make it look like I knew what I was doing when, in all honesty, I did not. I think there was a real humility to this character that I appreciated. Considering the circumstances, I found it challenging to maintain that humility when we were doing all these grandiose things. What was most challenging for me was to try not to go wacky with the character, which is certainly my most natural instinct. I think the painting thing translates. It felt awkward at times holding the brush, especially with the way Van Gough paints (allegedly). He was very aggressive and just throwing paint at the canvas a lot of the times and attacking it. So, I was trying to mimic that style. We had an instructor on set that was teaching me on set. I found that challenging, but also a lot of fun.

Q) Talk about working alongside Taylor Cole.

A) She was wonderful! She’s a really fun person. There was an immediate connection and we really enjoyed each other’s company. I really had a good time with her. She’s a very fun person who is dedicated to her work. She really made the set a fun place to be. We were constantly laughing and constantly keeping things light, trying to enjoy ourselves and getting to know each other on a very natural level that made it easy to work with in the scenes. She’s a blast! She was definitely a highlight from the experience.

Q) What were some of your most memorable moments from filming?

A) Working with the dogs certainly had its fair share of fun surprises. We would be in the middle of a scene and I would have four or five dogs on me. The scene would conclude and I would have to exit. I’d try to walk away with the dogs and one would be peeing or one would be rolling around on the ground. There was one time we were running late on time and we had to get this one shot in before the sunset and we didn’t have a whole lot of takes. The frame of the camera was just on me from the waist up so you couldn’t actually see the dogs, just the leashes. One of the dogs had found a scent and was rolling on its back. I had to walk away and drag the dog for a good five or six feet on its back. The dog was unharmed! I must inform you that there were no injuries were sustained. That garnered a very uproarious response from the crew.

Q) What advice did director Kristoffer Tabori give you during filming that you took to heart?

A) I think one note that we kept coming back to was that it was a struggle for my character morally to keep up with this lie that we were working with. The director kept coming back to me and saying, “How do you make this work for yourself? Don’t forget that you love this woman. You want to see this woman be happy. You want to do all it takes to see her succeed and see her happy.” That was a sacrifice that I made within the script. So, I had to remind myself to keep coming back to the person – my castmate and partner. It was definitely a very playable thruline throughout the film with all the challenges surrounding it. That was probably the most poignant, for sure.

Q) What did you take away from filming the movie?

A) That lying is not cool! [laughs] Always be honest. [laughs] I do think there is a lesson in honesty there, in all seriousness. Working with dogs is not as easy as we make it seem. Gosh! It was really challenging.

Q) You are a part of social media. Are you looking forward to the instant fan feedback you will be receiving?

A) It’s always nice to get a few pleasant tweets from those Hallmark fans. They are a very sweet bunch and always complimentary. It’s great because it will be airing on a Saturday night and I’ll be getting all these really nice things, I’m assuming. On average, they are very kind and complimentary people that just enjoy watching these very feel-good movies. So, I’ll be strutting around with a little bit of extra confidence on Saturday night, I imagine.

Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure we share with our readers about the film?

A) The guy who plays Frank, who works at the boat yard (I live on a house boat) and he lives adjacent to me. He’s sort of my confident. He’s a fantastic actor who is an older gentleman from New York. He’s the warmest, kindest, sweetest man. I really enjoyed working with him. He was another highlight for me. He was the man! I loved working with that guy. I hope I get another chance to do so. He was very much the father figure in the movie and as soon as he showed up I just immediately melted into this man. He’s just a really wholesome, sweet guy that I loved talking to. It made those scenes a lot more genuine because he was just such a good, patient listener and a really fun guy to.

Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?

A) I must say that it is an extremely powerful motivation to continue to receive a lot of the positive feedback with the work that I have done. While I still consider myself a pretty novice actor, to have had very loyal fans and people who are very encouraging of my work and performances is all the fuel I need to continue. I hope that people stick with me and grow organically with me as I continue to grow as an actor and hopefully get some more opportunities to do good work. There is a community that forms on that platforms that really makes you feel like you are a part of something greater, which is a nice feeling.

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