This week we caught up with Andre Gower, star of the cult classic “The Monster Squad” and an acting/media coach. Andre spoke to us about chopping down a tree with Mr. T, his thoughts about Twitter and the rigors of being a teen heartthrob. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Andre Gower:
The Daily Quarterly: How did you hear about thedailyquarterly.com?
Andre Gower: Spam actually. Not the lunch meat, the e-mail kind.
TDQ: How excited were you that The Daily Quarterly asked you for an interview?
Gower: After the initial let down of not winning free lunch meat, I realized it was a very fortuitous e-mail and I am rather excited.
TDQ: What was your very first acting gig?
Gower: My Caesarean-section birth. The script had a traditional one, but I improvised and changed it a bit. Now, that’s an entrance!
TDQ: What was your first paying acting gig?
Gower: A Jack-in-the-Box commercial (the fast food joint)
TDQ: Who was your favorite actor growing up?
Gower: Probably Clint Eastwood.
TDQ: What was the best part of being a child actor?
TDQ: What was the worst part of being a child actor?
TDQ: (Just so we can continue to delude ourselves) Be honest: being a teen heartthrob was really a huge pain in the ass, right?
Gower: Oh yeah… I mean, fan letters to answer, appearances, autographs for teenage girls with huge hair and big sweaters. Then to have to continue to deal with it today?…It’s a lot of work man! I wouldn’t wish it on anyone…I want it all to myself.
TDQ: As a child, you appeared in TV dramas, sitcoms and soap operas, besides movies. What were the differences in filming a soap versus the other types of TV shows?
Gower: Soaps are different in that you do an entire episode in one day as opposed to a series or sit-com where that it usually done over a whole week. You have to be able to get a script delivered at night and then show up the next morning and get the revisions. The one thing I remember that bugged me was that they had cue cards for everyone except me. Maybe they thought kids couldn’t use them very well. That’s okay. It probably helped me learn my lines better for the future.
Daytime shows are simpler and not very deep. However, they’re a great experience and pay pretty well. It gets a bad rap from a lot of people. I get a kick out of those that say “I’d never do daytime.” Especially if they’ve never booked a part and are living with three roommates in KoreaTown.
I’d do a soap in a heartbeat right now. They’re easy and fun.
TDQ: You appeared in an episode of “The A-Team.” Did you get any career advice from Mr. T or George Peppard?
Gower: Didn’t spend too much time with either off the set, but chopping down a big-ass tree with Mr. T was an experience not many, if any, can say they have done. So, that’s pretty cool. That was a huge show with a big cast (big meaning powerful). Just being around for even a short time allowed you to see how people work together and bring out just what is needed. Guys like Peppard and Mr. T. don’t mess around much so it was a very professional set and shows what it takes to be big-time in this industry.
TDQ: Any chance of a “Monster Squad” sequel, or maybe a reboot with you playing Dracula?
Gower: Ooh. I hadn’t thought of that angle before. Interesting.
Actually, Rob Cohen is remaking the movie sometime soon. I think it will be geared towards a new audience and be pretty effects-driven. So we’ll see how that goes and hopefully it gets some good attention and some love from the original Squad fans as well.
TDQ: So much more is known now about the ill effects Hollywood has had on so many child actors. Has the industry changed how it treats young actors now compared to when you were a child?
Gower: I think it’s basically the same, except there’s a lot more for kids to do now. There was no cable back in my day and not a lot of TV shows or films geared directly for younger audiences. It’s enormous now.
There was a much smaller pool of young actors then and now it’s huge and everyone wants to be in it. I think the industry itself does a good job, mechanically, dealing with kids. I also think there is a larger influence from the outside that can negatively affect them than there was 20 years ago.
Sex, booze and drugs have always been around and always will be. It’s what you do or don’t do with those that counts. Especially today, instant media (the internet, Twitter, Facebook, et al) can inspire people to act in a certain way they may regret later and that’s unfortunate.
Back in the day, you had to wait a month or two before a magazine came out. Today you see yourself streaming live while eating a turkey burger at Mel’s Diner!
Things happen so fast today that most young people just don’t have the abilities to guide themselves yet and really need some good resources (parents, friends, managers, counselors, whatever) to help them navigate the world.
Not too many get that and you end up with unfortunate cases (cough, Lohan, cough). What an unfortunate burn out. A very promising future and no one there to watch out for her. But, I guess, when your parents are the actual problem you are headed to a sudden and messy end anyway, right?
Look how many screwed-up kids there are that aren’t in the business and supposedly have “normal” lives. Throw that same kid into the entertainment industry without swimming lessons or a lifeguard and you have the potential for problems. You just have to be smart about it.
A lot of people look to blame the industry ”machine” itself. The industry is a business. It always has been and always will be. It’s up to you to protect yourself and your kids. Blaming the industry would be like blaming a gun in a shooting. The gun didn’t shoot itself.
Oh yeah, it pays a hell of a lot more than in my day.
Part 2 of our TDQ Q&A with Andre Gower will run next Friday