I spoke with Joseph Julian Soria about Mission Park and Camp X-Ray, his new film with Kristen Stewart that is set to come out next year. We also discussed his roles on Sons of Anarchy, Crank: High Voltage, his charity work, and so much more. Mission Park is in select theaters now and will be available later this year on DVD and VOD. Joseph plays Derek, a member of a criminal organization that his best friends, FBI agents played by Jeremy Ray Valdez and Will Rothhaar, are trying to take down. He can also be seen in Army Wives on Lifetime. It was a pleasure to speak with Joseph.
Lena: You’ve been in so many fantastic shows (The Shield, Dexter, Southland). Did you watch the recent Sons of Anarchy premiere?
Joseph Julian Soria: No, I didn’t. I had initially auditioned for the role of Half Sack. I’ve missed a lot of story, so I want to wait until it’s all done and just do the DVD thing. It’s a great show and I want to watch it from the beginning to the end.
Lena: Maybe we will see Roscoe again before the series ends?
Joseph Julian Soria: I wish. The fans bombarded him with emails and I even got on the bandwagon because I was a fan of the script when I first read it and I was even more of a fan when I actually saw the show. Once I had the opportunity to be on it, in my eyes, it was supposed to be a recurring role and then for whatever reason it didn’t work out that way. I think honestly, I’m shooting in the dark, but I believe it was because I look too young compared to everybody else. That’s my opinion. I don’t know if it was that or that the storyline went a different way, but fans have been asking if I’m coming back on the show. I hope so. The fans were bombarding Kurt with tweets and his response was that this was definitely not the way to get me back on the show. [Laughing.] Well, I guess that didn’t work.
Lena: It looks like it’s a fun set to be on.
Joseph Julian Soria: Actually, everyone is great. Everyone that I worked with on the show, the chemistry from the cast to the crew is awesome. They are like a family there. I really enjoyed working with them.
Lena: They didn’t kill you character off, so you are good.
Joseph Julian Soria: I know right. Emilio Rivera is someone that I admire and have a good relationship with. I consider him my big brother. It’s always good to be able to work with him.
Lena: You’re doing a new movie with Emilio. They have several Sons of Anarchy cast members in 10 Cent Pistol. You are in it with Emilio Rivera and Adam Arkin.
Joseph Julian Soria: We did Filly Brown a couple of years ago. We worked on 10 Cent Pistol together, but we are not in any of the same scenes.
Lena: There has been a lot of rave about Mission Park and your performance in it.
Joseph Julian Soria: It’s a film that is a bit of a labor of love in the sense that I got to work with some of my close friends that I consider family: Walter Perez and Jeremy Ray Valdez. I became friends with Bryan Ramirez, the director. I knew about this project for a while because many of my friends were attached to it and I wanted to know what the project was about. I was just wondering and then I was doing a movie with Jeremy called All She Can and I asked him about it. He thought all the roles were booked up, but I would be an extra in the movie. [Laughing.] I didn’t care I just wanted to be able to work with him again. The way that things worked out, they needed a role filled and I read the script and there was this particular scene that I was really drawn to. I put my audition on tape and they ended up casting me. I had to choose between doing that and End of Watch. I always bring this up because I think it’s important in regards to choosing – End of Watch was a great film and I knew it was going to be a great film and it was – for me the opportunity to sink my teeth into the material that I did in Mission Park was an opportunity that I had been seeking. It was between having a really cool credit on my resume or having the opportunity to show what I could really do. I’m very proud of it and I think it’s my strongest performance to date. The film as a whole is strong. I’m not being bias in any way I believe that Walter and Jeremy did a fantastic job. I believe that is some of their strongest work. The whole cast was solid. Bryan did a great job directing it. We just all clicked. We could banter on forever and I believe that came into play how good the film came out as well. If you enjoy working with the people that you are working with I believe that it shows on the screen. It’s in select theaters right now and it just got picked up for an extension. Lionsgate has already signed on to distribute it via DVD and VOD in December.
Lena: Can you talk about your character’s motivations throughout the film? Would you have liked to play a character from the other side – one of the FBI agents – or did you enjoy portraying someone that is part of the seedy underbelly of society?
Joseph Julian Soria: I believe that the villains are usually the more interesting characters. I do enjoy playing the good guy, too. For me as an actor, I don’t like to limit myself. I’m all about exploring the different types of characters. I like to find the seedy villain character or hero within myself and bring it to life. The characters that I’m drawn to are the most memorable. I like the characters that have the meatiest material that I can get in there and play with.
Lena: Exactly like you character (Chico) in Crank: High Voltage.
Joseph Julian Soria: [Laughing.] Yes, Chico was very interesting. In the waiting room I was psyching myself up because he was so intense and when I went to that room I was just like obsessed. I went in there out of the ordinary to say the least. I got the job. By the time I was done with the audition I came out of it. I think if I had left the room in the character they would have thought I was really crazy. It all worked out.
Lena: You have to have a great story about filming that movie?
Joseph Julian Soria: That was an experience from everything from chopping off my nipples, to chopping off a guy’s elbow, to hanging off the end of a speedboat. Having a helicopter fly over my head, it was intense.
Lena: I love those films because they are insanely over-the-top.
Joseph Julian Soria: Those films are fun because you are allowed to do whatever, pretty much.
Lena: You have Camp X-Ray coming up with Kristen Stewart.
Joseph Julian Soria: That’s going to be interesting. It’s probably going to be controversial. To give you a bit of the storyline that I can give you without disclosing too much information: The storyline is about Kristen’s character Cole and her experience being stationed at Guantanamo Bay, which is where they hold detainees and what life is like there. It’s about the experience that these soldiers go through and she ends up befriending one of the detainees and finds out that they are not all as bad as they are made out to be. I play basically her best friend in the military. My character’s arc actually starts off kind of naïve and a bit of a good, but by the end of it he falls in line with the belief system of everybody else and you see that arc and how he changes in the film. It’s definitely a different roll. The story as a whole is a great story. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it comes out.
Lena: I love the charity work that you do.
Joseph Julian Soria: I love doing it.
Lena: Is skydiving going to be your new hobby?
Joseph Julian Soria: I wouldn’t necessarily say a hobby, but I definitely want to do it again. I’m really passionate about kids and certain things grab me, specifically Somaly Mam Foundation. I was initially looking to go skydiving and face my fear of heights and my friend told me about this foundation and I read up on it, on how it’s helping kids and women that are being sold for sex trafficking. I read the story and I just got really passionate about it. They gave me a goal to raise money and I became more passionate about the cause than about the actual activity.
Lena: You also participated in the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Celebrity Blood Drive that Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow) hosted.
Joseph Julian Soria: Anything that has to do with helping out kids and people in need, I’m all about it.
Lena: What do you want your fans to know?
Joseph Julian Soria: I love my fans. I love them dearly. I appreciate them. I always have to say hi to my mom. Right now I’m just grinding, looking for the next gig. Go and see Mission Park.