I spoke with Blake Cooper Griffin about Love Is All You Need?, his passion for politics, House of Lies, his work to combat bullying, and so much more. Love Is All You Need? will be premiering on March 5th at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA. It also stars two of my other favorite actors, Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars) and Jeremy Sisto. I was looking forward to the film before I even spoke with Blake and he confirmed my excitement. Blake is brilliantly talented, interesting, and incredibly insightful. He’s a natural people person and that’s a beautiful thing in this world. Don’t miss Love Is All You Need?, his episode of House of Lies, his television film that must remain an exciting mystery for now, and all of the wonderful projects in his future.
Lena: You’ve been very busy on the frontline supporting Hillary Clinton. What are the crowds like?
Blake Cooper Griffin: I have. It’s a lot of volunteers. I was knocking door-to-door and canvasing for her because I think that she’s so exceptional and I’ve never been so excited about a candidate. The rallies that I went to were at full capacity. The victory party that I got to go to, with some of the other volunteers and campaign staff, we got to watch some of the results come in and that was pretty cool. It’s a pretty special experience.
Lena: When I watch the coverage on television, it looks so overwhelming. [Laughing.]
Blake Cooper Griffin: [Laughing.] I know. It’s very loud in there and there is a lot of energy. It was really cool to be a part of it.
Lena: Why do you think she would make a good president?
Blake Cooper Griffin: I’m an actor, not a politician, but I am really interested in this stuff and I follow it very closely because I really care about what happens to our country. I think that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is meeting the perfect moment in history when she’s needed because she’s tested and maybe the smartest person that I can think of. She has more policy experience, experience within government on all different levels—she’s seen it firsthand both as secretary of state and her husband, Bill Clinton, was in the White House. I just think that she’s possibly the most experienced candidate that has ever run for president. I think that she is definitely one of the smartest, if not the smartest, and I think that right now we need to have smart, informed, and experienced people running The United States.
Lena: That is definitely true. Would that make Bill the first man?
Blake Cooper Griffin: I think that would make him the first man. I think he would be a great first man, or maybe first mate? I’m not sure. I don’t know how it goes. Hillary Clinton is an inspirational person in that she has been the first to do so many things and has obviously endured a lot to do the work that she thinks is very important. I think that being the first woman president would be pretty awesome. That’s not the reason that I support her, but it surely makes her very inspirational.
Lena: If she wins, during the victory party, Bill needs to come out as Jon Hamm’s saxophone-playing character Sergio from the SNL Digital Short. Now, that would be a victory party. [Laughing.] Who wouldn’t want that?
Blake Cooper Griffin: I’ll have to look that up because it sounds pretty cool.
Lena: The trailer for Love Is All You Need? sold me on wanting to see the film. It’s a fantastic trailer.
Blake Cooper Griffin: Thank you so much. I’m thrilled to be a part of this movie. I really wanted the part badly when I auditioned. When I read the script, I knew that it was a film that could change people’s lives. I thought that it had such an interesting take with the flipped world. I certainly had never read anything like that before. The way you get these scripts sometimes it’s late at night and you are reading because you are preparing for the next day. I finished it and I was wide awake thinking that I’ve got to find a way to be a part of this, so I worked hard on the character. It worked out and I’m super stoked to be a part of it. I think the trailer is dynamite and it’s only a taste of how good the film is. I’ve had a chance to see a cut of the film and it blew me away. I can’t wait for us to get rolling and for people to get to see it.
Lena: It has an amazing cast with you, Tyler Blackburn, Jeremy Sisto, etc.
Blake Cooper Griffin: I love Jeremy and I love Tyler—they were a blast to work with. You also have Emily Osment and Briana Evigan, who have become really good friends of mine. It was so great working on a project that everybody on the film had such a desire to tell the story. David Tillman and Kim Rocco Shields wrote it together and then Rocco was our director. We were really impassioned and Rocco has been working on this for so long. There was this feeling of doing something bigger than just making a movie. It was just wanting to touch lives and tell the truth, and figure out a way to communicate how many people suffer from bullying, discrimination, or intolerance. I think we did it. I’m really excited for people to get a chance to see it and start a conversation. I just can’t say enough good things about that whole team. Rocco really set up an environment where the actors could work and feel freedom and try things and I think because of that the performances are really dynamic.
Lena: The film seems to have a lot of messages.
Blake Cooper Griffin: Yeah, it does. The thing about the film, as you know, is that it takes place in a world where gay is straight and straight is gay. When you flip it like that what’s cool about it is that it’s, sort of, a metaphor for all types of bullying. It is about gay bullying and it’s also, as you will see in the film, about all types of bullying. We are asking these questions about what’s the toll bullying takes on people and our society and on how we can start to address it.
Lena: Some people never think about it [or don’t think it’s an important topic] until it happens to them and they are left to deal with it. It’s not fun at all.
Blake Cooper Griffin: Right. It’s something that, since working on the movie, I’ve gotten more passionate about trying to help out—volunteer, and stuff like that, to help those that are being bullied.
Lena: You also work with Boo2Bullying.
Blake Cooper Griffin: I’ve done some stuff with them and I’m happy to do more. I’m going to do more in finding ways to educate the public and educate kids. That organization is seeking to educate kids in school to know what to do if they are being bullied and to also just start a conversation because I think when you talk about those things and call it out as being wrong, I think people start to react. I also think that teaching people and educating people that if they see someone being bullied to just stand up and say, “Hey, that’s not right.” It actually makes a very big difference. I’m excited to continue volunteering in any way I can.
Lena: Can you say anything about your character, Bill Bradley, and what his motivations are in the film?
Blake Cooper Griffin: In the film, Jude (Briana Evigan) and Ryan (Tyler Blackburn) are in a relationship and the film takes place on a college campus. I play a college quarterback and fraternity president, which Ryan pledges to. What I can tell you is that I have some major problems with their relationship and the story starts to unravel from there. It’s one of the darker roles that I’ve played and it was really interesting. Whenever I read the script I was obsessed with how to get underneath Bill Bradley—get into his skin, what was he thinking and why does he do the things that he does. That’s, sort of, who I’m playing. Bill is more of an antagonistic character I think it’s safe to say.
Lena: Is it difficult to try to find something to relate to when you’re portraying such a dark character?
Blake Cooper Griffin: I watched a lot of videos online about people who have been bullied. I also just imagined why someone might or where someone would come from because clearly, Bill and I are different but that’s what I love about acting. You get to explore things that you would never do and because of that even though sometimes you think of my gosh, what I’m doing is so severe or whatever but it serves a story that has a bigger message and is hopefully going to enlighten people, encourage people, inspire people, and hopefully make the world a better place. That’s really why I got into this. You want to make some kind of impact—whether it’s a comedy, which I’ve done my fair share of and I really love doing comedy, and it makes people laugh and it helps them to have an escape from their day or it’s a drama like Love Is All You Need?, which has a social message that can really tell people that you’re not alone, we hear you, and also hopefully it changes the minds and hearts of people who may not be tolerant. I get so excited about doing this stuff because when people watch it and hopefully they react to it, it can have an impact on their life.
Lena: Love Is All You Need? premieres March 5th at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA. I can’t wait to see it. I hope they release it on DVD and digitally.
Blake Cooper Griffin: I don’t know all the details, but I’m sure this is just the beginning of what you are going to be seeing from the movie. March 5th we’re premiering at Cinequest, which I’m really excited about. Cinequest Festival is one that I’ve heard a lot of things about in the past and I think it was just named by USA Today, or something, as the top festival in The United States. This year, James Franco and Rita Moreno are headlining the festival. I’m really excited to be there and the movie is going to get a premiere there and I just can’t wait for people to see it. We are going to premiere on the 5th and I think that there are some encore presentations of it and then hopefully some more news on how everyone can see it.
Lena: You are also starring in an upcoming episode of House of Lies.
Blake Cooper Griffin: I had a fun little part on that and got to work with Helen Hunt again. I worked with her before on her movie Ride, which she directed, wrote, and starred in. Helen Hunt is the kind of person, actress, and artist that I know that I inspire to be because she does everything and she does it the best. It was really fun to work with her.
Lena: That show is so funny. What is it like on that set?
Blake Cooper Griffin: It is a funny show. They were great. When you’re guesting on a show you are kind of popping in and you want to make sure that you’re serving the story and doing your job and everyone was so nice. I also got a chance to do another guest spot on Major Crimes. I had such a blast on that as well. That is what’s fun about jumping to multiple shows is that on Major Crimes I got to play this zany and kind of crazy guy that was super funny and then the next week you can go and do something else. Guesting on shows is always a blast and you get to meet this whole new group of people, which is also kind of the great thing about this job. I love people and I love meeting new people and learning from them. I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing people and hopefully I’ll be blessed to work with even more. I try to learn something from every experience. Right now, I’m working on a new TV movie, which I can’t tell you too much about but it’s going to be really, really cool. I’m one of the leads in the film. I’ll have more news on that soon.
Love Is All You Need? premieres March 5th at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA.
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Photo: Benjo Arwas