Here’s the transcript for the written interview I did with Al Doshna. Enjoy! (Video links chosen and put in by Al Doshna).
An interview with Central New York Actor Wayne W. Johnson
One of the most prolific and prominent entertainment personalities in the Syracuse, N.Y. Actor/Musician Wayne W. Johnson. Some of his recent film appearances include the award winning HOUSE SHARK and NIGHT OF SOMETHING STRANGE, (the latter of which included the side benefit of his becoming the inspiration for an action figure!). In the following interview, Wayne gives us an overview and brings us up to date on some of his recent creative activity.
Can you give us a little early background on yourself?
-This is taken from my Press Kit (short form), hence why it’s in third person 😊:
-Wayne W. Johnson is an actor and singer / guitarist for the band CAROLINE BLUE. Wayne initially started out on several CNY bands before forming CAROLINE BLUE. After years of focusing primarily on music, Wayne shifted that focus towards the path of acting in 2011. He is currently best known for his roles as Cornelius in “Night of Something Strange” (Hurricane Bridge Entertainment / SRS Cinema LLC / Virtual Interactive), Dracula in “Tales of Dracula” (Wolfbain Productions) and Walking Bear in episodes from Star Trek: New Voyages & The Federation Files.
When did you first decide that you wanted to be an actor?
-I had acting ambitions back in high school, but I also had musical ones and music won out. I was in various local Central New York (CNY) bands till I formed my own band CAROLINE BLUE. To date, CAROLINE BLUE has released two CDs (“Slave to the Hourglass” and “Not for The Innocent”) as well as several music videos. The band was playing multiple shows per month and even started playing out of New York state. Fast forward to 2010. The lineup I had for CAROLINE BLUE at that time had broken up and I was just burnt out. With the music videos, we did some of them with Ron Bonk (SRS Cinema LLC). One of them was called “Pain” and, while filming that, the acting bug started to re-awaken in me. As I did some initial acting roles on the side, (my first role was a gang banger in Ron’s “Ms. Cannibal Holocaust” followed by an enforcer in Brian Hewitt’s “Rise Up & Fall”), I received encouragement from some of the actors I worked with-most notably Jack Gargaro (RIP)-saying that I should get more serious with acting. By this time, I got laid off from my job and I had some money behind me so in early 2011, I switched my primary focus from music to acting and have been on that path since.
What was your favorite movie?
-I don’t know if I can narrow it down to a single favorite movie, but some of my favorites are Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, The Final Countdown, Excalibur, Final Fantasy VII Ardent Children, Predator, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan and all the original Bruce Lee movies 😊 There’s more but that should do for now 😊
Did you have a favorite actor?
-Like the last question, I don’t have one specific all-time favorite actor. Originally, they were (and are still up there) Bruce Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Currently my favorites are Cate Blanchett, Gary Oldman, Robert Downey Jr., Ricardo Montalban and Heath Ledger.
Can you give us an overview of some of the roles you have played?
-I found out early on that my “type” was more of the villain / monster-the one who inflicts damage on others instead of being the one having damage inflicted upon them. So, to date, most of my roles, traditionally, have been in that mold. Some of the ones I’m currently best known for with this type are Cornelius (the sex-crazed, masturbating modern zombie) in “Night of Something Strange” (Hurricane Bridge Entertainment), Dracula (the king of vampires) in “Tales of Dracula” (Wolfbain Productions), Draven (a psychotic Joker-like killer) in “Empire State of the Dead (SRS Cinema LLC) as well as Malachi (a twisted demon) in Transformation (Hewitt Films) and Tybalt (a master manipulator) in “Romeo 3000” (Mad Angel Films in association with WWJ Productions). Having said all that, I’ve also played good guys in several productions, most notably Ensign Dawson Walking Bear in episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages and The Federation Files. In addition, I’ve done comic roles such as Knife (a traditional nerd trying to survive a zombie apocalypse) in “Locked In” (Hewitt Films) and Captain James T. Morris (a 1940s Southern Army Captain who modern women love to hate) in “Slade Collins: In & Out of Time” (Mad Angel Films). You can see the list of roles I’ve done on my website at https://waynewjohnson.com/chronology/
Do you have a personal favorite film and/or role that you’ve done?
-Pretty much all the roles I mentioned in the last question are favorites. My overall favorite would have to be Cornelius because he’s quite unique for me plus I’ve received the most praise for that role-which was very physical-but I had no dialogue (does growling count? -HA!). With dialogue, there’s several. Draven because he was Joker-like and I was not only able to do the lines pretty much exactly the way I wanted to but was also able to improvise numerous lines as well-not to mention changing voices on the fly. Dracula because he’s such an iconic role, although it would’ve been nice to have had some more screen time with him in that film…maybe in the sequel (if it ever happens)?
Malachi was kind of like Draven, but creepier and not as Joker-ish. Tybalt due to all the monologues I had to do-all to be said with a touch of Shakespeare. Captain James T. Morris cause I had to play a Southern 1940s stereotypical man and Knife-a stereotypical nerd (and a big one 😊). All those roles were big challenges to me in one way or another, which made it all the more fun to do. In addition, I changed my voice with all of those characters mentioned-either by pitch and / or tone and / or accents so that right there was also another challenge to meet.
Is there a particular genre you like to work in?
-Is there a particular genre that I prefer to work in…how about one where I don’t get injured (HA!) 😊 As long as I’m able to help / service the productions in meeting / exceeding their goals, and my skills / ability are up to par for doing that, I’m game to act in almost any genre (no porn / bondage / sex genres of course…). I seem to be working more often in the horror genre currently so…I’d love to get involved in some of the major superhero films-either Marvel, DC or both. Perhaps one day…The main thing, to me, is quality. One should always be trying to raise the bar in what they do.
Are there any behind the scenes anecdotes that fans might find interesting?
-There’re always some funny things happening, intentional or not, that usually find their way on the blooper reels. Surprisingly, I’m not in too many of them to date for some reason, because I do my share-sometimes more so 😊 One thing that happened recently was when I was filming on “Johnny Z” (Hurricane Bridge Entertainment). I’m one of those people that can sweat heavily rather quickly. I should go check that out with a doctor one of these days…Anyway, I play “Monster Boy” in this film-an enforcer who has multiple bite wounds on him from zombies. He has fluid going thru him that prevents zombification. Well, it didn’t take too long for me to sweat those “bite marks” off. Later, I had to have latex applied to my arms. Now, I was already sweating like a pig at this point with no AC or fans anywhere so the FX artist, Marcus Koch, did an old school thing where he applied a more than warm layer of gelatin on my arms before the latex-and I still sweated them off, requiring a second later. Marcus must have thought, multiple times, throughout this shoot, “Damn it I hate you Wayne!” 😀
Besides your acting, you are also a musician. Tell us about that.
-Before acting, my primary focus was on music. I was in multiple local bands in the Central New York (CNY) area before creating CAROLINE BLUE-and that was my primary focus till around 2011. When I was in high school I had a choice between the music and acting paths. I chose music. To date, CAROLINE BLUE has released two CDs – “Slave to the Hourglass” and “Not for The Innocent.” The band also has several music videos and was doing relatively well in the CNY area-and even started to expand out of NY state.
Fast forward to 2011. The lineup for CAROLINE BLUE at that time had broken up and I was burnt out. Having said that, when all that happened the previous year, the band was doing music videos with acclaimed film producer Ron Bonk (She Kills, House Shark) and, I remember almost everyone being miserable but me. Put me in front of a camera and I’m a happy boy! I believe that’s when acting re-awakened in me and I ended up in one of Ron’s films called “Ms. Cannibal Holocaust” and I got some nice encouragement to try more-so I did with the same result. Then I got laid off and had some money behind me, so I decided to make acting my primary focus and threw myself into the deep end 😊 I just realized I said a lot of this with an earlier question but hey, it’s me! (HA!) 😊
Of the two, which do you prefer?
-Between acting and music, I currently prefer acting-in part because I don’t have to lug amps and heavy gear in vans that has a higher chance of breaking down than normal– plus, overall, I get paid more and more often 😊 It switches from time to time though. They’re a lot of similarities between all the creative arts. Music is great cause the buzz from taking an idea in your head and making it a tangible reality is awesome. To me, music is about honestly expressing yourself and that can also apply to acting as well. Live performing with music is like theater where you’re in front of a live audience who give you immediate feedback on your performance. Recording music is like filming a movie with multiple takes and doing your best to make sure that your best performances (or, at least, the best you can do at that time…you can always try 100%, but you can never always be at 100%.) are captured for posterity. To me, with both, it’s all about quality and working to raise that bar over and over. And, since I aspire to be a writer one day, that will be added into the mix at some point as well-just as soon as I’m able to be cloned (HA!) 😊
Is there a role or a film that you wish you hadn’t done (in a fun way?)
-I’m my worst critic, so it’s rare for me to watch myself in a film and be 100% satisfied with how I acted. Part of that was my performance at the time (not fully-but maybe little changes here and there), but there have been times when I’m in productions where the director is into the “feeding the lines” type of school and you have little, if no leeway on how to do the role-nor do you really get a say if it was “good enough.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Another factor is how it was filmed / edited. More than once there was a scene I was in that I thought, “Great!”, but because it wasn’t shot well and / or right, it knocked the wind out of the victory so to speak. Another thing that has happened is that I’ll see a rough draft of a film and like a scene I’m in, but when it comes to seeing the final cut onscreen or via DVD, that scene was cut out!
From your Facebook postings, you seem to have a love for cats, demonstrating another side of your personality. Tell us about your furry friends.
-Well, I have a cute fat cat named Scruffy. I was already starting to develop a fondness for cats in a previous relationship (she had four cats when we hooked up and eventually we had five overall). I rescued Scruffy from underneath my parent’s place when he was a wee little kitty. He had somehow gotten into the insulation underneath their place. He was meowing his little lungs out and as soon as I heard him I went to investigate. I crawled underneath and cut open a section of the insulation and out plopped this cute little fur baby. He’s been with me ever since.
Many of your postings have a philosophical or motivational theme. Can you share the importance these have for you?
-To put this in proper perspective, on my personal Facebook page, I usually post a meme, a quote and some past memory stuff daily. My Facebook page is more of what I post in a general matter, whereas my Instagram page is where I post some pics that I don’t post anywhere else. My Twitter page is where I’m starting to post more personal stuff and my You Tube is for videos of…me (HA!) 😊 So I post quotes on my Facebook page daily and more often than not they are positive, motivational and / or philosophical-but there are times when they are more in the opposite direction. It’s just kind of what I’m thinking at the moment-or in general-or even the night before going to bed where those thoughts still linger. It’s for myself-although if other people get stuff out of it-that’s great. I’ve had people argue with me, to a degree, about a quote and I think they’re surprised when I just reply with something like “fine.” Just cause a quote or saying hits me doesn’t mean it has to hit you. There can be many reasons for that and that’s fine. I’m not trying to preach to anyone. It’s just for me. My wall my call 😊
What are some of your recently completed or current projects?
-I just recently came back from filming on horror / martial arts / zombie feature film “Johnny Z” (Hurricane Bridge Entertainment) in Virginia. Directed by acclaimed film maker Jonathan Straiton, who also directed “Night of Something Strange (NoSS).” There’re even several members from NoSS in this film. This film has, for me, replaced NoSS as the hardest, most brutal film I’ve worked on to date. You’ll see what I mean when you see it. Check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/johnnyzmovie/ for the latest news and updates.
Anything in the near future that you want to tell us about?
-With acting, there always stuff in the talking stages. Some happen, some don’t. I usually don’t post about them until I know it’s a go. I’ll be working, along with acclaimed music composer Emmett Van Slyke, to hopefully get “Romeo 3000” up to speed for release before the end of the year. There’s a new CAROLINE BLUE song at the end credits called “My Fingers.” There are two versions of the song. The one in the movie is the “Robo-Romeo” mix which is more synth guitar heavy. I will also be working to get a music video of that version out before year’s end. The second is the more standard CAROLINE BLUE version-less synth guitar and more like the last few song releases. This will be added to a future CD release at some point. There’s a lot of stuff in the works right now and if all goes as planned, I’ll be making some good steps forward in 2019. Otherwise it’s just going down The Path as usual.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
-At this point, I would say anyone reading this is thinking, “Hasn’t he shared enough?” (HA!) 😊 I just want to give a huge Thank You to all the people who have supported me and cared all these years-but especially this year. It is deeply appreciated. Now, where did I put my Geritol…? 😊