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SxSW 2017 Interview: SMALL TOWN CRIME actor James Lafferty

James Lafferty from SMALL TOWN CRIMES at SxSW 2017
by Jason Whyte

THE PITCH: Ex-cop Mike Kendall (John Hawkes) discovers the body of a young woman and, in an act of self-redemption, becomes hellbent on finding the killer. While his un-couth and quirky detective style helps break open the case, his dogged determination unwittingly puts his sister (Octavia Spencer) and best friend (Anthony Anderson) in danger.

I spoke to one of the actors in the movie, James Lafferty, who plays Tony Lama in the film.

Congratulations on SMALL TOWN CRIME having its big world premiere at SxSW! Is your first time here and are you planning to attend your screenings?

I have been to Austin a few times in the past, once for the first ATX Festival. It's an incredible place to visit, let alone have a film to celebrate. Kind of a pinch-me moment, to be honest.

I have asked this of many directors so I am glad to also ask you how you got your start as an actor?

I got my start at ten years old, auditioning for commercials, TV and film. I trained with a great coach, Andrew Magarian in Los Angeles, nabbing roles here and there until I booked ONE TREE HILL when I was seventeen. I spent a fair amount of time on the show and since it ended, I have been doing various films and television shows including LOST ON PURPOSE and WAFFLE STREET, both directed by the Nelms Brothers along with directing TV as well as pulling my own little projects together.

How did SMALL TOWN CRIME come together for you?

I was lucky enough to have worked with Ian and Eshom Nelms in the past, so when they asked if I would play a role in SMALL TOWN CRIME, I jumped at the chance. It's pretty much as simple as that!

I am always fascinated by actors so I'm curious what keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?

It depends on the role. If it's highly involved, working all day, every day, I need sleep. Plenty of sleep and that's it. If it is a smaller role with a lot of down time on the schedule, I need books to read and movies to watch. A local pub with a Guinness tap and a pinball machine doesn't hurt either.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?

My biggest challenge was bringing something to the role that was slightly unexpected. Something fresh. The Nelms brothers wrote the character I played very cryptically, so there was a lot of latitude to play. And the most rewarding moment was shooting the final action sequence, which, for obvious reasons I can't say anything about other than that it was outrageously fun!

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Austin?

I'm looking forward to the unique atmosphere I have been hearing about at SXSW for years now. From what I understand, there's nothing like it anywhere. Can't wait to immerse myself.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?

Don't wait around for things to happen for you. Unless you really, really, really love waiting.

And finally, what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?

I saw WALLACE & GROMIT: A GRAND DAY OUT at an animated film festival as a child. Been chasing that dragon ever since!

Be sure to follow James online on @thisislafferty and Instagram!

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview as part of our coverage of SxSW 2017. To see the entire series click on the Live Report sidebar on your right. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!

This is one of the many films screening at the 2017 SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas taking place March 10-18. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

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originally posted: 03/10/17 07:45:02
last updated: 03/10/17 07:51:22
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