Interview with Actor & Voice Over Artist Anthony Ingruber

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Anthony Ingruber‘s voice over artistry and charm confirms he’s a rising star in my opinion. Don’t judge him only on his voice impressions though, make sure to open your mind this autumn when Anthony appears in the new Disney movie Avalon High. This new movie is based on the novel by Meg Cabot and it follows the adventures of Allie Pennington, the new girl at Avalon High, who quickly comes to believe that her classmates are reincarnations of King Arthur and his court. In other words, Avalon High just may be a contemporary Camelot. We watch Disney movies here in our home and are looking forward to seeing it. Below you will find some other nuggets about Anthony in the interview I just recently had the pleasure of doing with him…

I saw your great impression videos on YouTube! What came first, doing the impressions or wanting to be an actor?

Anthony: Thanks very much, glad you enjoyed them! The impressions actually came first when I was starting high school after moving to Australia briefly. They were a way to get positive attention rather than the awkward “new kid” label that I told myself to avoid. When I found how much people enjoyed them, this motivated me to look into acting as a hobby, and this then evolved into a passion.

How supportive has your family been about your decision to become an actor? Are they a part of your decision making process for your career?

Anthony: I’ve been very fortunate to have such a supportive family, which is very comforting when dealing with the disappointment that goes hand-in-hand with this industry. It’s often surprising that they are usually more excited by my achievements than I am, and I find this to be a tremendous morale booster. My father is constantly reminding his staff about my work and showing them my YouTube videos. This support always motivates me to keep going on this path, even when facing the rejection that this industry hands out.

When it comes to actors in the film industry, who influenced you the most to start your acting journey?

Anthony: I have a very long list of actors that I greatly admire and enjoy, but the big three who influenced me to pursue acting as a career would be Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. In my early teens I would spend hours watching their films on a loop, observing their nuances and taking note of their acting styles. It’s no surprise that they were the first actors of whom I did impersonations. Despite learning through observation, when it comes to character roles–rather than impressions, I always try to create my own original composition rather than relying on the styles of another actor.

I understand you’ve worked with director Peter Jackson on a previous project, “Over the Front”? What did you do for the project and how did you get involved?

Anthony: I had the great pleasure of working with Peter Jackson in early 2008 for his short film showing at the Australian War Memorial, ‘Over the Front’. I received a phone call offering me the part and I leapt out of my chair. That film was my first real experience of working directly with a Director in a character piece rather than previous “extra” work, and being a huge Peter Jackson fan, I was thrilled. Although the film was silent, I was given dialogue instructions and given the role of an Australian air force captain. Although I knew the film would be silent, I spoke almost exclusively in an Australian accent while on set; both to ease my nerves and immerse myself in the surroundings. It wasn’t hard to do, as they had working bomber planes flying overhead and genuine weaponry and period pieces lying around, including an old Model T Ford.

How was your experience working with Peter Jackson?

Anthony: Peter Jackson is a fantastic Director and visionary, as well as a genuinely nice guy. There was no sense of exclusion on set and the working environment was a very friendly and charming one. I felt very lucky that my first real acting job was with such an esteemed Director and also such a casual one.

Was “Over the Front” your first project?

Anthony: I consider ‘Over the Front’ my first real acting project although I had previously done various “extra” work jobs in the past. The most noteworthy of these was in ‘Avatar’, but I was only one of hundreds of extras per day. However when freeze framing the film and squinting very closely at the TV screen, I can just make myself out in one of the crowd scenes, cheering on the Colonel about his plans to obliterate the planet…this made it all worthwhile!

You’ve also done some work at New Zealand’s WETA workshop for Avatar? What was it that you did to contribute to the project?

Anthony: At the time when ‘Avatar’ was filming, in late 2007, I was interning at Weta Workshop as I had generously been given a position there by Richard Taylor (the creator and head of Weta). I was amazed by the caliber of work the artists there produce, and how relaxed and informal the workplace was. I was still in high school at the time and it was very intimidating working alongside sculptors, designers and make-up artists whose work I had been a fan of since my early teens. One of the projects I was assigned was to help with the technicians as they crafted the props and set pieces for ‘Avatar’. I enjoyed the work immensely and knew that this industry was one in which I would love to be involved. By a fantastic stroke of luck there was a call going out stating that they were short on extras for the next day’s shooting. I was able to talk my way into getting on set and that’s when my passion for acting truly took off.

You’ve recently been cast in a new Disney film “Avalon High“. How did you hear about the film?

Anthony: My agent had given me a call asking if I was able to audition for a Disney Channel Original Film called ‘Avalon High’. I was very excited about the prospect of working for Disney and flew over to Auckland for the auditions. I auditioned three times in the space of a month, flying back and forth between Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand and biting my nails wondering how my audition went.

What was it that got you interested in the film? Was it the “King Arthur legend” story or that it’s a Disney film?

Anthony: I thought the story of ‘Avalon High’ was appealing. In high school I was always interested in history and King Arthur was an interesting legend, so I was curious how they would fit that into a contemporary high school setting. The fact that the film was being produced by Disney made me very intrigued, as I was a big Disney fan growing up.

Do you feel that your role as ‘Sean’ is a memorable one? Were you able to improvise any of the role or did you have to stick to the script?

Anthony: Well, for me Sean will always be the main character! But when audiences see the film I hope they see me and think, ‘Oh, who’s that guy?’. Although the character of Sean was not a huge role, I still tried to flesh him out and did the best with what I was given. The Director, Stuart Gillard, was fairly lenient regarding the script and wasn’t opposed to trying new things, so I was able to squeeze in a bit of improv with my fellow classmates. I greatly enjoyed getting to live out the “High School Jock” label, as I was always notoriously bad at sports. I was very lucky the footballers in the film all wore large bulky helmets that obscured their faces. I was able to stand aside and let the actual players make the team look good while I stepped in for close-ups.

I’ve seen your cool new photos that were taken after your return from filming “Avalon High”. How was the photo shoot with Lindsay Keats? Was it serious? Or fun?

Anthony: I’ve always been very uncomfortable having head-shots or publicity stills taken, which is ironic as I’m very comfortable in front of a video camera. I find that sitting still for a photograph is very awkward. Due to this, pictures tend to look forced or contrived unless I’m comfortable with the photographer. I was informed by my sister of a photographer she had worked with who had done beautiful stills of models, landscapes and portfolio pieces. Although I was initially nervous, Lindsay Keats was very friendly and open to suggestion and really let me decide what would look good for a headshot. I was also very lucky to have my sister on board as she has a great artistic eye. The shoot was great fun and we got some fantastic photos, including a bizarre one whereby my sister was dumping a can of water all over me despite being the middle of winter. It was completely worth it for the look on my face.

What’s next on the agenda with your career? Are you looking for acting roles that are just big studio films? Do you seek roles based on a character and story? What interests you?

Anthony: Right now, I’m just anxiously awaiting the release of Avalon High to see how I did. I’m in the middle of making new videos for YouTube as well as providing voice work for various upcoming projects. What I need to learn is that this industry really is a waiting game. I just keep busy perfecting technique and also attempting to remain sane. I would love to audition for the upcoming ‘Hobbit’ film and be involved with that project as I know it will be another great success and would love to work with Peter Jackson again. Aside from big budget films, I’m not averse to doing other smaller scale projects and would love to explore diverse roles that would push my range of characters. I’ve always had an interest in portraying a sadistic villain the audience will really despise, and then turning around and doing a light-hearted romantic comedy.

Thanks Anthony! :) *Special thanks to his publicist and friend, Lynette, for helping to arrange this interview. :)

Make sure to check out Anthony’s new website at http://www.anthonyingruber.com

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