It’s time to learn more about our SUNDOWN cast and crew. First up, the role of Dewey Shea – an irresponsible gambler who returns home to help his family deal with his dad’s dementia – will be played by Grayson Powell:
Grayson is an actor originally from Columbia, South Carolina. These days, he splits time between New York and Boston (where his wife lives) and anywhere else that the acting business takes him. In fact, I chatted with Grayson about SUNDOWN while he was on one of his many train rides…
Brendan: So you’re on a train right now. Where are you going?
Grayson: Back to New York. I had to help my wife pack to move into the new apartment. I leave for a play in North Carolina on Friday so we won’t see each other for a few weeks. Had a good night of boozing and eating and watching THELMA AND LOUISE.
Brendan: It seems like you’re definitely living the life of the working actor – traveling a lot, having different adventures. Do you like it?
Grayson: I’m starting to get used to it. The last 5 years I’ve gotten some regional theatre gigs and some commercials, but this is the first time I’ve had 13 months of work lined up. So it’s a lot of excitement mixed with nerves mixed with confusion.
Brendan: I don’t know if I could do it. I need the stability of my own bed. (My bed is very stable.)
Grayson: If I get sleep I’m usually good. I’ll wake up not knowing where I am, but what better way to start your day than that? Actually that sounds scary now that I said it.
Brendan: Sort of like a MEMENTO thing.
Grayson: So you mentioned this was a personal story but you didn’t go in depth yet. Is this the right forum to ask about it?
Brendan: You can ask me whatever you want.
Grayson: Are you Dewey?
Brendan: No, I don’t think so. I think there are certainly parts of me in Dewey. For instance, I think Dewey tries to use humor to deal with difficult things. But I think I have my shit together a little more than he does. Are there particular parts of Dewey that you relate to?
Grayson: I definitely had a similar relationship with my sister. She followed all of the rules and had book smarts. I was the class clown and I think she got frustrated with me because my parents sometimes would pay more attention to me getting in trouble than they would in her good grades.
Brendan: An actor that likes attention? I’m shocked.
Grayson: My parents were also actors when they were younger so that didn’t help my sister’s cause.
Brendan: So you come from a family of actors? What was that like?
Grayson: They would take me to plays at a festival every year in Charleston, South Carolina and sit me front row center. Do you know how hard it is for a 5-year old to sit still for an entire play? If I moved around too much, my father would pinch my shoulder.
Brendan: And you still ended up with the acting bug? Sounds like diversion therapy.
Grayson: My mother is a therapist. So she would try to balance the hats.
Brendan: It’s amazing how therapists and actors seem to tread the same boards a lot, so to speak.
Grayson: How so?
Brendan: I think they’re both all about being completely present with another person. That’s incredibly hard to do without training.
Grayson: Yeah it took me a long time to understand being present with someone and actually listening. I was in acting class once with a scene partner and a professor asked me “Are you looking at her?” I said “Yes.” Then he said “Are you REALLY looking at her?” And then it was like a lens peeled away from my eyes. I was like “holy shit.” I could see her. It was beautiful.
Brendan: It’s hard to get out of yourself and into the moment with someone else. I think one of the things that blew us away in your audition was your ability to be in the moment. It wasn’t about acting – it was about being present.
Grayson: That’s very nice if you to say. Olympia Dukakis told me once “The only way you are going to get through the scene is through the other person.” That coupled with the “Are you REALLY looking at her?” usually helps me get to where you probably saw me in the audition.
Brendan: Did you just name drop Olympia Dukakis?
Grayson: Yes. Yes, I did.
Brendan: Nice work. I once saw Mike Dukakis at a Dunkin Donuts. Not a tall man. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to about shooting SUNDOWN?
Grayson: I’m looking forward to exploring more about your personal experience with dementia. I THINK I know what it would be like if my dad had dementia, but it’s probably not the same.
Brendan: It’s definitely complicated.
Grayson: The real fear and the real anger are definitely present in the script. It’s just about how I can access it.
Brendan: I’m thinking all kabuki theater style. The makeup, the kimono – the whole deal. Did I not mention you would be in full kabuki dress?
Grayson: I’m glad you’re open to actor exercises. I once did an exercise with a woman in my class where we got down to our underwear and just laid on top of each other for ten minutes. My professor said he didn’t believe we had been intimate before in the scene, so that was the best way we knew how.
Brendan: Are you sure this was an acting class?
Grayson: I told you from day one, Brendan. Whatever you need, I’ll make it work.
Want to support Grayson and the rest of the SUNDOWN team? Please visit our Kickstarter Page and learn more about the movie.