SXSW Interview: James Landry Hebert, Beth Broderick & Skyy Moore Talk ‘Two Step’ and Audition Tips
James Landry Hebert, Beth Broderick and Skyy Moore star in, Two Step, writer/director Alex R. Johnson‘s feature film debut.
The film is about a guy named James (Moore) who, after just been kicked out of college, goes to visit his only remaining relative, Grams, who dies shortly after he arrives. As he’s getting Gram’s affairs in order, James finds out that she’s been swindled by a hustler (Webb, played by Hebert), pretending to be him. James decides to go after Webb, but before he does, guess who show’s up at the door for more money? Webb.
Hours after the premiere, Variety came out with their review of the film and where they called it “a slow burn thriller with rich Texas flavor.” Not only that, but they praised the actors as well. So, it was a nice night all around and when I talked with the cast the next morning, they were still feeling the love.
Check out the interview where the trip talk about the review and getting cast in the film. Also, do yourself a huge favor and find out Broderick’s awesome audition tip!
For the full interview, check out the YouTube video below!
I don’t know if you guys saw the variety review.
James Landry Hebert: Yes we did. I’ve been up all night because I couldn’t sleep after reading it.
Yeah, it was really good. “There’s not a bum performance in the bunch,” they wrote.
James Landry Hebert: And can you believe they found all these actors here in Texas except for me? Beth, obviously, has been in LA for many years, but she lives here now in Austin.
How’d you guys get involved?
Skyy Moore: They contacted my agent, they asked me if I could audition, I couldn’t because I was shooting another film in Louisiana. And after I finished shooting that I went back to Dallas, a month went by, they called me, they still hadn’t found a kid, and so I got a chance to audition for it again and they did a callback with Beth here, and try our chemistry out. And I got the part.
Beth Broderick: I loved him. Trust me, we had met a few other boys. He walked in I was like, “Thank you God!”
James Landry Hebert: Yeah, we were all cast and I think ‘James’ was the last one to be cast. And thank God they found him.
So were you cast in LA?
James Landry Hebert: I was. Pat Cassidy, the producer, is my oldest friend in the movie business. We went to college together and we’d been trying to get together on a movie for many years, weren’t able to until now, and when I read this I was really attracted to ‘James’s character I felt like I could relate to him growing up as an orphan and that feeling… his loneliness, basically. I was like, “Man, I wish I was younger. I wish I could play James,” but Webb is spot on and that would be a lot of fun.
And I had just gone through a breakup at the time and I thought, “What a great opportunity to sort of embellish all this stuff with the Amy character and Duane and turn a bad experience into a good experience and art just met life in ways I never knew possible.
Did you have to fly down here or did you put yourself on tape?
James Landry Hebert: No, they actually… I’ve played some a lot of Texas hard cases and after looking at my work and Pat vouching for me, they actually offered me the role. But, to be honest with you, I prefer to audition. I… my day job, I was a casting associate in New Orleans for 4 years before I became a working actor and it’s an extra rehearsal and I just… I like fighting for those roles. But I am so grateful to have been gifted it as well.
Well, I’m an actor as well and, first of all, I think you’re insane that you like to audition.
James Landry Hebert: I think it’s my background in casting. You know what I mean? I mean, it’s nerve wracking every time, but I think…
Beth Broderick: I personally do not like to audition. I don’t think anybody really likes it, but I think there’s a lot more growth in it. You know what I mean? Yeah. I don’t know. Call me crazy. Crazy for casting.
Beth Broderick: They sent me the script and I just liked it. And I was very attracted to the idea that Dot was not a mom or, you know, some sex crazed old lady, that she was just a really full character who happens to be an older woman. You never see that in film. And I thought this film, the script was very tight, the characters were really well developed, and I just had a good feeling about it. And then I met with Alex and we sat down for about an hour and I was like, “This guy is gonna be able to shoot this movie.” Because a lot of them you’re like…eh… this one I was like, “Yeah, this guy can do it.”
What about you? Do you like to audition?
Skyy Moore: I used to but I’ve done it so much that I think, no shit, since Two Step I think I’ve had 30 auditions. And I haven’t gotten a single gig yet. I feel one coming soon.
James Landry Hebert: But I’m sure you did great work on all 30 of those auditions and those casting offices that see that work, they pay residuals. You know what I mean? If you didn’t get that one they might be like, “God, he was good.”
Beth Broderick: When you’re starting out, you have to otherwise there’s no way for them to get to know you.
James Landry Hebert: Yes.
Beth Broderick: But I can remember one year in LA I had 9 network tests. Now, this is after the lawyers have negotiated the deal and you’ve signed the contracts and you’ve gone in in front of the entire network and auditioned and didn’t get them. They asked me to test for a 10th show and I said no. And the 11th show they just gave it to me, they were like, “She’s not coming back. We’ll just give it to her.” I was like… and that show ran, it was called Hearts of Fire, it ran for a couple of years. But I was like, “Nuh uh. No. 9 is my limit.”
You were in LA for what? Why did you move down here?
Beth Broderick: I just really was tired of living in LA. I’ve only ever lived in LA and New York as an adult. And I write, also I do a lot of political writing on The Huffington Post and so I was very interested in what’s happening politically on the ground in Texas and the kind of seismic shifts that are taking place here. And I also really just like the town. It’s a great town. I’m really happy living here. I go to DC, New York, Chicago, and LA. It’s 2 and a half hours to everywhere from here. So it’s much easier for me to travel, do the kind of traveling that I always do from here than it was from LA. And I still have a place in LA, I have a car there. So I can get on a plane with a purse and just go if I need to, but my shoulders go down when I get off the plane when I get here. It feels like home to me. And I’ve been on my own since I was 16, so that’s a big thing for me to say.
James Landry Hebert: Wow.
Beth Broderick: Because I’ve never really felt home.
Where are you originally from?
Beth Broderick: I grew up in Huntington Beach, California.
James Landry Hebert: In that sense, I think we share something very similar and I almost feel like this business is kind of conducive to that. You know? These set families and…
Beth Broderick: Well, unless you’re born into it, you have to pretty damaged to endure it.
James Landry Hebert: Yeah.
Beth Broderick: That’s really true. And you have all these families that you join, whether it’s a television series or a movie that do become sort of your surrogate family in a way. But to endure all the rejection, to endure all the scrutiny, to endure all the lonely months in hotel rooms away from everyone, you have to have be a certain kind of person and I think you scratch any of us and you’re gonna go, “Wow, that was some childhood there.” Because of the, you know, if you’re a happy, well adjusted person, you’re not gonna make it as an actor.
James Landry Hebert: Yeah, right? I think for me…
Beth Broderick: Why would you? It’s too painful.
James Landry Hebert: Yeah, yeah. For me, I just think it was… in relating that to’ James’ as a young man, I think with nothing to lose I was sort of able to follow my dreams. And then once I was on that path, it was like my family was horrified that… my extended family, the village that raised me, and they were just like, “You need to be a dentist or a doctor or something like concrete. You’ve had so much already, you need some security.”
And for me, it was a great opportunity to come to terms with all that stuff. And now that I’m here it’s like I don’t really have anybody to fall back on. It’s like I’ve gotta do it. You know? You’ve just gotta.
Beth Broderick: Yeah, I was the same way. I had to put my sister through college and I was like… I walked into those audition rooms when I was in my 20s and I would look at those girls and be like, “She’s toast. Fuck ‘em.” And I used to… I would always sit, if the chairs were like this, I would sit here. [She sits on the arm rest]
And all the actresses would come in and go, “Fuck, she’s sitting there.” Yeah, I’m sitting here. Worked every time.
James Landry Hebert: Nice.
That is a good strategy.
Beth Broderick: That’s a good tip. Especially on a network test when you’re waiting and the whole network comes by you.
Just exudes confidence. Yeah.
Beth Broderick: You sit on the… you sit the highest point in the room.
James Landry Hebert: Good tip.
That is a fantastic tip. You just exude confidence.
Skyy Moore: How interesting.
Beth Broderick: It totally works. The network president is gonna walk by and they’re gonna be…
You’re not slouched in the couch or just waiting.
Beth Broderick: No. You sit up on the highest part of the furniture.
That is an excellent tip.
Beth Broderick: Let them know that it’s your time they’re taking up.
I’m gonna try that.
Beth Broderick: I got a lot of series that way.
James Landry Hebert: From your mouth to God’s ears.
Skyy Moore: When I’m auditioning, I always make it a point to get there as late as I possibly can and to leave as soon as I possibly can. I don’t… I get in, I do my thing, and I get out.
James Landry Hebert: I’m the opposite, actually and people are kind of taken back by it. But we’ll be all at a callback for the same role and I’ll see actors that I know that are reading for, you know, we all go out for the same stuff and I’ll get done with my audition and I’ll be like, “You wanna run lines before you go in there? So and so is sitting here, they’re really cool.” I almost give these roles away in a way, in a sense. And people are kinda like, “Really?”
I had an audition a couple of weeks ago and we ended up just, the casting director and I, just ended up talking for like half an hour and he was like, “Maybe you should do the audition.” I’m like, “Yeah, let’s do the audition.” And I was like… “Do you know Heath Freeman? He would actually be perfect for this role. I’m basically doing my best Heath Freeman.” And he was like, “Did you just recommend somebody for your role? It’s insane.”
Beth Broderick: I used to do that all the time. It’s smart. Then they know you know who you are. Those guys, you’re gonna go…
James Landry Hebert: You know when a role’s yours.
Beth Broderick: That group in the hallway when I was 28, it’s the same people. I’m 55, the same people are in that hallway. We’ve watched each other’s children grow up and we have… and now it’s like I go to an audition and it’ s like, “Ah!” We’re so happy to see each other. You go through this whole world together.
James Landry Hebert: And that energy probably makes your experience so much better.
Beth Broderick: It does. It does. And the ones that really couldn’t be… they didn’t survive. The ones that were like… that were holding on that tight? They didn’t survive. It’s just too… it’s a long road.
James Landry Hebert: That’s exactly why when somebody books something I read for, I’m happy for them because when I get the role I want them to support me as well.
Beth Broderick: And there’s people that you’re really happy to lose to. And then there’s a few people that I’m like, “You can’t be serious. Honestly?”
Skyy Moore: Every time I get a job I always think there’s X amount of actors who didn’t get it, and that’s a… it means that that’s a paycheck they didn’t get. Possibly rent they can’t pay.
James Landry Hebert: We’re all in this together.