“You have wins, you have losses. You have to remain positive, that’s probably the biggest challenge; to not get yourself down.” – Josh McDermitt on Acting
The Walking Dead star Josh McDermitt was a radio producer and a stand-up comic before he ever appeared on television or in a movie, which makes him one of the rare actors who find success after many young aspiring actors have given up on stardom. In an interview with horror website Cryptic Rock, McDermitt talks about playing Eugene, how his unlikely career path led him to stay true to his acting goals and offers some easy-to-relate to words to those who think about giving up.
McDermitt points out something that nearly every actor has discovered — unlike other careers, an actor’s path rarely follows any set “plan.” He says, “I moved to LA right before the writers’ strike ten years ago… I’m in a completely different place in my career than I was ten years ago, which is great, but you know it’s a struggle. You have wins, you have losses. You have to remain positive, that’s probably the biggest challenge; to not get yourself down. I think humans, actors especially, tend to get down on ourselves if things aren’t necessarily going according to plan because there’s a lot of uncertainty and lot of the unknown. That has always been a challenge.”
One of the reasons that McDermitt believes kept him on his path is that he started pursing his career later than most actors. He explains, “I moved to LA a little later in my life than when most people move and I feel like I’m better for it. If I moved out at 18, I probably would have given up by now, but I guess it’s working out. It could all come crashing down at any moment and that’s something that I’m very aware of because that just happens. People stop working for whatever reason, and if I stop working I may continue plugging away or I’ll go do something else. I don’t care. (Laughs)… As long as you keep doing what you love, you’ll be happy. Right now, I still love acting, so I hope I don’t quit.”
Why is McDermitt still having fun? Part of it is because his character on The Walking Dead has undergone so many changes since becoming a series regular in season 4. Having a character with growth keeps him engaged in performing. McDermitt says, “Anytime your character changes it’s a good thing. There are shows that you can be on where your character just doesn’t change much, that’s an easy gig and everything, but something to keep you actively engaged in the script, in the performance, and in the character is when your character does go through changes. So I’m really happy with the changes that Eugene has gone through. It’s fun, it’s exciting, I like that. It’s cool and it allows me to be seen for other things as well. It’s not just, ‘Oh we get it, this is the one performance he does,’ but it’s a full on arch and that’s really cool.”