You’ve definitely seen Chris Messina before, even if you don’t recognize his name. In 2012 alone he appeared on film in Argo, Ruby Sparks, The Giant Mechanical Man and Celeste & Jesse Forever and on television in regular roles in The Mindy Project, The Newsroom and Damages. He also stars in Fairhaven, an indie film he also co-wrote and executive produced, which is now in limited release. He spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his career as an actor, including why he fills his plate with roles in so many independent films.
After more than a dozen years of mostly supporting roles, Messina is proud of where he stands with his acting now. He confesses, “At this point in my life, I feel very grateful for where I am. I won’t lie to you; there’s a lot more to do, I have a lot more to say and a lot more places I want to go, but I’m very fortunate I ended up here at this moment in time.”
Despite being prolific, Messina understands that he’s not a “known” actor. However, he believes that any actor — no matter how famous — question themselves and their abilities. He explains, “I think as an actor, you’re constantly putting yourself out there, and a lot of times failing — and failing in front of a bunch of people — and sometimes you have a good moment and something clicks. So it’s constantly a roller-coaster ride, and I think even the greatest, biggest movie stars, as human beings, are constantly going, ‘Maybe I’m not all that, maybe I need to fix this or that.’ So I think no matter who you are or how successful you are, you’re going to be questioning as long as you’re from the planet Earth.”
Though he was in Argo and also popular television series, Messina clearly gravitates to indie films. According to him, this is a personal preference. He says, “I like the smaller movies because, ultimately, there’s less voices about what the movie is or should be or has to be. You have a team of people that you surround yourself with, and you make the movie. When you’re doing The Mindy Project, network television, there’s more voices, there’s more money, there’s more advertising, more stakes. Totally understandable, but you’re pleasing a shitload of people — most times, people you never meet. Notes are coming from places from people you don’t know. I like them all, and you learn a lot from all of it, but the smaller films, you definitely can express a lot more without someone with scissors, ready to cut it.”