We've always been huge One Tree Hill fans, so you can only imagine how excited we were to talk with Bryan Greenberg (AKA Jake Jagielski). Those days may be far behind him, but Bryan returned to Wilmington, NC (where OTH was filmed) to shoot A Short History of Decay, which showed us a whole new side of him. Here, he reveals what appealed to him in the dark comedy about a failed writer who returns home to care for his ill parents:
C: We've been fans since your OTH days, but we have to ask- did you ever have a Plan B if acting didn't work out?
BG: "Ever since I was 10 years old I wanted to be an actor. I've been lucky that I've been able to pursue my dreams and also to have a goal to try to reach and strive for my whole life. It's all I ever wanted to do and all I still want to do."
C: Was there a specific movie or actor who inspired you?
BG: "Yeah, Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox. I was like 'That looks like fun, I want to do that.'"
C: What about your character Nathan intrigued you to join of A Short History of Decay?
BG: "Nathan was at a crossroad, he wasn't sure what he was going to do with his life. I felt like I was in the same place in my career. How to Make It in America just ended and I was like 'Okay, I didn't see that one coming. What's the next move?' I read the script and I can just really relate to it."
C: What was most relatable?
BG: "My best friend's father has dementia and Alzheimers. I kind of did it as a tribute to him and for what he's going through because it's a hard thing. It's one of those movies that everybody is responding to because everybody can relate to it. Everybody's parents gets older and it's a sad thing, but the way [writer and directer] Michael Maren handled it- it's really light."
C: It's difficult to find balance in dark comedies - what was your biggest challenge?"
BG: "I think the biggest challenge was, because it was such a subtle film, to try to find an overall arch with Nathan and a beginning and end, which is what you always try to do especially if you're a leading role in the movie. What was interesting in this movie was that it's about the beginning of a change, not the whole change. Michael said that he doesn't think people's lives change overnight. It's a subtle and gradual thing, so this was about a gradual change. It was hard cause it wasn't so overt. The schedule was tough cause we shot this in 20 days."
C: How was it filming back on your old stomping grounds?
BG: "It was cool to go back 10 years later as a man and not fresh out of NYU and just starting my acting career. And with all the experience under my belt. It helped with perspective and the character because it's about a character coming home and how things have changed."
C: How do you pick your roles? Is there anything specific you're looking for?
BG: "I look for challenges, filmmakers I want work with and stories I want to tell. I'm not one of those people that's like 'Now I want do a sci-fi movie, now I want do an action movie.' As they come along, I'm saying yes to a lot more things. I said no for a long time in my career and now I'm at the point where I like working and I like being on sets. I just want to work on good projects - that's my goal."
A Short History of Decay is now available on DVD.