Rick Yaeger: Hey, everyone. It’s Rick Yaeger here, with another “One Question Interview.” The show where I ask famous people curious questions. Today’s famous person is Jason Gray-Stanford, who you know as Randy Disher from the television series, “Monk.”
It’s been a couple years since “Monk” went off the air, and he’s been busy. Not only that, but he’s a technological genius, because he’s the first celebrity to do a “One Question Interview,” from an iPhone. Check it out.
Rick: Let’s dive in. My guest today played Lieutenant Randy Disher for eight seasons on the show “Monk,” and also is known as the guy with the horrible tie in the beginning of “A Beautiful Mind,” with Russell Crowe.
Jason Gray-Stanford: Yeah, good one.
Rick: You like that?
Jason: Yeah, I absolutely like that.
Rick: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jason Gray-Stanford.
Jason: Hi, everybody. Hi!
Rick: Tell the folks what you’ve been up to. It’s been awhile since the last episode of “Monk” aired. You’ve been a few places, but people might not have been too sure where.
Jason: I can start by saying I just finished chasing a bunch of kids around a construction site for a movie, called “Echo,” for Disney that comes out the beginning of next year, in January. I’m actually quite excited about that because I’ve never done kind of a family movie, or a kids’ movie, which is great.
I can’t give too much away yet, but I will say a group of high school friends receive these odd signals on their iPhones, similar to the iPhone I’m holding up right now. It leads them on a chase, of puzzle piecing together that brings them to a very, very interesting conclusion. Something that they would never expect to find.
Once they do, they realize that they have to deal with it. They have to try and help it. Without giving too much away again, I play a character who is hot on their heels, looking for the very same thing that they have found.
I’ll tell you what, what I can say is it’s a cross between “E.T.” and “Super 8.” If you’ve ever seen those movies, or you can put those two movies together. It is very, very, very cool and to work with the kind of CG and special effects that they’ve got these days is pretty impressive to see what they’re doing. It’s called “Echo,” and I think it comes out the beginning of next year.
Rick: Very cool, that’s a great teaser. I’m psyched to go see it now. [laughs]
Jason: I’m in it and I’m psyched to go see it. As far as the other work goes, you can catch me On Demand, in a movie called “Phantom,” with Ed Harris and Bill Fichtner, David Duchovny, myself. Which is kind of a Cold War, submarine suspense thriller, which I had a blast filming. I love the camaraderie of movies like that and big ensemble casts.
Rick: It is very cool. You’re working with Ed Harris again. This time he’s not imaginary.
You play a Russian…you’re all Russians actually in it. I found it quite refreshing that this is a Cold War movie, kind of in the “Hunt for Red October” vein, without the USA coming to the rescue at the end.
Jason: Yes, absolutely. It’s a very kind of insular story, in a way. It’s a story of intestinal fortitude of that particular crew.
Rick: Right, and your character, Sasha…I’m not going to give away anything, but very pivotal role…
Jason: Oh yeah, absolutely. Yes, for those who haven’t seen it, you can’t give too much away. But it was a great role to play, because I believe whether big or small, it doesn’t matter. As long as it has a nice arc to it — a beginning, a middle and an end — there’s always something to be mined there. There’s a character to be played.
Rick: Well said. One interview I saw with you, somebody criticized you for not having done the accents. Not you, personally, but the cast.
Jason: Well, that was a collective decision by the cast and the director. Because, in lieu of not doing the accents, what you tend to get, is about 17 different tries at accents. 17 different actors trying an accent, which, in a way, even though you’re trying to be authentic to the Russian dialect, it brings you out of the movie as an audience member because you’re immediately noticing that.
We chose, kind of collectively, as I said, to just tell the story. Just tell the narrative, and have people just really, really invest in the story and in the characters. I believe “Hunt for Red October” did that, actually, as well. They kind of had a little bit of a lead in of Russian off the top, then they went into English.
We did do that, but that part got cut out of the movie. We had a little Russian opening, where everybody kind of spoke in Russian, or it was alluded to. Then we backed away from that, and we thought, “No, let’s just tell the story.”
Rick: I think that was a good decision. I mean, as much I love shows, especially like “Game of Thrones.” You see everybody doing English accents. Some of them having English accents, they’re British actors.
Within the same family, you get eight different kinds of English accent. [laughs] It doesn’t make any sense, and it does kind of tweak me a bit. [laughs]
Jason: It’s very, very true. You often see when everybody goes for the same accent, even something as simple as a Southern accent in a Western, they are very delicate things. You definitely need a lot of practice, and a lot of time spent with one another to make sure everything’s equal across the board. It’s very, very difficult.
I’m a fan of, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, don’t do it.”
Rick: People criticize, but nobody criticized “Les Mis,” for having French people with Cockney accents.
Jason: Very, very good point.
Rick: It’s a great movie, and that’s all that matters.
Jason: Absolutely, and I think the movie and the performances rise above, sometimes the smaller details. Yet, I’m a great admirer of when you’re able to put them all together, as well.
Rick: Speaking of “Les Mis,” you’ve got this little secret society almost, with the cast of “Mystery Alaska.” I see these names reoccurring, here and there. There’s Russell Crowe, there’s you.
Jason: Who? Sorry, who?
Rick: Russell Crowe, I think is how you pronounce his name.
Jason: Oh yeah, right, him! Oh, right, I remember.
Rick: That guy. Scott Grimes comes up every so often. There’s something that happened on that set. Was it a kind of “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” kind of bonding experience?
Jason: No, I’m going to say it’s not like that. I tell you what, it’s actually funny, Rick. I actually just saw a handful of those guys. Two weeks ago, we all got together for dinner. I talk to them often, think of them even more often.
That movie was very rare. Those guys have been my friends since 1998. It was kind of the first big movie that a lot of us did, and we were brought together.
Russell had this wonderful idea of camaraderie between the team, and the boys. That not only carried on onset. It’s a movie that is very close to my heart, but it carried on offset as well.
Obviously, as we all kind of grew up, and matured in life. Went on and had relationships, families and whatnot. We’ve always maintained that camaraderie between us all. As I said, to the point where we still speak often, and see each other as much as we can, with everybody’s busy schedules.
Rick: Are you part of the sing-a longs, then?
Jason: I’m a happy watcher of the sing-a longs. There are too many wonderful voices and too much talent in that room, that they certainly don’t need me mocking it up.
Rick: You do play some kind of instruments, I know you played guitar as Randy Disher.
Jason: Randy plays guitar and sings. Jason Gray-Stanford does not.
Rick: Does not, OK. [laughs]
Jason: That’s how good of an actor I am, Rick.
Rick: Well, you had me fooled.
Jason: I’ve got a Lifetime movie coming out in a couple of months that I’m actually eager to see, because I play kind of a not so nice guy. A very nice guy on the surface, then somewhat of a little bit of an OCD stalker…
Jason: I’m excited to see that. Parts that I don’t usually get to play.
Rick: That’s a really good change of type for you.
Jason: Absolutely, after playing the lovable, hapless Randy Disher for eight seasons, it’s always nice to put on a different hat.
Rick: You’re taking a page out of the police chief’s…his role, before “Monk” was as Buffalo Bill in “Silence of the Lambs.” He went from the mean guy to the nice guy. You’re going the other direction.
Jason: I’m doing the reverse. I’m so angry now, I only play mean guys.
Rick: I was actually going to suggest that for you. Because that’s what I do for a living, is suggest next steps for actors.
Jason: Fantastic, I will wholeheartedly take that. I’m in.
Speaking of playing great parts, I actually was doing a television series called “Monday Mornings,” for TNT. That unfortunately just recently got canceled, in the last couple of months, playing a lawyer. I absolutely loved that job, and I’m very sad that it is no more. I had a great cast, and it was a really, really, really fun job.
I’ve been busy since “Monk.” Mostly busy with my wonderful family, my dogs and my beautiful wife and working on our house.
Rick: Let’s get to the meat of this. As you know, the show is called “One Question Interviews.” I have about a thousand different questions.
Jason: I’ll pick number 999, then. Thank you.
Rick: Let me see. [laughs] I’ll pick one at random.
Jason: All right, very good.
Rick: They range from the profane to the profound. I’ll choose one at random, as I said.
Jason: Give me a profane one.
Rick: [laughs] No one’s asked for a profane one.
Jason: Give me something profane, where I can just spout a bunch of expletives.
Rick: OK, I’ll see what I can do. I’m just going to riffle down. You tell me, “stop,” anytime.
Rick: Which has been actor do you think is on the cusp of a comeback?
Jason: There you go! My God, that was the easiest one. Which has been…is that the full question?
Rick: That is the full question.
Jason: Which has been actor is on the verge of a comeback? All right, I’m totally throwing it out there, Ian Ziering.
Rick: Ian Ziering, 90210.
Jason: Mr. Sharknado, himself.
Rick: Oh yeah, that’s true.
Jason: He’s saying “Sharknado” is going to blow him up. He’s doing some Chippendales dancing in Las Vegas. The fact that I know so much about Ian Ziering is odd, but I’m throwing that out. No offense to his wonderful career up until then, but is he due for a comeback? Absolutely, I’m calling Ian Ziering.
Rick: Everybody, invest in Ian Ziering.
Rick: Jason Gray-Stanford says he’s a “buy.” [laughs]
Jason: That’s right.
Rick: All right, that’s a great answer. I like it. [laughs]
Jason: That’s good. You know what, has been actors, I could sit here all day with a long list of comebacks. But yeah, it’s either me, or Ian Ziering.
Rick: Who’s to say who’s a has been. I think it was a William Shatner song called “Has Been,” where he asked, “Well, who are you, but a never was?”
Jason: There you go, a very telling quote.
Jason: I [laughs] I just lost my train of thought there, because that was quite funny. I think in Hollywood it’s like the land of the second chances.
Rick: Yeah, who would’ve thought, back in the late ’80s, early ’90s that John Travolta would come back with such a huge hit?
Jason: Absolutely, Robert Downey, Jr. would be another one.
Rick: He’s the hero of going to the depths and coming back.
Jason: Absolutely, without question. So, thumbs up, Ian Ziering. You’re going to do it next.
Rick: You’re the next one.
Jason: [laughs] This guy’s going to hate me for this.
Rick: Thanks, Jason. It’s been great to finally talk to you.
Jason: Absolutely, it’s actually been my pleasure. I’m glad our iPhone experiment worked out. Hopefully it works out well. Hopefully the interview turns out fantastic. Much luck and much success for everybody else who comes along.
Rick: Thank you so much. Check out Jason Gray-Stanford in “Phantom,” available on iTunes, for rent and for purchase.
Also check out all eight seasons of “Monk,” because they’re awesome. We joke, but it was an awesome show. It’s all on Netflix, so check them out. If you haven’t seen it, check it out from start to finish. If you have seen it before, watch it again.
Jason: Keep watching it.
Rick: Follow him on Twitter, where he is…
Rick: We interrupt this interview with Jason Gray-Stanford to bring you another interview with Jason Gray-Stanford. Say hello, he’s right there.
Jason: Hello everyone! Breaking news, Rick!
Rick: Breaking news. The reason we’re doing this is, after we recorded what you were just watching, Jason changed his twitter handle. It is now “JasGrayStanford.”
Jason: After much prodding and prompting by Rick Yaeger.
Rick: OK, it’s my fault. [laughs]
Jason: I love the new one. I’m down with it, I’m down.
Rick: Because twitter hasn’t verified you yet, I want this video to stand in evidence, to the fact that you are you. He is him, and that tweeting “JasGrayStanford” is a lovely and wonderful thing to do.
Rick: Agreed. With that, we can return you to your regularly scheduled interview, all ready in progress.
Jason: With Jason Gray-Stanford and Rick Yaeger.
Jason: Goodbye everyone.
Jason: So there you go.
Rick: All of the links to everything we’ve talked about, new and old will be right here, down below our faces. But you could also just go to “One Question Interviews,” where they’ll all be linked up really easy to click on.
Check back next week. Until then, I’m Rick Yaeger. Thank you so much for watching. See you later. Bye-bye.