We got to sit down with Marshall Williams, one of the leads in How to Build a Better Boy. The Winnipeg native, now living in LA, is making ‘it’ happen in an industry where few are able to. Our discussion is presented below.
1. You’re from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Tell me what it was like moving to Toronto, and then Los Angeles, for acting?
Winnipeg, Manitoba, is an awesome place. I love the people, the arts scene and everything that comes with being from ‘Friendly Manitoba’. When I moved to Toronto, I was 19 or 20 so it was definitely a big change. It was a huge, scary city and I had hardly been anywhere outside Winnipeg. But, I ended up meeting the right people, found a great group of friends and learned how to be a grown up -if I count as one (laughs). Toronto’s an amazing place with a lot of opportunity and there seems to be always something happening. I miss Winnipeg but definitely not the winters (laughs). Being in Los Angeles now, I love the weather, the beach and the life style. It’s California, its unreal… But, the freeways, and how many there are, that will definitely take some time getting used to (laughs).
2. Walk me through the transition from failed auditions to being a successful working actor. Does it validate the career choice?
I think if you follow something you are truly passionate about, things have a way of working themselves out. I’ve loved movies, music, psychology and philosophy my whole life. I play a few instruments, sing, and took psychology in University. So, for me, film making allows me to incorporate all the things I enjoy into one creative medium.
3. You were on Canadian Idol, so you clearly had performing talent. Aside from singing, what is your biggest talent?
I wouldn’t say it is necessarily a talent, but I think my largest strength is allowing myself to be open to change and embracing it. When I was playing football at University of Manitoba, one of my coaches always made a point of saying ‘overcome adversity’. Whatever the obstacle may be, there’s always some way to get past it. It may be way different from what you expect, but there is always something you can do to move forward… Other than that, I must say, I’m pretty good at Monopoly (laughs).
4. Is there anyone in Hollywood you’ve modeled yourself after?
A few of my favorites are Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence and Dwayne Johnson. I think that they all are exponentially unique because they are genuine to who they are as people. So, I model myself after them in the sense that I try to always be myself and not someone else. In the words of Dr. Suess, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
5. What can we expect from you in 2014? Any major releases?
There are a few projects in the mix right now with Disney but they’re still under wraps. But, this summer I’ll be starring as Albert Banks in the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM), How to Build a Better Boy. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a DCOM so I was really excited to get the role of Albert. It was a blast filming and working with everyone and I can’t wait to see it.
6. What’s it like working for Disney?
I was excited to say the least. I’ve watched a crazy amount of Disney Movies and was obsessed with Disney shows as a kid. It was definitely a surreal experience. I don’t know why Im telling you this, but I still remember being glued to the TV watching Bambi and the Little Mermaid (laughs). I love those movies (laughs).
7. Outside of acting, what else do you want to accomplish?
One of the biggest things I want to accomplish is finishing my Bachelors degree in Psychology. I’m hoping to finish in the next year as long as work allows me to. Artistically, there’s so many things; I do a lot of writing and music in my spare time so I would like to see something I’ve written produced and start recording music. I’d also like to pursue directing down the road.
8. What advice would you give someone just starting in the industry, or with aspirations of entering?
For actors and actresses, don’t get discouraged. You’re going to go through a lot of rejection but you can get past it with hard work, refining your skills and committing to what you want. If you love what you do, you’ll be happy and successful.
9. You also played football at the college level. What’s the biggest thing you’ve taken from sports and applied to acting?
I would definitely say ‘overcoming adversity’ and ‘adapting to change’. I was injured a lot when I played football and it would have been easy to give up the first time I tore a muscle. But if you want to succeed in something you’ll find a way of getting back in the game. You’ll get thrown into situations that you couldn’t see coming but you’ll adapt and find a way to overcome it.
10. One person or character you’d love to play?
I would love to be a viking or any sort of warrior. It doesn’t matter who, as long as I can carry some sort of weapon and have sweet long hair like Charlie Hunnam in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ or Chris Hemsworth in ‘Thor’.
11. Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Always be you and don’t give up on your dreams.