ED- The Eerie Digest has been reporting on the TV/ pilot for the upcoming hit television show, ‘Hard To Be Me.’ It is our pleasure to present one of the actors for that series, Bob Creager. Bob, when did you begin your acting career, and what influenced you to do so?
BC- Thanks Joe for inviting me to the pages of The Eerie Digest. About 10 years ago, my son started homeschooling and my part of his training dealt with his electives. One of his “classes” consisted of crewing on about 200 cable access TV shows including some that I produced and directed. My host (Edward Asher) on the talk show ‘Solutions’ suggested that I could become a better director if I spent a little time in front of the camera. Because of that conversation, I became an extra on ‘The Wire’ and “Ladder 49.’ Those experiences propelled me into acting classes and the search for meaningful principal roles. There have been a few detours on the search for “meaningful” but otherwise, I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve been acting now for about six years.
ED- One of your early projects was ‘Pizza Palace.’ Please tell us about this film and the role that you played.
BC- I’m very fond of ‘Pizza Palace’ because it was my first big screen principal role. ‘Pizza Palace’ had a single showing at Baltimore’s Senator Theatre and the theatre was packed. Carl Tramon (Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead) starred in the role of Alex, a recent high school graduate transitioning to college. His dad “suggested” that he get a summer job to teach him a little responsibility. Alex hired on as a mail room flunky and I was his supervisor. When I sent him out to pick up our lunch, he never came back. He started work across the street at the Pizza Palace. I guess I must have been too tough on him! The story is about his relationships with girls and his friends and growing into a responsible employee. I’ve crossed path’s with other actors from ‘Pizza Palace.’ Leanna Chamish played Mrs. Corey, Alex’s mom. She was also with me in the Western ‘One-Eyed Horse’ and of course, I’m always running into her at auditions. Greg Coale played Uncle Criss and I worked with him in ‘One-Eyed Horse’ were he was my predecessor as sheriff. I was offered my role in ‘Pizza Palace’ when I worked as an extra on Cay Templeton’s ‘Long Past Life’ where Greg had a significant role. Rod Lopez was the DP for ‘Long Past Life’, saw me act, and offered me the role in ‘Pizza Palace’ which he directed.
BC- I already mentioned Carl, Leanna, Greg and Rod Lopez. Rod’s an interesting guy. I should make contact with him again. Working with Rod was the first time that I had the opportunity to spend any time with a seriously professional director. I learned a lot in my scenes with him and how small budget films should be directed.
ED- In 2005 we saw you in a spate of television projects. Please tell our readers about your role in ‘Creepy Canada.’
BC- I was selected for my role in Creepy Canada by Mark Redfield, a local director, writer, actor and Edgar Allan Poe expert. Mark served as a producer for the episode, ‘USS Constellation’ about the alleged haunting of the old sailing warship. I played a retired Navy Captain who had a conversation with the ghost of a young sailor. (He seemed pretty solid to me.) An interesting aside on the taping of that episode – we taped all night on the Constellation in Baltimore harbor. The next morning, a body was found floating in the harbor in front of the ship. And for the record, I had nothing to do with it. [Mark was a lead in ‘One-Eyed Horse’ and someone you definitely need to talk to.]
ED- You also starred in the TV series, ‘Accident Investigator’, and the television documentary, ‘Lincoln.’ What were these about and what roles did you play?
BC- In the Discovery Health production of ‘Accident Investigator: Deadly Debris’, I played an emergency room doctor that treats the driver of a hit-and-run accident. I had to treat his injuries while the police waited to arrest him. In the History Channel production of ‘Lincoln’, I was Speaker of the House Schuler Colfax. The Speaker met with the president in the morning of Lincoln’s last day. Colfax was just leaving for a trip to California and was checking in with the president prior to leaving.
ED- You also played the role of the FBI’s second in command in the TV movie, ‘The Cole Conspiracy.’ This was an important event in our history. Please tell us of the making of this film and the important part that you played in it.
BC- Another History Channel production was ‘The Cole Conspiracy’ also known as ‘The Cole Tragedy.’ Having a part in Cole has significant meaning for me because in my day job, I work as a contactor in the defense and intelligence arena and this is an important milestone in the advance of Al-Qaeda. I played the number 2 FBI agent, Pat Patterson. An interesting side note about Patterson was when I worked on a contract at the Defense Intelligence Agency, I saw a couple of memos written by him. We filmed what were supposed to be office scenes in Yemen in a hotel in Washington, DC. While standing around waiting to go on set, I was approached by a tourist who turned out to be ex-Navy and a history teacher from California with this two busloads of students. He was so impressed with the taping that he decide to incorporate the episode into his American History class. He was the first person to ask me for my autograph – a very strange experience! ‘Cole’ was directed by Carsten Oblaender and written by Andreas Gutzeit who are the executives of Story House Productions with offices in Georgetown and Germany. Usually I learn a lot by listening in on the conversations of the director. But in this case Carsten and Andreas spoke German. In ‘Accident Investigator’, the crew spoke French. Wasn’t as weird as you might think.
ED- In 2008 you played the sheriff in the film, ‘One-Eyed Horse.’ What was the theme behind this production, and tell us about the character you portrayed ?
BC- ‘One-Eyed Horse’ (OEH) written and directed by retired Shakespeare teacher Wayne Shipley (I’m worried that Wayne will read this and try to correct my grammar) was filmed mostly on Wayne’s farm in Jessup, Maryland. Not your typical site for filming a western. We were on the flight path for Baltimore Washington International Airport and just around the corner from the state prison. And of course, there were your trucks zooming down the street and the kid across the street’s motorcycle. OEH is about revenge. Confederate Captain Justin Gatewood (Mark Redfield) was released from prison for shooting the sheriff (Greg Coale) during an attempt to kill his old rival U.S. Army Captain William Curry (Michael Hagan). I played Greg’s successor as sheriff, Orin Proud, the one responsible for keeping these two separated. (You’ll have to see the movie to see if I was successful. And it can be found on Netflix and Amazon.com under its commercial release title, ‘Come Hell or High Water’ or on the OEH website.) Sheriff Proud and his two, somewhat bumbling deputies Will (Mathew Bowerman) and Thomas (William Jenks) were a bit over-extended in their efforts to keep the peace. Wayne decided to write this as a five-act Shakespearian tragedy in the style of the old John Ford/John Wayne movie, ‘The Searchers.’ After working on OEH, I went back and watched ‘The Searchers’ and I think that Wayne did a better job than did Ford.
BC- ‘Live and Die’ was written and directed by Jimmy Traynor, who bills himself as the “greatest filmmaker you never heard of” because of the sheer quantity of productions that he has made. I played the part of the husband that was killed (accidentally?) by his wife. I love dying on screen; I just don’t like lying around on the ground without moving for an hour while the rest of the scene is shot. My first death on screen was in a Pentagon Police training video where I was shot multiple times by a terrorist trying to get into the Pentagon. It was a glorious and messy death! ‘Kamikazes: A Deathography’ was filmed in 2004 but did not get distributed until last year. In ‘Kamikazes’, four teenagers go on a five-day rampage that they filmed and documented as a ‘Deathography.’ I played the sheriff that was being interviewed by the press after the violence ended. The writer/director Lin Fahrenheit now spends a lot of his time with writing. I’m looking forward one of his scripts becoming his next project.
ED- Your latest ventures were ‘Hard to Be Me’ and ‘Browncoats: Redemption.’ Let our readers know all about these productions and the roles you played in them.
BC- My role in ‘Browncoats: Redemption’ was relatively small. I played a bartender in one of the opening scenes. ‘Browncoats’ is an amazing project. It is a fan funded sequel to the Joss Whedon ‘Firefly’ series and the movie ‘Serenity’ with all profits going to charity. The project wasn’t associated with Whedon or Universal but it had Joss’ blessings. The film picks up three months after ‘Serenity’ ends with an entirely new crew. Browncoats are Independents who oppose the ruling Alliance. The crew of the Scarab-class freighter Redemption, captained by Laura Mathews (Heather Fagan), make their livelihood as smugglers. When the Alliance learns of their plans, and a secret from the Captain’s dark past emerges, a struggle ensues (I love to say “ensues”) between the crew and the Alliance headed by Lt. Col. Thadeus Stevens (Kurt Skarstedt). An interesting note about the casting for ‘Browncoats’ – I auditioned for the role of Minister of Parliament Darius Turner but came in second to Ted Taylor (who did an outstanding job in the role). I have auditioned against Ted on a number of occasions and have known him since my days at Montgomery Community TV but have yet to beat him at an audition. So from now on, I am designating him as my nemesis. I am most happy and most excited about the TV pilot ‘Hard to Be Me’. When it gets picked up, and I am positive that it will, my character will have a regular role in the series. ‘Hard to Be Me’ (H2bMe) is about a group of four college students led by Kevin (Edward Robert Bach) who are assigned by their Communications 101 instructor Dr. Wilkes (Kelli Biggs) to document their lives with a video log (vlog). I worked with Kelli on ‘One-Eyed Horse’ and it was a pleasure to see her in an entirely different role. H2bMe features good clean humor that is ideal for TV. Some of the other characters include Kevin’s mom (Kendra North) who teaches Shakespeare to an all African-American class. The class demonstrates a rap song about a Shakespeare play which was amazing. One of the singers, Shareece (Carleen Troy) played my daughter in ‘Live and Die.’ There are quite a few of the cast that have a bright future in acting and Carleen and Kendra are just two of them.
ED- What other projects will you be involved in, and what other genres are you looking for ?
BC- I regularly audition so you never know when one of them will come through. I am scheduled to work on a DuClaw Brewing Company commercial at the end of February. The theme of the commercial is centered around ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and I play the White Knight. I did have a role in Lee Dolls’ ‘The Fixer’ as a merchant captain, but the last word on that was there was difficulty getting the right permissions to use the ship. I like to work on commercials and plan on focusing in that area. There are a lot of opportunities for web-based productions. I just have to figure out how to identify the professional ones from the not-so-professional productions.
ED- Bob, it has been a pleasure being able to interview you and we want to thank you for your time with us. We wish you much luck in your new projects and for letting us see, first hand, the screening of ‘Hard To Be Me.’ Please promise to keep us informed of all your upcoming work, as we’d love to keep all the readers of The Eerie Digest of your newest productions.
BC- Thanks Joe, it was a pleasure and I will see you at the movies.