Next up is Chris Lucas, a long time member of NBF.
I’ve known you since 2004-ish. We have worked together on a number of projects, and yet there is a lot I do not know about you… I know more about your father [from the book you wrote with him Seeing Home]. Where did your love of acting come from? When did you realize that it was an “artist’s life for you?”
I knew early on that I wanted to be a performer, like as soon as I could walk and talk. My older brother was into sports, and I wasn’t, so I spent a lot of time by myself in my room acting out scenes and voices with my action figures and mimicking the characters I heard in cartoons, movies and on commercials and TV shows. That evolved into just a natural instinct where performing was second nature and I’d live for the moments in school, at home or anywhere in public when I could make other people laugh or have them hang on every word. That’s a thrill that once you get used to is hard to let go.
My grandmother helped, too, because when I was five she sent me to my room and said “You’re not coming out of there until you learn how to act, young man!” So I did. 🙂
You have been in several NBF projects: BGR, Red Scare, Yellow Scare, Devil You Know, Lost and Found, and now Monster Mash… Do you have a favorite film from those? Favorite role?
I’ve enjoyed working on each and every single project with NBF, your cast and crews are always top notch. I can’t say that one particular film is my favorite, but as far as a character, General Carter ranks up there with any I’ve ever played on stage or screen. When you create a character, it’s not just saying words from a page, it’s inhabiting their skin and getting to know who they are outside of the scenes. General Carter feels like an old friend to me now, and I relish the opportunity to share him with audiences.
The Guide to Writing Letters to Celebrities, Seeing Home, and a new book on the way… When did you decide to dip your toe into the world of writing? What creative itch does that scratch for you?
When I file my taxes with the IRS, I list “actor” as my primary occupation, as I have for the last 35 years. Since 2014, however, writing has been taking up more and more of my time. They seem like different pursuits, but are actually quite similar. You’re just taking those voices that exist in your head as a performer and putting them on paper instead of on screen or on stage. It scratches the same itch, because actors and writers are both storytellers, but writing is a little more terrifying because I have to supply all of the words on a blank page, which is a challenge way beyond just having a completed script sent to me. My hat is off to those who write for a living.
We share a love of Disney. When did that start for you?
My love for Disney and my love for performing developed simultaneously. The first things I watched as a toddler were Disney cartoons and movies, and the first books I read were Disney books, so I learned the basics of storytelling from Disney. The deal was sealed in November 1973 when my grandmother took me to my first movie, Walt Disney’s Robin Hood, at Radio City Music Hall. It was a full production, with the Rockettes performing before and after the movie along with Mickey and the gang. The Loews Theater in Journal Square also used to have Disney double features every Saturday, so we’d go see those, too. In 1976, we made our first trip to Walt Disney World and that really confirmed that this was the company and life for me (though I’d never actually work there, because if it was a full time job for me, the magic might dim a bit.)
Speaking of writing and Disney, you have a new book coming out in April [Top Disney: 100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney, from the Man to the Mouse and Beyond]. Where did that idea come from?
It’s been an idea two decades in the making. When you set out to write a book about any subject, the question you ask yourself is “What can I say about this that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before?” In this case, I got lucky that nobody had ever written a book of Top Ten lists about Disney and its whole history before. The Disney archives worked closely with me to make sure that the information was accurate, and I’m thrilled that Disney fans everywhere will be able to read it soon and weigh in on their favorites.
We have had the pleasure of working with three Lucases: You & your two sons. Your eldest son, Adam, really seems to be focused on the arts. He is also a writer, actor, and performer… How does it feel to have another artist in the family? What advice would you give to him and other artists starting up in the world?
I’ve been lucky in my life in many ways, but the two greatest blessings for me are my two boys, Adam and Sean. Both have different interests, like my brother and I did, but both are also very talented in their own ways. In Adam’s case, he has taken up many artistic pursuits and is following his passions. More than anything else, that’s what I want to see my boys do, to pursue things in life that interest them and to not get stuck doing something they don’t like just because the world tells them that’s the way to conform. That’s my advice to every young artist, actually. Be yourself, there’s only one you. It’s important to study and learn from those artists who came before you, and to maybe avoid some of the mistakes they made. You are, however, going to fail. I can promise you that. Everyone fails. It’s bouncing back from that failure that makes you a stronger artist. Take every rejection, criticism, doubt, and lack of belief in you and use that as fuel to make you work even harder and burn even brighter. Success has different levels, you don’t need to be rich and famous to be successful as an artist, keep at it until the day when you say “I just don’t have the desire to do this anymore and would be very happy doing something else.” If that day never comes, then – congratulations! – you are a true artist and have found your gifts and your calling. I wish you well in the journey.
What is next from Chris Lucas?
There are lots of irons in the fire – both acting and writing – for me, so what’s next is always fluid, depending on which projects move ahead first. The one thing I can always guarantee, though, is a visit to a Disney park in my near future. You can bank on that.
Thanks again for the opportunity to work with Narrow Bridge Films, Sam. I’m honored to be even a small part of this talented ensemble.