Exclusive interview with Mat Vairo
February, 2014 | In the post-apocalyptic world of the adventure drama series "Revolution" young actor Mat Vairo plays Connor Bennett, son of the former dictator Sebastian Monroe, whose existence was unknown to Monroe for a long time. Mat Vairo also appeared in season 1 of "Switched at Birth" currently airing on Disney Channel in Germany. In this interview Mat talks about his experiences on the "Revolution" set and what he thinks about Connor and how the relationship with his father Bass evolves.
1. A few of your Imdb photos hint at a background in theater, how did you get into acting and then into acting in television?
Yes, theater is my first love and I miss it constantly; I feel like I'm having a sort of love affair with TV right now though, one that I am very much enjoying.
To make a long story short, I didn't ever seriously entertain the idea of becoming an actor until I crossed paths with my high school drama teacher who I still love very dearly, Mrs. Stella Griffin. She saw something in me that I couldn't see in myself and pretty much forced me to audition for a production of Godspell she was putting on at the school and after resisting the whole way, I ended up doing the show and I fell in love. But beyond that, I didn't actually start pursuing a career in acting though until a couple years ago, when I did Spring Awakening; I was too much afraid to really go for it before doing that show, but the experience opened up a lot of doors in LA for me and so it began.
2. Your first tv credits are for the part of Alex on "Switched at birth". That must have been an amazing experience starting out on a show like that with half of the people using ASL. Can you talk a little bit about what that was like?
Yeah it was interesting. Growing up, one of my best friends was deaf so it was familiar territory for me in that sense and a cool coincidence in that I could sign a bit already. I do really appreciate the concept of them having deaf characters as leads on their show and respect the creativity of incorporating them effectively, and I know it means a lot to the deaf community, as well so good on them.
3. Alex had his fair share of awkward introductions as the new guy, "It's not you, it's me"-speeches and involuntary dates with the ex. There's probably no one who can not relate to this guy. Is playing these kinds of situations in any way like reliving them?
I mean sure, for me it always feeds the character when I can relate to a feeling from an experiential place.
4. On "Revolution" you came in as the new guy once again. What was that like knowing it was for longer and did the feeling maybe help portraying Connor's alienation towards his dad?
Any way you slice it, I've always been petrified on the first day of any project I've ever done. It's fear, but healthy fear I think--the kind that makes you want to do the best possible job. Add being the only new guy on top of that fear though, and it is heightened exponentially. But a great rush after the anticipation fades to be true. As far as it helping the relationship, I'm not really sure.
5. In a recent interview you said the auditioning experience was one of your easier ones. Is that something you feel in your bones, when an audition goes well? Was there a chemistry read with David Lyons?
You know to be honest, I have given up all hope of being able to gauge whether my auditions go well or not because sometimes I think I do well and it ends up being received negatively and sometimes I think I do horribly and they love it. Auditioning is steeped in ambivalence and auditions are anomalies; I think it best just to surrender the impossibility of it all. No chemistry read for Dave and I, we met 30 mins before we shot our first scene in fact. I only auditioned for Connor once before I got cast which was a first for me--in my experience it is usually a case of jumping through hoops and over hurdles to make anything happen.
6. Connor really looks like a brown eyed, brown haired younger version of Monroe, especially in the emotional reactions reflected in facial expression and body language. Did you work on that before or during filming?
No, not at all. Just a happy/lucky coincidence I guess.
7. As a very young and very daring, brazen, sassy kind of "dad" what is David Lyons like to work with?
He's the nicest guy. Like truly, almost to the point where I was skeptical at first that he could be that nice; but I quickly learned how genuine it is. And great to act across from, extremely open and genuinely connected; he has probably held me together in scenes more than I care to admit. But don't tell him I said that...
8. In this season so far Monroe had a very interesting chemistry with Charlie. There was definitely a spark, as impossible as that might sound. How will Connor's and Charlie's quick interlude mix things up for these three characters?
I don't really know. From my experience that relationship hasn't really been played up much. But who knows maybe they'll hook up. Would be kinda weird/gross though since he already caught his son with her. Ultimately though I think it would be kinda funny and maybe add an interesting layer to the group dynamic, but I don't see it happening. Never say never though...
9. Compared to Charlie Connor seems optimistic, hopeful, enthusiastic. Is this surprising to you considering he grew up in Nunez' criminal household?
Yes and no. I think there is much more than meets the eye with Connor. He wears a lot of masks. I believe he has a big heart underneath it all, but whether or not he lets it out is going to be the question going forward; and whether or not he is actually telling the truth or being manipulative in this situation is something else to ponder. We shall see.
10. Lyons said in a recent interview "what you're starting to see in Monroe is more aspects of his former humanity and his former self, intertwined with that megalomaniacal aspect of his nature" - Which of these aspects is Connor going to trigger?
Hopefully both but in a heightened sense. The conflict of the two things you just described within him is what makes Monroe really interesting in my opinion.
11. The heist in New Vegas looked like a lot of fun (until it didn't). If you were to live in New Vegas what would you occupy yourself with?
What else could I possibly do when Bret Michaels is still playing live shows? No but seriously I'd probably just be trying to save up enough diamonds to get out of New Vegas, not my kind of town.
12. On DVDs you sometimes find bloopers from the shooting. What moments would you put in a "Revolution" gag reel?
A lot of line screw ups, and when stunt fights go wrong. There would be some gems in those realms.
13. What is on your bucket list?
To go to Germany...anyone?
14. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about U.S. television shows, what are your favorite shows?
"Breaking Bad" (sad that it's gone now), "Downton Abbey", "Sherlock", "Game of Thrones", "House of Cards", South Park.
Thank you so much for taking the time, Mat, we wish you all the best with "Revolution" and your next projects!
Nicole Oebel - myFanbase
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