Everyone might know Christopher Showerman best from when he played the lead in “George of the Jungle 2” in 2003, but since then he’s racked up an extensive list of credits for himself and leads a very active and creative life. In 2015 and to start off 2016, he seems to have completed, or have lined up, quite a few things, not the least of those appearing on the new TV show, “Supergirl” in which he played the role of Tor on the recent Season 1, Episode 9. He’s also written and directed the film “Radio America,” which is available now, and will be appearing in the March release of the thriller film “Ladybug.” We caught up with Chris to find out the scoop on his efforts for 2016!
Hi Christopher, welcome to Beneath the Underground! We’re glad you joined us.
Erin: In catching up with you, and since I’m a “Supergirl” fan, I’ll start by asking you what it was like to be on the set of a new, and fairly well-received, show? Will you be reoccurring or does the story line move on?
Chris: Thanks Erin! I had a great time on the “Supergirl” set. They shoot on the Warner Brothers lot and on location around Los Angeles. It is a very efficient team – they do great work and they do it really fast! Really nice group of people too!
As for the future of the storyline, I have no idea. I’m not privy to the scripts before we shoot. But of course if I were, I wouldn’t be able to tell you about them!
Erin: Haha! What do you feel about the influx of shows based on comic book characters or comic book storylines? To what do you attribute their popularity?
Chris: I find it fascinating how our concept of “HERO” has morphed over time. I think it is affected a lot by the culture around us. If you look at movies made around World War II, all the heroes are military and nationalistic. In the 60’s and 70’s the pop heroes were more Anti-Heroes. The 80’s and 90’s celebrated the macho and muscled action hero. But then in the new millennium, we got even further into fantasy heroes. Sorcerers and hobbits, and later, Superheroes. To be fair, Superheroes have been popular in comic books since the 1920s but they have really exploded on the movie and TV scenes in the past decade. I think this is in part because there is a collective belief that our problems are now too big to be handled by mere mortals. We create fantasy characters that have abilities that far eclipse our own. In a way, that takes the pressure of responsibility off of us.…or it could just be that superheroes are really cool.
Erin: If you could be on any other superhero show airing now, or planned, which one would it be? Is there one you would make into a movie or show that they haven’t yet?
Chris: All of them! Playing a superhero is like playing any other character with the exception that a superhero’s strengths and weaknesses tend to be rather overt. The joy of acting is getting to play in the very defined parameters of that character.
Erin: You must be proud of “Radio America.” What was involved in the making of it? What was your inspiration and how long did it take to make? Where is it available?
Chris: Thanks, I am proud of that movie! The biggest curve ball for me was losing the original director and deciding to direct the film myself. It was an amazing and grueling process – which ultimately took five years from the moment that we started pre-production to finally getting distribution. I’m really glad that I got to direct it because I got to be intimately involved in every aspect of the project from the very beginning (I wrote it too) to final distribution.
You can find “Radio America” at Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and on Amazon.com, iTunes, Vudu, Comcast, and Verizon.
Erin: The thriller, “LadyBug,” is about a woman who comes face-to-face with a homicidal maniac. Can you tell us a little more about it and what types of fans may enjoy it?
Chris: That’s a pretty good synopsis. A heroine addicted mom makes a series of bad choices which lead her to me (my character). We end up trapped on an incapacitated boat in the middle of the ocean together. I loved getting to play this very damaged character because it gave me an opportunity to research some psychological issues that most of us will never have to cope with in our lives. (HOPEFULLY!!) It can be scary trying to find that dark of a place inside yourself. For me, it ended up being a great experience because I was working with a great director and surrounded by a really awesome and supportive cast and crew.
Erin: Does it come out in the theaters? What do you feel are the pros and cons between movies that come out in theaters, direct to DVD, streaming, or other avenues? Do the indie or underground films actually have a bigger fan following in your opinion?
Chris: I believe it all boils down to marketing. Typically, because of the time limitations to profit off a movie in theatrical release, the distributor will put a lot of effort into getting the word out about a theatrical release. Building up that anticipation early creates a big rush to see a picture soon after it is released. With DVD and VOD releases like this one, it seems the business model is more to just float the movie out there like a message in a bottle and see whose shore it washes up on. The responsibility has come back to us to get the word out. Luckily, one of our producers, Clint Morris, owns a public relations company, October Coast. The fans of these smaller movies tend to be as passionate as the filmmakers themselves, and I LOVE that!!!
Erin: What are some of your favorite movies?
Chris: There are so many!!! I could go on and on forever on this question. In general, I love movies that inspire me, stories that actually motivate me to do more, be more, or see the world from a different perspective. That is what drew me into this crazy business to begin with! I want to create that inspiration for others.
Erin: Do you have influences you draw on with your own screenwriting, acting, and directing?
Chris: There is a lot of work out there I admire and a lot of people out there that consistently do great work! I don’t think any artist can continually draw from the same source over and over though without becoming derivative and prosaic. I try to be receptive to moments that touch my humanity. That can come from great art, amazing music, or a simple act that the checker at the grocery store did unconsciously. We are surrounded by the muse if we’re just open to it!
Erin: What other types of things in the business are you doing this year that you are excited about?
Erin: You take the time to blog on your website, which is really good. In one post, you feature a quote about success “ensuing” rather than “pursuing” it. What are your feelings on this and is this how you operate in your life and career?
Chris: Thanks for checking out my website!! Yes, that was a quote from Viktor Frankie’s seminal psychology classic “Man’s Search for Meaning” (phenomenal reading – I recommend it to everyone!) That really spoke to me, because from a young age, I have been driven to succeed. But I think where most of us fail ourselves is we don’t create a personal picture of success. We chase after a generic image that society vaguely outlines and that pursuit typically yields disappointment or at best empty victories. After reaching my own personal threshold of disappointment, I realized what I REALLY wanted all along was to feel fulfilled. So for me, I am most fulfilled when I am creating something, connecting with someone, or influencing someone else’s experience. Once I defined that for myself it really changed how I play the game of life. 🙂
Erin: Like me, being in Ohio, you grew up in the Midwest, in Michigan. Do you miss our neck of the woods? What do you miss most? On the flip side, what do you like most about living in California and working towards your dreams?
Chris: Ahhhh, I love the Midwest!! I have found the people to be so friendly and caring. I grew up out in the country and had an idyllic childhood. I feel like all that open space, along with a supportive family, really nurtured my imagination. Though I feel I got a late start in Hollywood, I know I wouldn’t have been able to bring as much to the craft had it not been for my beginnings in Michigan. In fact, “Radio America” is something of a love letter to my Midwest youth!
As for California, well, what’s not to love?! The excitement of being surrounded by some of the most talented and creative people in the world inspires me to always be expanding and improving my own craft. There are so many physical and human resources out here that just wouldn’t be available in most other parts of the world. Like playing the lottery, it just takes one good day in LA to change your life…but even the other days out here are sunny and beautiful and moments away from every possible delightful distraction!
Erin: You have a musical composition degree. Do you ever utilize this in your career, such as in “Radio America,” or wish you could? If not, do you keep music as a hobby, and if so, how?
Chris: Absolutely! I still love to write music and, as I mentioned before, I hope to be sharing some of that soon. I also love to sing. I just did a couple of live musicals out here at the end of last year. Singing is such a rush to me because even more so that acting, I feel totally exposed and connected to the audience. Acting is an expression the audience experiences vicariously through you, but music is something that the performer and audience experience together.
Erin: You have kept fit over the years at the gym, since admiring famous bodybuilders in your youth, and probably now, staying fit for acting roles. You’ve been on covers of magazines for your muscles over the years and your still photos from the upcoming movie “Lady Bug” show just how fit you still are. I read another interview with you in which you talked about what you ate each day and I immediately ran to my cupboards and hid all my candy. How do you stay so fit or has it become commonplace for you now? Does it help you in your career?
Chris: HA!! Yes, my physical appearance is very much a part of my job, and I guess that pressure helps to keep me disciplined. However, I really do love working out. It’s a release for me – and if I go for a few days without it, I get grumpy. Sounds like symptoms of a classic addiction! That said, I’m no saint in the kitchen. If I’m leaning out for a specific project, then yes, I’ll be very strict with my diet. But if not, I don’t deny myself anything I want to try. I just know I’ll get to work that much harder in the gym to burn it off!
Erin: You had your big break when you landed the role to replace Brendan Frazier in “George of the Jungle 2.” What was that experience like?
Chris: It was surreal. It was an amazing opportunity that I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for. It didn’t hurt that I was already a little goofy like George was!
Erin: Over the years, what are some of the most important or reflective things you’ve learning about yourself? What advice do you give to others who might be just starting out?
Chris: Don’t compromise who you are just to get you closer to your goals. Real success happens on the inside and expands who you are. If you find yourself doing something that you wouldn’t normally do without the promise of external “success” then you need to redefine success as something more akin to fulfillment. Be honest, kind, and sincere with everyone. Your real allies will remain by you and the parasites will weed themselves out of your life. And finally, don’t be too quick to judge someone else. Rather than jump to anger, ponder how you might act that person if you had to play them in a movie. I have found that acting has made me more empathetic and less divisive.
Erin: Besides anything we’ve touched on, have I missed anything else you will be appearing in or doing in 2016 that you are excited about?
Chris: Hopefully there will be, but I don’t know about them yet!
Erin: Where can fans follow your journey?
Erin: Thank you so very much, Chris, for taking time out of your busy schedule to ask all my questions. It was a pleasure getting to know you better. Best of luck in all you do in the future and keep us updated!
Chris: I’m honored. Thanks so much Erin! Let’s do this again sometime!
Erin: I’d be happy to!