You may remember Shawn Andrews as the Texas teen whose keg party gets foiled by his parents in the 1993 cult classic Dazed & Confused, the Richard Linklater film that is well-known for its stoned comic characters and rockin’ Seventies soundtrack. It was also a springboard for future movie stars like Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Adam Goldberg, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck and a 16 year-old Milla Jovovich (whom Andrews reportedly eloped with during production and was married to for nearly two months before the marriage was annulled). In subsequent years, Andrews has developed his craft through a series of indie films including The Small Hours (with SVU‘s Christopher Meloni) and City Of Ghosts (with James Caan and Matt Dillon). He currently co-stars in Fix with Olivia Wilde (House) and Tao Ruspoli (a real-life documentary filmmaker playing one in this fictional tale, but also directing it). The movie is about two brothers coping and battling with one’s drug addiction and was inspired by the director’s brother Leo. Ruspoli’s film is gritty — it is shot first person, from his character’s point-of-view, and visits inner city L.A. locales not frequented by glitzy Hollywood filmmakers — and also possesses an offbeat sense of humor and warmth that makes it engaging right from the start.
ADD caught up with Andrews at the NYC premiere of Fix to get the scoop on his latest role. Also be on the lookout for him in another film in the near future: Big Heart City with Seymour Cassels.
What can you tell us about your character in Fix?
His name is Leo. It’s about two brothers, one brother with addiction, and I’m that brother. He has to raise $5,000 within 24 hours or he goes court appointed to jail for three years, and it’s all based on a true story. It’s about how he took his brother and his brother’s wife on a wild ride through L.A. to get the money. It’s a really fun film, but yet it says a lot of things, too. It combines being entertaining on one hand while having a lot to say on the other.
It’s quite different from Dazed And Confused, isn’t it?
When you look back at that movie, what do you think about it?
I don’t watch TV, but I know it plays a lot on television. I haven’t seen in quite some time, but I am happy that people enjoy the movie so much. The soundtrack’s amazing.
Do people still recognize you from it?
Sometimes, yeah. Aerosmith is one of my favorite bands, so I’m glad they’re in that [on the soundtrack].
What was the biggest challenge for you with Fix?
Not playing into the typical heroin addict personification. You see Panic In Needle Park or other movies like that, and a lot of the addicts are personified as brooding and depressed. I wouldn’t say there haven’t been a few [that are different], but this is definitely a character that’s larger than life and charismatic. And he’s a drug addict, and that’s tough [for many people to reconcile]. If you meet the guy he is based on, he is one of the most charming people in the world. I think it was tough as an actor not to play into the dramatic stuff, but to remember that his idea of life is to have as much fun in every situation as possible, and that’s it. He doesn’t overthink things. He really lives moment to moment and is having the time of his life.
How do you prepare for the role of a drug addict?
I’m a health nut, believe it or not. For this particular role, I got the chance to hang out with the guy it was inspired by. I got to drive his car and wear his clothes. I have his lighter and hung out with him. He had his Wednesday night game thing that he went to in an old, abandoned mansion with all of his friends. Then it [the role] took on a life of its own. I’m spiritually tied to the character and the person. It’s more than [being] friends, it’s like family.