Sloane Morgan Siegel has been quite busy ever since appearing in a spoof on Jay Leno back in 2010. This actor/stuntman has gone on to work in countless shorts, TV series and movies, and he is now the titular lead role in Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, which was recently picked up by Amazon for a full season. We sat and talked with Sloane about what this program means to him, and his hopes and desires for the future.
YOUNG ADULT: What’s it like playing the title character on a new pilot? Can you talk to us about your character’s interesting name?
Sloane Morgan Siegel: It is both humbling and amazing at the same time. I’ve worked very hard over the last four plus years to hone my craft and pay my dues in the industry to get my shot at leading my own show. For Amazon to give me this chance and have the faith in me that they have shown is nothing short of wonderful. The cast and crew bonded very quickly and we’ve become a true family that loves each other and the show. I believe the viewers will see that in the resulting series when it airs. The name Gortimer is unique, as is the show. Personally I love the name. In fact, my name Sloane is pretty unique as well!
YA: What do you think people will love most about this new show?
SMS: People will love the fact that the show has high production value and characters that they can identify with and care for. The show is somewhat of a throwback to old 1960’s television when kids were innocent and polite. We’re not focused on technology, but rather focused on adventures and friendship. It’s a family show that adults can enjoy watching with their kids and have confidence that good messages are being delivered in each and every episode.
YA: Describe your favorite character you’ve played thus far. Who is he? What about him most resembles you?
SMS: Of course Gortimer is my favorite character, as it’s my first real lead in a major show! He’s a good boy who loves his family, friends, and neighbors. He is smart and committed to doing the right thing and supporting his friends at all costs. He is honest to a fault and brave without wanting to be a hero. I’d like to think all of these characteristics are applicable to me.
YA: Any fun stories to happen off camera while on set?
SMS: In the pilot, they did not want to use CGI but rather real life to make the story work. I had to confront the Frog of Ultimate Doom under a house and defend myself with the Fork of Destiny. The frog was a 25 pound South African Bullfrog with fangs who ate a rat each day. When I met him with the animal handler, I asked if I would be safe in the tight space under the house and if were there any special things I needed to know to work with him safely. He told me to stay at least 12 inches away from Elvis (the frog) so he didn’t nibble my fingers. Then I asked if he might hop at me during the scene, and he told me that he was too fat to hop but he might waddle at me. The good news is he was a good frog and the scene went off without a hitch. I performed all of my own stunts in the show and loved every minute of it—even being covered in mud from head to toe for three days.
YA: What has been the best acting or professional advice you’ve received?
SMS: A combination of proper eye contact and analyzing a script and character for the inner core and outer mask. Identifying what the character is feeling and thinking versus what they are projecting into the scene. Once I understood this, my auditions were much more fruitful. Also I’ve been taught to forget about each role after an audition unless they give you a callback. Dwelling on them can be maddening. No one gets all of the roles but if you work hard and put your heart and soul into each and every role, I believe you will get your fair share.
YA: If you had to pick only one word to describe yourself, ACTOR or KID, which would it be and why?
SMS: The only way to describe me is an ACTOR. I am proud of my work and know I was born to be an actor. I love everything about this business and cannot imagine myself doing anything else ever, unless I migrated behind the camera to directing. That said, I hope I’m always a kid at heart!
YA: If you could play any role from any film or TV show in history, who would it be and why?
SMS: Other than playing Gortimer Gibbon, I would love to be the Doctor or one of his companions in Doctor Who. I’m a huge fan and would love to be the first American Doctor. I’ve seen all fifty years of the show including listening to the taped audio of the lost shows from the early years.
YA: What would you say is your favorite YA story, book or film?
SMS: I thought this one would be harder to answer, but I’d say Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I could watch that show every day. The humor and the hidden meanings are amazing. As far as comedy, it’s my JAM!