Interview with actor Kyle Klaus

Today on What On What’s Good with host Jovin Tardif, I am here with actor Kyle Klaus.  Klaus has appeared in ‘The Blacklist‘, ‘Billions‘, ‘Homeland‘, ‘Happy!‘, ‘The Last O.G.‘ to name a few. In our interview, we discuss movie characters, his training, his roles in multiple television shows, his production company, new scripts he is working on, and much more.

kyle klaus
Actor Kyle Klaus

1. You grew up fascinated by various movie characters. Can you name a few of these characters and why?

Sure. One of the earliest memories I can remember was my aunt taking me to see one of my first movies in theatre, Terminator 2 (I was probably too young to see this) but I remember seeing Edward Furlong’s character – John Connor. That movie made an impact on me. He was just this kid, but a rebel. He was wrapped up in this world where he was so important to the human race but he had no idea. Just the way he dressed, his hair, the music he listened to. At our mall, I would go to the arcade and tried to replicate it like I was in that world.

Rambo…I did this with Rambo also, played by Sylvester Stallone. Growing up in PA I was around bow and arrow from a young age. I remember putting on a headband and sneaking around my house shooting bow and arrow at birds (never getting any of course). These movies took me out of reality. I had a great family, an amazing childhood, but I was a dreamer from an early age. Still am.

2. You moved to New York City to pursue acting in film and television. Can you tell us a bit about your training?

When I first got to New York City around 2009 I realized quickly that I didn’t know what I was doing. I always felt that I had the talent, I just never took any real classes. I decided to seek out the most reputable training that I could find. The first place I enrolled in was HB Studio. A world-renowned teacher by the name of Austin Pendleton. Everyone wanted to get in his class. There was a waitlist. I affirmed my instinct when he told me that I had a lot of talent, just lacked “craft”. Craft is the technique of acting. Tools in your toolbelt so to speak.

No matter how talented you are you need to learn how to use them. After I felt like I got the most out of the current class I was in I would seek out something else to grow and stretch. Each class/teacher offered something so new.

I studied with world-renowned acting coaches such as Lynette Sheldon – an Australian lady who really I can thank for making me strong and stretching me. Sheila Gray, Alice Spivak, who was famous in the NY Theatre world and I worked on a lot of classic plays with her. Bob Krakower (film and TV). AMAW – which my friend in LA suggested who was a series regular at the time. They were big in LA but had an NYC department as well. Very good to use my instincts and bring myself to the character I was playing. Most recently MN Acting Studio with owner Matt Newton. He was a former working actor and this was Film and TV heavy.

3. What can you tell us about working with the cast of TBS comedy, The Last O.G. (2019)

That set was so amazing. Even though it was set in modern-day Brooklyn, our shoot was in the Bronx. It was a rough area. The minute I got there I saw a homeless couple try to steal furniture from the set and the cops had to be called.

Tracy Morgan was an amazing person to work with. He brought this energy that you always knew when he was around. Dante Hoagland, who played his son, was really great to work with as well. Tracy had a boombox with him on set. In between set ups sometimes he would be blasting some music. I remember him going into this “air drum” solo when Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” came on.

4. SYFY ‘Happy!’ is a wild show with Christopher Meloni. What was it like playing Brad on the show? (2019)

I loved playing this character. It was ironic because one of my side hustles while pursuing acting was real estate/ still is. However, this time, instead of being the real estate broker, I was the client. I had MANY real-life experiences to draw on from the clients I had in the past. Funny how life sometimes imitates art.

5. What advice would you give to a new actor about being on-set?

Be on time. That means be early for everything. There’s an old saying “hurry up and wait”. You never want anyone looking for you. You want to be ready to go at any minute. It sometimes takes the crew a while to set up the scene and as soon as they are done you want to be ready to go. Because days are long and they need to stay on schedule. Arrive to set early, make sure you eat right away if it’s a morning shoot because you are going to be pulled to hair and makeup, and then to wardrobe, and then sometimes immediately on set.

6. Are you working on any new scripts?

Yes, I actually just finished a re-write on a script that is getting some traction right now. We have it out to a few high-level producers in NYC and LA. That is another reason why I felt it was time to start the production company. It was less about actually making my own amateurish films like I feel is a trap that a lot of creatives get pulled into, but rather a way for me to become established with bigger projects that developed and produced at a high level in association with other production companies and studios.

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.