Photo Credit: Laura Burke
One of the best parts of this job is recognizing talent whether it's an artist who has been in the business for years, or an artist just getting started in their career... the goal is to always highlight talent. That was also my goal as a casting director, to help talent rise to the top. So, today is particularly special to me, because I had the chance to catch up with one of the most talented artists I know, Gustavo Carr. I had the great fortune to cast him in Bring It On: All or Nothing, and now as luck would have it, I had the chance to ask him a few questions about one of his other passions... music.
The Reel Spin: It's amazing to me how fans of Bring It On: All or Nothing still talk about the krumping scene you did with Hayden Panettiere. Did you have any idea when you were shooting the scene that it was going to resonate with audiences the way that it has?
Gustavo Carr: Honestly, yes, I did. I expected some heat from it so to speak. I remember Patti [Jackson] the VP of Universal Home Video at the time walking by Hayden and I after we shot that scene and saying, “It's getting really hot in here.” I thought to myself... score! Then I thought, oh shit, is this going to be too hot for TV or more literally the rating of the film? Turns out it wasn’t. It was definitely one of the most fun scenes to do. I’m glad everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.
TRS: Fans may be surprised to learn this, but music is your first love... right?
Carr: Absolutely, although acting is a close tie for second. I always say music is my soul, and acting is my heart. Music is what inspired the artist in me since as long as I can remember. It’s always been a part of my personal expression whether it is through dance or choreography or my own singing and writing of it.
TRS: Do you find writing and performing music to be a cathartic form of personal expression?
Carr: One hundred percent! Nothing else can compare to the therapy of a stage! It’s like being able to vent to a crowd of therapists. Everyone takes in your experience... they listen, and then (like a good therapist/crowd) give you back some lovin’ and support. Then ideally it hits home individually in its own way, and everyone ends up healing. It starts this never-ending circle of life and inspiration. And Lord knows we all need some therapy [laughs].
TRS: Let’s talk about your single, "L.A.” The song feels very personal yet relatable at the same time... How did the song come to be? Were you hoping that listeners would find a way to relate to the song on a personal level as well?
Carr: “L.A.” is a pure personalization of my life growing up in the entertainment industry. I mean, come on, to be in the industry for over 20 years and still going you got to be “insane!" The reason I am an entertainer is because I hope that through my experiences and self-expression people can realize they are not alone. I believe at the core we are all one in the same. That being said, as I was writing “L.A.,” my intentions were for pure self-expression and venting purposes. Not until I finished it did I realize how much this could be relatable to the countless number of artists living the “Hollywood Dream." Even beyond the “Hollywood Dream,” there are millions of people who want to dream but are constantly told not to. The experience of recording and writing this song was one of the strongest, most pivotal moments in my life. To be able to say, “I want to dream, don’t put me to sleep” freely is something of pure power and freedom that takes a lot of courage to do. I hope that I have ignited that courage inside others to do the same. Nothing would make me happier. I got to give a shout out/ thank you to Mark Jordan for producing/co-writing this song with me and believing in my artistic expression.
TRS: You act, you sing, you dance... and rumor has it you play a mean game of tennis... any other hidden talents?
Carr: Well, Pam, you know me all too well! Usually my answer to a hidden talent question would be tennis. Another one would be martial arts. I love action/fantasy/sci-fi films and TV shows. My mother’s and my favorite show growing up was Xena: Warrior Princess (disclaimer on hidden secrets). I always had a wild dream of being cast as her son on the show and having a spin off of my own show… Xeno the warrior prince! Which leads into my names for my hidden talents. When I'm playing tennis I call myself Nadal Williams and when I'm doing my martial arts I call them my Xeno skills… naturally.
To purchase Gustavo Carr's "L.A.," please visit iTunes here.
Follow Gustavo on Twitter: @GustavoVCarr
Interview by Pamela Thomas