Josh Written by
Photographer: Leslie Hassler
Theatre versus movies versus tv. Very different mediums requiring very different disciplines. Which is most fulfilling as a) an actor, b) a performer, c) as a brand? As you have achieved success in all three, which gives your mum the most pleasure?
As an actor, and performer I have trouble thinking of myself as a “brand”. I know that’s a term that gets bandied about regularly in our culture today, so I suppose if I were to apply myself to a modern standard of business meeting art, I’d say it’s most fulfilling to be the type (or brand if you must) of actor who meets the story head on, from a place of curiosity about the world we live in, and my place in it, and attempts to delve as deeply as possible into the truth of the circumstances -whether they be comic, dramatic, and at best, both. The collaboration is all, and I do believe that acting, whether it’s onstage (my first love), or screen, is one of the higher forms of collaborative creation. It’s always challenging, and very often thrilling, to be sifting through ideas, and making something with other artists; writers, directors, designers, an entire crew – to try and achieve something that entertains, provokes, and maybe even moves an audience to take a closer look at themselves, and the world around…and sometimes it’s just really comforting to escape for a while ! I’m fairly certain that my Mom, iconic radio Lady that she is, feels much the same. She’s one of my biggest influences, and started dragging me to theater, museums, and any other cultural event, as soon as I could stumble. She went to The High School of Music & Art in NYC, and sees the world through the lens of possibility, curiosity, and artistic relevance. Pretty incredible role model, to be sure.
What tv series do you binge on? Has the movie / tv gap all but disappeared?
The last couple shows I binged were my friend Jill Soloway’s: TRANSPARENT, which I find pretty stunning. We made a movie called AFTERNOON DELIGHT together, and she’s one of my favorite directors anywhere. Her way of exploring the complications of Family and identity are stunningly original, and deep. As a Washington, D.C. native, it’s hard for me to stay away from HOUSE OF CARDS. It’s deep cynicism, it’s tough at times but I’m always drawn to the darkness. And finally I’m a sucker for GIRLS. Lena Dunham is such an impressive Lady, and Adam Driver’s rhino-man is one of my favorite characters around. As it turns out, my favorite show on TV is probably THE AFFAIR…shameless plug but I’m too proud to turn down the volume.
Growing up in DC, do you feel a strong connection to our country’s political system? What are your thoughts on the upcoming election? Are you sick of hearing about Hilary’s emails, too?
I was flying back from New York during the first Democratic debate, so I was forced to catch up online, and after the fact.
But what I saw, and read does strike me as the first meaningful and thoughtful look at where we are as a Nation, and where we hope to head. At the risk of getting too political (always a risk given my upbringing), it’s been really disheartening trying to follow the threads of the republican conversation. Not only the circus act of it all but the ongoing choice of party over people. I’m trying to stay engaged, as I’ve been most of my life, and hopeful that we find a way to dissect, and transform the discourse without sacrificing the well-being of the many in favor of the privileged few.
We read that you have an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. People in this field always seem to very passionate on the subject, or theories there within. Who is your favorite philosopher and why? What is a theory or criticism that you still ponder today?
I’m not sure I’d call myself passionate about the subject of Philosophy, despite my major – way back when. I feel like all of my answers to this point are pretentious enough, without launching into my feelings about Kant, and Locke. Suffice to say, I should know more, and really wish my retention for all things academic were stronger – I’ll leave the philosophical discourse to the pros.
SO much online attention to your full frontal scene—and also your mother’s reaction to it being that she’s a public name, as well—but what about your kids’ reactions? Will you explain this someday as, ‘for the love of acting and drama,’ or have any feelings on discouraging their public nudity or not doing so?
It was a nice surprise to wake up the Monday after the premiere to so much attention (even where it wasn’t due), and it’s always flattering when people respond to my work – particularly on show that I’m deeply proud of. There was a lot of discussion about the nudity in advance of the second season, and right up to the day itself. My 2 year old Daughter has a dance that she does at home, and we all help with called: “Yeah, Yeah BUTT !” She shakes what her Mama gave her, and we all laugh so hard it hurts…then we all shake our booties together. Hopefully I won’t have to have the public nudity talk with them until they’re in their 40’s, and I’m in a nursing home.