by Rainbow Kirby
What is good acting? Justin Kirk says it depends on your perspective. “If you respond to an actor, is it their face or voice, or the way they move through the world? When someone says, ‘I really like this or that actor,’ what is it, exactly, that you like about them?” For Justin’s fans, it may be his big, blue eyes, his quirky humor, or his inherent charm. “I have some of the best doctors working on me,” he kids.
His enthusiasm comes in part from the success of the Showtime series, Weeds, which recently wrapped its fifth season and is signed on for one more. “It’s the best! Being on a successful series is the closest an actor can get to steady work. And when it’s a piece of work you think is good, it’s a combo that very rarely comes around. I feel extremely fortunate right now.” When first approached about the series, he was immediately interested. He had heard about it and knew former co-star Mary-Louise Parker was headlining. “I went in to read and it was a good meeting. I instantly connected with the material. But I never thought it would become the phenomenon it’s become.” In 2007, Justin earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Weeds.
He can also do drama. Justin earned high praise and an Emmy nomination for his gut-wrenching portrayal of Prior Walter, a man stricken with AIDS, in Mike Nichol’s 2003 HBO mini-series adaptation of Tony Kushner’s play, Angels In America. Of the aftermath he found, “Jobs that are supposed to change everything… don’t.” At least not immediately. After Angels, he was unemployed for almost a year. “I went broke and thought I’d never work again. [But] performances reveal themselves over time. That one performance will affect things forever. I now get roles because of it.”
This fall, he will appear in The Roundabout Theater Company’s The Understudy in New York. “It’s been awhile since I was in a play, and it’s been even longer since I was in a comedy in New York. I’m very excited… and a little scared.” Justin also recently finished production on the Indie films Elektra Luxx and 30 Beats and earlier this year, acted in Against the Current and Four Boxes, which he made with a childhood friend from Minnesota. “We made it for five cents,” he boasts proudly. It was just bought and he adds, “It’s the indie-est of indie-filmmaking. It’s basically Rear Window on the internet. These deadeye suburbanites in Minneapolis discover a website where there may or may not be nefarious goings-on. It’s a thriller. It’s funny. It will be on Netflix for sure.”
Does he plan to write his own material? “There are times when you’re doing a small Indie film and there is the opportunity, but no. I do like to write, but I’m scared to attempt theatrical structure, so I just scribble on things.” Justin, we look forward to seeing your scribbles, especially on the next season of Weeds.