Alphonso McAuley discusses Cat Run, his "revealing" moment in the movie, his new TV show Breaking In, and much more.
It may be hard to stand out in a cast that includes Paz Vega, Christopher McDonald, Scott Mechlowicz, and Janet McTeer, but Alphonso McAuley does just that. the up and coming young actor, who previously appeared in movies such as Fat Albert, Pride, and Glory Road, stars as the extroverted Julian in Cat Run, which hits theaters on April 1. The actor plays the best friend of Scott Mechlowicz' Anthony, who convinces Anthony to start up a private detective agency, which lands them in hot water right away. I had the chance to speak with Alphonso McAuley over the phone about this new movie. Here's what he had to say.
This movie is quite a ride, isn't it?
Alphonso McAuley: Yeah. It's a roller coaster without a safety jacket (Laughs).
You seem very comfortable in this character. How far from Julian would you say that you actually are?
Alphonso McAuley: Oh, that's all me. No, I'm playing. No, I don't know. That character I can relate to, because he's an extrovert. Is it extrovert? Introvert? Extrovert? Overt? Covert? All those verts. He's one of those verts, yeah (Laughs).
What was your initial reaction to the script and reading a flamboyant character like this?
It starts out in such a vastly different place than where it ends. It evolves throughout the whole movie. I really didn't expect to turn the way it turned.
Alphonso McAuley: Oh yeah, twists and turns. Life has a funny way of doing that. Just when you think it's all lollipops, you lick down the middle and you're like, 'This is Tootsie Roll? What?' Life has twists like that.
When I talked to Scott earlier, he said he had a blast working with you. Can you talk about first meeting up with him and establishing this rapport?
Alphonso McAuley: Yeah. We met during the reading and it was great. We just clicked right there. At the time, he had glasses and he was probably 50 pounds heavier... no, he wasn't that heavy, but we met, we clicked and it was like, 'Hey, let's do it. Let's make this movie.'
Had you ever shot in a place like Montenegro before this? I thought it really added a lot to the production.
Alphonso McAuley: I shot in Australia once, and it was really cool over there. It was more interesting shooting in Montenegro, because it seemed like shooting in some time of period piece, very medieval.
It seems like one of those places where time just stops for.
Alphonso McAuley: Oh yeah, very picturesque. The whole place looks like a screensaver or a wallpaper on your computer. It's beautiful. I enjoyed it.
One of my favorite parts of this movie is just watching Janet McTeer. How much fun was it to work with her on this? She was amazing.
Alphonso McAuley: Oh yeah. Janet was amazing. Her action alone, they need to do a Mary Poppins reboot and hire her. It was like, (in a fake British accent) 'Fill this gun with more bullets now, so I can kill you.' I'm like, 'What? How can you be that delicate but yet that fierce at the same time?' It's very fierce but elegant at the same time.
It's such a crazy character that it almost does demand it's own spin-off. It would be awesome just to see her traveling around, and killing people.
Alphonso McAuley: That's true. And, doing all this while sipping on a cup of English tea. Who does that?
Scott said there weren't too many pranks on the set, but that you all kind of bonded over food poisoning.
Alphonso McAuley: Oh, you mean with the salmonella? Oh yeah. There was a point in time where we were down for about eight days. Let's just say I was sitting a lot, while reading the new scripts (Laughs). When that has the best of you, it's like, 'Yeah, I'm not going anywhere right now.'
I know a DVD is a ways off, but I have to imagine there will be some cool deleted scenes coming out of this.
Alphonso McAuley: Oh yeah, and behind-the-scenes. Come on now. Jumping out of a hotel balcony? What? With a mattress? Yeah. They didn't show the part where I was like, 'Yeah, I have to change right quick.' The behind-the-scenes is awesome, dude. I couldn't ask for more. We had a great time.
That mattress scene was pretty unique. Can you talk a bit about that, how they actually shot that?
Alphonso McAuley: They were like, 'All right, here's what we're doing.' The day of, they told me, 'You're going to jump off this balcony with a mattress in your hands, because Janet McTeer's character is after you with a gun.' So they hooked up these cables on me and I actually jumped out of the balcony, which is quite scary because, that could have been the end. It could have been all over. There are a lot of flashes of death. I was almost scathed by the Grim Reaper, many times on this shoot, from salmonella, to getting bullet shrapnel in my eye, I got bit by a German Shepherg, and jumped out of a hotel balcony.
How high was that? How many stories up was that where you jumped?
Alphonso McAuley: I want to say it was about eight floors, nine floors. It was pretty high, dude. It wasn't anything where it was like, 'Oh yeah, this is just like a step off the back porch," or something. It was high.
I remember watching that and thinking, just from the way they cut it, that it had to have been actually you who did that.
Is there anything that you have lined up that you're looking to join?
Alphonso McAuley: There's a project I'm working on right now called Breaking In. It's with Christian Slater, Seth Gordon and Adam F. Goldberg producing. It's from Happy Madison and it premieres on Fox, April 6 at 9:30, right after American Idol. It's a comedy about a security firm that breaks into different corporations and we test their security systems. We figure out if they have flaws, and they pay us for this. It's an actual subculture out there.
Can you talk about your character, Calvin?
Alphonso McAuley: He's like a geeky fanboy, definitely into those big, huge epic films like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. He's somewhat of an 80s fan as well. He's into The Goonies, stuff like that. His IQ is like 161. It's crazy. He's a pretty savvy, geeky dude.
I don't know if you watch Leverage at all, but he seems like a version of Hardison.
Alphonso McAuley: Yeah, yeah, there's a little bit of Leverage. There's a little bit of Chuck. There's a little bit of 30 Rock. It moves really fast, like 30 Rock. The comedy is really, really smart. If you walk away, you're going to miss at least three jokes. It's just back-to-back.
Is this a 13-episode order then?
Alphonso McAuley: It's a seven-episode order. We're on April 6 and then, I guess from there they'll let us know either, 'Dude, you guys suck,' or "You guys are friggin hilarious. Here's another 13, or 22, or whatever they do.
Aside from that, do you have any movie plans for the summer?
Alphonso McAuley: Well, with the TV stuff, we're still shooting Breaking In. Then I go back to another series that's actually on TV One right now. It's called Love That Girl!. That one I play a stand-up comedian and the brother to Tatyana Ali's character. She comes back to L.A. and gets into real estate and I'm trying to make it in the entertainment industry and I'm like, 'Come on, can I get a job?' That one's on TV One, which is kind of like a sugar-free BET. It's on Monday nights at 9. With those two schedules, it's kind of hard to jump back into the film game, but we'll see if I have a little break in between.
Finally, what would you like to say to anyone who's curious about Cat Run, about why they should see it in theaters this Friday?
Alphonso McAuley: They should check it out because it's an interesting film. It's not your conventional, traditional film. It's a film like Snatch or Smokin' Aces. They should just go for that. Some people are going to go because of Paz, some people are going to go because of Janet, some people are going to go for the three B's, blood, bullets and boobies. But whatever it is, they need to go check it out. Cat Run.
Excellent. Well that's about all I have for you, Alphonso. Thanks so much for your time and best of luck with Breaking In and anything else.
Alphonso McAuley: All right. Thanks, man.