Tim Griffin is an actor who can attest to the Hollywood addage that there are no small roles, especially when he has had parts in some of Hollywood's biggest movies. He has appeared in blockbusters such as The Bourne Supremacy, Iron Man, Star Trek, and Super 8. His streak of high-profile pictures continues with Abduction, where he plays Flannel, one of Taylor Lautner's mysterious pursuers. I recently had the chance to speak with this up and coming actor about Abduction, which hits theaters on September 23.
You can also check out the second half of my interview with Tim Griffin, where we discuss his new TV series Prime Suspect, starring alongside Abduction's Maria Bello, if you CLICK HERE. Here's what he had to say about Abduction below.
I was wondering if you could talk about your first reaction to the script? You play a character named Flannel, so I wondered what your first thoughts about that name were?
Tim Griffin: Well, I actually put two and two together after I showed up for the read-through. When I was doing The Bourne Supremacy, I was playing a character named John Nevins, the one who gets pistol-whipped by Matt Damon (Laughs). In the credits, everyone's name is a one-word code name. Jason Bourne is not Jason Bourne, he's just Bourne. I'm Nevins. It had that sort of code-word feel to it, so I totally got where they were going. So, I'm playing this character named Flannel, and that's his code name. Alfred Molina's character says one of the field agents will come retrieve Taylor Lautner, and he'll be able to identify me by the red flannel shirt. I don't know what makes the final cut. I haven't seen a cut of it yet, but it has this very CIA code feel to it. It's a great espionage trick, and it's not just us. Some of the other players... there are a lot of other people in play, who are in pursuit. They all have code names. Some of them I thought were only for the script, just a joke that the writer had done. There are these Serbian guys and they're called Brighton Beach 1 and Brighton Beach 2. I'm not sure if they're leaving it that way in the final cut, but it's this great world of espionage.
When I first heard about this movie, I had this picture in my head of what it would be about. Now after seeing all these trailers and TV spots, it's much bigger than I had thought. I saw the title Abduction and I had a totally different image in my mind. Did you have the same kind of thing when you started going through the script?
Tim Griffin: Absolutely. I think they hinted at it in the previews. It's such a fascinating premise. Imagine you're a regular, healthy, teen, growing up and you come across a missing persons website and you see a picture of a child and realize that child is you. It throws your entire world into chaos. Wait a minute, if I'm not the person who I think I am, then who are these people claiming to be my parents, Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello? I totally agree with you. I think, at the end of the day, you'll see it all tied together in a fantastic way. It's almost like the abduction of his identity, and it harkens back to the Bourne trilogy. A couple of our key producers were also affiliated with the Bourne world. It has a lot of its DNA, but it stands on its own. It was really fascinating to see that person who is really searching for his identity, who has really been imbued with these preternatural skills that he doesn't even realize he has. Other kids can't even do what he can do, but he doesn't realize it because he was brought up this way. It's all revealed in a rather brilliant way.
Can you talk about the level of physicality for your character and this whole unit that is chasing after him? Did you have to go through any training for the role?
Tim Griffin: Well, the nice thing was I've sort of earned my stripes, so to speak. People know that if they hire me, I'm capable. I'm trained and I can do my own stunts. For this one, though, it was very reminiscent of Robert Patrick's character in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He almost says nothing and he's like a total predator who has two speeds, slow, almost robotic-like stalking, or flat-out pursuit. As myself, it was exhausting, because we were filming all over Pennsylvania and I had one sequence where I was literally pursuing him up a hill. Guess what, it wasn't a special hill with loose soil or anything, where you follow these particular steps. It was a steep vertical climb and, to sell the reality of it, we had to just haul ass up this hill, as hard as we can. Taylor was going up the hill too, Taylor and Lily (Collins), doing what we're doing. You have to make it look like you're ruthless and trained for this sort of pursuit. I think it will look great on film because roots that you thought would be your support, were yanked out as you were climbing. These guys, they never stop, like Robert Patrick. He's never phased by anything that Arnold Schwarzenegger throws at him. People get assassinated all around us, one by one, there's never panic. You process it quickly and move on. I have one sequence which is my homage to (director) John Singleton, because he gave me my start in film. I was a kid and I was doing a lot of TV and, back then, you were sort of one or the other, TV or film. He blessed me into film and I always wanted to repay him someday, so I gave him this sequence, I won't give away what happens to me, but I sacrifice my body. It was something that we shot for 24 hours, hit the deck, no mat or anything, just hitting the pavement as hard as you can. There is no safe way to do it.
You not only have this movie with Maria Bello, but another movie called Carjacked and the NBC TV series Prime Suspect. Was that all coincidental?
Tim Griffin: Totally coincidental. We were joking about it. Prime Suspect is hopefully the thing we'll do forever, but we were laughing our asses off at the read through. We have both had long careers with many potential overlap points. I was on the 14th season of ER, she did the fifth. We had so much overlap, but we had never worked together. Suddenly, within the space of six months, we have three projects together. Carjacked, I took specifically to work with her, not knowing that she had just wrapped Abduction, because we aren't in any scenes together. We're sitting there talking on the set of Carjacked and I said, 'Yeah, I just got off of Singleton's latest.' She's like, 'Wait a minute. I just came off of Singleton's latest.' That lead to our friendship and now we're really putting it to good use.
Finally, what would you like to say about why people should check out Abduction in theaters this weekend?
Tim Griffin: I think people should check out Abduction because I think that this is really Taylor Lautner's chance to step out, in the same way that nobody looked at Matt Damon in the same way until the Bourne movies came out. Taylor has the exact same opportunity here.
Excellent. That's about all I have for you. Thanks so much for your time. It was great talking to you.
Tim Griffin: You too. Thank you, man.
You can watch Tim Griffin's Flannel chasing down Taylor Lautner when Abduction hits theaters across the country on September 23. You can also CLICK HERE to read the Prime Suspect portion of my interview with Tim Griffin.