Interview: Sam Eidson from "Zero Charisma"
Sam Eidson stars as the latest overgrown nerd Grand Master in the new comedy “Zero Charisma”. Sam’s character Scott watches his world and his friendships fall apart when he is overtaken by the new game member, Miles. Sam gave us here at Movie Room Reviews a few minutes of his time to talk about this new film.
Nick Leyland From Movie Room Reviews: I recently watched your new film, Zero Charisma. It came out on October 8th on VOD.
Sam Eidson: October 8th yes.
MRR: Cool. Well, could you tell my audience a little bit about your character as Scott?
Sam Eidson: Scott Weidemeyer is a Dungeon and Dragon... Oh well, sorry, he's a game master, not a Dungeon and Dragon master. That's very specific because he's made his own game in the movie and he's a very... He's a control freak. He sort wants everything to be his own way and he doesn't have too many real friends in that sort of aspect. So, yeah. He's kind of a stereotype of the geek. He lives with his relatives still, and he's kind of a boy. He's kind of a man boy sometimes. He can't control himself, but, you know... And he's kind of an ass&%$#, so... It's... You would think there's not a lot to like about him, but there are some things. Yeah, hopefully it comes across the movie.
MRR: Well, how did you like playing a character where the audience isn't necessarily gonna find a liking towards him?
Sam Eidson: On paper, he's unlikable, but my goal was to try and make this unlikeable character at least tolerable to watch. So yeah, that was my goal. I mean, everybody's got their things to pull characters from and I just had to find that deep dark place. [chuckle] But, yeah, and I wouldn't say unless I'm less outgoing than him, but he's very in your face. He's a great orator too. He's always giving you facts, giving you information whether you like it or not.
MRR: Right. Well, the film revolves around gaming like you said. And how much research did you have to do for your role? Because, gamers, that watch this, they take it very serious. And you needed to be authentic in everything that you did. How'd you go about doing that?
Sam Eidson: Well, yeah. A lot of people haven't seen the movie who are already crying, saying this and that, what we got wrong. But when it comes to it, it's expected because Scott's like that. Scott Weidemeyer is very detail-oriented, and he would get upset about stuff like that. Our director, one of our directors, Andrew Matthews, he knew everything about D&D. He's played D&D throughout high school, and he still plays D&D. He wrote in the script all the details that needed to be there. And there are some things in the movie you had to shorten or movie magic moments, but that's to be expected, 'cause if you were to do an entire D&D game, it would be days and days for one move to happen.
So, for me, I had the Dungeon Master Book. I was reading it months up to production. I think the full method, I didn't quite subvert myself or anything, but there's a lot of different videos they gave me to kind of check out online, YouTube videos. I don't even know the specifics. They just found random guys online who do like unpackaging YouTube videos. People, like took their favorite parts about geeks and they sort of gave me this sort of collage of characters that I can kind of pull from including Judd Nelson from The Breakfast Club. There's a little bit of him in there. Yeah, stuff like that. So, they had a good group of different traits I could pull from.
MRR: Right. Well, what are your nerdy pleasures in real life? If not gaming?
Sam Eidson: Oh, my own? I do everything, but D&D. I do board games. I play Settlers of Catan. I play Arkham Horror. And I play Game of Thrones board game. I play a lot of board games, mostly. I haven't done LARPing either, so... But I act, though to me that's already like LARPing anyways. I don't wanna disappoint anyone and say I'm not a full geek like Scott Weidemeyer, but I'm not that kind of geek guy. I'm really into Game of Thrones. And I'm actually more of a movie geek myself. I'm really into movies. And I direct myself, so that's sort of what guides me. I kind of understand Scott's obsession 'cause I just recently became obsessed with Game of Thrones. Night and day, that's all I thought about, but...
It's funny. I kind of understand Miles. He wants to just be involved with a lot of different things. He's sort of a sampler. I don't want to shock anyone but maybe I'm a lot like Miles and like I do like everything. And there are certain things I center on, but I am not as obsessed as that Scott Weidemeyer fortunately.
MRR: Well, you talk about films. What kind of films are you into?
Sam Eidson: I'm into everything and some people say that and they don't mean it, but I really will watch anything. I will watch like Persian Rug Channel. I'll watch that. Well, films and stuff specifically I like everything, John Carpenter, Cronenberg from that that kinda stuff to like Mira Nair and Nancy Meyers stuff. I like romantic comedies too. Yeah, I'm obsessed with movies. That's like my main thing, but all types of stuff and probably my favorite... I don't know. I can't pick a favorite.
MRR: You can pick the ones you like though.
Sam Eidson: I like Carpenter, John Carpenter really so...
MRR: Well, the film premiered at South By Southwest in Austin I think. And that's where the movie was shot, right?
Sam Eidson: It was shot in Austin, Texas yeah.
MRR: You live there too, don't you?
Sam Eidson: I do yeah. I am currently in Austin, Texas.
MRR: How did you enjoy living there?
Sam Eidson: I enjoy living here. It's a real tight-knit community here of filmmakers and actors. It's sort of like everybody knows everybody, everybody is cheering each other on and trying to make cool stuff and that's sort of why I came here like three years ago. And I'm glad I ran into the directors Andrew and Katie 'cause they came around the same time. They have this great project, and I tried out for it. I shot a little trailer for it and we got funding to shoot the feature, and then it all worked out, but Austin is great. It's got so much going on. Everyone wants to come to stop by. Even the music festivals here. So it's great and everyone, for the most part, are really nice here.
MRR: When did you become an actor and what influenced you to do that?
Sam Eidson: I've been acting for forever just in my own movies, and and I started acting a lot in college in my friend's movies, and then I came to Austin and decided to sort of try it out. Then I guess I started taking it seriously when around the same time we shot Zero Charisma and I realized there's a lot of pressure with Zero Charisma. It's like I'm in every every scene, so it's like if I get stuck, the movie is kinda stuck. So I sort of had to teach myself, but I also took a few classes, you know, before Zero Charisma just to understand what the method is. Then I just made my own methods based on what I have been doing before, which was sort of winging it. And I love acting and probably keep doing it as long as I can.
MRR: Well, what did you take away from this experience 'cause this is probably your biggest role to date?
Sam Eidson: Probably that you just never know every role. Like I would never know that this movie would go this far. I'm grateful to everybody who loved the movie. Take every role seriously, and I guess I figured out that I could do more than just be the goofy sidekick guy. I mean, I love playing that kind of role, but you know it's just that these comedies coming along occasionally for like the misrepresented stereotypical person in a film, and I think there's a lot of stereotypes in this film, and hopefully, they are dealt with. People think they can relate to it. So yeah, and I mean this has just been overwhelmingly awesome, the response people have given. So yeah, I just never take anything for granted. I never expected the response like this.
MRR: Cool. Well, it came on October 8th on VOD and what else can we look forward to seeing from you Sam?
Sam Eidson: I just acted in a film over the summer called Intramural shot here in Austin, Texas written by Bradley Jackson starring some awesome talent like Kirk Johnson and Will Elliott and some of the SNL guys. Some have cameos and some are recent SNL cast member Beck Bennett is in it, and there's lot of the great guys from sketch groups like BriTANick and Good Neighbor. We shot it here in Austin, and it's like this football comedy. It's gonna be real goofy. It's sort of like a parody of sports comedies. I play one of the football players. So yeah, it's goofy, and I think hopefully, you'll see it coming up very soon. I actually have this troupe here in town called Old Murder House Theatre. We do plays based on movies like '80s and '90s movies. We just did Jurassic Park, did a tour around the US, so we are probably going to have a play coming up here in this winter season here in Austin, and hopefully, if we get enough good buzz, we can go around the country again on tour with it.
Sam Eidson: So yeah that's pretty much all I got for now.
MRR: Well, thank you so much Sam. I appreciate it, I enjoyed the film and I wish you the best of luck.
Sam Eidson: Okay, thank you so much.