David Wunderlich Interview - Between Star Trek , Criminal Minds and General Hospital
David Wunderlich's acting career began where his athletic career ended, on the set of a hit ABC sitcom filming in Culver City, CA.
- David , thank you be my guest today.
Absolutely Bernd, thank you for having me.
- How did you get your first role in "What Might Have Been"?
I had an acting class with Tommy Kraft, the writer/director of that film, at Albion College. Tommy and I connected out of admiration for each other’s work, and he told me he had a role in mind for me in a film he was making. That film was “What Might Have Been”.
- What films and/or filmmakers or Actress/Actors influenced your decision to be an Actor?
I came out to Los Angeles on an internship during my Junior year of college. It proved to be a transformative trip. I was interning on the set of the sitcom “Cougar Town” five days a week and taking some classes about different paths in an entertainment career. I spent most of my free time watching movies and started acting a little bit. I watched the film “American Beauty” and it just hit me really hard. Kevin Spacey’s character realized he didn’t really love his life, and took a new direction. At that time, I had been playing football for 8 years and really had become unhappy with it. And being in a place where I knew nobody for the first time, I finally had a chance to really ask myself some tough questions about who I was and what I wanted my life to look like. So I quit the football team and dedicated my life to acting. After that, I’ve really gotten into film. Filmmakers who have had a huge impact on me are Richard Linklater, Sidney Lumet, and Jean-Marc Vallèe. And some of my favorite films are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Fight Club, and Before Sunrise. There are so many actors I look up to, but I watch really closely are Matthew McConaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Vikander, Christian Bale, Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ed Norton, Charlize Theron, eh I’ll stop now. You get it.
- For me as german your Name , Wunderlich, sounds very german. Do you have roots here in germany?
You are correct, Wunderlich is a very German name. I’m sure I still have some distant family over there somewhere, but I’m not in touch with them, not have I had a chance to visit yet. But as far as the history goes, my great-great-grandfather, Edwin Wunderlich, was born in Rosenberg in 1843, and my grandmother was born in Berlin. They moved to Detroit, Michigan around 1872 where they had my great-grandfather, as well as 11 more kids. That’s on top of the 3 they had in Germany, so 15 kids in total! Crazy stuff.
- David, i saw you first in the Movie Star Trek: Horizon as Commansour Hasaht. What can you tell us about this role.
Oh man, it’s so cool you saw that film. Tommy Kraft really did something special with that one. As far as Commansour Hasaht goes, I wish I could have another shot at that character now with my current knowledge of what I’m doing as an actor. It was so well written, there’s just so much potential. But we shot all of my stuff in the course of one day in Tommy’s basement in front of a green screen while I was home in Michigan for Christmas in I believe 2015, I could be wrong, it may have been 2014. Anyways, it was just me and Caroline, my co-star, working on it all day with Tommy. It was an absolute blast, I drove back to my parent’s house at something like 3am, and I remember I stepped out of the car, dropped my iPod that I had had for probably 5 years, and completely shattered the screen. I looked at it and just laughed. It had been such an epic day I was happy to have something to always remember it by. And then iPod’s went out of fashion.
- Star Trek is a great Universe of Fans and Actors/actress, how do you feel being a part of this?
I feel honored to be a part of it. It’s really cool to be a part of something that has almost a cult following, and that so many great actors and directors have been a part of. Plus, my Dad has always been a big fan, so it was nice to get to share that with him.
- Horizon is in my eyes a great Movie and Tommy Kraft does in super job. How was it work with Tommy Kraft?
Tommy is just brilliant, he’s one of a kind. I mean the guy wrote the script, directed and shot the thing, sewed the costumes, did the visual effects (with some help), composed, and then edited it. And oh yeah, was also the Executive Producer. I’ve never met someone with so many talents and so much drive. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him and I hope we can do it again many, many times.
- After Star Trek you had a spot in one of my favorite Crime Series "Criminal Minds" , how was it being a part of this big Series?
Criminal Minds was absolutely amazing. It checked the box on many “firsts” for me and was thrilling as well as intensely nerve-wracking. But when I showed up, Joe Montegna walked up to me in the make-up trailer, introduced himself, and welcomed me to the set. It was one of those crazy moments, because my family would watch “Joan of Arcadia” together every week while it was on tv, so I felt like I already knew him, it was pretty surreal. And then when it came out I had a viewing party at my place, and had just a great night, but it was almost equally as nerve-wracking.
- 2015 - 2018 you had differnt role´s in General Hospital , in so far i know 14 episodes, What can you tell us about?
General Hospital has been a blessing, and it all stems from my buddy, Edwin Gonzalez, telling me after an acting class together that I should meet Mark Teschner, the casting director of the show, because he thought he’d really like me. That proved to be true and a year after meeting him in an acting workshop, he remembered my work and hired me to play a bartender on the show. That bartender’s name has changed a few times, but I’ve taken something away from every episode I’ve done on that show. It’s been a great training ground for me to work as a professional and try some new things.
I’m the best piece of advice you could give someone who wanted to get into acting?
If it’s your true passion, and you feel called to it like I did and still do, drop what you’re doing and go for it. Know it takes an incredible amount of dedication and persistence, more than you could probably think, but don’t let that scare you off. If you love it, it’s really the only thing for you to do. There are quite a few steps you need to take to do this professionally, the first of which is to learn what you’re doing. Find a technique. I’m 8 years into pursuing this professionally and I’m still working on that. I’m in the middle of a 2-year Meisner program, and I’m loving it because I’m finding my true artistic voice through it. And then once your craft is to a place where you’re doing great (or even good) work consistently, you’ve still got to find some work, be seen, get representation (an agent and/or manager), get auditions, develop relationships with casting directors, hopefully score a nice role in a big project, and then people will say you’ve “made it.” Those are all steps that require a lot of attention, and there is no set of how-to’s you can follow to make them happen. I still struggle with some of them. But as far as I’m concerned, the best advice I’ve heard comes from my teacher Elaine Williams- “Be seen and be good.” To me, that means, work hard at your craft, really dedicate yourself, get to a place where your work is good, and then go do every acting job you possibly can. All of the projects I’m currently working on, I’ve been hired on to by people I’ve worked with in the past. People who like my work and want to work with me again. Be seen, and be good.
- Is there still a dream project you would love to play in your life?
I’m determined to play Roger Waters in a story about the making of the Pink Floyd album “The Wall”. This album had a huge impact on me a couple years ago, and I got really obsessed with the Pink Floyd story. If you’re not familiar with it, a quick google search will show you that band has the most interesting history. The part of the story that led to “The Wall” was that Roger was fed up with playing big stadium shows. These huge crowds weren’t appreciating the music the way the way he felt it deserved to be. Fans would scream “PLAY COMFORTABLY NUMB!”, and other things at him during shows. And any true Floyd fan knows how carefully the band would craft their albums, and that the order of the songs plays a huge part in the journey they created for their listeners to experience. That same sentiment went for the concerts as well, and so Roger had had enough, and in a fit of anger ended up spitting on a fan while the band was touring for the album “Animals”. He didn’t want to play concerts anymore and decided the only way he could was if the band physically built a wall between them and the fans. The wall is symbolic of other things as well, and Roger’s lyrics on that album really resonate with me. It’s like he knows me, and I know him, and I just love him and I’d really love the chance to dive inside his mind during the creation of that. I think it’s a masterpiece. I wish I could have been around to see them perform it live.
- Is there anything else you would like to let your fans know?
I’d just like to say thank you. Thank you for watching my films, and supporting me as an actor. I really am loving my dream, and I feel blessed to even have fans. Our industry wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the fans. I’m a huge film fan too, so I’m right in there with you. We’re all people, we’re so much more alike then we are different.
- Thank you David Wunderlich and maybe we will see you some day in Germany.
I hope you will! Thank you.