“This is the first movie I’ve done where people have sent me tons of direct Instagram messages saying, ‘You made me cry! I’m a 50 year old man,’ reveals Jim Gaffigan about “Troop Zero.” Watch our full exclusive video interview with him above. He continues, “The emotional experience of the movie is very heartfelt. It doesn’t go for sap but is constructed in sincerity, even though it is in this absurd world. Typically when I see myself in a role I get distracted by how large my head is. But with the story, directors, editors and performances: I was very moved.”
The Amazon TV movie is set in 1977 Georgia about a bunch of misfits who form their own Birdie Scout group to compete in a talent show as ‘troop zero.’ Gaffigan plays Ramsey, the father of ‘troop zero’ leader Christmas (Mckenna Grace). He also stars alongside award decorated Viola Davis and Allison Janney. Gaffigan exclaims, “I’m in this movie with two Academy Award and Tony winners. You never want to be the weak link. I was thrilled for the opportunity but I was intimated working with these powerhouses. And it’s an interesting role. I’m playing this guy from South Georgia who carries around a dog and chews a toothbrush. I had to work out how to do an accent and have a toothbrush in my mouth. But it was fun.”
The actor confesses, “Whenever I approach a role, I inevitably learn something from the character. I was more forgiving of his failings as a father than the viewer would. I learnt that the struggle of being a dad is confusing to all participants that are in that role. We are all trying our best. Ramsey made me less critical of my ability as a father because I got to portray him being this imperfect father. What I like about this movie is there are different things to take away. I personally am so biased by playing Ramsey that my take away is so informed by his experience, weakness and struggles.”
On the moment that was most rewarding, the performer explains, “There’s this scene where Ramsey breaks his exterior and is finally vulnerable to his daughter. There was something sweet and fortunate that we shot it when Mckenna and I had developed a rapport where I could play this vulnerability and not abdicate my authority. It was rewarding to open-up.”
Gaffigan is best known for his career in comedy, having done stand-up since the 1990s. His latest special, “Jim Gaffigan: Quality Time” has been released on Amazon and will also compete for this year’s Emmy Awards. In the special he makes observations on subjects ranging from dogs to exercise. On being a comedian and an actor, he says “They are two different disciplines that can educate each other. I love the communal aspect of acting. Of being the piece of a puzzle, even in a moment of a scene. Collaborating and the task of listening is really rewarding. For the humor of a scene having on stage experience I’ll inherently know where a laugh is. Acting is a different skill set. While you act some in stand-up, you are playing all the different roles. You are writer, director and performer.”
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