Back Stage: How would you describe Claude?
Billy Magnussen: A sad, deprived-of-love-from-his-parents, steroid drug addict.
Back Stage: He's definitely one of the darkest characters in the film. Was that challenging?
Magnussen: I don't think my character is a dark character. He doesn't think he's a bad guy. He's just treating the world how he knows it treats him.
Back Stage: What was one of your favorite memories from filming on set?
Magnussen: I guess the shooting scene. It's funny, there's a party, and when I'm on set I'm in character a lot, and when the day is done I'm out, I'm out of character, I'm just doing Billy again. But when I'm on set, I am the character, and walking through a party of, I don't know, a hundred extras, and telling them not to fuck with me. I think that was kind of cool just to be, like, it's a professional job.
Back Stage: Do you think you scared or intimidated any of the extras?
Magnussen: Absolutely. But not maliciously. I'm not saying I went out of my way to do all that. I just made my presence known.
Back Stage: How did you get started in the business?
Magnussen: I hurt myself wrestling in high school, and I couldn't take a gym class, so they put me in an acting class, and then I found out you could go to college for acting, and I was like, "Okay, that's it." And then the next step after college was to move to New York and try and get a job.
Back Stage: Do you prefer theater or film?
Magnussen: I want to do theater so bad. I love theater. It's just exciting. It's the same story, but the journey's different, and that's what makes it so much fun in theater. You always fly; you really do a story in two hours. Theater is brilliant. I just think, you know, film is the industry now. No one wants to go out to be entertained. They want to be in their dark bubble and watch a film. With theater, it's very interactive; in theater you have to participate as an audience member, and people don't like doing that anymore, which kind of sucks.
Back Stage: Do you think you'll stay in New York or come out to L.A.?
Magnussen: I love New York. I would not give up New York for anything.
Back Stage: What direction would you like to see your career go?
Magnussen: I just want to be involved with good stories. The size of the role doesn't matter, as long as it's a good story. That's what really makes the script. You can have the best actor in the world but a horrible script, and it's horrible; it doesn't matter. It really is writing. This reality show, reality TV shit, it's ridiculous, and it's horrible.
Back Stage: Do you have any advice for actors reading Back Stage?
Magnussen: Keep going. When you can't hold on and you can't hold on, hold on.