Starring in Horror Movies Got This ‘Resident Evil’ Actor to Face His Own Fears

Article Image
Photo Source: Vita Cooper

The following Career Dispatch essay was written by Josh Cruddas, who stars in the upcoming horror feature “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” in theaters Nov. 24. 

I’ve been incredibly lucky to work in the horror genre on some amazing projects over the years—an ironic fact considering I can barely sit through an episode of “Scooby Doo” without wanting to turn off the TV in terror. For my latest “pinch me, how am I involved with something this cool?” horror project, “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” I read the entire script countless times. However, that didn’t stop me from covering my eyes with my hands when I was able to see the finished film recently. 

I figured that in itself is the mark of a great horror movie. But it also got me thinking about a word artists know all too well: fear.

Fear, in our line of work, is omnipresent. It holds us back from making the choices we really want to make in an audition room, or on a crowded and rushed big-budget set. It stops us from taking a day off from our grind, because, heaven forbid, someone else might get their shot while we find a work-life balance. It also doesn’t allow us to do the best thing we possibly can on set, at events, and in life: be ourselves.

Letting go of fear is, like most things, easier said than done. Sometimes it feels so wired into our brains we might need a helping hand to tackle it. However, once we remove fear (and the fear of fear!) from the situation, a world of opportunity opens up. All of a sudden, we realize that the way we look can be a boon—not a liability—to our careers. 

“[Fear] holds us back from making the choices we really want to make in an audition room, or on a crowded and rushed big-budget set.”

The horror genre, for example, loves unique and real-looking folks! At its best, the genre’s core strength is making the terrifyingly impossible seem intimately relatable: putting natural-looking and natural-acting people in horrific situations, so we at home start looking over our own shoulders. Once I figured out that my own uniqueness was getting me jobs, I started to work with a little less fear.

However, that fear still stopped me from doing something I’ve wanted to do for years: release an album of pop music, written and performed by the very ginger writing this column. Friends and family have been screaming exasperatedly at me (an exaggeration) for years to just do it. But I was terrified of the songs not being perfect, and of showing the world an honest and unpracticed side of me. 

It was then I remembered something helpful a director friend once told me: If you reach career heights but you give in to the pressure of people telling you to be perfect or to change who you are, you’ll lose the very essence of what brought you to that success in the first place. Embracing your imperfections and letting go of fear will always lead you to better work, better relationships, and a better life. 

So I heeded that advice, and on Nov. 15 I released my album, “Variety Show.” My next challenge? Watching a marathon of “Scooby Doo”—in the dark.

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!