Milo Ventimiglia is living in fear as lawyer and father Ian Mitchell in Crackle’s new web series, Chosen, and TV Equals was excited to be able to speak with him and learn more about the series. During the conference call, we were able to learn more about the character, how he got into the mindset of paranoia and more.
How Ventimiglia became “chosen”
“What attracted me to it was a good character with a great story,” said Ventimiglia about attaching himself to the web series. “It’s something kind of interesting and original, and the filmmaker, Ben Ketai. He’s an awesome guy. He’s a great shooter, he understands story and heart and character, and again, the format–we shot six 30-minute episodes. Kind of line those up against any TV show nowadays and count the difference. I think they stand up to anything on network or cable television at the moment.”
Who is Ian Mitchell?
Ventimiglia described his character Ian as a “[k]ind of mild-mannered guy who…works in a law office. He wears a tie, he has this [struggle] with his ex-wife…his marriage is falling apart.”
“He’s a guy dealing with everyday problems, you know, and then this box arrives and…he is now hunted and has to hunt and is kind of put into this game that is, as the trailer said, not fun…and he has to kind of adapt as a a human being [with] a sense of survival,” he continued. “So, you know, if that kind of gives you some understanding of what he does or how he has to change to manage to survive not only for himself but for his daughter, for his family, that’s kind of where he goes.”
The digital age
Ventimiglia loves the idea of digital entertainment. “I love the reach. I’m so excited about digital because of the reach, you know?” he said. “Theatrical releases–sometimes you don’t get movies, sometimes, you know, they’re in and out of theaters. TV–maybe you don’t have the channel. Maybe you don’t have paid cable. Maybe you live in a remote part of the world that doesn’t have what network is showing…what the studios are putting out. With digital I feel like anybody can access it. Anybody can get to it.”
“…[F]or me, being a part of projects like Chosen, working with Crackle and just being a guy whose been on the digital stage for quite a long time now, it’s something that I’m going to continue to do,” he said. “…[H]opefully as it builds and the profile builds and people understand that, look, you’re going to get the same quality on digital as you can in a movie theater [and] you have the bandwidth for it, then great. I love digital. I’m into digital.”
Digital filming vs. television/movie filming
Ventimiglia said there’s no difference between filming for a digital series and filming for a standard television show or feature film.
“Actually, all the typical ones. Sometimes, the camera jams. Sometimes…you gotta do more than a couple of takes. I don’t think there’s any difference between digital production and television and feature films,” he said. “Sometimes, feature films usually take a little bit longer, but that’s just filmmaking. It’s all the same. It’s all the same thing. I think what we were hoping to do…with Chosen was to show that. It wasn’t just a digital project, but…it’s a cinematic release on a digital platform.”
Ventimiglia as Executive Producer
Not only is Ventimiglia starring in Chosen, but he’s also the show’s executive producer. He talked about how he got on board in that capacity.
“I produced before and I’ve worked with Crackle before, so when I got the phone calls from those guys, we were sitting around talking about ideas and whatnot, it was a natural fit to produce,” he said. “I never want to be in the way of anything, I never want to be excess baggage. So it was just a natural thing that came up; they said, ‘Hey, would you like to produce as well?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, of course. Let’s pull it together.’ And we had a great, amazing production team, as well.”
Acting with paranoia
When you watch Chosen, you’ll get the tense feeling of paranoia almost right away. But how did Ventimiglia get into that debilitating mindset?
“Wow,” said Ventimiglia before telling a story from his acting career to illustrate how he gets into the paranoid mindset. “A few years ago..I did a movie where I played a really, really deplorable person. The movie’s called The Divide, and afterward, my mother asked me if something happened to me when I was a kid that she didn’t know about. I said, ‘What do you mean, Mom?’ She said, ‘Well, you were such an evil, horrible person…Did something happen to you that we don’t know about?’ [I said,] ‘No, not at all, Mom. I’m an actor! That’s what we do, we act.’ So, to play the paranoia is kind of like imagining your worst fears and playing to them and I’d like to say let the wheels come off, see what happens.”
Chosen premieres January 17th on Crackle. Watch the trailer below.