Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Interview
Benjamin Walker, star of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (and the face to the behind of our winter cover), took a moment from his busy schedule of rocking out on Broadway as President Andrew Jackson to talk with PxP. PxP: How did you prepare for the role of Andrew Jackson? BW: As a cast we did a lot of research. Though we play fast and loose with history, we have done a lot of dramaturgical work. I also have done a lot of vocal work. It is such a vocally taxing show, you have to make sure that you’re in great vocal health, otherwise you’ll trash your voice doing all of these rock songs. PxP: What is it like to portray an actual person? BW: It’s complicated because what we’re doing is not a realistic depiction of him. We’re trying to create what it might have felt like to be alive at that time - and that is a little more complicated because you’re using references from then and pop culture references from today. PxP: How does the real Andrew Jackson inspire your portrayal of him? BW: Well I certainly think that the real man was the first rock star president – he was the first charismatic candidate of the people and for the people. PxP: Do you find yourself wanting to duel everyone who ticks you off? BW: Me personally? [laughs] It definitely creates a contingent energy inside of you, but I don’t. There’s always a peaceful reconciliation possible, even if Jackson couldn’t see it at the time. PxP: What inspires you? BW: What inspires me is that we have a lot of young people who come and see the play. Young people who are willing to – in this time in America, in this time in their lives – support the arts and contribute to the arts, be a part of the future of theatre and music and dance and visual arts. That is what inspires me – that they’re still young people who are willing to try something new and reach new frontiers through the arts. PxP: What advice do you have for young people interested in theatre? BW: I would encourage everyone to get some training. Through training and the honing of your craft, you truly own something that is yours and something that you’ve created, so that by the time that you’re no longer young and you look back at your body of work, you really have something that you can be proud of because you put in the time, you listened to people who you admired, and then you created a process for yourself that no one can ever take away from you. PxP: Now that you’ve played Andrew Jackson, what other historical figure would you like to dress in sexy pants? BW: Well that’s interesting. [laughs] I think Marie Antoinette probably would have looked good in a pair of tight pants. Joan of Arc would have had very strong quads.