Chris Lowell has bulls of steels! Nope that is not a typo, it is my (possibly lame) attempt at a double entrendre! While on a surface level it means exactly what you first thought I meant to say, i.e. Chris is a fearless, nothing seems to phase him kind of guy, it is also a subtle nod to one of his Hemingway inspired antics. A few summers ago Chris decided to pay tribute to some of his favorite Hemingway novels, such as, A Moveable Feast, The Sun also Rises (my fave), Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Old Man and the Sea (annoyed me) and embarked on a trip that included Cuba, Paris, Kenya and Tanzania. Hemingway fans will smile knowingly when I tell you that among his adventures Chris climbed mount Kilimanjaro and in warmer climates, while dressed in the obligatory all white with a red sash and handkerchief he ran with the bulls of Pamplona and lived to tell the tale. I tried my own homage to Hemingway one summer, in fact I try it most summers, when I attempt to mimic his intellectually superior, poor but living a rich, chic life, characters and drink wine like it is water! Alas my quest for alcoholism is always rendered obsolete after one and half glasses of wine when it becomes clear that I am more ready for a nap than being able to impart any inspiring, hilariously clever thoughts upon my lunch companions!
Most of you will know Chris Lowell primarily as an actor from movies and TV shows like The Help, Up In The Air, Veronica Mars,
Private Practice, Enlisted and Brightest Star to name just a few. However four years ago Chris embarked on one of his most arduous but meaningful adventures yet when he put “pen to paper” and co-wrote and directed his movie, Beside Still Waters, which is being released this week in theaters and on iTunes. Heavily influenced by his own idyllic upbringing in Georgia but thankfully not autobiographical (you will have to see the movie to understand what that means) Beside Still Waters is a tale of friends reunited for one last hoorah. Walks down memory lane are cleverly told with the help of photo montages flickering into the movie, which are beautifully shot by Chris who is also an established photographer. Little personal details from Chris’s life, like the secret writing under the draws, bring a charming warmth to this some times shocking tale of friendship. It was a labor of love to make, at times it got so tough he was ready to throw in the towel but then that wouldn’t have been very Chris, who even when fate is throwing all kinds of crap at him, dons his emotional hazmat suit and strides on. Like the time in Israel when he and his friend got robbed right at the beginning of their vacation leaving them penniless and far from home. They didn’t call mamma asking for money to be wired to them, which I would have done, hellz bells no they picked up their guitars and started singing for their food. So good were they that they paid for their entire trip on their daily sing song earnings. “Two shots for Poe” was born, if only for a short fun while and the two
twenty something boys went onto tour the US with only a campavan, $200, their voices, their courage, their zest for life and their guitars…! That crazy beautiful adventure happened in his carefree twenties. Chris just turned 30 this year but it was an event that largely went unnoticed by him because he was so busy and with so much already under his belt there was no need or room for any, “I’m turning 30 life crisis.” While putting the final touches to Beside Still Waters, Chris was also starring in the play Jacuzzi six days a week which had it’s final curtain call two days before the movies release! It was his most challenging role yet and has been a game changer for him. He plans on filling the next few decade of his life with meaningful meaty roles but for now, after he has done the rounds for Beside Still Waters, he is finally going to sit down and relax for a few weeks. Just in time for Christmas, which made an already very happy and animated Chris even smilier as he talked about the enormous christmas tree he was going to buy for the apt he shares with his lovely girlfriend and the enviously warm and fuzzy christmas tree ornament party they were going to throw to decorate it. After that though it’s everybody out so that they and their two SAG awards, that they dress up in matching wooly sweaters, can enjoy a quiet christmas, drinking wine, reading books and perhaps reflecting on the amazing journeys completed this year while planning the new ones for next. As the great Hemingway once said “it is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end….”
Who is Chris Lowell?
I’m a 30-year-old New York City transplant from Georgia. I love every stamp in my passport. I drink Mint Juleps and Kentucky Mules whenever possible. I like to throw dance parties. I don’t know how to roll a joint, but I’m left-handed and I want to have a son named Finnegan Brantley and I think my friends are the greatest achievement of my life.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An actor. Everything else – directing, writing, photography – was somehow born out of wanting to be an actor.
If the cupboard in your bedroom would lead you to another world what would your Narnia look like?
It would look like New Year’s Eve at my family’s lakehouse in North Georgia. The urgency of a limited time would still exist, but the day and night would go on and on forever. The ball would perpetually drop. The countdown would be endless.
By day you are….. by night you are…..?
By day, I’m an actor. By night, I’m a tyrant toward people using their cellphones at the dinner table.
How did you get to be where you are?
I got very lucky at the start. I booked my first audition, which led to a manager and an agent. Since then, I’ve just been hustling non-stop. I think a strong work ethic is very important. Mostly, I’m just trying to find that balance between doing work that I’m proud of and doing work that pays the bills.
If you could go back in time and give your 16-year-old self some advice what would it be?
Spend more time with your family. Pay more attention in French class. Clean out your disgusting car. Lose the ego.
What was one of your favorite past projects?
Making Beside Still Waters was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and it’s consumed my life for the past 4 years. And for all its faults, and for all it took out of me, it’s the thing I’ve most enjoyed. I got to write and direct and utilize my understanding of photography. Mostly I got to work with my friends. That was the enjoyment part. That was like being in Narnia.
What are you working on now. and what do you dream of happening in the future?
I’m about to go to the closing night performance of Jacuzzi, where I’ve been playing a character named ‘Bo.’ As far as acting goes, this was easily the most challenging and most rewarding role anyone has ever given me. I’m going to miss it. In the future, I hope to make more films and keep traveling.
What song do you love that you keep secret cause its too embarrassing to say publicly you like it…..
Pretty much everything on Marc Cohn’s self-titled album. The one that’s got “Walking in Memphis” on it. My mom and I used to listen to it when we would drive from Atlanta to St. Simons to visit my Grandpa. It reminds me of her.
Which version of “Stars fell on Alabama” do you prefer, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong or She and Him?
Ella and Satchmo. That shouldn’t even be a question.
Are you a morning person or night person?
I’m a morning person. Once I wake up, I can’t go back to sleep. I start going through all the things I need to get done that day. At night, when I crawl into bed, it’s because I’m done for.
Any advice for peeps just starting out?
Be thankful for anyone who has ever helped you. Tell them ‘thank you’ often.
Is there a quote or mantra you live by?
I’m working on a play right now based on Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, so lately I’ve been coming back to one of my favorite passages in the book: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”