Interview: MEET MONICA VELOUR actor Dustin Ingram
Meet Dustin Ingram, part-time nerd and part-time actor in MEET MONICA VELOUR. During my conversation with Ingram, we chat grilled cheese, video games, internet memes, what it's like making out with Kim Cattrall, celebrity crushes, the difference between a cougar and a puma, hardcore music, Michael Haneke's filmography...I would continue, though I am out of breath and will leave the rest up to your imagination.
I will say our interview is all over the place, but in the best way imaginable. Without further ado, please meet Tobe of MEET MONICA VELOUR, otherwise known as my new best friend Dustin Ingram.
You and director Keith Bearden share strikingly similar features. Do you think this had anything to do with casting or that he saw a little bit of himself in you? I’m really just asking if you think Keith had a secret porn star fetish while growing up…
Haha, well no. He will tell you that our looks had nothing to do with his casting me. Neither of us thinks that we really look like each other. I kind of get that we are that “tall-gangly” type, though I actually see Keith more in Monica's character, than I do in Tobe. It may sound kind of strange, but Keith's sort of been affected by the world just like Monica, just not so much in a negative way. He’s just had all of those Monica life experiences, unlike Tobe who is completely naive. Even though Keith did have a very hard childhood as he’s told me.
He probably had a porn star fetish though, let’s be honest…
What about the script spoke to you to take on the role of Tobe?
I wish it was that way, like “Yeah I'll do this!”. When I first got the script and even now still when I get an audition and want to book the work, I really can’t be too picky as to say “I don’t know if I really want to do something like that”. I thought back, I mean... sat back (what’s in this water?) and thought about it for a bit. But it was a normal audition and he didn’t like me at all. I don’t know if he's told you that story.
Tell me the story…
After my first audition he hated me, he didn’t think I was any good. He actually didn’t want to bring me back me at all. The producer told him “You have four guys that you’re calling back, call back some more, just call back somebody” and Keith agreed “Ok fine, call back the Ingrim kid, whatever he’s not going to get it”.
And we ended up talking about love and grilled cheese…
Grilled cheese does have a special bonding effect.
It really does. We bonded over the magic of grilled cheese and life and love.
You said earlier how you don’t consider yourself to be a "stereotypical actor." What do you consider yourself to be as an actor and do you ever worry about being typecast in this type of role?
Yeah, whenever I get breakdowns for auditions it always either has the word “gangly” “awkward” or “think Michael Cera." My character Tobe gets a lot of comparisons to Napoleon Dynamite by the way he looks, even though they are two totally different characters.
I think it’s in the hair...
Oh, it’s definitely in the hair. I used to have a huge, giant, big fro. On IMDb there is a picture of me with it, if you don’t believe me.
Oh, I believe you and I am going on IMDB right after this to check this situation out. (Check it, folks.)
You have to see it to believe it. Um…wait, can you repeat the question?
You said how previous auditions have more or less been similar to one another, which can lead to being type casted. What type of actor do you consider yourself to be and what role would you like to take on next?
Well, I’m definitely a character actor. I’m not going to be the leading man; I’m not going to be Captain America or Iron Man. I would just love to play anyone that is interesting and strange. Not necessarily nerdy, but just that guy you see on the street who you wouldn’t talk to because you’re scared of him or not too sure if there is something weird going on for him. The ultimate goal is Sweeney Todd, I want to play Sweeney Todd before I die. But I would consider myself to be a nerd. In life, I’m a huge nerd.
(Dustin pulls out his Zelda wallet in front of me…)
Get out! A Zelda wallet?
You’re familiar with Zelda?
I am, very much so.
You play Zelda?
I do, on N64.
The original Ocarina of Time! Majora’s Mask or Ocarina of Time?
Ocarina of Time, hands down.
Ok, what else. Do you play other video games?
Do you really? Are you a nerd? You’re a bit of a nerd, huh?
We are one of the same kind, you got me red-handed.
That’s awesome, I would have never known. How about internet nerd? Do you know your memes?
I think I know my memes. Try me.
Dustin: Okay, well we will start with a really famous one. Have you been “rick-rolled” before?
Sadly, yes I have.
Many of times probably. Sorry to bring it up. How about, ceiling cat. Do you know ceiling cat?
What exactly is ceiling cat?
It’s just a picture of a cat popping out of a ceiling. You put it whenever someone is creeping on you. Oh my god, my memes, I’m totally blanking right now!
How about Snood? Not a meme, but a computer game. It’s pretty ancient, probably dates back to 8th grade back on my parents computer. Are you familiar?
What exactly is Snood? What do you do?
It’s a puzzle game with different characters (known as Snoods) that you have to save by grouping three or more of the same kind together. If a Snood touches the bottom, the game is over.
I vaguely remember that! But yes, I’m a huge nerd. I’m a nerd who knows he’s a nerd.
That’s good though, you’re reppin’ it! No shame in your nerd game.
Nope, no shame in my game. I’m not the cool guy. I cosplay, I will dress up as video game characters, I’m not above it. You know, I have 100 percent on RED DEAD REDEMPTION. Let me repeat that...
(Dustin get closer to the mic)
100 PERCENT, TOTAL COMPLETION, ON RED DEAD REDEMPTION, DUSTIN INGRAM.
Well, I just got an Xbox for Christmas so I am a little behind on you on Red Dead Redemption...
Good for you. You need to play Left For Dead, Read Dead, Bioshock… I’m sorry I could talk about videogames (or anything nerdy really) all day and I will, if you don’t stop me!
As a young (and nerdy) lad, did you appreciate the opportunity of making out with an older, blonde bombshell otherwise known as Kim Cattrall? How was that experience for you on set?
That was the very first scene we rehearsed. And she (Kim) hates when I tell this story, but I will tell it to you anyways. So she’s in Monica’s character and goes...
(Dustin takes deep breath and lowers voice to serious tone)
“So this is the scene where we kiss, and everything goes.... except for the tongue, no tongue, kid” And that was my first interaction with Kim. I said “Ok, you got it”. But once we got into it, I didn’t think about it like I was making out with Kim Cattrall. I thought about the scene like I was making out with Monica Velour, my dream woman. You know, the girl I was in love with when I was 16 or whatever. It was her, it was Monica I was making out with.
So who was your “Monica Velour” growing up at age 16? Who did you crush on and have posters of in your bedroom?
When I was really young, I loved Cindy Crawford. I thought we were meant to be because we had the same mole.
Ever since then, it’s been Meryl Streep.
I can respect that! I tend to make people feel uncomfortable with my crushes on older actors, too. Christopher Walken, Bill Murray...
The nerdy guys! I get that. It’s a huge, huge crush on Meryl Streep. Everything she does. She could play Iron Man and she would be right for the role. She can do anything and it would be right. I don’t know, I didn’t really sexually fantasize or have that “sex symbol” while growing up. I just had someone I respected; I didn’t have posters of Maxim models in my room. I had Power Ranger posters… I had a crush on the Pink Ranger! I will give you that. The original though, none of this new crap.
What is your take on lady cougars? Actually, let me rephrase that; pumas. There seems to be this trend going on in Hollywood with older women snatching up the younger guys.
What’s the difference between a cougar and a puma?
Well this is my own characterization. A puma, is a female not quite into her 40’s yet and dating a younger guy preparing for her cougar kingdom. Celebrities like Selena Gomez going for Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon…
Oh okay, so opposite side of the spectrum! Older women going for younger guys. If you have daddy issues or mommy issues, that's another story. I don’t have any mommy issues, as far as I know, my parents are still married and they are wonderful, loving people.
But yes, I would totally be attracted to an older woman. Most of the girls I have dated have been actually been older than me. If it were someone younger, they would have to be on the same sort of intellectual level, I guess. Not saying that I am above or below than I should be.
So love has no age for you?
Totally, pumas can rock it. Wait…if you are a puma and you wear pumas, do you get extra points or something?
You’ve got to, I mean, that should be mandatory.
Ok yeah, pumas are cool, I am down with it.
Now there is a homemade hangover drink you are given in the film by Miss Monica Velour. Was this concoction any similar to what you would use in real life?
I think there’s aspirin, honey, ginger ale, sugar - you'll have to double check with Keith on that. But all of the ingredients are actually in there and it did not taste good. It was terrible. As for me, I never get drunk…I don’t know what you’re talking about or what you heard! Haha no, I just turned 21 in January. So it’s all very fresh to me.
I probably mixed up the wrong stories of Dustin Ingram on TMZ.
I think so. Because I never drank before 21, right Mom?! We can post that one for the blog. I don’t get hangovers. I’ve had nights of heavy drinking and I’ll wake up without a hangover. So I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know where it goes or how it’s possible.
Speaking of Moms…what was the street name of your childhood home while growing up?
Porn star names! Ok what is it? Street name and middle name? The street name I grew up on, it’s perfect...Jaguar. And my middle name is Kyle. So I would be, Kyle Jaguar. I actually do it a little different. I do your first pet name and the street that you lived on.
Ok, so I would be…Rainbow Bayway!
Oh my god! Oh boy, I can see it now…Rainbow Bayway, Double Rainbow…
ALL THE WAY!
Rainbow Bayway, Double Rainbow, All the Way, Hey! Ok we’ll make it! That has to be made.
I can see it now! What are some of your favorite films and tunes of the MONICA VELOUR 80’s era?
Oh man, I have to bring up my Netflix queue. Music and movies? I’m kind of picky when it comes to music.
So what music are you listening to now, then?
(Dustin hands me his iPod...)
I love the Noisettes. Sufjan Steven’s new album is pretty fantastic. St. Vincent is one of my favorite artists, she’s pretty great. Andrew Bird, I love. The Kills, Dead Weather and The Bled... I also listen to some hardcore music…
Hardcore music? Really? I grew up on Long Island…aka Strong Island. I know all about that scene.
HxC all the way , huh?
You’re slowly peeling all of then hidden layers of my nerd and hardcore traits.
I noticed the skulls on your scarf, so you rep the hardcore in a very subliminal way. Name some of your band and let's see if I'm in the know.
Sky Came Falling?
I like the bands Underoath and Dance Gavin Dance.
Underoath is like highschool for me, driving around in my Ford Explorer...
Yes! But then I also listen to a bunch of jazz. The soundtrack to the movie is killer.
I really dug the soundtrack for MONICA VELOUR. We hear a bit of 30's jazz in the film and it really evokes a certain emotion out of your character. Ok, so if not any 80's music, what 80's movies do you like?
MANNEQUIN! Well...now my phone is going to load my Netflix queue for an hour, what else do you want to talk about in the meantime?
Well we chatted current music, how about current movies?
I love FUNNY GAMES, one of my all-time favorite films.
That is my all-time favorite! I got to work with Brady Corbet and shoot a commentary for the film.
Wow! Did you really? So are you on the cut of the DVD? What did you think of the remake?
It was for my Senior Thesis at college, I compared the film to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and it’s play on reality versus fiction. I thought the remake was brilliant, it was shot frame for frame which is difficult. I think it was the perfect film to come out at the right time for our culture with the explosion of torture porn films.
Absolutely. I just love how he punishes you for that one bit of on screen violence. My friends and I had a movie night. They are extremely opinionated, we're all feminists and animal rights activists and it hit us hard. Were all shocked and talking about it for hours upon hours.
Michael Haneke really hits you hard, without ever having to be blatant.
What’s the other movie by Michael Haneke where the character drops the VHS tape off?
I know what you’re talking about…
(I continue skimming through Dustin’s iPod as his queue loads)
Fan of Hot Chip, I see?
I am, I got to see Andrew Bird open for Hot Chip live..
(Publicist steps in...time's up!)
Dustin: Hold on! We can't wrap up until I find this movie in my Netflix queue...
Yes, CACHE! FUNNY GAMES is still my favorite though, Brady Corbet and Micheal Pitt are such a good duo.
I dressed up as their two characters from FUNNY GAMES for Halloween.
So did I…Did we just become best friends?
I think so!
For more on MEET MONICA VELOUR, check out the trailer below, as well as the film which hits select theatres this weekend!