(ARTICLE AND INTERVIEW BY ME. IF REBLOGGED, PLEASE CREDIT ME AS THE SOURCE. IT'S NOT THAT HARD)
Band of Brothers. This iconic HBO mini-series, which pulled in six Emmy’s (including “ Outstanding Miniseries,” "Outstanding Casting for a miniseries, Movie, or a Special," and "Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special.", as well as a Golden Globe for "Best Miniseries, or Motion Picture Made for Television," an American Film Institute award, and was selected for a Peabody Award for ‘...relying on both history and memory to create a new tribute to those who fought to preserve liberty.") helped launch several hardworking, exceptionally talented actors into the fame stratosphere. Matthew Leitch was amongst those who reaped the rewards of what can only be described as a masterpiece.
Portraying the handsome and charismatic paratrooper Floyd M. Talbert, Easy Company’s resident ladies man, (as alluded to in the mini-series. Who else would have over two hundred prophylactics hidden under his bed?), Matthew made a name for himself with American and worldwide audiences alike, as a serious actor.
Born in Aldershot, England, Matthew had an early exposure to what his character, Floyd Talbert, might have gone through. His father was a paratrooper and he and his family moved around from place to place. “We moved around a lot with the army. I lived in Germany, South England, North England...all over,” Leitch stated, adding, “That is why I was sent to boarding school.”
Seemingly a natural born actor, Leitch has actually had a fair amount of education in the acting department. “I studied acting for three years at Arts Educational Drama School in Chiswick. It was a pretty intense method/Stanislavski course. It instilled in me a desire to try and do things for real, rather than just indicate things.” he explained, which, in my opinion, is the true essence of acting itself.
Acting, as most of you well know, isn’t easy and the motivations to keep at it, or get into it at all, are always varied. “Well, I think I just do it to stay sane. Oddly enough, actors are some of the sanest people I know. It's in other walks that I've met the biggest fanatics.” He’s probably met a few of you here, on Livejournal. I know, from personal experience, that Band of Brothers fans, or fans in general can be…well, intense.
Matthew first emerged on the scene in 1998 as Stewart Jackson in the Nickelodeon program Renford Rejects, a show about a five-a-side school football team, made up of aspiring players who had been turned down by their school's main team. “The show got picked up when I was on holiday in France and I had to take on overnight train to make it back for the first day of rehearsals. Renford Rejects ran for four series.. I only did three. I left before the last one.. which was apparently a TV low water mark. I shot Band of Brothers instead,” Leitch said, and I have to say I’m glad he did, being a huge Band of Brothers fan.
“My favourite project to act in was a film I called AKA. It was on that film that things started to click and I stopped being so rubbish,” he mused, when asked which project he enjoyed working on most, and why , though he added, “My favourite all round project is a film I wrote and directed and is just ready to see the light of day. It is called Life Like Fire and it also stars my son, Marvin Floyd.”
Marvin Floyd? That name rings a bell. “Yes, I did name my son after Floyd, although Tab's brothers called him Merle,” Leitch answered.
Moving on to the subject of Band of Brothers, which is always one of my favorite topic of conversation, I couldn’t help but get a little excited. “Band of Brothers is sort of a blur now, like the birth of my boy. I remember it more as feeling of deep and honest joy and of having done something worthwhile, rather than a series of specific memories. A bit like the birth of my son,” Leitch commented.
Watching the DVD extras, the boot camp the cast was required to attend was documented pretty thoroughly, showing how the actors trained to portray the real men of Easy Company. “I loved boot camp. Others (who will remain nameless) didn't,” Leitch stated. Under the strict watch of Dale Dye, a retired U.S. Marine Captain and founder of Warriors, Inc., company that specializes in training actors for realistic military portrayals for movies of the war genre, the actors were put through a lot, though of Dye, Leitch said, “ [Dye] is a pussycat.. but don't tell him I said so.”
Another potential challenge for Leitch, a British native, was getting Talbert’s accent right. Leitch, however, had no problem in that area. In fact, it was quite the opposite. “Accents are a sort of hobby of mine. I approach them in a very scientific way. I like to know all the sounds and where they come from and why... I can usually guess where a person is from and where they grew up. I like dissecting the sounds of their accent.” he answered, adding, “Yeah, I'm a linguistic bore.”
Matthew has had a considerably successful career after Band of Brothers, having landed the leading role in AKA, and several supporting roles in movies such as The Detonator and The Dark Knight. In 2009, Leitch snagged the lead role in Sabor Tropical as Brian, an American who goes to Panama on vacation during the celebration of Carnival, only to find himself in a relationship of desperation and violence. “ Panama and Sabor was the maddest time ever. We all went insane on sleep deprivation and booze and carnival. No one slept for five straight days, and we shot the whole film in a week in LA, Mexico and Panama City, as well as the Las Tablas carnival.” The film was shot documentary style and has sparked some controversy, despite how brilliant it is.
As of now, Leitch has a lot of work on his plate. “I am busy promoting a film a I wrote and directed called Life Like Fire.” So readers,, be ready to watch this explode onto the scene, seeing as it’s bound to be fantastic.
An amazing actor with indescribable talent, Matthew Leitch will hopefully continue to dazzle audiences an critics alike. Matthew is an extremely stand up guy, a great father, and it was a pleasure to interview him. It was a life changing experience and I will always remember it, it having been one of the best moments of my life. Thank you, Matthew.
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