IN CONVERSATION WITH JOSH PLASSE
Interview by Jana Letonja
American actor, writer and producer Josh Plasse was most recently seen starring in the ‘The Resurrection of Charles Mansion’ and the TIFF favorite ‘Wildflower’ on Hulu. Known previously for his roles in ‘iCarly’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Grown-ish’, just to name a few, Josh has an exciting year ahead of him as he shifts from being known for his on-screen work to adding the title of producer to his resume.
Josh, just recently we’ve been able to see you in ‘The Resurrection of Charles Mansion’ and TIFF favorite ‘Wildflower’ on Hulu. How would you describe these two experiences compared to your previous projects? What makes them so different?
I would say the caliber of talent, as far as ‘Wildflower’ goes. That film had such an incredible cast and it was really lovely getting to analyze their work and share the screen. You can learn so much from seasoned actors and this film really demonstrated that for me.
With ‘The Resurrection of Charles Mansion’, it was different than any other projects I’ve been a part of because I got to work with so many of my friends that I already had existing relationships with. Collaborating with good people is one thing, getting to do it with friends is another. Indie film sets are long days, so it’s amazing when you get to do it with the people you love.
In your career so far, you had roles in many successful series. Tell us why being cast on ‘iCarly’ was such an exciting experience for you.
‘iCarly’ was one of my favorites for a number of reasons. First, I simply love comedy, multi-camera in particular. I grew up watching ‘Friends’, ‘Seinfeld’ and even ‘iCarly’. Secondly, I knew my character would have a fun relationship with Carly and that meant the writers would send us on a roller coaster of ups and downs, which is any actor’s dream. Lastly, the set experience itself was so fun and the cast and crew were just incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Which character so far did you find the most challenging to portray and why?
Luke Baxter for the simple reason that I played him for 32 episodes, which naturally brings a lot of range and tough situations to the character. Laughs, tears, fights, you name it. I had such a blast on that series, but the character did come with his fair share of challenges. He’s a man of faith who tragically loses someone and ends up walking away from his beliefs. That was an interesting and hard act to portray for me. I also recall being deathly sick and having to conjure up tears at 2 AM, which was tough.
2023 marks an exciting year for you as you shift from being in front of the camera to adding the title of producer to your resume. What made you realize you want to try your hand in a different role on a film?
Well, in addition to acting, I’ve always been a writer. I’ve actually been developing a few projects since college knowing fully that it would take time to truly raise the finances necessary to make a good product. 2023 marked the first year that my career was in a place to really garner the trust of investors and to really shift gears creatively, so I went out and took advantage of the relationships I’d been cultivating along the way. I had a few investors who believed in me early on, so with the ‘first money in’ it was a bit easier to set out and raise the closing capital. My experience producing thus far has been so amazing and I know it’s just the start for me.
You produced your company’s first feature film ‘Yucca Valley’ in 2021. Do you still remember the thrill and the excitement you felt on your first set as a producer?
I do indeed. While I’ve enjoyed every project, technically my first time producing was a short film I put together called ‘Calico Queens’, starring Danny Trejo. This was over six years ago. We had such a blast, but I knew that day that I was interested in storytelling across the board, not just acting. I’m glad you asked this because I haven’t thought about that in a long time.
We’ll get to see you in dual role, as an actor and a producer, in ‘Ride’, which will be released this year. How challenging was it being in both roles on the set?
Very challenging, with the exception that I had an incredible team. Our director simply crushed it and we surrounded ourselves with high level filmmakers every step of the way. While it was and is certainly difficult to juggle both acting and producing simultaneously, having a wonderful support system makes the task so much easier.
‘Ride’ is about three generations of bull riders fighting to raise money to transfer the family’s young daughter to a better cancer hospital. Set in Stephenville, Texas, ‘Ride’ explores rodeo, addiction in the Heartland, and the cowboy’s place in modern America. Tell us more about the film and its story.
This film is so special to me. My writing partner Jake Allyn and I actually wrote this as a pilot a long time ago, but the world works in funny ways and ultimately we ended up turning it into a full-length feature due to our sheer passion for it. The film surrounds John Hawkins, an old school cowboy in a new school world. John struggles with the concept of allowing others to help him and tends to take things into his own hands way too often. This leads to a conflict with his wife, the town Sherriff, when a body shows up dead. Ultimately, John’s entire family gets tied up in things they never should’ve been involved in, with the aim of helping their youngest daughter Virginia.
When you’re on set for such a long period of time, how do you unwind from the character and the story once the filming ends?
It’s always a sad moment calling wrap, no matter the project. When you’re spending twelve hours a day with the same group of people for elongated periods you’re naturally going to create a bond. I think everyone unwinds differently, but for me, I like to buy wrap gifts that signify the project in a specific way so that we’ll remember it forever, and then I like to simply move on. I find a short vacation or even weekend getaway tends to be a nice way of resetting your mind and focusing on what’s next. Ironically, these little trips often spur ideas for your next projects, so they’re definitely becoming habitual for me.
Along with your multi-hyphenate skills in the film and television world, you are also active in baseball, martial arts, football, tennis, basketball, track & field, boxing, swimming and golf. With such a wide variety of sports, you must have a favorite one amongst them. Which one is that and what makes it your favorite?
My answer is undoubtedly boxing and MMA. I won Golden Gloves when I was eighteen and I’ve missed the thrill of competition ever since. I still work out at a high level every day and I’m a bit obsessed with my training. I’ve transitioned more into MMA, having fallen in love with wrestling lately. But I still box a lot and even teach on occasion out of sheer love for it.
Josh, with ‘Ride’ coming out soon, what can you share with us about your other upcoming projects?
‘Ride’ will release late this year via WellGo USA, our amazing distributor. I truly can’t wait for you all to see that film, I think it’s going to knock everyone’s socks off. As for my next action, you can catch me in Tyler Perry’s ‘All The Queen’s Men’ season three airing later this year and ‘The Baxters’, also airing later this year. Production wise, my company is gearing up to attack our next picture, but we’re still juggling a few details on that front, so I don’t want to say anything that doesn’t end up coming true. Stay tuned.
photography SHERI ANGELES