IN CONVERSATION WITH SEBASTIAN CHACON
Interview by JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
Sebastian Chacon stars as Warren Rhodes in Amazon’s highly anticipated miniseries ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’. The series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid and is premiering today (3rd March).
Sebastian, you’re starring in Amazon’s miniseries ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’, which is an adaptation of the best selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Have you read the novel before you started filming or were in any way familiar with the plot?
As soon as I got the offer, I picked up a copy of the book and tore through it in about a day. The format makes it a really quick and exciting read and it really seemed to be begging for an adaptation. In the book, the characters constantly describe how amazing it was to be there, to hear the music they were making and to experience certain moments in their career as a band. By the end of it, I really wanted to just see them do a show. Honestly, I’m super glad to be able to do that with the series. I think people are really gonna dig it.
The miniseries is following the rise of rock band Daisy Jones and The Six through the 70s LA music scene on their quest for worldwide icon status. How hard was a band’s path to success back in the 70s?
I’d say it’s probably really similar to how it would be today. It’s a lot of band practice in your mom’s garage and shitty little gigs in shitty little bars with nobody to watch you play, being nickel and dimed by cheap venue owners and managers. The path to being a successful musician can be a real grind. I feel super blessed that I got to cut the line and pretend to be a rockstar for a little bit.
In the series you play Warren Rhodes, the band’s drummer. Tell us more about your character and what can we expect to see, when the series premieres?
I love Warren. He is such a ball of joy and energy, even through the worst of times. Being from a family of immigrants, I have a lot of people in my life who have had immense challenges and traumas and their happiness and levity become a sort of armor against that. Just waking up in the morning is a blessing. With Warren, I wanted to show that kind of person, someone who has learned how to be happy and is really good at it. Even when The Six is first starting out and struggling to pay the bills, Warren is having a great time, he loves every bit of it. I like to think that if The Six never made it as a band and just occasionally played songs in someone’s backyard in Pittsburgh while working day jobs at the steel mill, Warren would still be completely satisfied.
Your first TV role was as Stevie in ‘The Get Down’ in 2016. For this role there initially wasn’t a part written, so you had to improvise all of your lines. How nervous did that make you, especially this being your first TV role?
I was admittedly extremely nervous, but it was fun. I just kept asking for more props. I think my character was in a VIP section of a disco club, in a loud patterned suit, with a cigar in my mouth, drawing with a lipstick tube on someone’s leg and munching on a bag of chips, high out of my mind on cocaine. Baz Luhrmann, the director, was super into it and kept asking for more, screaming and jumping up and down between takes to keep the energy up. I ended up barely being in the show, but I worked for like a week. Huge windfall for a kid right out of school. I think I’ve kind of taken an improvisational approach to everything I’ve done, and certainly with Daisy. Always trying to find the most interesting, funny version of the scene that we could be doing.
After that, how important do you think being able to improvise is in acting?
For me it’s the most important thing. I’ve done a lot of projects where we start going off script and improvising new dialogue, which is great, but I think something really underrated is the ability to think on your feet as an actor. Even if you don’t change any of the words. In the theatre, you figure these things out in the rehearsal room over a few weeks, but on camera, it all happens on the day right before you roll. In those few moments, you have to run around the room thinking about how to approach the scene in order to make it as interesting and funny and vibrant as possible. And when you’re in it, you have to be able to keep up with what’s happening and be hyper-present. On ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’, they really warmed up to my way of working. During a wedding scene, the director just gave me an old camera and said “you’re happy, you’re on drugs, just run around and do some stuff”. We would often keep the cameras rolling after scenes were over just to see what happens.
When you look back on your career so far, would you change anything?
Honestly, I don’t think so. Maybe there were certain opportunities that I could have chased, auditions I could have done better and times when I could have worked harder, but all those things led me to where I am today. I’d be terrified to change anything because then I wouldn’t have my life as it is.
We heard that in your free time you are also passionate about art and photography. What makes you passionate about it?
I just really appreciate things that were made by human hands. Natural beauty and stuff like that are great, but I am frequently much more amazed at what spills out of the human fountain of creativity. I like to see through someone else’s eyes and feel a semblance of what someone else may have felt. It reaches across centuries and across cultures and I really couldn’t do without it. Seeing good art makes me feel more like a person.
What kind of photography do you do? As a photographer, what is the most important component or aspect of a great photo in your eyes?
I have always been really into street photography and am a huge fan of various photographers who have pounded the pavement in various cities over the last century. I think the most important aspect of a good photo is its mystery. That good old “what’s going on here?” feeling. Something that really demands attention and seems to have a big backstory and energy. I always have a camera with me, ready to shoot a crispy black and white of whatever comes my way. Always gotta have it. I hate that feeling “Dammit! I wish I could have taken a photo of that!” I think this world and the people in it are beautiful and fascinating and I’m always taking photos of them in the street. I don’t think there’s a better city in the world for that than New York, where I had the incredible fortune to be born in.
Next, you’ll be starring in the thriller ‘Humane’, in which in the wake of an environmental collapse that is forcing humanity to shed 20 % of its population, a family dinner erupts into chaos when a father’s plan to enlist in the government’s new euthanasia program goes horribly awry. What is your opinion on euthanasia?
Wow, what a question. I think in the context of ‘Humane’, we really got to see it erode the value of human life. If you have the option to end your own life for a check and that’s acknowledged by the government, then people dying becomes commonplace. It becomes routine. Human life becomes even more of a commodity than it already is. In that film, we get to see that takes an immense toll on my character’s mental state. The world is just a much darker place when that’s the reality you have to live with. Waking up and continuing your life feels like a serious choice you have to make every day.
talent SEBASTIAN CHACON @sebchacon
photography PETROS KOUIOURIS @petros_koy
styli / creative director MICKEY FREEMAN @ The Only Agency @mickeyboooom @theonly.agency
groomer SOPHIE HARTNETT @sophie_hartnett
photography assistant RICARDO LARA @thericardolara
set designer KIMBERLY REDMAN @redmankim
set design assistant KATIE HARTKINS @katie.harrkins
styling assistant ANGEL CARRION @therealcarrion
editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja