CROWLEY’S TOMB NEWS AND CASTING UPDATES: It gives me great honor to announce that Thomas Noel Smith has accepted the lead role as the “Wizard”. In my humble opinion Thomas is one of the best actors of all time. We are beyond grateful to have him perform in the upcoming movie Crowley’s Tomb. Film production begins summer of 2017.
Q- It seems fans always want to know what an actor’s process is when preparing for past, or present character roles. Take us through your process when researching, developing and transitioning on the set for your character roles?
A- This is a very private and personal process that I would prefer not to discuss. The process is a bit different for each role. I will state, however, that I am not a dedicated method actor. I don’t carry the role around with me. Before the camera roles I am Tom. When the camera is rolling I am the character. When the camera stops rolling I am Tom. I do, at times, use bits of Stanislavski, bits of Chekhov, bits of Meisner, and I have other things I do to prepare for a role, including research. And I take to heart Katherine Hepburn’s advice to an actor: “Show up, say your lines, don’t act, go home.”
Q- Who is your favorite actor and why?
A- I have three favorite actors. Cary Grant, because of his versatility. Ernest Borgnine, because of his determination and dedication to what he was doing. Michael Caine, because he is just a damned good actor.
Q- What would your dream role be? What would you bring to the character?
A- Every role I play is my dream role. What I bring to the character is everything that is me…the way I am, what is deep within, and so forth. In other words, I commit to the part. If I am in a constant quest to find a “dream role” I will be constantly disappointed. Therefore, every role I get becomes my dream role and I am always happy to work.
Q- Do you prefer to play the villain or the hero? Why?
A- This is also a difficult question to answer. I like being the protagonist (hero) if the protagonist is not a simple man. If there are difficulties and problems that confront him, then I am pleased to play that role. On the other hand, the dark side is always attractive because the villains have a lot going on and it is always a delight to play the evil ones. They are challenging. They are always thinking. They are a side of us they we could never be…so playing evil roles is like a trip into an adult fantasyland, where you are free to give birth to words and thoughts you could have in civilized society. That’s why playing the role of a villain is so much fun.
Q- Tell the fans about a fun fact that we might not be aware of.
A- I’m not certain what a fun fact might be. I will give several aspects of my biography which some might not be aware of. May that will fit the bill.
I have worked as a professional magician and mentalist.
I have worked as a professional clown. I traveled with a small one-ring circus for two years.
I have worked as a professional folk singer.
I have four books of poetry that have been published.
Currently, I am working on a novel-length story about a man who goes to hell and much to his surprise, he finds all of his friends there, eagerly waiting to greet him and welcome him. Then he discovers that he has a chance to escape from hell. But does he really want to leave all of his friends behind?
Q- What was the hardest role you’ve ever played and why?
A- I don’t like to think of roles as “hard.” The moment I label a role as “hard” puts an unnecessary roadblock in my path. I think of roles as challenging. The most challenging role I ever played was Richard III in Shakespeare’s Richard III. The role was challenging because it was Shakespeare. I also had a very demanding director. We got along fine. I did not want to play Richard as a hunchback, nor did I want to play him as a cartoon villain. He was a man caught up in a series of circumstances that he was not altogether responsible for. He had strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities. In short, I wanted to play him as a man who in many respects was the same as any other man. I also worked on my lines and tried to say them so that contemporary audiences could understand. I didn’t want to sound like a Shakesperian actor spouting pretty words to the rafters. I wanted, for one brief second, to be the man, Richard, who faces overwhelming odds and tries to cope with his fate the best way he can.
Q- On the flip side, what was the most fun role you’ve ever played?
A- I’m not sure “fun” is the right word for the role I’m thinking of…but before I get started on that let me say that every role I play is fun. If I didn’t enjoy my work or the roles I play, I wouldn’t be in this business. But back to the role. A role I really enjoyed was a stage role. It was the role of Harry Roat. He was a character in the play Wait Until Dark. It was an enjoyable role because I got to do all sorts of unspeakable things. The most challenging thing was to bring Roat to life so that he not a completely cartoon villain. Yes, he has no redeeming social qualities, but he does have a sense of humanity. He preys on the weaknesses of others and taunts them mercilessly. So, I had to work to find something that made him truly human.
Q- Tell us about where you got your training?
A- I trained at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey’s Clown College
I trained at U.S.F
I trained at Chicago College of Arts
I go once a week, every week to train with my acting coach, Peggy Sheffield.
Q- What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
A- Never give up. Never, ever listen to anyone who tells you or tries to tell you that you have no talent. Get lots of training and never stop training. You are never going to be good enough to tell yourself that you don’t need training. You always will. Get a good acting teacher or coach and go to them regularly. Develop a thick skin. You will be rejected more times that you are cast. Learn to enjoy the auditioning process—it’s a chance to perform—whether you are cast or not. And finally, love what you do. Acting must be a part of you and you must be a part of acting…always, always take your craft seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. You are human, just like the rest of us.
You can find Thomas at: