Interview with Greg Fallon from Close Calls, 10.31 and The Perfect Host: A Southern Gothic Tale
There are few actors that make an instant impression from the get-go … and Greg Fallon easily falls into the top 3 for me! I first noticed Greg’s talent after screening the Halloween anthology, 10.31. However, after viewing Richard Stringham’s 2017 film Close Calls, Greg Fallon’s appearance as the abhorrent Barry Cone just blew away all senses of the creepy yet handsome face of pure evil. It takes extreme flair to pull off a brief yet incredibly memorable character such as Cone. The impact this character in the movie puts such a crazy spin on the plot that it could make your head explode while the ickiness slides off your skin like oil.
I recently had the privilege to interview Greg Fallon and learn more about his acting history, his career in law and the preparation needed to play creepy Barry Cone.
Meredith: Let’s talk Close Calls. You play the diabolical Barry Cone, one of the most peculiar and sinister villains to appear on the horror scene in recent years. What was your first impression of Barry after reading the script?
Greg: Ted Bundy immediately jumped to mind. I studied Bundy in law school. He was an intelligent, handsome, charming sociopath who achieved sexual gratification from inflicting pain and exerting control over women. I was also reminded of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.
Meredith: Did you base the character on anyone in particular? How do you prepare to play someone as depraved as Barry Cone?
Greg: Any time I get a new character, I try to figure out what I might have in common with them, then I occupy that common ground while filming. That process was difficult with Barry Cone. He’s a terrible human being. I could only occupy that character for about 45 minutes at a time every day during three months of preparation. Eventually, it just felt too horrible and real, and I’d have to put the script down until the next day. As part of my prep, I wrote a monologue entitled “How I’m Going to Get Away With It” by Barry Cone. My wife couldn’t stand to watch it. Of the dozen or so people I tried to perform that monologue for, only two people let me finish. I think I needed to write and perform that monologue as a way of dealing with the trauma of being in that headspace.
Meredith: Barry appears at the front door, a complete stranger on a dark and rainy night. When he turns slowly and flashes that wickedly naughty smile, it sent chills down my back. It activates the danger meter on full blast. Did you practice that moment?
Greg: Yes. He’s smiling because he’s just gained entry into the house with her permission. He’s just surmounted his last obstacle to getting what he wants from her, and while he’s looking at her he’s picturing what he’s going to do to her that night. It makes him very happy. He’s actually working very hard not to start giggling. It’s that “conflict” he’s experiencing, that effort to restrain his impulses for just a little while longer, that makes the smile so creepy. We know why he’s smiling. Morgan doesn’t.
Meredith: You also star as Peter McNeely in 10.31, a horror anthology I reviewed several months ago. What was it like being part of a great Halloween collection and working with a revered spectrum of talent alongside you?
Greg: It was quite a bit of fun working with Rocky Gray. He’s very gracious and talented. Also, that was the second film I did with Jordan Phipps, who played Morgan in Close Calls. She and I have a tremendous amount of mutual respect for each others’ abilities, and we take a very similar approach to the acting process. On 10.31, we enjoyed getting to be nice to each other in a film, as opposed to screaming and trying to kill each other in our underwear.
Meredith: Your filmography consists of an array of genres: horror, drama, religious, etc. What is most appealing to you – the genre, the portraying role or the overall tale and direction of the plot?
Greg: It all begins with a good story. Since I’ve only been acting a few years, I don’t pretend that I get to pick and chose many roles, but I do have a wish list of things I look for in a script. The most important thing for me is that the filmmaker have something worth telling. Next, I look for a challenging character, something that will push me to grow as an actor. I’m just a beginner, and I know I have a lot of growing to do. The genre isn’t really that important to me. Duke Ellington once said that there’s only two kinds of music, good and bad. I take that to mean that he finds music he likes and music he hates in every single genre. That’s how I feel about movies.
Meredith: According to IMDb, your professional acting career began in 2015 with Captain. Yet, you’ve already created quite a buzz around your talent through various accolades and award nominations. How did you get into acting and has it always been a dream?
Greg: It was never a dream of mine. Growing up, I always wanted to be a lawyer. I achieved that by age twenty-four. There have been a lot of things in life that I’ve discovered and felt like they would be interesting to give a try. Acting was just one of those things that wandered into my field of view. I’m not claiming to be any hugely talented actor, but I’ve probably got more natural ability for this than I do anything else.
Meredith: Please share some of your earlier influences and motivations with us!
Greg: I’ve probably had too many hobbies over the years. A lot of those hobbies I’ve had little or no talent for, and I’ve had to work very hard just to become proficient in them. Public speaking and acting come very naturally for me, and more than anything else I just wanted to put that same kind of hard work into something that I actually had some amount of natural talent for and see what would happen. It’s much more enjoyable this way.
Meredith: What are some of your favourite films and why?
Greg: The Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa is my favourite film. It was a wonderful story told by a master director at the height of his ability. It also stars Toshiro Mifune, who’s the greatest actor I’ve ever seen. I wish I had just one tenth of his physical grace and charisma.
Meredith: In addition to acting, you are a former SWAT officer, a current musician, producer and also… a full time attorney! Do you consider yourself a jack of all trades and is there anything else you plan to conquer?
Greg: The noted mythology expert Joseph Campbell once said that he would probably never have the experience of being a master of anything but that he had enjoyed a life of wide and varied experiences. I completely agree. There are too many interesting things to do in this life, and not enough time or money to do all of them. I really hope that I’ve got several more of these kinds of experiences left in me, though.
Meredith: What is the best film project you were a part of and why?
Greg: It’s difficult to say which is the “best” film I’ve been a part of, but the collaboration with director Richard Stringham on Close Calls has been my most enjoyable experience so far.
Meredith: Ever received negative feedback on your work and if so, how do you handle it?
Greg: I’m sure folks could give plenty of negative feedback on my work, but so far they don’t seem to care enough about me to say anything out loud. Derrick Sims, director of The Perfect Host, once told me that I need to work on the resonance of my voice and cadence. He was right, and I have.
Meredith: You have several upcoming projects in the works… any information you can share with your fans?
Greg: The only thing I can specifically mention is that Richard Stringham has asked me to act in his next film, which is currently in pre-production. I have three other projects in development, as well.
Meredith: Greg, thank you so very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to discuss your work and upcoming projects with me! I am looking forward to seeing your future films and wish you all the best in all endeavours.
Greg: Thank you so much for having me, Meredith.