Matthew Gray Gubler, as known as Spencer Reid, represented the CBS hit show Criminal Minds this year at the festival, and this was not his first time. As a big fan of the show, I can say it was one of the series that made me what I am today as a series fan (I even made a fan film, "Devil's Agents"), I couldn’t wait to interview Matthew. With another person, we had a nice conversation with him (sorry if I misunderstood some words, not a native English speaker, so I tried to do my best^^):
— You studied film directing and then, you worked as a model for several brands, and then, you jumped into Criminal Minds. What did you learn from these experiences, and was it intentional to orient your career towards those different experiences?
MGG: You know, I’ve been very lucky and I haven’t really… intentionally… (NB: MGG made a comment about an interviewer’s socks before continuing) I have a very fortunate career and I haven’t intentionally guided it in any way in particular. I’ve just been very lucky. I studied film directing and I thought it would rock me to Hollywood, and that was my goal in life, and it, in a weird way, led me towards a filmmaker named Wes Anderson, who I interned for in film school, and then, he cast me in a film called “The Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou”. And that was my first acting job, which ultimately led me to making a documentary about that movie and getting a directing agent who sent me to the audition for Criminal Minds. I’ve always tried to… I love entertaining people, in any way, whether it is acting or directing, making YouTube clips, and I just try to do that every day.
— Was it difficult for you to be an actor? Because you didn’t have any, many experiences before Criminal Minds.
MGG: Good question. I think it actually made it easier. My favorite type of actors and my favorite type of artists are people that don’t have training, because it forces them to be genuine and sincere. It’s… in anything, whether it’s a painter or you know, a dancer, I think if you’re doing it without form and without technique, you’re forced to do it in an incredibly genuine way. Even if I’m directing episodes or anything, I always look for the people who… they aren’t acting, they’re just sort of existing, and those are my favorite type of performers.
— Does it mean you didn’t have any preparation to play the role?
MGG: Yeah, I did. Because I never studied acting classically, so my process of acting is, I think, different than others, I try to… I study… It’s hard for me to explain… I wanted the character to have Asperger syndrome, it’s a form of autism, so I researched that eventually and I wanted him to be sort of unlike, untypical FBI person, so I went out of my way to know nothing about the FBI. I didn’t want to know how to hold a gun, I wanted to make him just a sort of… a unique character. It’s sort of taking my favorite parts of many of my heroes and people that I’ve known in real life. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t really have a method. It’s weird, I don’t know, I don’t know, my process is rambling, sorry…
— Why does your character speak so fast?
MGG: Good question… You know, I never thought that he spoke fast!
— Or maybe because I’m French…
MGG: No, he does. No he does speak very fast. It’s just a sort of natural in taking everything that I wanted to create Reid, putting it inside, it just manifested itself as a rapid thought. I think he’s used to people ignoring him and zoning him out, but he has an inability… he knows everything and he must say it at all times, so the best way to do that without being interrupted is to speak very fast, to prevent anyone from cutting him off.
— What are your favorite episodes?
MGG: I’m very proud of the ones I directed, for sure.
— One of my favorites is “Lauren”.
MGG: Uh, thank you!
— Because I loved Paget Brewster’s character (NB: Emily Prentiss) too, so…
MGG: She’s great. Thank you. That was a fun one to direct. My favorite one is probably “The lesson”. It was in season 8, and it was the man turning human beings into puppets, and I love that. And I love “Mosley Lane”.
— Could you tell us few words about the cast?
MGG: Yeah! We all feel like family, and I’m so lucky to get to work with them. I love them all. Shemar is like my brother, Joe is like my Los Angeles father, the girls are like my sisters. It’s a great ensemble. Everyone has the best sense of humor.
— Criminal Minds is about very dark murders. Have you ever thought it could have an influence on some people who watch it, because we always see serial killers and very scary modi operandi?
MGG: It’s funny, I think… I actually see… I think it’s a bit like a horror shark test, where you look at something and you see what you want to see. When I see the show, it seems that people walk to me in the streets often tell me that the show inspired them to go into law enforcement, or made them want to be an FBI agent, or made them want to stop crime. I haven’t met anyone yet that was like “it made me want to kill people”. (laughter) I like to imagine it’s doing more to inspire good in the world, and to me it’s a show not about murder and death, but a show about hope and goodness, but it is just from my perspective. (laughter) So I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy…
MGG: I’m sure I am…
— And what are your projects now?
MGG: I shoot this show eleven months out of the year, but every month off a year, I make a movie. Right now, I’m filming “Alvin And The Chimp Monks part 4”, and I just finished producing and acting in a modern day adaptation of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, which I’m very proud of, that just premiered three days ago in America. And I just filmed a movie called “Suburban Gothic”, which is a comedy, horror movie that’s coming out, I think in Europe, in the next month.
— How could you manage to do everything?
MGG: I know, I know… Good question, I know… I need a stop… This year, I was filming Criminal Minds as well filming “Band of Robbers” and “Life After Beth”, the zombie movie, and it was a lot work.
— So you play and you direct. What do you prefer?
MGG: I love the entertaining people in any way. My favorite things in life are comedy acting and any type of directing.