THE SPACE BETWEEN Video Interview: Kelsey Grammer Talks Llamas, Singing, And Gets Emotional About FRASIER
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, X-Men: The Last Stand) spoke to us about his new movie The Space Between, talking about his llama co-star, singing in the movie, and why it was a particularly emotional experience.
The Space Between stars the legendary Kelsey Grammer as Micky Adams, an eccentric has-been rock musician who loses his grip on reality as his record label looks to drop him and his new "unique" albums. In hopes of breaking out of the mailroom, young Charlie Porter (Jackson White) is tasked with traveling to the musician’s bizarre home and forcing Micky out of his contract. Micky realizes Charlie could be the key to an artistic breakthrough and the pair’s unlikely friendship grows.
As the movie progresses, the odd but powerful bond helps both men gain perspective on the music industry, life, love...and the space between. The cast also includes Julia Goldani Telles, Paris Jackson, Andy Daly, and William Fichtner, while Rivers Cuomo was enlisted to provide original music.
We recently had the privilege of talking to the Frasier and X-Men star about his role in the film, including what he looks for in a movie like The Space Between, having a llama as a co-star, getting to reel off some scene-stealing dialogue, and whether he can relate to Micky's journey and his own as he prepares to reprise his most famous role (which leads to the actor getting emotional).
Grammer also shares his reaction to us praising his version of Beast, and you can check out The Space Between when it arrives on Video-On-Demand and Digital on June 15 from Paramount.
Watch our chat with Kelsey below:
I know you’ve obviously played such iconic comedy characters over the years, whether we’re talking about Frasier Crane or Sideshow Bob, but when a film like this comes your way, what do you look for in the character you’re playing that really stands out to you and is it important that they’re different to what’s come before?
Well, I like the idea of films is that you actually get the chance to play something you haven’t done before. That’s really a big part of my agenda when I decide I want to do a film. Sometimes, I’ll just do a film to keep the motor running, you know? In this case, Micky was a delight to play. Micky Adams is like a fantasy character for an actor. He’s bigger than life, he sings, he moves, and loves deeply. It’s the kind of thing you’re drawn to as an actor to play somebody like that. He is a departure as well, so it ticked all the boxes.
You work with a lot of talented actors in the film, but I feel I have to ask you about that llama…
[Laughs] You’re the first one to ask about the llama. Repeat the question?
I was just wondering: that must have been a weird, fun day on set for you?
He was lovely. The llama didn’t spit either. He was actually a lovely little llama. We had a nice relationship and clearly there was a bond that happened almost magically right away [Laughs]. ‘Jacked my llama…’
Well, you actually just took the words out of my mouth because I was just about to ask you about that line! That was the one line, as funny as the film is, it just cracked me up…
[Laughs] Oh, good!
...so what was it like on set reeling out a line like that because it’s not what you’d normally hear?
What’s great about Micky Adams is, Will Adlis, who wrote the movie, clearly had somebody in mind and a lifestyle in mind that’s probably indicative of that period in American history so, you know, a llama and ‘jacked my llama’ and that way of relating to the universe was a very quirky and wonderful thing to play [Laughs].
When you were asked to do the project, I imagine you were told early on that you’d be wanted for the soundtrack as well, so was that quite daunting for you? I know you’re an experienced singer, but was it a daunting prospect or something that made the project appeal more to you?
Well, honing in on the character, part of the challenge was making sure the voices were different from when he was young to when he was old. Speaking-wise that wasn’t so much of a big deal, but there had to be a youthful exuberance in the singing when he was younger. I think we caught it, but the last song, of course, is filled with all the traffic and gravel and gravitas of the things he has suffered and the mistakes he has made. I think that’s a wonderful song to sing. It’s a really cathartic moment and to play it, it just so happened it was beautiful. I loved the process of the film, his growth, and the tragedy of his life beforehand. It’s a fascinating thing to have had a chance to play. The music was just a delight, honestly. Rivers Cuomo wrote the music. He’s fantastic and a really gifted guy. I just hope he likes what I did with the songs, but it was great to sing.
You mentioned some of the darkness in Micky’s life and as funny as the film is, and I know it’s billed as a coming-of-age comedy, is it important to you when you have a character like this to explore some serious subjects rather than just being someone who is there reeling joke after joke and to make sure you really get to delve into who this guy is?
My personal taste for acting, and certainly in comedy, is that it does walk that line in tragedy and comedy. We certainly saw that in Frasier, and there was always a backstory of what they thought about each other and what they felt. As funny as it was, we didn’t waste a lot of time just trying to earn a laugh unless it was connected to an emotion. Certainly, in Micky’s case, there’s tonnes of it behind him. Listen, one of my favourite moments is when I look at the construction tape across the top of the wall of my old home and fall over the wall saying, ‘What is this [blank]!’ [Laughs] The silliness of it. I always love something silly, so that’s one of the things I got a kick out of.
So much of this film revolves around Micky trying to regain his confidence to get up and perform again, but as you get ready to return as one of your famous roles, Frasier Crane and the expectations that come with that, did you feel you could relate to Micky’s journey? I know you’ve worked a lot since that show ended, but I feel like the same expectations might be there.
You know, it’s interesting [Pauses]. Micky’s just terrified at one point when he realises it might not even be what he wants. Who he was is no longer who he is and he had amends to make in some ways, so maybe he’s not ready to sing yet. When he finally is...it’s great! He has a chance to say to his little girl how much he loves her. That, to me, is a good ride.
That is such a lovely note to end on, thank you so much, Kelsey. Can I just say, as a huge comic book fan, I loved your take on Beast…
[Laughs] Thank you!
...no one has beaten it yet, and I don’t think they will. Thank you so much for your time today.
I appreciate that, man. Thank you!