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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Actors > Feature Interviews A to E > Matt Bush

 

Matt Bush stars in GLORY DAZE.

Matt Bush

Living Out His Glory Daze

by Jay S. Jacobs

 
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 13, 2011.  

The face is familiar, even before Matt Bush got a breakout role on the fun and funny TBS series Glory Daze Ė an affectionate look back at college in the 1980s. 

Perhaps you recognize him from the movie Adventureland, where he played Jesse Eisenbergís best frenemy from down the block.  Or maybe you saw him in Nice Guy Johnny, the latest film by Ed Burns (The Brothers McMullen) in which Bush played the title character, a wannabe sports talk show host who has a final fling on the Hamptons with his fiancťe and his uncle.  Or maybe you simply remember him from the ubiquitous series of AT&T commercials, in which he was a teen who infuriated his mother because he refused to use his rollover minutes because they were ďold.Ē 

Even after all these noticeable shots, the Cherry Hill, New Jersey (just across the bridge from Philadelphia) born-and-bred actor has found what may well be his breakout role, that of Eli, a wild-and-crazy 80s college student on TBSís funny comedy/drama Glory Daze.  Glory Daze is the story of a bunch of college freshmen in 1986 that join their collegeís party fraternity and get a whole different education than their parents were expecting, 

Eli is sort of the loose cannon of the group, a slightly socially inept guy who feels that he has to try harder.  Eli is determined to live the college life to the fullest, whether that means dating as many girls as he can meet, idolizing and imitating a Top Gun era Tom Cruise, experimenting in drinks and drugs, breaking into school buildings or branding his fraternityís letters on his behind. 

Recently we and two other websites had a chance to talk with Matt about his career, his series, the 80s and his severe lack of a party boy past. 

In both this and also in Adventureland youíve done things about the í80s. Obviously itís not that insanely long ago but you were just a kid back then. What kind of research have you had to do to about the í80s and what surprises you about how much the world has changed? 

Hartley Sawyer, Kelly Blatz, Matt Bush and Drew Seeley star in GLORY DAZE.Well before we started Glory Daze Ė before we shot the pilotÖ so that was in I guess MarchÖ Walt, who co-wrote the pilot, executive produced it and some of the producers gave us a bunch of CDs and a list of films to check out.  Just to kind of get an idea of where everyone was at in the í80s and the culture and just to put us in the right mind frame, you know? And for Adventureland, it was in the í80s too and it was kind of a similar idea. 

Also Iím actually from your area. Iím in Philadelphia so... 

Oh yeah. An Eagles fan, huh? 

Yeah, absolutely. I was seeing in your bio that you spent some time at Rowan [University in Glassboro, NJ]. Did you have any Glory Daze moments there? 

You know, I was the exact opposite of Eli when I was in college. I didnít leave my dorm. I was a business major of all things and I was just horrible at it. So I spent most of my time trying to just study and try to keep up with the rest of the class. (laughs) So, no Glory Daze moments for me, unfortunately. I get to live out my college experience on set which is kind of cool/sad way to go about it I guess. 

So I guess you never branded yourself? 

No. No. Not even close. Iíve been to one Greek party my entire life and that wasnít even at Rowan. That was at Towson University. My best friend was a big - heís a frat star. Heís all about it. So one real Greek party. 

We are also right in the area of Philadelphia. Weíre in Delaware, right outside the city, so... 

Oh, I love this. I love all the East Coast love right now. 

Yes. I read that you went to Rowan and thatís super close so itís really cool. 

Oh, yeah. 

Hartley Sawyer, Matt Bush, Julianna Guill, Kelly Blatz and Drew Seeley star in GLORY DAZE.So are there any qualities you see in Eliís character that are completely opposite of your own personality? 

Well, Eli is so extroverted and no inhibitions. Especially at parties, he has so much energy and where conversely I kind of like to post up in a corner somewhere and maybe have one conversation with a person or two. And I tend to be a little more quiet than Eli is. (laughs) 

Okay, great. And when did you decide to go into acting? Was there a certain point in your life when you said, you know, this is what I want to do? 

Since I was a kid. This sounds weird - my dad was a magician for a time I guess. He would do weddings and bar mitzvahs and things like that. I was the assistant as a kid. Itís so weird. But, you know, that kind of got me started in performing. I had such a good time and I loved it. So even when I was at school and being a business major I still loved to perform so I would audition for commercials. I would take the train to New York and I would audition for commercials and things. It wasnít until I was in my sophomore year of college where I had to leave again. I was really lucky where I would book work and Iíd have to take some time off from school. It was like maybe the third or fourth time it happened where I said, you know, Iím going to take a break from school and Iím going to try to do this full time now. It seems like this is where itís going. Iím so happy and Iím so lucky so Iím going to take a break. Thatís where Iím at now. Knock on wood - itís been a couple of years and Iím able to do this full time. Rather than being an accountant. 

Yeah. Well Iíve done a fair share of bar mitzvahs myself. Iím a DJ. So I know what thatís like. 

Oh, right on. 

Yeah. So we probably crossed paths in the day. 

Iím sure we have actually. (laughs) Iím sure we have. 

Kelly Blatz, Drew Seeley, Hartley Sawyer and Matt Bush star in GLORY DAZE.What can we look forward to seeing from the guys of Glory Daze as the season continues? 

Well I guess this Tuesday - if you follow the show, Kelly [Blatz]ís character, Joel gets a notebook. Heís been doodling pictures of Christie in his notebook and he accidentally lets Christie borrow one of these notebooks. So the guys go and try to retrieve this notebook in Sorority Row and, you know, shenanigans ensue. The season finale is really great too. We kind of went all out and it almost comes full circle from the pilot. Itís nice. Itís exciting to see it all come together. 

So youíre an introverted guy who does the most extroverted job in the world. 

A little bit. Yeah. (laughs) 

Wow. What was your first big gig? I mean what really made you think this is it; Iím doing this for real? 

You know, a couple of years ago, I want to say it was maybe 2000 and gee, seven maybe, I did something called Adventureland, and ... 

I love that movie. 

Oh, thank you. Thanks. So I did that. And that wasnít my first film. The first one I did was called One Last Thing. But it wasnít until Adventureland where I said this is [it] - because I went away. One Last Thing we shot in New York and all of the other TV shows we kind of shot in my area. But for Adventureland I had to leave. We shot that in Pittsburgh. So we shot maybe I want to say like two or three months. I went away and I met such a great group of people and you become immersed in this character, immersed in this world. I was like I hope I donít have to go back because this is what I want to do. 

You felt like an actor then. 

I felt like an actor. Yeah. Totally. Totally. 

So just the lifestyle. That kind of Iím doing this away from the folks and, you know, and Iím loving it. 

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Itís really great. It was a great experience. 

Drew Seeley, Matt Bush, Kelly Blatz and Hartley Sawyer star in GLORY DAZE.What about Glory Daze? What was it about it that really just said man this character is for me?

You know, come January, February there is a little thing called ďPilot Season.Ē Put quotes around that. Like all the actors come to Los Angeles and you audition for TV shows. And itís a very nerve-wracking, very grueling like two months. Your manager/agent would send you scripts and you read these pilots that may or may not become real TV shows. When you read them you have to say okay, maybe I want to do this pilot. You also have to wonder like if this becomes a TV show you might be this character for three, four or five years, if youíre lucky. You have to make sure you want to live with this character and this universe. I read the pilot and I was like this is going to be so much fun. I would be so happy to do this for as long as they wanted this - I absolutely would love to do this. Thatís why I auditioned. And I was lucky enough to be a part of it. 

Would he be a friend of yours? In the real world would you count him as a friend? Or would you be a friend in some sort of way? Or would you not be his (type)? 

Would I be friends with Eli? 

Yeah. 

The character? 

Yeah. 

Yeah, maybe. I mean I really think heíd do anything for his friends. So thatís not a bad person to have in your corner I think. 

Earlier they talked about the í80s, you know, which was not that far away. But what was the thing that you enjoyed the most about the í80s? Is there music that now youíre digging for the first time? Or what is it about the í80s that has appealed to you now? 

I think the films of the í80s were pretty great. EpisodeÖ I think it was threeÖ was a costume party and we all kind of dressed up. A lot of the costumes were based on films from back in the day. I got to dress up as Teen Wolf and I shit you not, when I was a kid that was like one of myÖ. I would say top five at leastÖ favorite films of all time. So to pretend to be Mikey J [Michael J. Fox] in Teen Wolf was like so [fun]. The í80s films Ė they donít make them like that anymore. They were corny. They were cheeseball. But they still had heart, you know? I donít know. Thatís hard to pull off. 

Whatís in the future for you? Do you have any movies you want to do or have done? Where do you see yourself going? 

You know, if Iím lucky enough to keep doing this Iíd just love to be part of projects that I can be proud of. Whether they are independent films or studio-produced, just as long as I can sit back and say I had a good time doing this and Iím proud of it. Thatís all. If I can do that, I canít ask for anything more. 

Matt Bush, Hartley Sawyer and Kelly Blatz star in GLORY DAZE.One of the fun things about Eli is while the other guys are sort of settled into a certain amount of their worlds, Eli will do anything. Heíll go get high, heíll go picking up girls with his dad, heíll break into school buildings, heíll pretend like heís Teen Wolf or Top Gun. You said that youíre pretty introverted? Is it a lot of fun to play such a wild character? 

Yeah. I mean itís a blast. When I said Iím introverted I mean itís usually large groups. Large crowds kind of overwhelm me, you know? And to play a character that has no fear whether itís large groups or just within his small circle of friends, is a blast. Do you know what I mean? Itís always fun to be someone that youíre not with no real social repercussions. (laughs) I could brand my ass on the TV show - Eli can brand his ass and I donít have to face the consequences. 

Yeah. Now the first time I really noticed you as an actor was in those AT&T rollover minutes commercials. 

Yeah. 

How much did having such a high profile series of ads help your career as an actor? 

Well it was kind of neat, man. We shot about a dozen of them and they ran over a couple of years. And when you watch TV, just through the commercials it kind of subliminally seeps into your mind. You get that face recognition which was cool. It was the first time Iíd hop on the subway and someone would recognize me. It was kind of cool. 

You recently did what I believe was your first starring film role in Nice Guy Johnny with Ed Burns. What was that experience like? 

That was so great. Eddie is such a creative guy and so down to earth. We shot it in a unique way. We did it for very little money. We shot it all digital. We were writing things as we went along and it was just real. Itís his kind of film Ė real character driven pieces. We played it a little close to the chest. I mean Johnny - in terms of the character and characters that Iíve played Ė it I think [most] closely resembles myself and the kind of person that I am. It was kind of cool to see his journey in a 90-minute film. Then we released it in a unique way. We went digital. We skipped theaters. Instead of going that route we simultaneously went to iTunes and Comcast On-Demand and DVD and Netflix and XBOX Live and we did it all on the same day. We released it that way. It was kind of a cool business model that we wanted to try out. So it was exciting. It was really cool. 

Have you had your first strangest fan encounter yet? Have you had anybody whoís just really been over enthusiastic or just totally freaked you out? 

Not yet. I think everyoneís been really, really cool and really sweet. In New York itís kind of different than Los Angeles. You go to Los Angeles and I feel - I donít know maybe this is just an East Coast perception but sometimes people are kind of looking for it. But in New York, youíre sitting in the subway and some guy just kind of looks like heís real hard and like real tough, he just takes his ear buds out and he goes ďhey, nice showĒ and puts his ear buds in. And thatís it. Thatís all you get. Like he doesnít really care. Heís just wants to acknowledge it and thatís it. And thatís just kind of dope. No oneís been really crazy. 

Thatís the way it really works. From a journalistís perspective, thatís how it happens now. And like you said, on the West Coast, in Los Angeles wow, they go crazy. They go nuts. You know, on the street they see Ė ďOh my God, itís him.Ē But, on the East Coast itís like ďheyÖĒ 

Right. Right. Itís kind of cool. 

Chris D'Elia, James Earl, Drew Seeley, Matt Bush, Callard Harris, Kelly Blatz, Julianna Guill, Hartley Sawyer, Josh Brener, Tim Jo and Tim Meadows star in GLORY DAZE.How has being an actor and how has doing a show as high profile as Glory Daze changed your life Ė if at all Ė yet? 

Itís just neat to have a show thatís on every week. I mean thatís the first time that I know myself and a lot of the guys on the show that on Tuesday night theyíre all like oh, you know, something we worked so hard to make is going to be on TV. Like you can do a film and you donít know if anyone is ever going to see it. You know, you work so hard and you put time and effort and energy into a project. Then who knows if it ever sees the light of day? Itís kind of cool to know that knock on wood, next week, Iíll get to see if our hard work paid off when itís on TV. 

I hope they do pick it up for another season because I canít imagine it not being on the air. 

Thanks. Me too. Donít ever take us off! 

Did you audition for any other shows during that hellacious ďPilot Season?Ē 

Yeah. Yeah. You throw your hat in the ring. Is that the expression? You know, you audition for a couple of things and see what happens. 

Did any of them - did any of them that you auditioned for get picked up in addition to this? 

Iím sure. Iím sure a few of them have. 

Well you got the best of the bunch anyway, so... 

Thanks man. I think so. I couldnít have asked for more, man. 

What do you want viewers to take from Glory Daze every time they watch an episode? What do you want them to feel? Is there a message? What do you want them to dig about it? 

Personally? I just want the audience to have fun. If an audience could say that they enjoyed themselves for the hour or something, thatís all I could ask for. Thatíd be great. 

Then youíve done your job. 

Yeah. Entertained, thatís what I want for the show.

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Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 13, 2011.  

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