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.
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
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?
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.
actually from your area. Iím in Philadelphia so...
Oh yeah. An
Eagles fan, huh?
absolutely. I was seeing in your bio that you spent some time at
Rowan [University in Glassboro, NJ]. Did you have any
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
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.
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
Oh, right on.
Yeah. So we
probably crossed paths in the day.
Iím sure we have
actually. (laughs) Iím sure we have.
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
So youíre an
introverted guy who does the most extroverted job in the world.
A little bit.
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
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
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.
exactly. Itís really great. It was a great experience.
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
Would I be
friends with Eli?
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.
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
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.
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.
How much did
having such a high profile series of ads help your career as an
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.
recently did what I believe was your first starring
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.
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
Itís kind of cool.
How has being an
actor and how has doing a show as high profile as
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
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
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?
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
Yeah. Entertained, thatís what I
want for the show.
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