SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: I studied theatre in college and spent many years as a professional actor in Chicago, mostly on stage. I’ve written a couple plays that have been widely produced in the U.S. and not-so-widely in Europe. I’m currently on staff at a university in the Chicago suburbs and don’t pursue acting much anymore except for the occasional V.O. or on-camera industrial. I did start directing for stage earlier this year. Though incredibly demanding, it was a rewarding experience which I may do again—though Covid-19 has pretty much sidelined live theatre for the near future.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: I was a musician in high school, playing bass in the pit orchestra and secretly envying those kids brave enough to get up on stage. I didn’t come to it myself until my second year of college in 1977. I hadn’t declared a major yet and at the time I was dabbling in Egyptology of all things. Theatre seemed a lot livelier, so I went for it. It was mostly my love of Shakespeare that drew me in. I’ve been lucky over the years to have acted in over half his plays.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Gray matter Dollar Baby film?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: In 2008 I acted with Adrian DiGiovanni in The Nest, a short film directed by Tim Zwica. A couple years later Adrian was an initial producer of Gray Matter, and he pulled me in to read for Henry.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: It’s so elemental. The bone cold chill of winter, a tense trek through a dark forest, a mysterious house in a remote setting. It has the feel of a scary story told in hushed voices around a campfire.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: Well, since Stephen King created the character of Henry, it definitely wasn’t written for me!
SKSM: You worked with Red Clark on this film, how was that?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: I loved working with Red. He’s very creative, patient, focused, and a real sweetheart besides.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: I’ll always remember being captured and dragged to my demise. I was dragged across the floor by crew, of course, not a monster. I can’t think how many times we reshot that. I could say it was “a real drag,” and yeah, it was uncomfortable for sure. But you’ll never forget even pretending to be dragged to a horrible death. All those interior shots were legitimately creepy. Skulking around in dark rooms, the beams of our flashlights dancing across the walls. It really put you in the mood.
Another thing I recall is our pick-up shots in the woods. We needed to reshoot some things long after the snow was gone, but Red recreated it with white material stretched out through the woods strictly within the camera shot. At the time I thought this can’t work, but it totally does.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: I’ve stayed in touch with Red and with Aaron Christensen (Bertie). Aaron does a Scare-a-thon fundraiser every October when he solicits pledges for every horror movie he watches and reviews online over the course of the month leading up to Halloween, so we always reconnect then at least.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: I directed a production of Steve Martin’s play Picasso at the Lapin Agile a couple months ago. My last on-camera work was a promotion called Cards Against Humanity Hacks the Election, which is still on YouTube and was a lot of fun to shoot. Nothing in the works right now though, what with the Covid-19 lockdown.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: Definitely. I’ve read over ten of his novels and one short story collection, though it didn’t include Gray Matter. He’s always been a terrific writer, and I think he’s doing some of his best work these days, like Finders Keepers and The Outsider. During the coronavirus crisis I decided to reread The Stand—which may have been a mistake! Combined with the actual news on TV, it was beyond unnerving.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: In the last few years I developed an obsession with cephalopods, and octopuses in particular. I’ve gotten to handle a giant Pacific octopus named Petunia and been bitten by a Caribbean dwarf I found in the surf. I now volunteer on weekends as a docent at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium just so I can connect with other octopus fans. (And no, they are not monsters. They can actually be quite sweet.)
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Scott Lynch- Giddings: I hope you enjoy Gray Matter. It was a long process but great fun to work on. While not a huge fan of horror movies myself, I have to say that acting in them has been the most fun I’ve ever had on camera.