SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Eric Davis: I’m an actor based in Montreal. I’ve been working in the business for 20 odd years or so. I started out in theatre and eventually moved on to voice over, TV and film. These days I also do a lot of video game motion capture and voice.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Eric Davis: I had a chance to audition for the National Theatre School after high school. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue my visual art background or jump off the deep end and try acting. I’d done one high school play and that’s it. I wasn’t even in drama. The auditions were being held in a rehearsal hall at the National Arts Center in Ottawa where they had a production of Phantom of the Opera playing on the main stage. I was so nervous I had to take a walk to try and get rid of my jitters. I stumbled upon the stage door and beyond, the main stage, filled with the set an props from Phantom. I spent the next half hour in awe, exploring that stage and the set pieces. I completely missed my audition but standing on that grand stage and looking out at the empty seats reaffirmed my desire to give the acting thing a real concerted effort. Thankfully, I didn’t miss my next audition.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Rest Stop Dollar Baby film?
Eric Davis: Stephen Baxter and I had worked together previously on a couple of projects and we got on very well. He contacted me directly about being involved in Rest Stop and I couldn’t say no. Both the chance to work with him again and be involved in bringing a Stephen King short to the screen was ample enticement!
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Eric Davis: I think it’s a pretty universal human dilemma to ponder our own duality – the pull of light and dark, right and wrong, good and evil, within us. What’s so great about Mr. King’s short story is how efficiently it presents that question. “What would you do in this situation?” It’s simple but profound and, I believe, instantly relatable.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Eric Davis: I didn’t audition. Stephen Baxter contacted me directly and asked if I’d like to take on the role. It wasn’t written for me. Obviously we have Mr. King to thank for the character and story.
SKSM: You worked with Stephen Baxter on this film, how was that?
Eric Davis: It was fantastic! Working with Stephen is a joy and there’s an ease to the language of director/actor there that is special. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat. We were also blessed with a great cast and crew which can make or break a production.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Eric Davis: There is a moment in the film when my character, John Dykstra, flees the titular rest stop in his car. It was 4 something in the AM and the light of dawn was imminent so we were scrambling to get our last shots done. With Wyler Diome-Montour, our cinematographer, wedged in the passenger seat with the camera, I peeled out of the parking lot. In a way, even though it’s only a couple of seconds in the final film, it was a cathartic moment for me both as an actor and as the character, running away, pedal to the metal, not just from the rest stop and what transpires there but from himself.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Eric Davis: I’m still in contact with Stephen Baxter and Amy Halloran fairly regularly as well as a few of the other actors. Montreal has a fairly small film community so it’s not uncommon to run into each other at auditions or on different projects.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Eric Davis: I just finished working on a big World War II movie directed by Roland Emmerich called Midway, due in November 2019. I’m also currently doing performance capture for a video game franchise that I’m not allowed to mention due to non disclosure agreements! I’m excited about it though. There are some fantastic and talented people involved.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Eric Davis: Absolutely. I grew up reading Stephen King as a teenager and while I don’t read him as much these days his works are intrinsically linked to some hugely formative moments in my life. My favourite would have to be his Dark Tower series but I also love a lot of his short stories. It’s great that his stuff is being adapted so much these days. It speaks to how popular and prolific he is.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Eric Davis: I think it would probably be how much of an introvert I am personally. There’s a stigma to being an actor that people tend to assume that that person is gregarious and outgoing. That’s part of the fun, though, of inhabiting a character different from myself and living in a different skin, so to speak.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Eric Davis: I hope people enjoy the film, of course, but I also hope it inspires thoughts and discussions on the nature of being human – that duality we are confronted with daily. And how a split second choice can determine whether we rise to do good or fall to evil.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Eric Davis: That’s all! Thanks.