SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Jens Rasmussen: I grew up in rural Wisconsin. I was voted most likely to become a monk by the 8th grade of St. Mary’s Catholic School. Since then I’ve created over 150 roles for theatre and film. I’m also a passionate activist on issues of the environment and social justice, like Climate Change and Occupy Wall St.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Survivor Type?
Jens Rasmussen: While I was working at a theatre down in Georgia, I submitted for Survivor Type, and was called in by Cecilia Farkas at Creative Studios Atlanta to read for the artistic team.
SKSM: What do you think the story itself?
Jens Rasmussen: I first read Mr. King’s shorts when I was a teenager, and like many people, Survivor Type was one of my favorites. It’s disturbing and spare, yet horrifically vivid.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Jens Rasmussen: It definitely wasn’t written for me. The script was finished before I even auditioned. In fact, I was originally called in to read for the role of Nick Lowenthal. After the audition, my theatre gig in Georgia was over and I flew home to NYC. I got a call in NY saying they’d like me to put a bunch of scenes on camera for the role of Richard. I couldn’t find anyone to read with me and I didn’t want to keep them waiting so I did the island scenes in my spare bedroom and fired them off. They looked at them and offered me the role without seeing anything else.
SKSM: You worked with Chris Ethridge on this film, how was that?
Jens Rasmussen: Chris is great. He loves actors and is super generous and respectful of each actor’s process. I can’t wait to work with him again.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Jens Rasmussen: Shooting the island scenes in Florida was “special.” On the second day we had a key piece of scenery stolen from our set. That, along with extremely difficult tides, long equipment carries, and very low air/water temperatures made the whole shoot grueling for everyone. So, not exactly funny, but it will always be special, because none us will ever be able forget it.
SKSM: Is there some part(s) in the film where you now say “I wish that I have done this different”?
Jens Rasmussen: Absolutely, but you’ll have to wait until my posthumously published memoir is released, to find out what they are.
SKSM: What are you thinking of the end result of the film?
Jens Rasmussen: From the beginning I thought Jayson Palmer’s script was amazing, and the end result looks insanely better than the budget they had available. They are magicians. Passionate, hardworking, magicians.
SKSM: Do you think someone can go so far that he will eat himself in this situation?
Jens Rasmussen: There are certainly cases of auto-cannibalism out there, but If it has actually happened in this type of survival situation – luckily we haven’t had to learn of it.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the cast/crew?
Jens Rasmussen: Yes, even though I’m in NY and they’re in GA we still keep in touch online and with an occasional phone call. We’re hoping to work together again this summer.
SKSM: What did you do after Survivor Type?
Jens Rasmussen: I’ve done nothing but theatre since Survivor Type wrapped – with shows in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, North Carolina, and here in New York. I won an Acclaim Award for my performance in Skin Tight last season (I did this show between the two major shoots for Survivor Type) and a LCT Award for my work in Gruesome Playground Injuries this past Fall. Most recently, here in NYC, I’ve been involved in some intense development of new plays with The New Dramatists, terraNova, and HERE.
SKSM: Are you (or were you) a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Jens Rasmussen: Absolutely. Skeleton Crew was the first King I read and led to a phase where he was the only author I was reading, also Shawshank Redemption will probably always be one my top 5 films.
SKSM: What kind of movies do you love yourself?
Jens Rasmussen: I like good writing. I think that’s the common thread that links all of my favorite films. We’re story tellers. If the writing sucks, then everyone’s job becomes creating some kind of veneer to hide the flaws beneath – that’s not the kind of film I want to watch, or be a part of.
SKSM: In what kind of movies would you like to play the most?
Jens Rasmussen: Please see above.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Jens Rasmussen: Great questions! It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for reaching out! I just hope that everyone who wants to see this film gets a chance to see it! So, I hope King fans will help spread the word, and use their considerable influence, to open doors that need to be opened, to help share this unique little film!
SKSM: Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Jens Rasmussen: Remember Richard Pine and don’t be a Dick.