SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Ryan Palmer: Oh, this is always the hardest question! On Mondays through Fridays , 9am-5pm, I am an IT technician for the state of NY, but around that I pretty much devote my life to my acting career. Up until about a year ago, I’ve primarily been a stage actor, but with the film industry booming in the Hudson Valley recently, I’ve changed gears every so slightly to focus on both. So far, so good!
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Ryan Palmer: I’ve been acting since freshman year of high school, so about 17 years or so. But, it wasn’t until I was in college, and I was sitting in a seminar for my,at that time, chosen major and I thought to myself “ You know what? I don’t really wanna do this forever”. I finished out that major, but since graduating, becoming a working actor has been my main goal and drive.
SKSM: How did you become involved in The Monkey Dollar Baby film?
Ryan Palmer: I had heard bits and pieces of the project through the local grapevine, but I remember reading an article that Spencer had been in on Thanksgiving morning in 2021, that basically outlined what Spencer was doing and how he was going to do it. I finished the article, picked up my phone and sent a message directly to Spencer ( an hour before most people sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, I might add) and basically said “ Hi, I’m an actor, I’m a local, can I be in your movie?”. I was thrilled when he wrote back that he would send me audition material! Just goes to show, even on holidays, filmmakers are working.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Ryan Palmer: I think what attracts people is the, in my interpretation anyway, subject of generational, I don’t want to say guilt, but generational repercussions. Maybe we all don’t have it quite as bad as the Shelburns in the movie, but I think just about every can relate to “Your parents didn’t do ABC, so now you’re stuck with XYZ”.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Ryan Palmer: Well, I’d really like to think he wrote for me!! I did origianlly send in my materials to his general casting call, and Spencer sent back a scene for the lead character, which is expertly played by Mark Koeing, and I sent in my tape and that was that. Couple weeks later, Spencer texted me with the part that ended up in the final product.
SKSM: You worked with Spencer Sherry on this film, how was that?
Ryan Palmer: Spencer is a gem, and I will drop what I’m doing any day of the week to work with him. He knows exactly what he wants in a scene, and he knows exactly how to commincate what he wants and he is open to playing the material, which I always appreciate. He appraoches his work with a “this is our film” mentality, as opposed to “this is my film”.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Ryan Palmer: I’m under threat of never being cast again by Spencer if I say too much regarding my role and time on set, as it is a bit of a spoiler, but I remember getting to the particular location for filming, and Spencer saying “Ok, Ryan, so your character is going to add a little comic relief to the movie, so we’re gonna play it that way”. When people watch the movie, I hope they’ll keep this little but in mind when I pop up on screen and see why I will never forget that conversation.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Ryan Palmer: Spencer Sherry will never get rid of me, lol. I still speak to and see a lot of the cast and crew, which is expected as they were mostly local hires. Lakota Ruby-Eck, Conor Grocki and Elisheva Novella are three of several that I reguarly see and work with, post-Monkey.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Ryan Palmer: Too much! As I write this, on June 22nd, I am about to open a musical down in Sharon CT, at the Sharon Playhouse, am gearing up to start rehearsals for Twelfth Night with Saratoga Shakespeare and am doing preliminary character work on a new short film called The Owl, written and directed by Elisheva Malfatto.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Ryan Palmer: Oh yes. My mother is a Stephen King fanatic, so his work has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I’m not brave enough to read all this work, but my favorite story of his by far is Needful Things, and I’ve told Spencer more than once, if he can get his hands on those rights, I will fund the entire production to play Leland Gaunt!
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Ryan Palmer: I absolutely hate going to events to promote my work, both theatre and film, because I am actually incredibly, randomly shy! I always find myself hiding in corners and watching the clock to make a timely exit. But, we suffer for our art!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Ryan Palmer: Thank you for wanting to ask me question! I’d just like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who will watch this movie, because without you, we don’t have a lot going for us!
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Ryan Palmer: If anyone wants to hire me for another Stephen King project, the answer is yes!