–Randy Wayne may be a country boy from Moore, OK, but he’s about to make an impact on some lives in his new movie, To Save A Life. The powerful movie, from Samuel Goldwyn Films, opens in select theaters on January 22 and tells the story of Jake Taylor, a popular high school senior whose life is suddenly turned around by a tragic accident.
What is To Save A Life about? It’s the story of Jake Taylor and how he’s pretty much the popular guy at school. He’s got everything kind of made, or so he thinks. A former friend from his childhood shoots himself at school and ends his life. When that happens, Jake sees it and he starts questioning his reality. Asking if he could have stopped it from happening and he feels like it’s his fault because he stopped being friends with Roger, the kid who killed himself, because Roger wasn’t cool. It’s the journey of Jake discovering himself. He goes to this youth group and there is a guy named Chris there who kind of takes him under his wing.
What attracted you to this project? The script. The message was so powerful. Originally I didn’t want to do a film with a low budget like that because I’d already done so many, but when I read the script, I thought I’d be lucky to play a role like Jake Taylor. I got lucky and there are so many powerful messages in it and it’s so real. It’s not like some fairytale. I felt blessed to do it.
What was your favorite thing about playing ‘Jake Taylor’? I love acting; I love being on set and working. I’ll do 16 hour days every day, it doesn’t bother me. It’s my favorite thing to do. So my favorite thing about playing Jake was actually working so much because I was in almost every scene. People looked at me like I was Jake on set. It was interesting to be seen as a popular high school senior. I’m kind of far removed from high school but it was fun.
Speaking of high school, what were you like back then? I was well known. I wouldn’t say I was the popular jock or anything, even though I did play sports. I was a pretty friendly guy, outgoing. I wasn’t too cool for anybody, atleast I don’t think I was.
This isn’t the first movie that touches on the subject of school shootings. There have been other big budget and low budget movies like Bang Bang You’re Dead, April Showers, etc. How do you think this movie differs from those? I think this stands apart a lot because, movies like that, let’s say Elephant, show the day in the life of what happened that day and the situation around it. Ours doesn’t really focus solely on the shooting. It focuses on why it happened and how we can make a difference in the future.
Do you have a favorite scene from the movie? Probably where Jake Taylor is at the youth group and his girlfriend just left because she felt judged. He is sitting aside watching the prayer go on and then after the prayer is over, the kids in the youth group just go back to the way it was before the prayer. It’s a powerful message and he stands up and calls them out on the hypocrisy and I think that’s very powerful.
This is a pretty serious/emotional movie. Were you able to find time to have fun on or off set? We had a great time. They gave me a beachfront property in Oceanside, CA and so we’d have one or two days off a week. It was a great time. Beach volleyball, got in the water a little bit, fishing. It was a really good time.
This movie has already been shown to various churches and youth groups. People that don’t know about the film might label it a “Christian” film and be turned away. Why do you think this movie will appeal to the mainstream? I honestly don’t think of it as a Christian movie. Christianity is present in it. Same thing as the movie “The Apostle” with Robert Duvall. It’s not a Catholic movie but it’s a movie where he happens to be a priest. You wouldn’t call that a Christian movie. I think our movie is very powerful and very mainstream and relatable to anyone, whether they they are Christian or not, or whatever their beliefs are. It has the presence of Christianity in it, but we don’t say the name “Jesus” in it. It’s not a “bang you over the head” with Christianity and it’s not telling you to become a Christian. It is a faith based film though. It’s getting out a good word and wanting you to help others.
What is the overall message you hope moviegoers leave with after seeing the film? We hope people watch it and it’s real enough to them where they think, “I know people like that who are just shy or maybe dress a little different” and we can maybe reach out to and have a conversation with because as silly as it may sound, a simple conversation with a stranger may actually save their life.
How exactly did you get started in acting? Probably the most unconventional way I’ve ever heard. I went to college for a year. I had never acted a day in my life. When I went back to Oklahoma, where I’m from, for my first year, my mom said, “Well, you can either stay here in Oklahoma and play baseball at a junior college or your aunt lives in Orange County. You can go live with her.”
I went to live with my aunt and I was 19 and then after a year of not being in school because I thought, “well if I take a year off I can be a resident and it’s cheaper.” I was going to go back, but my mom said “why don’t you take another year or two off and try acting.” I thought that was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard, but I tried it and I did it. So my mom told me to quit college and try acting. I’m glad though. I guess she knows me better than I knew myself.
You’ve done both comedy and drama. Do you prefer one over the other? I do. I love comedy and I think I’m best at it. Still working on the drama. I’m an Oklahoma boy and you’re not raised to show your emotions. So I’m still working on getting emotions out and stuff, but comedy I get. I love it and it’s fun.
What actors would you love to work with? I would love, love to work with Adam Sandler. I think he is probably the funniest person in movies. And Will Ferrell and a few others. One is going to sound cheesy and one might not surprise you. Paul Giamatti is one. I think he’s a tremendous actor; so realistic and effortless. And then the cheesy one is Brad Pitt because as cheesy as it is to say his name, the dude is talented and I respect him for what he does.
Do you have any other upcoming projects? I just did a movie called The Trial with Matthew Modine. It’s another faith based movie, a little bit, based off the Robert Whitlow novel, “The Trial.” And I’m a producer. We have a movie coming out called Open House with Anna Paquin and a movie we’ll start shooting next week with Jim Belushi, Denise Richards, and Kyle Gallner, who is the lead in the next A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Do you find it more challenging to be behind the camera or in front? Behind the camera it’s business world. In front of the world is creative world, so they’re both equally challenging.
Where can fans find you online? I have a twitter: twitter.com/randy_wayne and I have an official site, randywayne.com. I’m not really addicted [to twitter]. The last few days I’ve been doing a lot of press, so I’ve been using it to post about the interviews. But I’m slowly becoming addicted the more I go on.
What advice would you give aspiring actors? I’d give them the three P’s. Patience, Persistence and Passion. Without those 3 p’s, you’re in trouble. It’s a long hard road to get where you want to be.
Any message for your fans? Laugh a lot, judge a little and don’t take anything for granted.