AGE: 22. HOMETOWN: Toronto. SEEN IN: Falling Skies and American Crime. UP NEXT: Writing and directing his first feature film, Stephen Dunn‘s Closet Monster.
HAYLEY PHELAN: What was the most difficult part about playing Taylor on season two of American Crime?
CONNOR JESSUP: The thing I was most worried about was how to represent victimhood, to find the geography and rhythm, and show how Taylor thought about it and responded to it differently in different episodes.
PHELAN: In addition to acting, you’ve also written and directed short films, most recently Boy, which premiered at TIFF. What’s the difference between the two?
JESSUP: I find acting a little more terrifying. It’s like grasping at smoke. But maybe that’s because I’ve done significantly less directing in my life.
PHELAN: Tell me about the feature film you’re writing and directing?
JESSUP: It’s very hard to explain without sounding mildly insane. The sort of half-joking name I gave the genre is “supernatural slice-of-life.” It’s my attempt to reconcile two things that I love: subdued family dramas with fantasy and the supernatural. I’d say it’s six parts family drama, four parts Studio Ghibli.
PHELAN: What’s your guilty pleasure?
JESSUP: I try not to believe in guilty pleasures because if I enjoy it, then I enjoy it. But when we were in Austin shooting American Crime, we would karaoke Taylor Swift all the time. Though, again, no guilt.
PHELAN: Did you always know you wanted to act?
JESSUP: I always wanted to do something in movies, and when you’re 10, the only thing you’re allowed to do professionally in movies is act. There’s no market for a 10-year-old cinematographer sadly. The great thing about growing up when I did is, because of the technology available, there’s really not any excuse not to make movies, even if what you’re attempting to make is Silvereye, a shot-by-shot remake of Goldeneye .
PHELAN: Is that something you actually did?
JESSUP: I started to. I think I was about 10 or 11. All I remember is staging an explosion in my basement with my dad’s toolbox and all the tools spread all over the place and the shaking camera.