Gigantic's Ryan Rottman (aka Joey)
I chatted with Ryan Rottman -- Joey on Gigantic -- recently, and picked his brain about his real-life paparazzi type experiences. For the record: he's super nice, talks really fast but low-key at the same time, and was hanging out in Atlantic City when we spoke.
So are there really people like Vanessa who call the paparazzi and tell them to be places?
Oh, 100%. That definitely happens. Whether it's people's publicists that are just trying to get their face out there or just, Hollywood is full of people that just want to be famous. They want to see their face on a magazine or on TMZ.
Do they ever really call the paparazzi and then when the photographers show up, pretend to be annoyed?
Oh for sure. They'll call them and completely act annoyed, and, "Oh I can't believe they're here," and be rude to the paparazzi, because they don't want anyone to know that they [called them]. They'll totally play aloof. It happens probably more often than you think it does.
But there are also people who just genuinely get attacked by the paparazzi, right?
Yeah. If you're a huge star, they all follow you. And if you're going somewhere, they'll show up, and then if someone else shows up and the paparazzi are already there, they'll get their picture, too. But if it's not a massive star, the paparazzi are probably not just following them. They probably called.
So, among the Gigantic cast you're the one who, if I search on your name, these alleged details about your private life show up...
What does that feel like? Is it ever flattering to think that people care about your personal life, or is it stressful, do you ignore it... how do you deal?
I kinda do my best not to pay any attention to it and not to follow that whole thing. But of course, you see it certain places or you hear about it so, you want to know what people are saying about you. You do have to pay attention to it.
But it's just weird. It's weird that people care enough to take pictures or write about you, or just care what you're doing, or whether you're in a relationship. And seeing a picture of yourself walking out of some place like a Ralph's grocery store -- it's really strange.
Have you ever seen pictures of yourself that you didn't know were being taken?
Oh yeah. 100%. They hide everywhere, and they're across the street -- you never see them. And then two days later, you see it online. It's awkward. You kinda feel like you're being stalked.
Yeah! I would feel so violated! And it's just that you don't have the same right to privacy that everyone else has because... you're an actor?
Yeah. And most of the time it's not me, it's the company I keep. When I hang out with friends who are very successful actors and stuff like that, it's very uncomfortable because [the photographers] are in your face and they're behind your car. And you just feel violated. It's like someone breaking into your car or your house, that feeling you get afterwards when you know someone's been in there. Just a very uncomfortable feeling.
I can imagine also that if you're known as a couple and then go through a breakup -- if people are talking about it in gossip columns, that's gonna make it feel even worse right?
Oh for sure. Whether you're with someone or you're not with someone, the last thing you want is to read or see someone talking about your relationship. It's none of their business whatsoever.
Right. It's sort of one of Gigantic's themes, how Hollywood is basically high school amplified -- so people can imagine that in high school you don't want people talking on Facebook about your relationship. It hurts no matter what.
Exactly, it would be like a blog in high school talking about everyone in the school.
Do you feel like the public has any responsibility to not read that stuff because it is damaging to real human beings? Can anything be done?
At this point, in our technological era, I don't think anything can be done. People are gonna read it; everyone wants to be outside of their own life.
So, you have a production company, right?
Yeah, we actually just finalized our next project which is James Franco's next film. It's called The Broken Tower; it's about a gay professor at Yale, one of the first to come out. Actually I have a small part in it as well, and James is directing it and starring in it. With our company, we set out to make movies that have substance... There are these amazing scripts in town that aren't getting made, so we wanted to make it our goal to find these scripts, these projects that are inspiring and that have meaning to them and get those made.
Plus it must be an actor's dream to be able to produce films you would actually want to be in.
Yeah, and we know James well and that's why we teamed up with him, because that's exactly how it is. He wants to make projects that have some meaning behind them; he's about the art and telling the story, and that's what I kind of idolize and strive for.