Working with Sarah Jessica Parker was a joy. She was delightfully radiant and patient, since I really had no idea what I was doing, and her being pregnant at the time. Due to her pregnancy, the episode I shot was pushed to the premier of season five, the most anticipated season of that show at the time.
On the Monday morning after it aired on the previous Sunday night, I was at my usual coffee cart on the corner of 22nd and Park Ave South, getting my routine coffee and bagel when an elderly woman, approximately 70-year-old, peered around me and exclaimed, “I knew it was you!” Now, it was about 7 a.m. and I was looking my disheveled self and not having a clue what she was referring to.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. Who?”
“How could you leave poor Carrie under that awning?”
“Carrie? I think you have me mistaken with someone else.”
“Oh, no I don’t, sonny. I thought you were finally the one she was going to marry, but noooo … you deserted her!”
A small gathering of women began to huddle around me and I was getting the third degree. Welcome to show business! And the funniest thing about the scene is that I didn’t even say anything! I had no lines.
“There’s only one way to the top and that is to outwork everyone”
DA MAN: What was it about acting that drew you toward it?
Chris Tschupp: The thing about acting that drew me to it was and still is the process. Reading a script, dissecting it, creating a character and his emotional diary and background, learning the lines and transforming yourself into this character all while bringing my personal traits to the screen. The process requires a lot of tedious work and it is the closest thing that reminds me of training for hockey. While the latter is, obviously, much more physically demanding, acting equally requires intense focus and emotional presence.
DA MAN: So far, what has been the most memorable role that you’ve played?
Chris Tschupp: The most memorable role I’ve played was Matt Lauche on “October Road.” It was a character that was created by my good friend, writer/creator/producer of that show, Scott Rosenberg of “High Fidelity” and “Gone in 60 Seconds” fame. While Scott has penned some of the best films in the past 20 years, I didn’t even know he was a writer upon my arrival in Los Angeles. I met Scott through a mutual friend, Reed Zaroff, in NYC and just knew him as Scotty. We’d go out for beers and tell stories just like any other group of guys.
After studying with Harold Guskin in NYC for a year and a half I made the leap west. Reed informed me what Scott did for a living and urged me to call him, so I did. I told him I came out to act and ironically enough, he just sold his series to ABC. He invited me to audition for a role on the show, and I got my first dose of Hollywood politics. While Scott pushed for me, the network needed a bigger name: Geoff Stults, who is still a good friend to date. But Scott promised me that if they got picked up for a second season that he would create a character and cast me. And as a man of his word, f—–g rare in this town, he created Matt Lauche, a former hockey star and currently a construction worker, who relishes in his past, busts people’s balls, sleeps with their women and fights anyone who has a problem with that. Not a tough stretch for me (at the time)! And so I was cast with no audition and the ABC execs were weary about Scott casting his friends but thanked me for great work at the wrap party. I filmed the entire second season and will forever be grateful that Scott took a chance on me.
DA MAN: Today, your acting credits are overshadowed by your work as a screenwriter and producer. Was there a particular “aha!” moment where you realized that you had a passion and talent for working behind the camera as well as in front of it?
Chris Tschupp: It was when the writer’s strike hit and cancelled “October Road” that I had a lot of down time. During that time, I kept getting scripts from my agent at Innovative that I thought were absolute crap. I didn’t want to be in these films. I wanted to meet the guy who read this script and said “Oh, hell yes, I’ll finance this piece of s–t.” I felt that I had better stories to tell and if I could just get them on paper and find that “guy” then I can bring back thought‐provoking, emotional story‐telling to audiences.
DA MAN: We’ve learned that you’re also in the nightclub and music management business on top of everything else. What is it that drives you to pursue such a diverse lineup of work?
Chris Tschupp: I was in the nightclub business for a few years while living in NYC. I co‐owned and operated the West Village basement lounge, Halo, with Karim Amatullah. It became an overnight sensation with every A‐list celebrity, athlete and musician due to our publicist at the time, Sam Phipps, booking the highly secretive surprise 30th birthday party for Jennifer Lopez thrown by her then-boyfriend, Sean P‐Diddy Combs. It put us on the map worldwide as the press caught everyone arriving, and then leaving after 4 a.m.
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