You may recognize Reeve Carney from his role as Dorian Grey in “Penny Dreadful,” and now, get ready to see him acting alongside Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto and other stars as he plays real-life fashion legend Tom Ford in “House of Gucci.”
American actor, singer-songwriter and Broadway star Reeve Carney grew up in a family of musicians and actors. Growing up in such a creative environment has definitely given him an edge in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. He started to dabble in the business from quite a young age, first with a small role on the big screen when he was just ten years old to playing guitar professionally at B.B. King’s night club in Los Angeles by the time he was fifteen and performing on stage on Broadway.
DAMAN: Hi Reeve, great to have you with us, how are you?
Reeve Carney: I’m doing very well! Thank you…
DAMAN: The “Hadestown” musical has started once again. How did you feel on opening night after such a long hiatus?
Reeve Carney: It feels incredible to be back in the company of such talented and lovely people, having the chance once again to bring this beautiful story to life, every night on stage.
DAMAN: Now that life is slowly returning to how it used to be, what went through your mind during the Broadway shutdown?
Reeve Carney: At first, I didn’t mind having two weeks off, which is all what we expected it would be at first. But as the goal posts began to push, from a psychological perspective it was difficult to digest—I’m sure for everyone. Kind of felt like being a kid again in a way … on a road trip. Except the scientists and our government officials were the parents driving the car! But, I am so grateful to the teams of scientist who make it their life’s work to do their best to solve problems like these when they arise. Not to mention the first responders, including grocery store workers and delivery people! Couldn’t have made it by without them. Very grateful for everyone coming to together here in NYC the ways in which they did.
DAMAN: What do you love the most about performing directly in front of a live audience?
Reeve Carney: I love the sense of community, and the ability to learn and modify on the fly, outside of what can sometimes feel like an anechoic chamber without an audience, if things are moving quite quickly. The instant feedback is so useful as a performer, I find. But film gives me a different kind of rush, which I love equally and for different reasons. I think one informs the other. So, I am grateful to have the opportunity to do both.
DAMAN: And how do you keep the same energy performing each night?
Reeve Carney: My high school Jazz Band and Music Theory teacher, Dan Taguchi, taught me one of the most important lessons a performer can learn. Every day is an audition. So, I approach it that way. When kind, hardworking folks excitedly spend their hard-earned money to come see a show they have been looking forward to seeing for who knows how long, they deserve the best you’ve got. That always helps me get through a day where I might be lower in energy than I would like. Eight shows a week isn’t for the faint of heart … but we love it! That’s why we do it. It’s a welcome challenge.
DAMAN: Do you still remember what your first professional acting gig was and how it felt?
Reeve Carney: Well, I was in a Huggies commercial when I was around a year old and don’t have many memories of that. [Laughs]. But I had a background role in “The Saint of Fort Washington,” playing Rick Aviles’ son in a dream sequence in that film. He was so warm and generous and kind, and that stuck withme. I ran into him a year or so later with my mom in front of the Macy’s on 34th street, and that was the last time I saw him. May he rest in peace.
DAMAN: What would your dream role and film look like?
Reeve Carney: Every role I have had has been a dream role. I’m excited for the roles yet to be written…
DAMAN: You play as Tom Ford in Ridley Scott’s highly-anticipated film, “House of Gucci.” Can you tell us a little about the casting process for that one…
Reeve Carney: I’m incredibly grateful to have been on Ridley Scott’s radar, as his folks reached out to mine to express the interest and I of course said yes!
DAMAN: Were there any special characteristics of Tom Ford that you had to prepare for?
Reeve Carney: It’s always important for me to find the character’s voice, so to speak … as it communicates so much of what is in between the lines. That and their gait, and manner. Other than that, it’s important to find the places in which my inner life connects with that of the character. And in that way, it’s about the more invisible work for me. But you certainly want the audience to feel as though they are watching Tom, rather than watching an actor “playing” him. But yes, creating a truthful amalgamation of my voice intertwined with his was an important thing for me to aim for.
DAMAN: And how does it feel being part of such a star-studded cast?
Reeve Carney: It was quite an exciting moment for me seeing my name in the press release alongside all of these legends, whom I have studied and admired for so many years. And the work itself was quite thrilling. I am a huge admirer of Ridley Scott’s process, as he directs with a fierce confidence, all the while instilling a deep trust in his actors.
DAMAN: What did you learn from playing the role of Tom Ford? And did you get the chance to meet him in person too?
Reeve Carney: I have yet to meet Tom, and would absolutely love to. Didn’t have the opportunity prior to filming. And would also like to extend my deepest sympathies to him for the loss of his dear husband, Richard Buckley.
DAMAN: Any particularly memorable moments from the filming that you can share with us?
Reeve Carney: I didn’t expect there to be so much improvisation, which was very exciting! So, I’m excited to see what ends up on the screen.
DAMAN: Since the movie takes a close look at one of the most important names in fashion, we were wondering, how would you describe your own sense of style?
Reeve Carney: I am a huge admirer of what Tom does, and particularly in the tenacity and precision with which he approaches his work. In fact, I’m a huge fan of him as a filmmaker as well! I always like to wear things that make me feel good, and things I feel a strong connection to. Sort of an outer expression of what I am feeling on the inside. And I’ve always said the belief that you can pull something off, no matter how avant garde or seemingly out of fashion … I find that is the primary tool which invites others to join you in agreement.
DAMAN: Have you gotten any new ideas about styling or maybe clothing choices after having spent quite a bit of time playing as an actual fashion designer?
Reeve Carney: I should probably buy a few more white button down shirts.
DAMAN: If, in the future, you have friends or acquaintances ask you for fashion advice, how do you think will you channel your inner Tom Ford?
Reeve Carney: He and I seem to share a similar perspective on this sort of thing I’ve come to realize. I would just suggest that they wear what makes them feel good. And to not be afraid of stepping outside of their comfort zones if they ever find themselves drawn to something they have yet to explore.
DAMAN: Will we see you appear in any other production or TV shows in the months to come?
Reeve Carney: At the moment, I am performing eight shows a week of “Hadestown” on Broadway! If you happen to be in NYC, stop into the Walter Kerr Theater for a visit.
DAMAN: When you’re considering a potential show to join, what do you look for?
Reeve Carney: I look for a challenge. And something I haven’t quite done before. The script is a big one for me, as I imagine it is for most actors. It’s our roadmap really. Not that we can take detours from time to time, but it helps you to understand the container in which the piece as a whole is likely to most potently exist.
DAMAN: You seem to have a plethora of talents, from acting to music. Where did you get all that?
Reeve Carney: That is very kind of you to say. I am interested in many things, and love creative work. At first, I had envisioned being a visual artist—a painter, sculptor or cartoonist even. At around the age of eight, I told my parents I wanted to be a performer, and I guess I’ve focused on that ever since. Very grateful to have the opportunity to create in a variety of mediums. I come from a very creative family. I’m actually a third-generation entertainer myself! All of my siblings perform as well!
DAMAN: When you’re not busy, how do you spend your time?
Reeve Carney: During the pandemic, I started an electronic effects pedal company called Quarantine Effects USA, where I design and build electronic effects pedals for musicians. So, that’s been keeping me quite busy while I’m not on stage or on location.
DAMAN: Last but not least, what’s the smallest decision you have ever made that had the biggest impact on your life?
Reeve Carney: Flossing.
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