“I Know What You Did Last Summer” Actor Ezekiel Goodman on His Approach to Acting

Premiering earlier this year on October 15, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is the latest adaptation of the novel of the same name. Originally penned by Lois Duncan, the story follows a group of teenagers who are being stalked by a mysterious killer a year after a fatal accident on graduation night.

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The series, which was adapted into a movie in the past decade, was largely responsible for the revival of the slasher genre. Along with other now-iconic movies like “Scream,” it’s unique in the sense that it has gained a cult following in all of the mediums that the story had been adapted to. This time, in a TV series, the story gains a new edge, as the format itself allows the story to breathe and intensify when it needs to.

Since it’s such an impressively classic retelling of a slasher film, we reached out to American actor Ezekiel Goodman to sit down with us for a little chat about the show and about his career.

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DAMAN: Hi Zeke! It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. How have you been?
Ezekiel Goodman: I’ve been very well! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

DAMAN: Before we get into your work in “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, which has found success as a book, a movie, and now a TV series, can you please tell us how you initially discovered your love of acting?
Ezekiel Goodman: I started acting in preschool, in little productions they would put on for the kids! I had a pretty inauspicious beginning—I cried and ran off stage during my first performance, playing a snake. But clearly something stuck and I kept going back for more. Maybe I wanted to prove to myself I could be more courageous next time. That probably still drives me.

DAMAN: As someone who has been doing this for quite some time, what would you say was the thing that drew you into acting? Just what is it about acting that really appeals to you?
Ezekiel Goodman: On the one hand, I could say it was that I enjoy the process of losing and finding myself through other lives, in other worlds. But that’s after the fact that I just enjoy it more than anything else I have ever done.

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DAMAN: How would you describe your method of preparing for a role? Do you do it before the starting of filming or is it something that happens much earlier? How did you prepare for this role?
Ezekiel Goodman: Bill Heck, who plays Bruce so well on our show and was extremely supportive during production, very wisely told me that anyone who claims to have a process is probably lying. So far, my process seems to me to be in figuring out a process. I’m very young in terms of my career, everything has to be experimentation for me. That being said, I did my research, I interviewed some people who had things in common with Dylan that didn’t’t have. I read some stuff.

DAMAN: Can you tell us a little about Dylan, your character on the show?
Ezekiel Goodman: He has a very definite sense of right and wrong, of good and bad. He tends to see the world in binary terms, but he is also fundamentally a caring, open-hearted person who would put most people before himself.

DAMAN: In your view, how would you describe Dylan’s growth as a character throughout the series?
Ezekiel Goodman: I’d say he learns to see a bit more nuance in himself and in the world. Or at least he begins to, and then events make him more polarized than he was before.

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DAMAN: What was it that drew you to this role?
Ezekiel Goodman: The contradictions of the character, the chance to play with extremity.

DAMAN: “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is an iconic flick that has had a number of interpretations over the years. Would you say that this version is a continuation of the other forms or would you say that it’s an entirely different one?
Ezekiel Goodman: I’d describe it as a variation on a theme, but for and of this moment in our culture.

DAMAN: These characters that you play, they all have their quirks and ticks that define them on the silver screen. How much of it would you say is your own interpretation of the character and how much of it comes from the writers?
Ezekiel Goodman: I guess I don’t really think of it that way. Ideally, the writer has given me a prompt and guidelines, and then it’s my job to put as much of my humanity and creativity into that structure as possible.

DAMAN: Speaking of acting, do you remember what it was like to land your first professional acting gig? How did it make you feel? Do you still feel the same way now that you’re a more established actor?
Ezekiel Goodman: It was maybe the best day of my life, a moment of absolute relief. But I wouldn’t say I’m established. I don’t have anything figured out.

Shirt by 14th & Union; pants by Tommy Hilfiger; belt by Timberland

DAMAN: If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Ezekiel Goodman: Take more risks. Think less—it doesn’t solve anything.

DAMAN: In the age of social media and video sharing platforms like YouTube and Twitch, would you say it’s easier or harder to make it as an actor these days?
Ezekiel Goodman: Since I’ve only lived in this time, I am hesitant to say, but I think that depends on what kind of actor you want to be. There are media that are definitely more difficult to make a living in now. But there are more ways to make money, theoretically.

DAMAN: And one last question … do you have any particular hopes as to where the movie industry would move towards in the future?
Ezekiel Goodman: I hope we promote people, of all backgrounds, who have the courage to make work that takes risks, challenges our view of the world, and hopes to show the complicated richness of the human experience.