NEW BEGINNINGS. With a decade’s worth of movie and TV appearances under his belt, Josh Duhamel now juggles acting and parenting. He recounts his latest endeavors to DA MAN
At one time, Josh Duhamel was a football player well on his way to a career in dentistry—something he had set his eyes on since high school. Fortunately, fate led him to modelling and, eventually, acting. So, for the past decade we’ve seen the towering actor run security for a casino in “Las Vegas,” battle alien robots in the first three “Transformers” movie, and even lend his deep resonant voice to the award-winning kids show “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” This year, he ventures into the realm of buddy cop shows through “Battle Creek” amid several movie gigs as well as the joys and challenges of fatherhood.
DA MAN: Hi Josh, we heard that you’re going to play detective Milt Chamberlain in new TV series “Battle Creek.” Take us through the first season; tell us what it is about and what your role there is.
Josh Duhamel: The show itself is about a medium-sized town in Michigan. It’s an all-American town between Chicago and Detroit. But it’s got quite a bit of crime. It’s about this underfunded squad in Battle Creek and how they have to make do with very little resources. And my character comes into town with this FBI agent, who set up an office there with sort of government funding that I need. So it creates a sort of funny dynamic between myself and all of the detectives there.
DA: Why do you think is this show different from other cop series?
JD: Well, it’s written incredibly wild. I think it’s funnier than what people would expect from a cop show. It’s somewhere between drama and comedy. It’s got serious crimes that we’re dealing with, but it’s also funny in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Any crime you see on “CSI” or “NCIS” or on any other shows would never happen on our show. The crimes themselves are kind of absurd. But we treat them all very seriously. [Laughs]
DA: Okay, define “absurd.”
JD: Battle Creek is the cereal capital of the world. All Kellogg cereals, all Toasted cereals are made in Battle Creek. So every year—this is a true story—they have a Cereal Day. They have a big thing in the middle of Main Street in Battle Creek; it’s like a community event. And you see Tony the Tiger and some other mascots out there. In our show, the tiger gets shot. It’s up to us to figure out why he got shot. It’s been like that. In one episode, there’s even a syrup mafia.
DA: Can you tell us more about the dynamics between you and your partner in the show?
JD: Russ Agnew, my partner, he’s sort of rough around the edges, not the happiest guy in the world. He drives a real piece-of-crap car, he’s underpaid, and he doesn’t have the resources to do the job right as a detective, but he’s very good at it. So I come to town and he’s sort of surprised. He doesn’t want to be my partner, because I’m so callous. He doesn’t believe what I’m selling, he thinks that I’m a phony and there’s something else brewing, and he’s very curious as to why I ended up at Battle Creek. So, the two of us don’t like each other while we have to work together. And I don’t think that’s going to change.
DA: So which aspect of the series that you think will draw in the audience?
JD: I think the characters. It’s really a character-driven show. When I first found out, I said to Vince Gilligan, the series creator: “Vince, I’m not really interested in doing a procedural cop show.” He said, “Absolutely not. This is about the characters. It’s a little eclectic sort of ragtag group of detectives on the show. And it’s a very quirky kind of show. It’s different, I think, than what people have seen.
“It [parenting] can be a little bit challenging because of the paparazzi. And we’re just trying to raise him [Axl] to be a little compassionate, to be a kind person. It’s all that we care to do”
DA: Why did you want to take this TV series, instead of focusing on films?
JD: There are many reasons. One of it was the fact that I got to be in LA. I just had a son, so I don’t really want to be traveling. I want to be home. But at the same time, you don’t really get to work with that level of writers very often. And I was really honored to work with those guys. And at the end of the day, I just want to be part of something that’s really well done and well written, and the show’s that.
DA: You also have a new movie coming up: “Lost in the Sun.” What is it about?
JD: “Lost in the Sun” is about as different as you can imagine from “Battle Creek.” My character John is a guy who’s really lost, really desperate for money. He’s just got out of prison and has been living in his car. He sees an opportunity to blackmail some money from these people who have a grandson whose mother just died. Basically, he kidnaps this kid, and says, “If you don’t give ten thousand dollars, you won’t get your son back.” So this guy and kid go travelling across the country, from Texas to New Mexico. It’s an uplifting story.
DA: Since you’re now a father, did it affect the way you played the role?
JD: You know, it doesn’t really bother me. I’m not that guy. Part of the reason why I wanted to be an actor is to be able to play different characters and stretch myself as much as I could. And yeah, everything I do my son, Axl, will see, but at the same time, part of my job is to tell stories that are “part Josh.” If a really great character comes up, I’m not going to not do it because I feel it might affect my son in some way. I feel like that he can understand someday the part between dad and the character that he plays.
DA: How is he, by the way?
JD: He’s doing great—17 months old and very, very busy.
Sweater by Salvatore Ferragamo
DA: You’re now a father and you have many movies coming up. Have you achieved everything you’ve set out for or are there still more that you’d like to accomplish?
JD: I feel like I’m just getting started. There’s still a lot I want to achieve and that’s one other thing that I love about the things that I do, that is there’s always a new adventure on the horizon, there’s always something that you’re reaching for and it never really gets stale. You know, with each individual job, every day is different from the next day. So I feel very blessed to be doing what I’m doing.
DA: What is your ideal film project?
JD: That’s a difficult question, because I know it when I see it. Every job that I’m doing is my ideal film project. I try not to do anything that I don’t love. So, I feel like I’ve been getting to do my ideal job as I go. I just want to continue to be creatively sort of inspired and I don’t want to ever feel like I’m just doing it and I’m just going through the motions.
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Photographer Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling Alexa Rangroummith Green
Photography Assistant Jon Norris
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