“Gaslit” and “The Resident” star Patrick R. Walker talks about bringing joy to the world through acting, as well as his experiences in playing different roles
Born in 1992, Patrick R. Walker is the oldest of five in a big family. Growing up watching Robin Williams in various movies, Walker witnessed how the “Mrs. Doubtfire” star brought happiness to his family through his unique characters and crazy essence—something that eventually led him to discovering the joy of acting for himself. Looking up to his idol, Walker finally decided to become an actor with one big passion: changing lives.
Walker has starred in several series and movies, including the 2018 drama “The Resident” which really catapulted him to fame. The latest entry in his acting portfolio is “Gaslit.” a series based on the infamous Watergate political scandal. Besides acting, he is also passionate about writing and directing, at one point winning third place at Campus Moviefest 2014-15 with his short movie “Caretaker.” With DA MAN, Walker shares stories about his acting journey and passion while recalling how his childhood influenced him as an actor.
DAMAN: We are glad to have you with us today. What have you been up to these days?
Patrick R. Walker: Thank you for having me! My days have been filled with work! Between the momentum from “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” and “Gaslit” while currently prepping to start production on a feature tomorrow, it’s been a whirlwind. But I’m grateful and excited about what this year has to come.
DAMAN: Can you share what or who inspired you to be an actor?
Patrick R. Walker: One of my inspirations growing up was Robin Williams. He has this raw, crazy, genius, untamed essence that I identified with. His quick mind and unique characters leave me in awe to this day. The joy and happiness he brought to my family with many of his movies was something that drew me to loving films like I do and it’s that same feeling I want to bring to others around the world.
DAMAN: Speaking of which, what was your childhood like and how did it shape you as an actor?
Patrick R. Walker: I came from very humble beginnings. I grew up in a very big family, my mother had five children, myself being the oldest, and most of my time was spent outside running around with my friends. Growing up, my surroundings introduced me to a lot of wild characters and situations; situations that I’m able to use for character backstory, and characters that I’m able to infuse in my work.
DAMAN: You have starred in various movies and series, including medical drama “The Resident” where you play Micah Stevens, a high school teacher who suffered from a heart condition and had a crush on a surgeon. Can you share with us what the experience was like?
Patrick R. Walker: “The Resident” was a job that came at the perfect time! I was six years into my career and was looking for a project that would give me a chance to show my skills as an actor. I was originally supposed to do one episode, but the writers and audience loved Micah so much it grew into two seasons. The crew was also so great I just enjoyed coming to work with them.
DAMAN: For your role as Micah Stevens in “The Resident”, what challenges did you encounter or experience?
Patrick R. Walker: Well, during the finale of the first season I was dealing with the loss of a close family member and my character Micah was facing death for a second time. It was an interesting perspective and I am very privileged that I was able to breathe some of my revelations of death and pain into that character in those moments. It was hard, but anytime someone reached out and talked about how the episode touched them I’m proud that my experience brought truth and hope.
DAMAN: The latest title in your filmography, “Gaslit,” is a series based on the first season of the Slate podcast “Slow Burn,” covering the infamous Watergate scandal. And you play as Frank Wills, a security guard who uncovered the corruption network and found the evidence of the break-in. What aspects do you like or adore from the character you play?
Patrick R. Walker: I love this question! I really love how Frank is just an ordinary guy doing his job who with great detail discovers something that changed America as we know it. Amazing stories on television usually come out of someone’s creative imagination but it was nice to be a part of a story that the truth was the foundation.
DAMAN: “Gaslit” sheds some light on the political scandal, and focuses on unveiled stories and forgotten characters. Did you undergo any kind of special preparation for your role in “Gaslit”?
Patrick R. Walker: My first chunk of preparation was just searching the entire Internet for whatever I could find about Frank. Also watching interviews and reading whatever I could find about him in books and magazines. Since there wasn’t much about him, I really try my best to channel his energy and let Frank guide my performance. I would get to set a few hours early just to sit in his apartment and just take the time and create memories and thoughts so I felt as connected as I possibly could. I also studied and interviewed security guards all over Los Angeles to see how attentive most security guards are. I wanted to understand how extraordinary it was for him to find the piece of tape on the door at Watergate.
DAMAN: Are there certain roles you have been dreaming to play?
Patrick R. Walker: My dream role is Batman. I would just love to play characters that are out of the box. Things that aren’t common and stories that haven’t been told from the African-American experience.
DAMAN: Are there figures, role models, or “muses” you look up to in the film industry?
Patrick R. Walker: Denzel Washington, Daniel Day Lewis and Viola Davis are my heroes!
DAMAN: Besides all the roles you have played in various movies, you are also a writer and a director. Your short movie “Caretaker” won third place at the Campus Moviefest in 2014-15. Can you tell us more about the experience?
Patrick R. Walker: I’ve been writing and directing for the past nine years and those early moments of being a part of different film festivals like Campus Moviefest gave me the confidence to continue to create and learn more about film.
DAMAN: Besides acting, what are you also passionate about?
Patrick R. Walker: To be completely honest I am passionate about changing lives! That is one of the main reasons that I became an entertainer I want to be a part of the solution in a world that is full of problems.
DAMAN: To What do you think make the most important skills or aspects an actor must have?
Patrick R. Walker: Vulnerability and individuality. Acting is about opening yourself and bearing your soul to the audience. So, being vulnerable is imperative because that is what makes the audience feel the words that are being said and they can feel it’s coming from somewhere real. Individuality is what sets us apart, but also what makes the character special. When I approach a character there are certain viewpoints that I, as an individual, have that will make that character special and different from how other similar characters have been played by other amazing actors.
DAMAN: When it comes to current events, how do you think has the pandemic changed the film industry?
Patrick R. Walker: I think the pandemic was like the neuralyzer from “Men in Black” for the film industry. It gave a lot of actors a chance to be seen and made a way for new talent all across the board. I believe the next two years we will see the most breakout performances that we’ve seen in the past 50 years in film. Because they let new people in!
DAMAN: Are there any upcoming projects you could share with us?
Patrick R. Walker: Currently, I am working on a Vietnam war film called “Ambush.” It’s a great action drama that focuses a lot on the U.S. engineers and soldiers who discovered and explored the underground tunnels created by the Viet Cong during the war.
DAMAN: Last question, what is your biggest hope for yourself as an actor and the film industry in the future?
Patrick R. Walker: My biggest hope is to be the biggest movie star on the planet. Then to parlay that into helping people! Helping homeless people get off the streets and educating people on financial literacy. In the end, I would just like to be effective … and play Batman.
PHOTOGRAPHY MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCORMACK
STYLING KIMBERLY GOODNIGHT
GROOMING MAXWELL MARTIN USING SHEA MOISTURE
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