With appearances in at least two big titles—namely “The Way Back” and “Silk Road”—Will Ropp is definitely having a great 2020.
Throughout 2020, actor, writer and producer Will Ropp will be appearing in quite a few films. Two definitely stand out: Basketball drama “The Way Back” where he plays alongside Ben Affleck and “Silk Road” which tells the true story of one of the darkest stories of the online world. So, when we had the opportunity to learn more about these two films, and maybe dig a little bit about Ropp’s acting career at the same time, we jumped at the chance.
DA MAN: Hi, Will; awesome to have you with us. How are you, by the way?
Will Ropp: I’m doing well! Excited to chat with you.
DA MAN: So, first up, in early March, we’ll see you in “The Way Back.” In a nutshell, what can moviegoers expect from this movie?
Will Ropp: I think viewers can expect a heartfelt and authentic piece of work. The whole cast and crew worked so hard. I also think us players on the team put our whole heart into the story; we worked really hard and by the end of shooting became a real family in some ways. I hope that will be evident to the audience.
DA MAN: Can you give us a short intro to your character and his role in the story?
Will Ropp: I play Kenny Dawes. He’s a player in both the basketball sense and the female sense. You’re constantly catching him with female company and it starts to catch up to him. He can be kind of a goof, but he has a really good heart.
DA MAN: Without spoiling too much of the story, what was your favorite or otherwise most memorable scene of “The Way Back”?
Will Ropp: My favorite scenes to shoot had to be the school bus scenes. It was so amazing to film because Gavin O’Connor, the director, would just let the cameras roll and allow us to be real kids goofing around. We were driving around the Los Angeles area in a real school bus just having fun. We shared stories, told jokes, started a rap circle … it was a blast. A close second would be Ben Affleck’s final speech to us. You could tell it was coming from a place of sincerity; he meant every word he said. When you looked around the team, you could see it was landing on us pretty heavy too. Such a great moment.
DA MAN: How about behind the scenes? What would you say is the best part of working with the cast and crew of “The Way Back”?
Will Ropp: Ben definitely became a mentor to us all by the end of the film. From the beginning, he took us all under his wing. He really encouraged us to enjoy the experience and never forget it. He was able to share some advice from his career when he was younger, the do’s and the dont’s, the ups and downs. I think one of the strongest things he told us was to never lose the love of the art. Once it becomes just a business or a job, you’ll have lost the joy that comes from acting, and it’s important to keep that joy as a constant. As far as the rest of the cast and crew, we really became close. I’ve seen pretty much everyone involved on a fairly regular basis since wrapping. We developed friendships that will last for life.
DA MAN: Another of your upcoming movie projects that caught our eye—and, if we’re not mistaken, you posted about on your IG account a while back—is “Silk Road.” Can you give us a brief intro to this title and how your involvement in it started?
Will Ropp: Yes! “Silk Road” is going to be a great film. Nick Robinson stars as Ross Ulbricht, the real man behind the 2011 black market drug website. The story is truly insane. I encourage everyone to check out the Rolling Stone article about it because it honestly blew my mind. Basically, it was a website where you could order any drug straight to your door; it would come disguised in discreet packaging and everything. I play the role of Timmy Shields, the head of the Baltimore Cybercrimes Unit that assists in busting this drug kingpin. Most of my scenes are with Jason Clarke, who was an unbelievably amazing actor to work with.
DA MAN: Now, the story that inspired “Silk Road” deals with a rather sinister aspect of the Internet, but one that the general public might not exactly understand all that well. Would you say that this movie is a message about staying safe online or something along those lines?
Will Ropp: I would say it definitely highlights the dangers of what the Internet is capable of. There’s an entire dark side to it that a lot of people don’t even know exists. It’s pretty scary stuff. I don’t think the film really pushes an agenda or message on you. It really takes the situation that happened in real life, an insane story of criminal enterprise, and depicts it to you in a truthful way. When a story is this crazy, it doesn’t need any artificial twists. That’s why I love it.
DA MAN: After delving into the subject matter of “Silk Road,” have you changed any of your online habits?
Will Ropp: I really wasn’t interacting with the black-market side of the Internet before I started the film, so not much has changed. I guess I’ve changed a few of my passwords? I learned that it’s actually really hard to catch people doing illegal things online. I always thought the government could just track down someone’s IP or whatever and bust them, but there are all these ways of keeping yourself super anonymous.
DA MAN: All in all, though, how fun was it working on this movie?
Will Ropp: It was great. I had never been out to New Mexico before; it was beautiful. The crew and cast there were so inviting and welcoming. Again, working alongside Jason was a huge deal to me. He takes his craft seriously; it’s admirable. He’s so versatile it’s insane. He can flip flop between villain and hero on a dime, it’s crazy. I also admire how serious he takes it in between takes; he’s just focused on how to make the scene the best it can possibly be. When an actor really cares about the project, you can tell in the performance.
DA MAN: Other than “The Way Back” and “Silk Road,” do you have any other upcoming film projects you can tell us about?
Will Ropp: I am able to share that a pilot I created, “FanGirl,” is being developed with the NFL’s first female coach, Jen Welter. She’s been so important in breaking down barriers for females in athletics, so it’s exciting to have her on board. Other than that, I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out! I’d love to do a Duplass film. I’m really into the ultra-naturalistic, authentic, real stories. I was also really inspired by Sam Mendes’ film this year, “1917.” His style of filmmaking is incredible—it’s challenging, bold, and active. He’s a director I really admire.
PHOTOGRAPHY Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
STYLING Lisette Mora
GROOMING Robert Bryan
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