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Jason Gedrick Talks Bosch, Justified, Hallmark, and Beasties [Exclusive] 

Photo Credit: Amazon
Photo Credit: Amazon

Jason Gedrick has had a solid three-decade run in Hollywood–mostly playing guys you can trust. He turned that on its ear this spring with an arc on the breakout first season of Amazon’s Bosch, which looks poised for Emmy recognition when nominations are announced on July 16th.

Gedrick played Raynard Waits, a serial killer and the nemesis of the title character, played by Titus Welliver. We chatted with Gedrick recently about that role, his fondness for Hallmark projects, his upcoming arc on Beauty and the Beast‘s third season, and how he ended up in the Justified finale.

Gedrick originally read for the lead role on Bosch, but was called back to read for Waits. “I was told this role was coming up. I had a new manager who was getting a feel for what I’d like, and my agent said I’d like this role and sent me the material. I e-mailed back immediately and asked them to get me as much time as possible so I could prepare. I thought, ‘Let’s take our shot,'” he recalls.

“I auditioned, and usually, if you don’t hear back something definitive in a couple of days, it goes away. About a week later, I got the call that they wanted me. I was thrilled and immediately terrified. There were so many implications with this kind of role. There are so many traps and I didn’t want to be compared [to anyone else’s performance].”

He dove into the psychology of how serial killers begin, and that was tremendously helpful in creating the character. “I started asking questions of our technical advisor. I read a lot of books on psychology,” he explains. “The first description that was explained to me was that there was a portion of the brain that in the early formative years, if it experiences trauma, it hardens like a rock [and] can’t be malleable again, and that was a great overall understanding of why this guy does what he does. He’s been through so much that there was no compassion left.”

Photo Credit: Amazon
Photo Credit: Amazon

“In order for me to play it, I don’t have to perform any of the actual events, but I have to understand a sense of justifying why he does what he does. It’s literally a scale–when he was abused, the weights were pushed onto his side, so he keeps going until the scales are level. Once I got there, it got me to think about [historical serial killers and rampage killers]. There is either a long-term or short-term snap based on some sort of psychosis or breakdown that they’ve experienced. It made me realize anyone is capable of having that kind of break where you [lose] compassion and empathy.”

Gedrick says it was easy to put the character down at the end of the day because of the technicality involved in the production. “I don’t live in that skin at all,” he says. “I try to do as much homework so that between action and cut I’m free associative.”

Another thing that helped was the isolation from the larger cast, which was a bit of a mixed blessing. “I wish I’d had more scenes with everyone because it’s a very fun, bright cast. There’s a camaraderie that’s there, but I do think with the sensitivity of this type of role, the majority of the public perception and industry perception of me in the role, I think it would have confused a lot of people. I understand that. I’ve played some down and out characters [like in Luck] but this is a huge leap. That time away [from the main cast allowed me] to discover and build the character [and freed me from second guessing myself].”

Shooting for a streaming series made the production more like a film, and that gave Gedrick the incentive to really get his performance right because the season would be wrapped by the time all of the episodes were seen. “My experience has been that TV production is the toughest of all mediums because you never know how long you’re going to be working for. This gray area of a streaming series, specifically in Amazon’s case because they were just getting their feet wet, [provided] a quality of being left alone to a degree that made it feel much more like a feature film.”

“You’re hoping for the best, but you’re really at the mercy of people with or without good taste. You feel like you luck into those things. People have been properly assigned to their roles [to finalize the show after you’ve given your performance] and you’re relieved [when it all comes together]. Ultimately for me, it’s the same work. I have to have a plan B if something emotional is required of me and [for whatever reason] it’s not happening. I had a great experience with showrunner Eric Overmyer letting me offer ideas. I just loved the fact that I was being heard.”

One of the surprises in the fantastic Justified finale was Gedrick’s appearance as Winona’s husband in the flashfoward at the end. That came about from his work with Justified creator Graham Yost on Boomtown. “He had asked me if I was available a couple of times before, and I wasn’t. He has a sense of loyalty to that which he cherishes, and I think [Boomtown is one of those instances],” he says.

When the finale rolled around. Yost called him and apologized in advance because it was a tiny part. Gedrick jumped immediately, joining other Boomtown expats Mykelti Williamson, Neil McDonough, and Gary Basaraba.

“I said, ‘When is it and where do I go?’ The role was a little different originally. There was a little more unspoken rivalry between Raylan and me and then it changed to account for location. It was originally in the driveway of their house and then they had it in a park so Raylan had a little more time with his daughter. It was great, Graham is gem.”

Crown Media United States, LLC
Crown Media United States, LLC

Here at TV Goodness, we give a lot of love to the Hallmark networks, and Gedrick has done a couple of films for them–The Christmas Choir (whch pops up on July 8th on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries for Christmas in July) and The Wishing Tree with Continuum‘s Richard Harmon (which airs on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries July 6th).

“I think Hallmark is underestimated. It’s definitely a specific brand that presents material in an identifiable way. I think there is a place and a need for that option of viewing. I fully subscribe to it. There’s always a show that I’ll watch that will get me, win me over, even if I just read a Raymond Chandler novel. I can still relate to the characters and I appreciate that entertainment value when I’m in that mood,” he says. “I appreciate those opportunities when they come around. The [foundation] of that whole network is family driven–they like working with people that they know are reliable and they create a behind-the-scenes family [of cast and filmmakers].”

Next up, Gedrick has a five-episode arc this summer on Beauty and the Beast that will begin with episode 8 and run through the end of the season. “I play the character of Liam. I take a particular interest in Catherine and really try to get everyone to understand me,” he laughs, as that’s all he can divulge. “It’s a show that everyone takes seriously. They do their best to make it as great as they can. The [producers] trusted me with some things and were open to ideas. Some they took, some they didn’t, some they expanded on. It was a truly a wonderfully creative experience.”

Guesting on BATB also means getting to know the Beasties online fandom, and Gedrick says they’ve been lovely to him. “[They] are the most passionate fans I’ve experienced on any show,” he says. “They have a very warm respect and protective quality about their show. It’s a very cool collective, co-op fandom. They embraced me immediately.”

Bosch is available now on Amazon Prime. Beauty and the Beast airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW. You can follow Gedrick on Twitter.

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