Zach is cover of February art issue of Snap magazine, in which he talks about his love for stage work, and of course, The Glass Menagerie.
Most everyone knows you are a movie and television star, but you have a very accomplished theater career as well. Can you tell us a bit about why you love theater so much?
The theater is where it all began for me. I have studied and performed on stage since I was 10 years old, and earned a BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. My decision to move to LA after graduation was always intended as a means to an end. My goal was to build myself a film and television career that would allow me to diversify and focus on other aspects of storytelling also. Coming back to the theater is mostly about making good on a promise to myself. I’ve worked hard in Los Angeles to get myself to a point where I can leave and embrace other experiences. I finally feel that I am at that point so, I feel I must take the leap in continued pursuit of creative integrity and authenticity.
At this point in your career, you can be selective about the projects you work on. Why were you drawn to The Glass Menagerie?
There are so many factors that contributed to my decision. Firstly, the play and the playwright. To drive into this kind of classic American play is a true gift for any actor. To become deeply familiar with and connected to the language of such a master as Tennessee Williams is what drives me in my work. And then to play the most autobiographical character in his canon is the icing on the creative cake. The there is the group of people assembling to bring this production to life. They are each truly remarkable and renowned. The opportunity to work with the likes of John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett and Bob Crowley and Cherry Jones was simply too much to pass up. And then the process. Being in Cambridge at one of the most respected regional theaters in the country. The A.R.T has a reputation of fostering work in a uniquely incubative environment allowing for truly unobstructed creativity. I was so excited about the prospect of making work here as opposed to the oft scrutinized and impeded commercial landscapes of NY and LA.
In terms of preparing for the role, what are you doing specifically to get ready to plat Tom? Does it differ from how you prepare for movies and television?
A lot of reading. The text of the play of course. Biographies of Tennessee and his family. Journals of the playwright. Source material about The Depression and St. Louis, where the play takes place. And then rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. That is the biggest and most enjoyable difference between theater and film/TV – the time we spent diving into the material and the characters. It is thorough repetition and discipline that we are able to fully realize the character’s life and journey. In film and television if is often more through instinct (and a good editor).
What’s been your biggest challenge in balancing your film, television and theater career? How do you decide what projects you’ll work on?
Making time for everything that I want to do can be tricky. But I have been very specific and articulate about my intention to do so, and I am surrounded by people who support that intention in all necessary ways. I am so grateful for my business partners and advisors to help keep me moving forward with professional purposes and momentum. It frees me up to do the real work as I see it. The things on which I am meant to focus.
After you wrap up the play, what’s next for you? what are you most excited about in 2013?
Immediately after I finish the play in Cambridge, I am gearing up to support the release of Star Trek Into Darkness which hits theaters on May 17th. From there I will be working on a couple of movies with my production company Before the Doors Pictures and perhaps continuing to work on stage. This time maybe a little closer to Times Square… we’ll see. But a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon. I feel very fulfilled and grateful.