Bowling Green State University alum Aaron Sinclair joins the cast of “Nellie” as its antagonist, Grayson, a disconnected sociopath who sends the short film’s lead characters on Hero Journeys all their own.
“Grayson drew himself to me, versus the other way around,” said Sinclair, who spent time reading multiple roles within the screenplay, but ultimately ended up as the villain. “I’m excited because I don’t get to play the bad guy enough. It’ll be nice to slip into something more menacing…I don’t think of myself as a particularly menacing individual. Though I do hear I have a tremendous case of ‘resting-bitch-face’ so maybe there is something to that.”
Sinclair, a SAG-eligible actor and writer, said it was “the feel” of the script and its “sense of place,” that drew him in.
“I get a strong vibe of deep south, sweaty nights, humidity. Something about the tone or the language exudes imprisonment,” said Sinclair, whose BGSU degree is a BFA in Creative Writing. “I haven’t worked in that ‘space’ before, so I definitely wanted to be a part of that world building.”
It’s a very dark world and a very dark character, one Sinclair said ultimately considers himself the “only ‘human’ in his world.”
“All the other players are simply utilities. I’ll have to click into a frame of reference that delves worse than ‘I don’t care’ when it comes to the other people in the scene. I’ll have to find that place of numb selfishness,” said Sinclair. “Or maybe the same place a gamer goes in a console RPG where you are the only real character and the game characters are just interactive window dressing. They feel nothing, so you can do anything to them.
“I frankly think we all have the proclivity to dehumanize, to some extent or another,” said Sinclair, who’s currently pursuing an MBA in IT Management from Western Governors University. “I just need to be comfortable exploiting mine.”
Sinclair said prepping for the role will start with the script itself.
“What do others say about him, what do I say about others, what do I say about myself? What can I glean about the tone of the character juxtaposed to the script? How does that jack into my own personality?”
And then once he gets “that kernel of an idea locked into my brain, the ‘why’ of the lines, I’ll work dialect to sort out approaches of the ‘how,'” he said. “One thing I have noticed already is an instinctual detachment from Nellie on a pronoun level. My brain doesn’t think ‘her,’ it thinks ‘it’. So, it is super amusing when ‘it’ has a name. Like naming a pair of jeans, it’s absurd.”
And absurdity, as well as some degree of dark humor is threaded throughout the script. Sinclair said the audience will feel a range of emotions, but his focus is on how he wants them to react to Grayson.
“I’d like the audience to bounce between being slightly comfortable with the guy to disturbed,” said Sinclair. “As an actor, I don’t think that he is funny. I don’t think the character himself thinks he is ha-ha funny. I think he uses humor as another tool to project power. Others laugh out of fear, and that is just fine to Grayson. He might entertain himself with others misery, but he is no jokester.”
Sinclair has appeared in SRO Theatre Company’s “The Lion in Winter” as Henry II, Third Lows Productions’ feature film “The Passion of Paul Ross” as Party Man, and commercial work for Kemba Financial Credit Union. He is represented by CAM Talent out of Grandview, Ohio.
Nellie begins filming in March 2018.