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INT: Josh Duhamel

Nov. 27, 2006by: JimmyO

I was not very familiar with Josh Duhamel before this, aside from seeing him shirtless often when doing research and of course knowing a little of his work on the television series LAS VEGAS as well as his well publicized relationship with Black Eyed Pea, Fergie. Aside from that, he gained attention for his role in WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON and will be hitting the big screen next summer with TRANSFORMERS. But horror fans will get a glimpse of Josh this Friday in TURISTAS, the latest travel friendly thriller from Fox Atomic.

I got a chance to meet up with Mr. Duhamel at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills recently. Even when I first arrived and saw him in the hallway I realized what a nice guy he was. Hailing from North Dakota , he has this true small town decency in the way he talks to you and how he seems to realize that he is blessed, to have gone from the soap, ALL MY CHILDREN to working with Michael Bay and a bunch of transforming robots. He spoke about said robots and also about his time in Brazil with his fellow TURISTAS.

Josh Duhamel

John [Stockwell] was saying that you liked the lack of luxury and the big trailer and all that stuff that you didnít have making this movieÖ

I liked the lack of it?

Yeah.

I did like it to be honest. I knew going into this that it was going to be a challenge, like a physical challenge. Just reading it, you know that itís going to be pretty rugged the whole way through and it was and I think that he liked that, he secretly liked watching us suffer that son of a bitch. But itís true; we wereÖ partially because a lot of the places we were shooting you couldnít get a trailer into anyway. But, the most we had, for the most part were little tents out in aÖ they had little areas where they had tents and stuff like little fold up chairs and stuff but that was about the extent of base camp. Which is kind of fun, you know, Iíve been working on [LAS] VEGAS for four years now, itís nice to have that luxury but itís also nice to get your hands dirty and really get into something.

Would you ever take a trip like that? Or have you ever?

To Brazil?

Yeah, something like that?

Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah I would, I mean obviously I Ďm hoping this movie isnít too much of a diversion to people traveling abroad because it is a great country and if youíre smart, youíll be fine. But I would definitely go; Iím actually going back for New Years. I hope they donít lynch me. [Laughing]

Iím sure youíve seen your fair share of horror films, what is it like to be in one?

Ah, well, when I first read it I didnít really consider it a horror film. I mean, it was scary and there were definitely aspects of that but it felt more of like an intense sort of thriller thatÖ itís one of those scripts that I read that I started it and I never stopped reading it the whole way through. And whenever I read something like that it feels like itís going to be, at least an interesting movie. Whether itís a movie like this or a romantic comedy or whatever kind of movie, if you can read it from beginning to end without stopping, in my case because I have a short attention span, you know, I was attracted to it.

It wasnít because it was a horror film, it turns out that what I liked about it was in the beginning itís not so much likeÖ itís these people on this trip and things are going kind of wrong, itís okay but we sort of capture the essence of Brazil with the music and the dancing and the sexiness of it; the whole vibe of Brazil. But then it takes that turn, and what I liked that he did, that he really didnít hold back, he really pushed the envelopeÖ It is horror in a way, but I saw it as an intense kind of thriller.

How was it filming the underwater sequence?

AhÖ [Long pause] It was okay. [Laughing] It was fun at first but three weeks into it, it was like, ďOkay, Iíve gotta get back into the water.Ē Like I remember like after a Sunday, after a day off, just chilliní, doing nothing, first thing Monday morning I forgot to get mentally prepared to swim under this rock shell and find air and suck the air up and come back out. And I just sort of did it and I realized, I was like, ďOh my God!Ē [Coming up for air] and I panicked and I got out and I was freaking out because I wasnít ready for it.

Are you a good swimmer?

Yeah, but this was after I had done it a bunch of times too. You really had to get yourself mentally prepared to go under, because itís basically a ceiling ofÖ you swim under the surface of this rock thing. Thereís air bubbles underneath there you have to find [Breathing] and thereís a camera guy underneath the water, so you have to find these air bubbles, suck up the air and then come back out. Or else go to the next one.

How many hours do you think you stayed in the water?

A lot. [Laughing] Usually you spend a day doing it, but youíd be in then youíd be out. They took good care of us, there was always someone with a towels and stuff, it wasnít so bad.

How do you deal with the ďheartthrobĒ image that you have?

I donít knowÖ I meanÖ

Are you comfortable with that? You donít seem to be. I mean, how does that sit with you?

WellÖ I donít know, I mean, I donít see myself as that, I really donít. I feel like IímÖ I understand that it helps in a way because if thatís gonna help me get to what I wanna do, you know, thereís a lot of things that I wanna do, a lot of things that I feel Iím capable of doing. I havenít necessarily had the chance to do it yet but eventually I will.

Has it ever worked against you?

Iím sure it has butÖ

Does it include many frustrating stereotypes?

If it has, Iím sure I donít even know about it. My agentís not going to tell me that.

Whatís your role in the TRANSFORMERS?

I play this male hunk. [Laughter] I seduce the robots into going back into outer space with my hunkiness. Iím kidding. [Laughter] No, Iím not. [Laughter continues]

With John [Stockwell], who kind of went through what you did, did he have any advice or was it good to work with someone whoís kind of been in your shoes?

You know what; we didnít even approach the subject. I think he knew I was game to do whatever. I was very happy to be, I feel very appreciative of my situation. Whatever the reason it is that Iím here, I feel appreciative of it. And I feel like Iíve busted my butt when I was there and I think that thatís all he cares about. If Iím out there acting like a prima-donna he would have let me have it, you know. I think that he had some respect for me because I was there to work and I was there to really try and do the best that I could do. So we didnít really talk about it. Heíd make fun of me once in awhile for certain things but thatís fine.

Youíve been getting quite a number of roles now; did you ever see that happening? Because not a lot of actors get that transition from daytime [soaps] to prime time to film and be that successful and you seem to have made that transition work for you and still keep your day job.

Yeah, itís been good. Thatís why I feel very lucky. I feel very lucky to be in the situation Iím in. I donít know why, but itís beenÖ I have very good representation. Other than just being fortunate and working hard I donít know what the reasonÖ I donít know how to explain. I just hope that it keeps going that way. [Laughter]

How did you work out the schedule between this, TRANSFORMERS and LAS VEGAS?

TURISTAS was easy because it was in between the hiatus, like I had to ask for an extra week from coming back from Brazil. But I came back on a Friday and I had to come back to work on Monday and I was sick after coming back from Brazil, I had this lung something, it took months to go away. I think it was from all the underwater swimming and stuff but this time was tough. Transformers went four months into production on Vegas and it got hairy, it got ugly between some of them, but its fine.

With TRANSFORMERS, there is such a huge fan baseÖ

Yeah, I didnít realize it. I was a fan of it as a kid too but I didnít realize it was that big still. When [Michael Bay] told me he was going to do it, I was actually in a meeting in Michael Bayís office for the movie THE HITCHER that they just shot, meeting his two partners and Michael Bay pops his head in and says hey, how you doin? And Iím like, heyÖ itís Michael Bay. I shook his hand.

Iíd never met him before and he sits down and weíre all talking and he tells me about this movie TRANSFORMERS and I couldnít believe that they were making that movie because all I remembered was the cartoon. And two months pass and I get a call from his office saying he wants to see me for this movie, for this part of Lennox and Iím like, ďOkay!Ē So I go in and he starts showing me all the artwork and stuff that they have and itís so cool some of the stuff that thereÖ itís so much more advanced then I can even imagine, itís like, now I get why they are making this movie. Because itís so much more modern than it was before.

Captain Lennox?

Yeah, I play Captain Lennox. Iím the captain of this special opps team over in Iraq and weíre coming back from this mission, weíre getting ready to go home and when Vortex comes in as a US Helicopter and basically transforms and incinerates this base. So, and then we run for the desert and end up somehow finding our way back and get communication with the US and they come and get us and go back.

Is this your first time working with a ďblue screenĒ?

We didnít do much blue screen. It was mostly, a lot of big stick with tennis balls on them, but not a lot of blue or green screen.

Did you have to read for Michael Bay?

Oh, yeah.

Did that make you nervous?

YeahÖ I had to do it the other day for George Clooney which was even more nerve-wracking.

Really, can you talk about it?

Iíd rather not.

Bad luckÖ

Yeah.

You know TURISTAS kind of deals with a lot of real life frightening situations, what is it in real life that frightens you?

Oh yeah, Iím a bigÖ plenty of stuff. Just moving here from North Dakota was terrifying.

How old were you when you moved out?

Twenty-fiveÖ No, twenty-two when I moved here I went toÖ I was in Northern California for five years and then moved to Southern California when I was twenty-six.

What was the scariest part?

Just moving away, well, I moved to a little town that wasnít dissimilar to where Iím from so, you know, I did it gradually so I didnít just go to L.A., which would have been too much.

Do you enjoy the ďred carpetĒ experience? You know the sort of bullshit part of the jobÖ

YeahÖ thatís why I donít do it that much. Iíll go to the stuff I have to go to but itís just tooÖ I donít deal with it well, the red carpet stuff well because I just feel like I donít belong there. And thatís just something I just have to go to, I just feel like Iím there tooÖ I donít know; I just donít deal with it well. Listen to this, I was supposed to go toÖ my manager got me invited to the BABEL premiere and my mother in town, she was gonna go with me and she was taking a reflexology class so she was going to be there late, so I was going to go by myself. I got dressed up and I was getting ready and I drove up in my car and I, there was all these cameraís and stuff there, and I was likeÖ I just kept driving.

So you think youíre more of an introvert than an extravert?

Yeah. Little bit. Itís fine, itís not like Iím afraid of it, you know, I just donít.

Is that opposite of your girlfriend [Fergie] who seems to be such an extravert?

Oh she loves it, she loves it. But she doesnít do a lot of it either unless she has to. And we stay out of it as much as we can. Just because, you see so much of that stuff get blown out of proportion, you become a target and they build you up and they just bust you down. Iíd rather not do that.

Have you ever thought about going back and getting your degree, because you are one semester awayÖ

I got it! I got my degree in biology man. Actually I think they gave me the degree in general studies because Iíve been there like ten years so I took some bullshit classes and they gave me the degree. Cuz I was one credit away when I left.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to jimmyo@joblo.com.

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