By Karan DholakiaPaul Blackthorne recently travelled across the United States to find out how much the country has changed over the years. From New York to Los Angeles, Paul and Mister Basquali travel to discover how the economy's collapse and how different people's vision of the country are.
1. Let’s start with an easy one; This American Journey – How did that come about?
Shortly after the economic downturn, I became curious about what the people of America were thinking about the country. At the time, the American Dream was in a troubled state, and though I've loved America since I was a kid I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about it myself . However I decided the best way for me to form an opinion on how I felt about America was to go out and speak to the people of America. So that’s what I did. I got on the road with a friend of mine and drove from New York to Los Angeles.
The great American road trip!! From the ghetto to the gun show, the courthouse to the cattle auction its amazing what we learned out there!
2. It seemed initially you had a goal in mind to set out and find out why/how America has changed, but by the end it seemed it became much more than that. It became more about the people than it did about the Country – which was great. How do you feel now, having made the journey; how much has your opinion changed of the country you fell in love with?
What started off looking into the state of America turned more into looking into the state of our minds. . People seemed to be taking a long hard look at what makes us truly happy in life - is it the big house the big car and pots of money or is it something else ?The people we spoke to taught us a lot. After this experience I can't help but feel very positive about the country!
Leaving NY after 2 weeks preparation with a guy I barely knew and not much idea of where we were heading except west, was an interesting moment. But along the way a number of interviews really stopped us in our tracks: the NRA member at the gun show was one of the most surprising people we met - never judge a book by its cover!
4. Was there any one location that you particularly felt resonated with you more than any other?
There's something in the air in New Mexico for sure - it's hard to put your finger on it but watching the sun rise and fall in that state definitely lifts the spirit! Also Montgomery, the way in which a small town like that shaped modern day America was pretty inspiring!
As a kid I fell in love with America. All these years later of course it's changed enormously but that's the beauty of America, it is still young and still malleable, it changes, adapts, and improves itself on a daily basis.
Maybe in the past America has been a little enthusiastic making its mark on the world stage, like the young kid in the room trying to prove itself around the older kids, but now it seems to be getting over the idea of having to prove itself to the rest of the world. Our Imam in Little rock speaks beautifully of America's growing maturity.
6. You brought up an interesting point about religion with Basquali in the bathroom, do you think that’s played a big part in some of the changes in the US today?
I think amongst the different theological schools there is awareness that different religions have more in common than they have different and that perhaps we may just have different names for many of the same ideas. In the film differerent people of different religions discuss this idea too and its nice to see people thinking more about what we might have in common rather than what makes us different. When we dwell on our commonality i think we have more chance of working together to get out of difficult times...
[caption id="attachment_7613" align="alignleft" width="419"] Credit Jennifer Cawley[/caption]
7. You play Detective Lance on CW’s Arrow and voiced Metallo in Justice League: Doom. Did you/do you now have an interest in the Green Arrow/DC Comics before you did the show? What kind of research did you do for the character?
I have never read the comic books, but I get to enjoy the screen version of the DC world that the Arrow writers so brilliantly create.
Lance is a cop so I research the world of being a cop, however for me, the most interesting part of creating a character is creating his psychology
The experiences we have in life and how we react to them make us who we are.
I enjoy creating the life experiences of a character that create the person that's ended up on the page.
8. Do you visit the UK at all?
When i can't stand another moment without warm flat beer, terrible weather, great football and old school mates and family I get on the plane for my yearly dose of what it means to be British - i love England and i miss it very much, America makes up for it though…
As the legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said: Football is not a matter of life and death - it's more important than that.
Football is the stuff of dreams, nightmares, passion and character.
I love football - I have been going to watch Arsenal play since I was a teenager - they are the greatest team in the world whether they win trophies or not - they tend not to - but this season - THIS is the season!!
10. Do you have any upcoming feature film projects that you can talk about?
I just had one of the best experiences of my working life in the company of Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and Kathleen Turner.
Yes indeed - Dumb and Dumber To - coming soon!
Look out for Doctor Kipper
Thanks for taking the time out to answer the questions for us, you do an amazing job in Arrow, we here at Movieville and our many readers agree, keep up the good work! (We also think you should make more documentaries!)
Thank you for the questions and the interest in This American journey and Arrow - it is much appreciated !
Please tell the folks out there that arrow is on CW and that This American Journey is available on Hulu and Amazon - go to thisamericanjourney.com to learn more - I'd appreciate it!
And that we can continue the conversation on twitter @paulblackthorne - thank you!
TAJ HULU http://bit.ly/1aPGlIa - watch the film for free here
TAJ website: http://bit.ly/1cfuJ0B - watch it on Hulu or buy the dvd
TAJ FB http://bit.ly/1jwXB6K - like the page