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Eric Hanson talks acting journey, roles in "Nefarious" and "Big George Foreman"

Lashaunta Moore logo: MainLogo Lashaunta Moore 4/28/2023 Lashaunta Moore

Every success story is different, and Eric Hanson's journey is the perfect example of blocking out noise and following your personal path to greatness. The actor is having a year like no other, appearing in films like Nefarious and Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World, with more films in progress. Hanson didn't always want to be an actor, but he instantly got hooked when he decided to test the waters with an acting class.

I got the chance to interview the actor as he continues to dominate the industry on his way to becoming a household name.

The actor is having a year like no other, appearing in films like Nefarious and Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World, with more films in progress. © Courtesy of Barb Williams Photography The actor is having a year like no other, appearing in films like Nefarious and Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World, with more films in progress.

Q: You started your Film/TV/Stage career in 2013. Looking back, does it shock you that you’ve come so far in ten years, or did you always see yourself in this position? 

Some days it feels like a minute; other days, it feels like this is all I’ve ever done. I was 41 when I took my first acting class, and although I was immediately hooked - addicted, really - it was a foreign yet weirdly familiar thing, this acting. It’s like, have you ever been to a new city and instantly fell in love with it? You don’t know your way around whatsoever.

You’re aware there are dangerous neighborhoods to avoid, a certain lingo the locals speak, and lots of unknowns… yet you know it’s home? I wanted to be a part of this new community, but I knew it would take time. And although I instantly felt at home regarding some things, the whole, you know - acting thing - was still new to me. I actually signed up for five weekly acting and improv classes right out of the gate. I just wanted to find a way to be comfortable in the discomfort.

I quickly became self-conscious [about] everything. I suddenly became very aware of myself when in front of a camera: “What are my hands for, and how do I use them? Where do I put them?” And, “Um… I think I forgot how to walk. I’ve seen walking, and I’m sure I’ve done it, but how does it go again?” Nothing was natural anymore. And I can overanalyze a bowling ball anyway, so this was my first hurdle to figure out.

So I started propping an old Sony Handycam up on some books every morning and recording myself doing a short monologue, scene, or anything with words. [It] could be dialogue from a movie or a comment from a blog post, maybe just a recipe from a cookbook, whatever. I did this every day until the camera was no longer a mechanical critic but an ally. I would gradually increase the length of the pieces, so I was building memory muscle and able to retain dialogue better, as well. 

Q: Being a part of a film about the legendary George Foreman is a big deal. What steps did you take to prepare for the role of George Colton? 

What an amazing experience to work on this film! Seriously. Every person I came into contact with, in-person or virtually, was professional and committed to their craft. [Every step of the way, from wardrobe to hair & makeup, cinematography to the sound department, and all the way to the top, everyone was an artist in the truest sense]. So, the preparation for my role was really a concerted group effort. 

Eric Hanson in © Screenshot Eric Hanson in

Q: You’re also Assistant Warden Anderson in Nefarious. Critics are calling the movie intense, spooky and well-written. What was your favorite part about working on set? 

Would it be cheesy to say ‘All of it’? Because that’s honestly how I feel. All along the way, from soup to nuts. When I went to my wardrobe fitting the day before I began filming, Cary Solomon, who wrote and directed Nefarious alongside Chuck Konzelman, took me around the set and introduced me to folks. That meant a lot to me, especially since I’m not one of the main characters because it shows how much they truly care about details and getting everything right. 

For example, my character comes into the viewing gallery for the scheduled execution and sets the tone for what’s about to happen. As the family members, reporters, etc., were seated, it was my job to [relay its seriousness and accurately set the decorum]. This takes place in what could be the scariest place to be for some people, or most unnerving anyway, but my character has been here before. This is not new to him. So by personally taking me around the set and integrating me with the crew who had already been working together for a few days, I believe Cary knew that it would help give me a sense of familiarity. It’s the most intense scene I’ve ever been a part of, so I’m thankful for that. 

But as to spooky things, first, there’s Sean Patrick Flanery, who plays Nefarious. He has this voice that is alarming on its own, but also, he has these ticks - facial and body movements - that appear truly demonic. His character is a man, a serial killer, whose body has been hijacked by a demon. And you can see the demon just under the skin moving around. To me, it’s like elbows and feet moving restlessly under a bedspread. Something just below the surface that you can’t quite see. So creepy. 

And then [there are] the odd, unexplained, technical issues that happened - and are still happening. Several times, a light or multiple lights would just go out. Not from a bad bulb or electrical problem, just… out. Poof. This happened on multiple occasions at different locations and with different lighting setups. And my cousin Molly was watching the movie in Little Rock, Arkansas, when the power to the theater went out. Lots of other examples, but I’ll just say it’s all very ‘interesting.’ 

© Courtesy of Barb Williams Photography

Q: Why are Big George Foreman and Nefarious both ‘must-see’ movies? 

My hope is that both movies stick with you for a while after you’ve left the theater. To me, that’s really what movies should be. A story told so well and honestly that it burrows into your imagination and stays there for some time. Whether you’re inspired to be your best self, riddled with questions, or even motivated to write your own story - when that feeling stays with you for days, that’s the good stuff. 

When I’m asked, ‘What’s your favorite movie?’, it used to throw me for a loop. It depends on so many things: When did I see it, how did it affect me then, and how do I feel about it now? My opinions [change] based on where I’m at emotionally when the question comes up. I mean, how can you pick? But it’s a valid question, so I’ve decided that for me, a ‘favorite movie’ is based on one thing: math. How long [does] the movie stay with you after you’ve seen it? So yeah, I hope both movies earn their rent for a long lease in your mind.

Q: What else do you have in store for this year? What can your supporters expect? 

I have several movies that are in post-production right now, all truly unique. As an actor, I guess it’s better to be typecast than not-cast, but we all hope to play across the spectrum. I’m thankful that I have been allowed to play a variety - from a gruff but introspective prison inmate to a 1950s political candidate who unknowingly trips on LSD. 

There’s also a beautiful faith-based film called Chasing Hope that will be out later this year, written by Penny Carlisi and Samuel Joshua and directed by Joshua. It stars Layla Cushman, and I get to play the antagonist, which is always fun! I’ll be “a desperate scientist who’ll do whatever it takes to track down the woman who might hold the cure for his fatal illness.” Sounds cool, right? 

And later this year, I’ll be in a sci-fi movie Lifeforms, written and directed by Brett Bentman and starring Ryan T. Johnson and Darcy Doyle, as the Guidance Officer to a reluctant astronaut [with] some serious decisions to make. 

There are other projects in the works, and I’m excited to talk to you about them when the time comes!


Lashaunta Moore

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