Matthew Currie Holmes: Facing the Music with the Prince of Smoke and Mirrors by Brian Kirst

If you popped into the zoo of the performing arts, you'd find Matthew Currie Holmes with the chameleons. - Quirky business executive? Freaky drug stained punk? - Hot to trot boy next door in danger? Holmes has played them all with agile realism and his own form of 'POW'! He is best known, perhaps, as Bobby in the Harrison Ford action epic 'Firewall' , but beginning with 'The Fog' remake, Holmes has also become a horror movie stalwart. He's recently wrapped roles in the eagerly awaited 'Wrong Turn', 'Hangman' and 'Under the Knife'. A musician at heart, Holmes fine tuned some answers to some questions, below. When you're done, be sure to check out this ultra-cool guy and proud father out at



Brian: Let's start at the beginning. Did you get bitten by the acting bug at an early age or did it wait awhile to sink its jaws into you?

Matthew: I was always into acting, when I was 6 years old I was either going to be an actor or a fire truck. Come to think of it I wonder what a fire truck makes now-a-days.

As a kid I was raised on 'Abbott and Costello', 'Three Stooges' and 'Bruce Lee' (I know, I know). My dad and I went to the movies all the time and if we weren't at the movies we were watching them on Pay TV (Super Channel and First Choice, how's that for aging myself?). My three favorite film memories are: seeing 'Star Wars' and 'Jaws' in the theater (78) and watching a horror marathon with my dad on Halloween Night. We watched: 'The Thing', 'Wolfen', and 'Alien'... I was 8. Ever since then I have been fascinated with how movies are made.

When I got into high school I was in all the plays (Danny Zuko-Grease, Giles Ralston- The Mousetrap). Nothing says "You're a big star" like singing "Summer Loving" in front of the entire student body!

Brian: Is there something specific that you try to bring to every role you do or does it always depend on the character?

Matthew: Depends. Acting is like a giant toolbox full of tools. Sometimes I need to really investigate and do the work (Back-story, timelines, emotional arcs) and other times my job is to just say the line properly before the sun goes down. The trick is preparation. If I have enough time with a script and a character I will do what I call the "good work". The investigation into his psyche, the back-story, the 5 W's (who, what, where, why, when... how), the stuff I was trained to do. Then when it comes time to shoot and I have all that stuff in my body, I throw it away and have fun!

Other times I pull out tricks to sell a shot. Listen, when you're doing television you get one or two takes, and sometimes you aren't even acting with another person; like a pivotal scene in 'Dark Angel'. On my close up I was saying my lines to a tennis ball in a C-Stand and having the 2nd AD read Jessica Alba's part because she had to get ready for another episode. When stuff like this happens, you have to bring it and sometimes that means bull shitting your way through a scene. I don't like working that way but there are a lot of elements that go into making a movie or a television show and guess what? It's not always about ME so sometimes I must play the tricks to sell the shot.

Brian: You sang in the movie 'Stiffed'. Do you have any musical inclinations beyond that?

Matthew: Jesus, you didn't see that movie did you? It was awful. As far as music goes, I have been playing it since I was 12 years old. My father was a drummer so I became a drummer at an early age. I discovered the guitar at 18. At that time I was doing theater and really heavily involved in it. I decided that I wanted to explore music more so I started writing songs and learning covers. The music bug bit hard so I stopped acting and tried to start a couple of bands. I found a small taste of Indie success in the early 90's when I fronted a couple of bands. I found a small taste of Indie success in the early 90's when I fronted a couple of bands. -Most notably the pop rock band SHiVER from 95-99. We toured all over Canada and released a CD.

I didn't start acting professionally until 2000. Up until then it was music. I hate the music industry and am a very vocal advocate for artists not getting fucked around by the machine. Thank God for My Space and fan sites. Artists are finally allowed to regain control of their art and not have to bow down to the corporate tit. The music industry is a horrible beast and after my band broke up I wasn't interested in writing for a long time. When you get taken out by Labels and courted by management they expect something from you and it's hard not to try and deliver what they want. Especially with my band, we were a pop band so we tried to be accessible in the first place. Not cause we wanted to sell a million albums but because we liked pop music (U2, Radiohead, The Cure - pop -not shitty boy band pop). I'm sorry; I tend to go off on this subject. The point is, I stopped music and started acting again when I was 26. Then a funny thing happened when I hit 30: I found peace in music again and started writing like fiend. I found my passion again because I wrote for me and no-one else, I don't care if you like my music or not, I don't care if I sell a million albums or not. And you know what happened? I started actually making money (not a lot) off my music by licensing my songs for Film and Television. How's that for Irony?

All I know, for certain, is that I will be writing music all my life. I can't say the same about acting. Don't get me wrong, I love acting, it's just that music is tattooed into my soul; acting is something I have come learn through training and respect greatly.

Brian: Who are your favorite musical artists?

Matthew: Of All time? The Beatles, The Cure (they saved my life in High School ), U2, Radiohead, Mercury Rev, Pixies, Flaming Lips, - Currently? .... and you will know us by the Trail of Dead, Cursive, Doves, explosions in the sky, Mogwai, Mew, Coldplay - The list goes on. I have a friend who is a music supervisor and he keeps me posted. Right this second I can't get enough of 'Silversun Pickups'.

Brian: Do you ever use music as a way of getting into a character?

Matthew: All the time.

Brian: Your character "Push" on 'Dark Angel' had a way with the flips and the high kicks. How much of that was you and how much was a stunt double used?

Matthew: We practiced the fight scenes and the kicks and flips. I had a stunt double do the handless cartwheel and the back flip off of the bar. When it came to the fighting scene I told the stunt co-coordinator that I could do the spinning back roundhouse. I showed him the kick and he was impressed but thought it would be safer if my double (a Black Belt) did the kick. I wasn't about to disagree. When we shot the fight scene my double wound up NAILING the actor/stuntman in the head with his roundhouse. He was okay after he regained consciousness. Not that I could have done better, but I often wonder what would have happened if I was the one who threw the kick. (I doubt I would have knocked him out, I'm not the strongest of men.

Brian: You appeared on one of my favorite short lived series 'Wolf Lake'. Do you have any specific or interesting memories of working on that show?

Matthew: It was the first time I had been killed on film and was very eager and a little freaked out (The guys who handled the guns on this, were also on 'The Crow' when Brandon Lee died). I had never fired a gun before and never had one aimed at my head.

Lou Diamond Phillips was awesome. I told him that I had never "died" before and, after we shot the scene, he gave me a card that said "Congrats on popping your cherry."

Brian: Your character "Sean" in 'The Fog' is the recipient of that remake's first creative death. How difficult was it to work out the knife in the eye bit?

Matthew: All smoke and mirrors. Remember when I said, "Sell the shot"? They put the fake eye on me and attached the knife handle just before we shot the gag. I had to block the camera with the back of my head and then jerk my face towards it with the knife already in place. Then they edited around it. It was a blast. I loved shooting 'The Fog' (Too bad it didn't turn out to very good) the hardest part was the fact that the make up was so good I couldn't see a thing and had to have someone escort me around all day.

Brian: Midnight in Alaska or the temperature when filming your scenes in 'The Fog' - which one would have been colder?

Matthew: I've never been to Alaska but I'll tell you a secret, most of the boat stuff was shot on a sound stage in a huge water tank, so I'm going to have to say Alaska at midnight for 1,000 Alex! When we were out side on the water it was chilly, not so much for Dee Ray and I but for my good friend Sonja Bennett (and Meghan Heffern) who had to be in a bikini most of the time. Ouch.

Brian: In a movie full of cool characters, Bobby was probably the coolest character in 'Firewall'. How fun - or scary - was it to blaze away on a guitar in front of church full of extras for Bobby's final scene?

Matthew: Thanks man. I loved playing Bobby.

Here's an example of trying to bring something to a character: Bobby's sole purpose in the film was to enable Harrison Ford's character (Jack). When it came time to do my scenes with Mr. Ford I tried to do it differently every time. I figured this might be my only chance to work with the coolest movie star of all time so I'd better make it count. If you watch the movie when he asks me to "sit down" I kind of smirked which made him tell me twice. That wasn't scripted. After wards He said "Nice choice". I was beaming.

- As far as playing Bass in front of all those people. It was a blast. I learned the song (same riff as The Ramones "Somebody Put Something In My Drink" only a lot slower) which was fun to do because I am not a bass player We shot that scene all day and it was great, in between set ups we were the entertainment for the crew. We would jam out playing With Or Without You for like 20 minutes. The band they hired was an actual church band and they were very talented.

As far as the crowd goes, there were 700 extras. It was my last day of shooting and, generally, when an actor is 'shot out' the director says "That's a wrap on so-and-so" and the cast and crew clap him/her out. When I was clapped out there were 700 people cheering my name, it was very surreal and very fucking cool.

Brian: I may be the only one, but I really enjoyed 'Wrong Turn' - so I am psyched you are appearing in the sequel. Can you reveal who you're playing and/or any specific thoughts about appearing in 'Wrong Turn'?

Matthew: I can't really get into too many details about 'WT2' because it is actually one of the most on-line anticipated horror sequels out there. To share too much would be a disservice. I will say this; I play a director of a reality television show called 'The Apocalypse' hosted by Henry Rollins. The goal of the show is to marry 'The Real World' with 'Survivor' in the bush. Terror ensues and people get eaten.

As far as working on the film, I had the time of my life. I will also say that I do die and that my death scene is legendary. I got to work with the make-up master Bill Terezakis and Ken Kirzinger from 'Freddy VS Jason'. They both signed my DVD. I'm such a nerd. What Bill created was pure art. If you go to my website and look through the gallery you can get a sneak peek: now I've said too much

Brian: In 'WT2' you appear with two of my favorite performers - Crystal Lowe and Henry Rollins. Did you work with either of them - and do you have any juicy behind the scenes memories?

Matthew: Ha-ha-ha-ha. I worked VERY closely (wink-wink) with Crystal, a woman I adore. She is an amazing person who is wicked smart. She may play the bimbo in distress but make no mistake she knows her shit.

Henry Rollins is, well, I mean, he's fucking Rollins right? He is as intense as you would imagine. He is probably the hardest working man I have ever met. He will do anything for a take and he won't stop until the director is 110% satisfied.

We got to talking one day about his favorite subject: Music. I made him a mix CD of some of the shit I'm into (Cursive, Appleseed Cast, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness) and he made me two of the greatest mix CD's I own. They are filled with rare (often) unreleased tunes from old school punk bands like Minor Threat and The Buzzcocks.

My favorite memory is bringing my, then, six month old daughter to the set and getting pictures of her w/Rollins. There are a couple of pictures where she's honking him on his nose that are priceless.

Brian: Lastly, any future projects or words of wisdom (IE -Don't betray leper Pilgrims in coastal towns) that you'd like to leave us with? And - thanks a lot for doing this. It's been a blast!

Matthew: Ha-ha-ha. As far as projects go, since moving to Los Angeles, I've shot a couple of low budget thrillers ('Hangman' and 'Under The Knife') that should be due out next year. As far as words of wisdom.... Life is really short and if you are not doing what you want to do, what you dream of doing then you are not living a full life. And when you are living that life.... make mistakes, fuck it up; you're a human being not a robot. Have fun. This was my pleasure Brian. Take good care.