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ROSS MCCALL | ‘ABOUT US’, DIRECTING, AND WHAT’S TO COME NEXT…

October 12, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Ross McCall claims he just created the most beautiful film of his life, and now he’s waiting for the rest of the world to catch wind. Traveling all the way to breathtaking Italy to shoot the feature film titled About Us, the actor tells a story about a young couple who returns to the location of their honeymoon in an attempt to fix a troubled marriage. Not only does he co-star alongside Allison Miller and Alessandra Mastronardi, McCall also wrote and produced the film, offering a healing message to anyone who’s struggling in their relationship.

In describing himself, Ross states, “I’m loyal. I’m kind. I’m determined. I’m professional, but… I overthink. I’m a Capricorn, which means we work really hard. We are workaholics, we like to work.”

Born in Scotland, but trained in London, Ross carries over 3 decades of experience in the film and television world, boasting an international presence in all his endeavors. You may recognize his face from the hit HBO series Band of Brothers and USA’s White Collar, but his long resume of credits runs much deeper. Next up on the horizon is his forthcoming London/New York-based show Suspicion, debuting on Apple TV+.

Additionally, he recently finished shooting the Danish feature film The Good Traitor for director Christina Rosendahl, and currently stars in the new feature Aftermath on Netflix. Flaunt caught up with McCall via Zoom, who was located in London. Read below as we discuss his upbringing, falling in love with TV and film, his biggest influences, his philanthropic work, and what’s to come next.Photo credit: Rainer Hosch

What was a young Ross like growing up? 

I always had an insane fascination with film when I was a kid. I come from a really working class area in Scotland just outside of Glasgow called Port Glasgow, which is as far away from the glamour of the film world as possible. Growing up, I was always fascinated with film. I was always fascinated with music. When I moved to England at 7 years old, my love for cinema grew. I remember going to see Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom. It was the first magical experience I had. Coming out of it, it was pure escapism for me. I had no idea I’d be mesmerized by the score and the acting chops of some of my peers.

I was running around with a little bit of a troublesome crowd. I was always a good bad kid, a nice kid running around with a bunch of rascals. My two focuses when I was young were a pretty girl, who’d always wanted to hang out. I was more than happy to hangout as my friends went off and caused trouble. Or I’d go to the local movie house where I devised/found a back way to gain roof access to the local theater. Up on the roof, there was a shed. I figured out if I opened that door, there were little hot lightbulbs. If I pulled them out, I could lay down and watch the movie through the hole. I had set up my own little cinema parody, so I was always infatuated by film.

Who were your biggest influences?

I remember watching The A-Team as a kid and the character of Face always wore a white or cream suit. I said “I want to wear a white suit!” I remember asking my mom and dad for Christmas, she said “what do you want for Christmas?” I said “a white suit!” I was 8 years old, so I was always influenced by that. Of course, my big influences were the great British actors at the time: Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, Terence Stamp. I got guided towards Anthony Rose, Chris Walker. I had a huge infatuation with Christian Slater when I was a teenager, that’s who I wanted to be. I don’t know where that came from. [laughs]

What was your first big break?

I was relatively known as a kid because I did a lot of TV and film work here in the UK. I did a video for Queen where I played Freddie Mercury. That was the big break of press in the UK. Band Of Brothers for the US is what took me over to America and guided my career in the States.

Fondest mementoes from shooting White Collar?

My favorite memories would be the wardrobe and the city itself. To get to go and wear these ridiculously expensive shoes, running around New York City playing a con man was fantastic. I spent about 4 years on and off in New York and it was great. I loved every moment of it.

You just released About Us, why is the film so beautiful in your opinion?

It’ll make you hopefully want to go to Italy. [laughs] It’ll raise many questions about love and lust. Have you ever been in love?

I think I am right now, but I’m not so sure anymore. [laughs]

Alright well that’s a deeper question, we can get into it another time. But if you have experienced love in any shape or form, you’ll recognize yourself in both characters in the movie. It’s hard for me because I’m in it, I wrote it so it’s really personal for me. I’d rather people talk about how much they liked it. It’s a really lovely film. It will make you think, it will make you cry. It will make you run home and kiss your loved ones. It really does bring people together. It’s a great European style of film, there’s no quick edits. Myself and the director Stefan Schwartz were on the same page in the beginning, we’re both big fans of European cinema. We really wanted to make a French-flavored movie in Italy, so that’s what we did.

Was this inspired by a real love in your life?

It’s inspired by many loves of my life, and not just humans. Look, it’s a very personal story to me. It’s a lot of my family there. There’s a lot of stories where each character we talk about pertains to my own life. It’s funny sitting down watching it with my mom and dad. [laughs] Stories the characters talk about, they’d stop and look at me. “Wait, I remember this. Is this…?” There’s a few more home truths in there. I’ve been in the world for awhile: had a lot of long, very loving relationships and I’ve also been through many breakups. A lot of my own experiences in that film, yes.

How was it writing, producing, and starring in the film? Was that your first time doing all 3?

It was my first time doing all 3. I’ve been producing for a while. I was getting vanity producer credits on films and I’d star in it. Somebody would offer me a role and part of the deal was “hey, you can be a producer.” Ah, sounds cool! I really didn’t really do any of the heavy lifting. I’d maybe have a say in casts. This was my first time really being left holding the baby yet. On smaller films, you bring in a collective crew of people but at the end, a lot of people disperse. Go off and do their own thing, so you’re left. There were a lot of learning curves I had to deal with. I had no idea what a deliverable was, and I had to deliver the film.

What were some of the learning curves?

Putting a movie together is easier in the beginning. Finding finance finding your crew and your cast, that’s the relatively easy part. It’s all the parts afterwards where you have to deliver a film, where you have to get graded. You have to make sure it sounds and looks right. You have to sell it then deal with the sales agents, it’s a whole host of things. I’m an actor, I’m a creative. When people are talking figures and numbers, forms and pieces of papers you have to sign, usually someone else does that. Now I know how to do it. Not saying I’d love to do it again, [laughs] not in that capacity. I enjoy producing and the creativeness of it, and I’m glad I got to learn on this one.

What’s your love for Italy? What it was like to be on lockdown there? 

Italy was really hit hard during Covid. Covid struck because someone infected went into the country and nobody knew what the heck was going on. It really did fire through. I was in Los Angeles just as the pandemic was hitting. I got a very quick phone call saying “you got to get back here, they’re going to shut the borders.” I got back with a day to spare. I was down in Rome, it was taken very seriously which is great. It was brutal. Like everybody else, the first few weeks it was numb and you were in shock. The next few weeks, you’d start drinking at 4 in the afternoon. The next few weeks, you’d start meditating. [laughs] But I kept busy, I made two short films while I was out there.

Photo credit: Rainer Hosch

Right, talk about the two documentaries shot on your iPhone.

The ones we shot were on the iPhone. They were two short films we ended up getting a half million views, which was cool because they’re 8 minutes long. They’re romanticized versions of bold Italian cinema. I wanted to show what I was going through during that time. It’s crazy, Ralph Lauren came to me and wanted me to shoot a campaign because of it. Belmond (hotel group) came to me and wanted me to shoot their new campaign because of it. It was unique that people were interested.

What was the highlight from shooting the film?

Being creative in such a weird space in the world. I was editing, cutting, shooting. Go out during the day, the streets were empty. I’d never seen Rome like that so to be able to go out and do that was really fun.

One thing you want people to take away from ABOUT US?

I want people to recognize the big message in the film is about letting go. A lot of people are on some kind of spiritual path right now. They’re always looking at various gurus or self-help books, and they talk about letting go a lot. That’s really key to having a fulfilling life. What I’d love for people to say is A) wow, that was a really beautiful film. B) I want people to see that it really is a homage to cinema of the past. It’s not the Avengers. You have to sit with it, embrace it, feel it, and listen to it. If you get up and make a cup of coffee halfway through the film, you’re going to miss what it’s about. You’ll come out with all the feel-goods. I’ve had some very high-powered folks watch this film, leave, go home and kiss their significant other.

Talk about starring in Aftermath, how’s that experience?

It’s alright, one of my best friends directed it so it’s more of a favor gig really. Sometimes we call our pals and go “hey, you want to come and play…?” Although I give him a hard time all the time because he sold me on it saying “listen, there’s this role. Everyone thinks he might be the bad guy. It’s 3 scenes, but one of the scenes is massive. I’ve written it, it’s glorious. It’s you and a lead girl, come play.” I said “alright.” I went, did it, we smashed it. I thought it was great, and he cut the big scene. I’m doing a friend a favor and I’m very happy to be a part of it. It globally went big on Netflix, really exciting. It’s like all of us, we all go and dip in each other’s projects. Help out whenever we can.

What do you feel when you act?

That’s a good question. [laughs] I’m laughing because if you ask a lot of actors that, they’re going to go “ahh, I think about my soul…” When you’re in the scene and you’re really getting into that place, you have to dig deep into your emotions. If I’m being 100% honest, I’m there in some movies. It’s not that in others I don‘t get there, but I’m reasonable about my job. I’m thinking about what my lines are. I’m thinking about where the lights are hitting. It’s a bit more technical sometimes for me. I’m making I know where I’m at and I’m not thinking about my dead cat. I feel what I’m saying in that moment, sometimes it brings a little sprinkle to my eyes and people like it.

Talk about working with the conservation group Sea Shepherd.

Sea Shepherd was founded by a guy named Paul Watson, who’s one of the co-founders of Greenpeace. It’s all about protecting the oceans, stopping illegal whaling and whatnot. I watched a documentary show they did called Whale Wars many years ago, we really found it fascinating. I got put in touch with their celebrity wranglers. They asked me to go sit down and meet with them, and I did. Paul Watson was a big fan of a TV show I did so he and I had that in common straight off bat.

I told I’m I wasn’t interested in just going to fundraising events and signing t-shirts. If I was to get involved, I’d like to really get involved. They said “well, what do you want to do?” I said I wanted to take a camera guy and a sound mixer, I want to go shoot a documentary on the island where they’re killing these whales. So we did, we went for about 3 weeks. Met some beautiful people, went to a stunning place called the Faroe Islands which I’m a big fan of. Gorgeous part of the world, but they’re still doing this practice that’s been going on for centuries. They’re holding claim to it and refuse to let go. Even today, there were 15K dolphins slaughtered on the island. [sighs] For me, I think we’re past that.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

It’s rare I have downtime, but I’m a little boring. I love having a glass of wine at night. I love hanging out with pals here and there. I really enjoy a little bit of traveling when I can. I get to travel with work a lot so it’s very lovely, I’m very lucky to do that. When I have downtime, I like to travel. I like to read and write. I also like to watch a lot of football, you’d call it soccer.

Who’s your team?

Celtic F.C. but we lost tonight. That’s alright, we played well. I’m a huge soccer fan.

Did you play when you’re younger?

I did! Listen, one of the coolest things I’ve ever been able to do through my job is my team I’ve supported, my father supported, my grandparents supported — they all went to the ground in the stadium for years. It’s been around since 1988, it’s a big part of my family. A big connection between me and my dad. Through my job, I’ve done publicity for them over the years. They’ve invited me to play twice now in a celebrity pro-game. I get to go there and put on a show, my name on the back. Go out in front of 60K people in the stadium and pretend I’m a professional soccer player, which I’m not.

Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?

Yeah, I never stop having goals. I’ve got many goals. It really is about creating more content in film and TV. It’s my passion, I’m a film fan first and foremost. I really love the art of storytelling. In some ways, there’s a new version of that now and I like the old version. My goals are to keep doing that.

 Anything else you want to let us know?

I have a Suspicion coming out on Apple with Uma Thurman. I’ve just gotten an offer from Paramount about the remaking of Godfather, so we got those coming out. I have my directorial debut called Ire, which I also wrote. That comes out the end or the beginning of next year.

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