Devon Gummersall says, “People are Flawed, That’s What Makes Them Interesting”
You know Devon Gummersall best from his one season on My So Called Life. Although the show was short-lived, it’s become a cult classic. Since then, Gummersall has starred in, written, produced, and directed numerous projects, including his recent movie, Low Fidelity. Gummersall spoke to CableTV about his iconic TV role and new film.
Q: How did you get involved in acting?
Gummersall: That’s funny. I come from a creative household. My dad is an entertainer and abstract artist. When I was 10 years old, he moved to LA from Northern California. My brother and I were along for the ride. I really loved movies, that’s just the bottom line. Ever since I can remember, movies were a huge part of my life. I was bored in school and I was always looking for something else to do. I heard about an acting class that sounded like fun, then one thing lead to another. I fell in love with doing it. I started auditioning for stuff, and when I was 13 I did a few jobs. Then when I was 14, I got My So Called Life.
Q: After My So Called Life, you did a bunch of television shows from Felicity and Roswell. How is it to jump from set to set?
Gummersall: I’ve always loved doing television. When you are working with good writers, it’s such a thrill to do television. Every week you get a script for an episode and it’s a new adventure for you and a new experience for a character. It’s just great. I was lucky enough to start on a great show and I found that it was so satisfying and fun to be able to explore the same character in a drama series. It’s a rare thing to explore a character that way. You never know what’s coming each week. It’s fun to be surprised by it.
Q: Is it crazy to reflect on your career and think about My So Called Life and how it has become such a cult classic?
Gummersall: It feels great. I am really proud of that show. The writing and the directing was so great. All of the little details of that show were so groundbreaking in so many ways. I am just really happy that I got to start my career that way. I am happy to still talk about it. It’s still very culturally relevant and is still the first thing people want to talk about. It’s a little surreal to look back on it now and realize it has such a large cultural impact for being so short-lived. It’s a living page out of a high school yearbook for me because I really was that age.
Q: How did you move on to writing?
Gummersall: It goes back to My So Called Life. One of the best things about that experience was that they really treated us like equals and professionals even though I was only 15. It was great; some of the directors and the writers would take me under their wing because they knew I was interested in that part of the business. I think that is really where I started to be interested in it.
Q: Your new movie is called Low Fidelity. By definition, it means the technical flaws of the sound you are listening to. I related it to the movie because its about these couples who seem to have these great marriages, but you learn things aren’t so perfect.
Gummersall: I am excited to hear that you interpreted it that way. That was exactly what I was thinking. It’s sort of meant to have multiple meanings, but the literal meaning is that the movie deals with infidelity and the challenges of being in a relationship and being monogamous. It’s also about flaws: Things are flawed, people are flawed, relationships are flawed, and that is part of what makes them interesting and beautiful. These four old friends and their significant others are all going through a transitional period and they are all sort of nostalgic for that time in the recent past when you could play records.