I know what you’re wondering: I’m a childhood commercial star, now how do I make it in Hollywood? Well, you’re in luck – or should I say Linc – because I know someone who can tell you exactly what to do.
Growing up in Alabama to advertising exec. parents, Linc Hand has managed to successfully segue from a toddler-sized pitchman to a fit and full grown L.A. staple. Gracing the silver screen in features like 42, Goodbye World and Imperium, Linc returns to smaller viewing devices everywhere in Fox’s new supernatural comedy, Ghosted.
But that’s enough from me. I’ll let our latest guest to the onFiction interview room tell you all about his upcoming works, getting into tougher characters and why actors, young and old, should be patient and positive. Here’s my chat with the very thoughtful and awesome Linc Hand.
onFiction: You’ve got a lot of interesting stuff going on, but jumping back to the beginning, going from a child actor from Alabama to studying with Howard Fine, how do those dots get connected?
Linc Hand: That is a crazy spin. Basically when I was a little kid I started doing commercials because my mom and dad owned an advertising agency. I was playing with my toys in the waiting room while they were auditioning for this commercial for puppy food and they needed a kid. I was watching these kids coming in and I was a rambunctious, just insane little kid, so I kept walking into the room where they were trying to audition and I was like, “I can do that.” Basically they said, “Listen, just to shut him up and calm him down let’s let him read it one time so we can appease him and let him go play with his toys.” I could memorize lines and they said, “He’s actually not too bad.” They gave me the job and that started that.
Then when I was ready to move out to L.A., I did some research and found that Howard Fine got such great reviews from everyone and he was pretty widely known as one of the best, one of the top. I came out and audited his class before I moved to L.A. and I was like, “Wow. They speak a totally different language than I know. I feel like this is the place for me.” I ended up studying with him for a really long time and we’re still very close friends.
oF: That just seems like such a smart way to go about it instead of just running out to L.A., getting a job in a coffee shop and hoping someone reads your screenplay.
LH: It was one of those things, I was a stupid country kid, but I was smart enough to realize I had no idea what the hell I was doing. If I was gonna do it, I wanted to be good at it. I come from a sports world, an athletic background and practice makes perfect. You don’t just walk out on the field and be the best, so I had that mentality, “Let me figure this out.” So I was very lucky, I was stupid in so many ways you can’t even count, but that was one thing I did that was actually really smart and that I’m very proud of.
oF: It looks like it’s working so far! Now, you’ve got a show on the way that I’m very excited to see, Ghosted. Do you mind introducing us to Agent Kurt Checker and his role in the story?
LH: So Checker is kind of like the James Bond of this secret, underground agency and the agency’s called the Underground. This agency deals with the paranormal, it deals with multi-universes, just anything you thought of as a little kid or anything you’ve ever seen in a horror movie, that’s the world they deal in. Checker is the agent that does everything with a cool flair.
oF: When you’re preparing for that, it’s comedy and conspiracy and supernatural, what do you do to be in that place where it’s funny and scary and over the top?
LH: For me personally, I’ve always thought I was a spy since I was five years old right in my neighborhood. So I’ve been preparing for that my whole life. But when it comes to the work I think, for me personally, the more serious I take it, then it’s up to the audience how they respond. There’s no difference at the technical side of it and there’s no difference between drama and comedy for the actor, because you believe what you’re doing, the audience is what finds it funny or finds it strange and all those things. So the more I believe it the more it comes across the way it needs to come across.
oF: On paper the cast looks amazing, but what has to happen on set to make everything in a show like this work out?
LH: The cast is incredible. Everyone is super cool, very nice. This is going to sound super cliché, but from day one it was kind of like a family reunion even though I didn’t know anybody. You’re really lucky as an actor to get a job, but to walk into a place where everybody’s in such a good mood and is having fun with what they do makes it all so much easier. Everyone is so creative and so good at what they do, it’s almost like you get to sit back and have fun and watch a masterclass in front of you.
oF: Spinning off of that, you’ve expressed an impressive range in all the different roles you’ve had – everything from Goodbye World and 42 to Ghosted and other comedic roles – what are you looking for when you get to pick what you work on?
LH: For me, it’s depth. I like when everything is not on the page and it lets me kind of do some digging. To me that’s fun, that’s what I really enjoy. The audience may never even notice it, but for me if there’s something really great there that happens for me personally, that’s the stuff that drives me as an actor. It’s like theater, sometimes when you’re doing a play there’s things that happen that the audience may not know, but to you it’s this profound moment. And that’s the very fulfilling part of being an actor. When I see something and think, “Everything is not on the page.” I get to have fun and literally be a little kid and use my imagination and I’m playing G.I. Joes again.
oF: You said that preparing for a role – either dramatic or comedic – is similar on your end, but are there differences when getting in the headspace of very different characters like Agent Checker from Ghosted or Damon Mosley – A very intense character – from Goodbye World?
LH: When it comes to a character like Damon, that was obviously a much different character and trying to find – I’ve played several bad guys in my career so far and the audience looks at him like, “That’s the bad guy.” or, “That’s a jackass.” When you’re playing that person, nobody thinks of themselves as the bad guy, you’re justified in what you’re doing. So when it comes to a really dramatic, intense role like that – I did things in that movie that, me personally, I would never do – so you have to go really deep and go, “In what crazy circumstance can you justify that?” Because my job as the actor in those intense roles is to justify what I’m doing so that I do it. And when it comes to a fun, comedic role it’s a lot easier to get to that place without having to really go through the nuts and the guts of some really dark stuff to find that darkness, so to speak.
oF: You’ve got a resume’s worth of stuff coming out in the next year and one that really stood out to me was Earth Angel – please let me know if my info’s wrong – where you’re playing billionaire William Pierce who’s mightily struggling with the death of his wife and children, then an angel tasks him with saving the world. How do you get into that guy’s head?
LH: I was actually talking to my fiancé about this the other day, and this is going to be, singlehandedly so far, the hardest and easiest role I’ve ever played in my life. Because when it comes to intense loss, my father passed away three years ago, so I’ve experienced personally a great loss. When I was talking to my fiancé, “This is going to be really easy for me because I can put myself in a place like if something happened to you, I’m gonna be a basket case.” And it’s difficult, it’s one of those jobs where it’s very fulfilling to do it, but when you’re in the middle of it it’s tough. It takes a lot of energy. When you go home at night you’re like, “Listen, I just want to take a shower and go to sleep and not talk, not anything.” So it’s definitely a struggle in some ways, but it’s rewarding if you commit to it and you go there.
oF: When a project like that’s over, is it hard to unload that character? Does someone like William stay with you for a while?
LH: I believe it’s gonna stay with me for a while. I like to think I’m good at washing it off, but any time you go deep for something that traumatic, you bring up some dirt. And it takes a little while for the water to settle, hopefully it doesn’t take too long. I’m good at saying, “I’m playing pretend and I realize that.” I don’t go live in a textile factory for seven months to sew on screen, but it affects you. I’ll come home and give my better half a kiss and play with my dog and wash it off as quick as I can.
oF: This is a part of acting most people don’t think about, I don’t think people process what you sometimes have to do to become a character and then, unfortunately, how much of that might stick around for a little bit.
LH: I remember, I did a play years and years ago called Infinite Black Suitcase. It was a ten week run and the whole play was about death and I remember at the end of those ten weeks I was like, “Oh my god. I am a disaster right now.” I didn’t realize it going through the process, but it had put so much weight on me mentally that when it was over it was like this giant sigh of relief.
oF: On a lighter note, we’ll turn it around a little bit, you’ve checked a lot of boxes already, but what are some of the top-of-the-list items on the career bucket list right now?
LH: I’ve always been a huge fan of the ‘One man against the world’ action movies. So if I could do a Rambo type, Gladiator type of movie, that’s on the bucket list for sure. Old school Bruce Willis, just super cool, kick everyone’s butt Van Damme style. Something like that would be a little kid’s dream come true. Then if I could parlay that into a big, epic type movie like Legends of the Fall, a big, vast story like that. That would be off the charts.
oF: And finally, out of all these Q&As you’ve had to endure, is there anything you haven’t been asked that you’ve wanted to talk about?
LH: I’m a pretty open dude, and there’s nothing off the top of my head that I’d want somebody to ask me. But I think if there’s something I could say that sometimes you don’t really talk about, if there’s a young actor or an old actor, it doesn’t matter, anybody who’s trying to do this profession, the one cool thing about this profession and this job if you stick with it long enough sooner or later doors will open up. It’s not an easy path, but if you hang in there long enough sooner or later you will get an opportunity to show what you can do.