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Interview: Star Chris Lowell talks ‘Titanic,’ college classes and his new film, ‘Brightest Star’

Interview: Star Chris Lowell talks ‘Titanic,’ college classes and his new film, ‘Brightest Star’

Interview: Star Chris Lowell talks ‘Titanic,’ college classes and his new film, ‘Brightest Star’
February 03
15:53 2014

Preston Barta / Film Critic

Actor Chris Lowell, best known for his role as Stosh ‘Piz’ Piznarski in the television series “Veronica Mars,” leads a talented cast in the recently released film “Brightest Star.”

In the movie, Lowell plays an unnamed college grad determined to win back the girl of his dreams, Charlotte (Rose McIver). However, after things don’t go as hoped, Lowell’s character discovers there is a greater journey that awaits him.

The North Texas Daily had the chance to speak with Lowell earlier this week about love, Jack and Rose in“Titanic” (1997) and teaching college courses.

I have to tell you, I really identified with your character. He was unsure of what he wanted to do career-wise after college and he fought for the woman he loves.

Chris Lowell: “Well, thanks, man. I definitely think that is a big part of this story, but equally as important is him sort of learning the difference between fighting to be this person that this girl wants him to be and fighting to be the person that he is.

But yeah, man. I definitely appreciate you saying that. He was definitely a challenging character to play, but he was also pretty fun to play. I don’t feel like it’s very common to get such a well fleshed out character-driven piece such as this. Typically, they present something where the audience knows what’s going to happen during the opening credits. ‘Oh, he’s going to end up with the girl or the girl that he dates after this one.’ But the director, Maggie Kelly, took this character down a very meandering path. It’s a very human and truthful story.”

Absolutely. For sure. One of the things that I really liked about this movie is what it says about love. Sometimes love can be fun and great, while other times it can be messy. What in your opinion makes love last through all its ups and downs?

Lowell: “That’s a great question. First of all, I should say right up front that I have no idea [Laughs]. I have theories. I remember that a friend of mine got married not too long ago and I asked her how she knew she was ready to get married. She told me, ‘I am so happy with who I am on my own and I just chose to spend my life with this person because I enjoy it and they make me happy. But he is not my one source of happiness in my life.’ And I think that’s a big part of having a successful and loving relationship— not depending on the other person.

A lot of people say that they are so lonely and depressed and that they need to be in a relationship, and those are not good reasons to be in a relationship. I think you should be happy with yourself. You should feel fulfilled on your own, but after that, when you find someone who you really connect with, that’s when you know you found something.”


That’s a pretty solid answer. My definition of love actually came from the movies I watched growing up as a kid. Are there any movies that you can think of that kind of taught you about love?

Lowell: “Oh my God. Actually, there’s one movie that I can think of that I have always loved. I think that love stories and romantic comedies are really difficult to tell well. One film that Maggie Kelly and I spoke about often is ‘High Fidelity,’ with John Cusack. I love that movie because Cusack portrays a very flawed character who makes huge mistakes and is, at times, very selfish and cruel. I thought it was so refreshing to see a character or protagonist who wasn’t squeaky clean. I can relate to that because I make mistakes and I’ve been selfish. To see that brought to life on screen – and despite all those flaws, to still end up with the girl – was really rewarding for me. I’m not saying that you can be scumbag and you’ll find the love of your life [Laughs], but a lot of the time I feel like when you step into a film like that, you think, ‘well, I’m not perfect, so how will I ever find love?’ I remember seeing that movie and sort of being pacified by the idea that you don’t have to have it all figured out right now and you don’t have to be perfect to find great love.”

Well, damn. That’s a way better pick than mine.

Lowell: “What was your choice?”

“Titanic” and “Forrest Gump.”

Lowell: “Oh my God! What kind of bar are you setting for yourself, man? ‘Titanic’ and ‘Forrest Gump?’

Hey, those are great movies!

Lowell: “My friends and I watched ‘Titanic’ recently and we laugh at that one part where Jack is getting arrested for supposedly robbing Rose. You know, he’s yelling, ‘Rose, you know me! You know me!’ And it’s really like, ‘you met me yesterday! We have such a history together. I taught you how to spit!’

But at the same time, you’re right. Those films were the epitome of romance films, so I totally get it. Having said that, I’ve never had the opportunity of standing on the front of a ship with dolphins jumping around at sunset and telling the girl in front of me that she’s fine. That sort of thing doesn’t happen very often.

But what I love about ‘Forrest Gump’ is that Jenny is a very flawed character. Forrest is so perfect in terms of his ideology and sense of love. And I thought the coupling of that persona – that broken character – was really kind of gorgeous.”

That’s really funny and I completely agree. Very well put. Man, I have to ask about Clark Gregg. How was he as a boss? Was he awesome?

Lowell: “He was awesome. The rumors are true. One of the things that I really loved about watching him work was he really makes it a priority to enjoy himself. I think a lot of actors forget to have fun, so it was really nice to be reminded of that. He never did anything big but he just found little ways to make himself laugh and smile. Making that a priority when you’re working completely changes the set experience for people. It really makes it that much better.”

He actually said one of my favorite lines in the movie. It was during that part where you were working after hours at the office and he stepped into your office and said, “if you want to impress me, impress her.” He talking about his daughter and I thought it was such a great line.

Lowell: “Yes. That is a great line! It was a great moment.”

So in the film, you met the girl of your dreams in a college Astronomy class, which is funny because I am in that class right now, struggling as your character did. And the question I usually end on is— if you could teach a college course at UNT, what would you teach?

Lowell: “Oh, wow! If I could teach a class— That’s a good question. One of the things that I’ve learned about myself, that I take pride in, is that I have a really strong work ethic. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that many of the artists who I’m surrounded by— one of the things that is holding them back is that they have terrible work ethics. They really struggle to sit down and do the work. And I feel like I would love to teach a course – that I would love to also be a student in – that’s for artists, to learn how to really condition themselves so they can bring more creativity to their work.”

“Brightest Star” is available on iTunes and Video On Demand.

Feature Photo: Chris Lowell at the Los Angeles premiere of “Brightest Star.” Photo courtesy of Gravitas Ventures and OK! Magazine.
Center Photo: Charlotte (Rose McIver) and Chris Lowell’s character meet in a college Astronomy course in “Brightest Star.” Photo courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

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