After watching Bob Giordano’s The OddsI got in touch with actor James J. Fuertes. His character in the film was so complex and well played that I wanted to know more about the character and the actor.
Fuertes, who has appeared in films like Venom, Anathem, and series like DC’s “Doom Patrol”, “Nashville”, and “The Bachelorette”, and I sat down to talk about The Odds, which left me so very impressed.
Fuertes co-stars alongside Abbi Butler in The Odds, a film about a young woman who joins a mysterious underground game of pain and endurance in hopes of winning a $1,000,000 prize. Fuertes plays the role of the “Game Master” a figure meant to keep the player on track and motivated, only after a few rounds his trues colors begin to show, revealing a demented man with his own agenda.
Horror Fuel: “How would you describe TheOdds?”
James Fuertes: “TheODDS is a psychological thriller where a woman starts playing a game in a private room with a Game Master. There are cameras and other players in other parts of the country. There are also a series of rather gruesome rounds where players are asked to do things to themselves to advance to the next round. At any time they can leave the game and the game is over. What makes TheODDS so interesting isn’t necessarily the rounds, but watching the player and the game master experience the rounds together. In some ways, it’s a game of cat and mouse. In other ways, you’re watching two very broken people experience pain (both physical and emotional).
Horror Fuel: “Please, tell us about your role as the “Game Master”? He’s a seriously twisted character.”
James Fuertes: “The “Game Master” – yes. Well, he’s not a very nice individual. I would say he’s definitely troubled at the very least. At the same time – he can be rather charming. Most of the time the audience won’t know what his intentions are. Is he someone you should like or is he the devil himself… only time will tell.”
Horror Fuel: “Which round was the most difficult to film emotionally?”
James Fuertes: “The most difficult round to film was the final round. Not because it had a lot of stunt work or anything necessarily gruesome, actually quite the opposite. The round was more psychological than anything. For me, this was challenging because my character goes through a lot of emotional swings during that time. The final round was also the most rewarding to film. Most of the time that’s how acting is. The scenes that ask you to become more than what you thought you could be are the scenes that look incredible in post-production. Not saying the other rounds weren’t fun to do, and I’m certainly not saying the other rounds aren’t entertaining to watch. But the final round was tough to shoot, tough to experience emotionally and psychologically and it was also the round that I enjoyed the most. With every project you do as an actor, your skill grows – not just in what you can actually do but also in your own confidence in your acting. That’s what the final round meant to me: challenge and reward.”
Horror Fuel: “I imagine it was difficult. The film gets intense. There are a lot of painful rounds in the film, were you or Abbi ever really at risk?”
James Fuertes: “First and foremost if you’re ever on a project where someone is at risk – you should walk away. Freak accidents have happened in film in the past and will happen in film in the future, but you should never be looking for it just to please an audience. Thankfully we had an AMAZING stunt coordinator: Sean Ramey, and an amazing prop crew. There was never a time during the film that Abbi or myself was in any real danger. Not even close. Now there were definitely some big emotional moments but I would always check in with Abbi to see how she was feeling and whether or not she needed a break, and vice versa. Everyone was on the same page concerning this issue. Thankfully! That’s the magic of making movies! You can film some incredible stunts without ever putting someone in harm’s way.”
Horror Fuel: “What would you like for the audience to take away from the film?”
James Fuertes: “I would like the audience to be entertained in all honesty! I would love for them to feel the tension that Abbi’s going through, and I’d also like for them to be confused concerning who to root for during the film. In the end, I would have done my job if they leave the film thinking “that was a fun psychological thriller with amazing characters!” We are all storytellers – whether we’re directors, writers, actors/actresses or work with the cameras. I would feel very accomplished if they enjoyed our story and the people in it.”
Horror Fuel: “I think our readers are going to really enjoy The Odds, I know I did. I can’t help but wonder, is there an amount that would make you willing to play the game?”
James Fuertes: “No. Well — maybe if I was at the end of my rope with no other option at all – then maybe. But otherwise – No.”
Horror Fuel: “I’m with you on that. No thank you.
If you don’t mind me asking, what was it like to be part of Doom Patrol?”
James Fuertes: “Doom Patrol might have been one of the best experiences on set I’ve ever had. There are moments as an actor when you feel like you’ve “leveled up.” By that I mean, every actor goes from working on small projects, to not so small projects, to big projects (small roles) to big projects (big roles). Each time you break into a bigger platform of television or film I call that “leveling up.” Doom Patrol was definitely one of those moments. We had Timothy Dalton, Brendan Fraser, April Bowlby, and Matt Bomer at the table read. To be sitting at a table read, with Warner Bros, and reading through a pilot script was a dream come true. It was also one of those moments in acting when you say, ‘hey wait – I can hang with these actors — they’re my colleagues now. I can do this.’ You need moments like this to continually fuel your dream and your confidence as an actor.”
James Fuertes: ” I can only imagine. I hope you continue to get great roles. You really were fantastic in The Odds.
What was your experience like on The Bachelorette?”
James Fuertes: “Oh lordy…. The Bachelorette. The experience was great. People ask me all the time “why did you go on that show?” First off I didn’t apply to go on the show, an anonymous friend put my application in and I was asked to audition. I had never really watched the show before that season and I don’t really watch the show now (sorry Bachelor Nation!). I told myself, I would be myself during the audition process and if they liked me and asked me to go then I would. In life, there are doors that are closed. You can either sit back and wait for a door to open or instead, in the meantime, you can jiggle some of the door handles to see which doors open. The Bachelorette was one of those experiences. What’s funny to me is I can talk to people about what I’m excited about (TheOdds, Doom Patrol, Venom), and they don’t get excited. The moment I say “The Bachelorette” their eyes get big and they exclaim “the bachelorette!?! Which season?”
Sigh…. one-day folks… one day people won’t only associate me with that project.”
Horror Fuel: “I’ll be honest, It’s not my kind of series, but I know a ton of people who like it. Hopefully, they will recognize you from bigger and better things (sorry fans of The Bachelorette). They’ll soon be like, ‘Oh, you were in The Odds.’
Speaking of The Odds, you can see James in action on Digital and DVD come June 4, 2019. If you would like to read just how great I think the film is, check out my review.