Anna was so good in Camp. I'm excited for her in Into the Woods.
Daniel Letterle was charming, had a nice voice and was a terrible actor.
This interview about him going to jail is awesome:
If you’ve seen Camp, you’ll remember Daniel Letterle. In that affectionate, show-biz comedy set in a summer camp attended by musical theater enthusiasts, Letterle played Vlad, the guitar-strumming (and seemingly only) straight boy at the camp; and takes full advantage of the situation by seducing a number of the female campers, as well as flirting with one of the boys. Since then the 27-year old actor took on the title role in The Most Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, the new gay romantic comedy in theaters this Friday. Well, not quite new since the film was made two summers ago, and is just seeing release this week.
In the film, Letterle plays something of the opposite of Vlad: an attractive twenty-something who is most unlucky at love. Based on Eric Orner’s popular syndicated comic strip (that had its start here in Boston,) the movie follows Ethan’s romantic relationships with any number of men: Kyle (Diego Serrano), a hot football player who has just come out; Punch Epstein (Dean Shelton), an overly horny twink who comes on to him; and Leo Worth (David Monahan), his somewhat bitter ex, who is seeking to remove Ethan from the house where he lives with his best friend, a lesbian named Charlotte (Shanola Hampton). And, yes, there’s Ethan’s mother, played by Meredith Baxter, who is the most supportive mother since Debbie on Queer as Folk; and a pair of familiar figures on the local landscape -- the Hat Sisters Joel Brooks and Richard Riehle), who supply Ethan with both advice and bitchy comments.
EDGE was scheduled to speak with Letterle last Thursday, but he didn’t pick up any phone calls. On Friday he called from a Los Angeles suburb, where he is living, with an apology and an explanation as to why he missed the first attempt (problem with his cell phone.) He wasn’t, though, calling from his home, his publicist’s office, or on a set to a movie; rather from the side of the highway where he was working in 90-degree heat performing community service.
EDGE: You’re doing community service? So you’re helping people out?
Daniel Letterle: No. No. I’m picking up trash at the side of the highway. And doing landscaping and stuff with Caltran (The State of California’s Department of Transportation.) Basically I got into some trouble, and I was in jail for a little bit. So in order to get out of jail I had to do this community service.
EDGE:Are you enjoying it, at least?
Daniel Letterle: No. It’s terrible. No jail was a lot better. I’m serious. They had ping-pong and basketball and tennis and volleyball.
EDGE: Were you in jail for very long?
Daniel Letterle: About six days. That’s a lot. It doesn’t seem like long, but it’s long. You get the feel of how jail works, that’s for sure.
EDGE: Do you think you’ll be able to use this for your acting?
Daniel Letterle: Yes. I met some characters in there, that’s for sure. They don’t mix very well. I was in with a murderer, actually. He told me he was murderer.
EDGE: Did it freak you out a bit?
Daniel Letterle: He told me by accident, really. What happened was -- you can’t believe what goes on in there. The first night I was there they pull out a big garbage bag out of the toilet full of like fermented Kool-Aid and some other mixture which makes like alcohol...
EDGE: So people can get drunk in the cell?
Daniel Letterle: Yeah. So we’re all drinking this shit so everybody can drunk at night, and they’ll taking pills and shit, too. I swear to God these guys were getting higher and higher. These crazy, I don’t know what you’d call them. There’s a term for them out here. They’re Latino gangsters -- they’re called West Siders, or something. I don’t know.
EDGE: We’re you in a holding cell?
Daniel Letterle: I was in a cell-cell. There were six people.
EDGE: Everyone got along, I hope?
Daniel Letterle: You never know if you’re getting along with them, or you’re pissing them off. There were no fights, or anything. But you know who was tough in there was the guards. They were tough. I saw a guard put a beat down on one of the prisoners, that’s for sure. It was gross. It was like watching a dad abuse his son, or something. It wasn’t even scary. It was like, jeez. Because prisoners can’t fight back. They just have to take the beating, and that just doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s very weird, but that’s how it works.
EDGE: You were born in Ohio?
Daniel Letterle: Cleveland, and then I moved to New York at 17. I had just graduated high school and moved there. I went to this school called AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy), it was a musical theater conservatory. I was in New York for four or five years, then I went to Europe and did this West Side Story at La Scala in Milan. I was a Jet. I played Gee-tar. I had one line, and it was ’Goldtooth.’ But, you know what? I’ll tell you what -- it was the best experience of my life. I barely made the team competing with all these Broadway dancers. I can do a couple of pirouettes, but I can’t do six pirouettes or the shit they can do. So I barely got the job, but then by the time the show opened I had a couple of dance solos, so it worked out good.
EDGE: When you came back to the States, was that when Camp happened?
Daniel Letterle: Yeah. I did like commercials for MTV and Comedy Central and the WWF. What else did I do? Just little things. And then finally I got Camp.
EDGE: You play the only straight guy in Camp -- the lead character?
Daniel Letterle:Yeah. As far as the film.
EDGE: Didn’t Todd Graff (the film’s writer/director) say he patterned the role of Vlad after himself?
Daniel Letterle: Yeah, which is weird because he’s gay.
EDGE: Was it fun?
Daniel Letterle: That was another best time of my life. It was dream come true. I never thought I’d be a lead in a movie, and be in a role that makes me look so good. You know, and I never really have since.
EDGE: You look pretty good in Ethan Green...
Daniel Letterle: I don’t know. I wish I was better. How I acted, and how I looked. It was hard because it was a very small budget. We didn’t have any hair or make-up or anything.
EDGE: How long ago did you make the movie?
Daniel Letterle: It was, like, August of 2004, or something. The movie has been in the can for awhile. It was in the Tribeca last year, and now Tribeca is happening again. It opens next week.
EDGE: How did you get the role?
Daniel Letterle: I read the script and I thought it was the next big thing. I thought it was the smartest thing I had ever read. It was a lot of fun, and I begged for it. And I guess they had a lot of problems casting, so I got lucky. I auditioned on tape from New York.
EDGE: Did anyone tell you not to take the role because it was a gay character?
Daniel Letterle: No. I was surprised. Everyone said to take it, even my agent. I was surprised.
EDGE: What is it like for a straight actor to play a gay role? Do you think about it?
Daniel Letterle: Do I think about what? That I’m not gay. No, no.
EDGE: What did you like about Ethan?
Daniel Letterle: Well, I guess desperation is attractive. I always go for the desperate ones. I don’t know why, but I do.
EDGE: Are you dating anybody now?
Daniel Letterle: I’m dating an older woman now. It’s interesting. She’s 10 years older. I’m 27. It’s nice. I don’t know. I talk to all my ex’s.
EDGE: Have you done any acting lately?
Daniel Letterle: No. I’m a has-been. I’m out of the game. I’m out of the loop. I get auditions, but rarely I even try.
EDGE: You don’t do commercials anymore?
Daniel Letterle: I don’t even do commercials anymore. I’m in bad shape.
EDGE: Are you going to stay in LA or go back to New York?
Daniel Letterle: It’s funny you should ask that, because I miss New York. But it’s so wild and loud there. I get tinnitus (ringing in the ears.) It’s so loud. Honkin’. Traffic. You’re in Boston?
EDGE: Yeah. It’s pretty loud here. Do you want to act again soon, or do you want to put it behind you?
Daniel Letterle: I don’t know. I have to figure it out. You know, I never thought I’d waiver. That’s for sure.
EDGE: Thanks for spending some time with me. Can I use all this stuff you talked about?
Daniel Letterle: Yeah. I think so. I’m sick of trying to be -- I’m just being honest. I feel a lot better being honest.
EDGE: I don’t want your agent calling me up --
Daniel Letterle: My agent? I can’t believe I still have an agent. But thank you very much. It’s been a lot of fun.
EDGE: Well, stick with it. Don’t give up yet.
Daniel Letterle: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. And take care.