Colin Egglesfield On New Movie 100 Days To Live, The Something Borrowed Sequel, And Running Inspirational Courses – Exclusive Interview
Colin Egglesfield is no stranger to the big screen, but the coronavirus pandemic has meant that movie releases are a little different than they used to be. With many movie theaters closed, new releases have been forced to rely on downloads and virtual premieres. When Nicki Swift caught up with Egglesfield for an exclusive interview, the actor was promoting his new film 100 Days to Live, a tense psychological thriller which follows an intense race against time after yet another person is abducted from the streets of Chicago. Egglesfield plays Gabriel, the latest victim of a mysterious serial killer known as The Savior. Gabriel’s fiance, Rebecca (Heidi Johanningmeier), is a suicide prevention specialist who is left picking up the pieces, trying to help the police figure out what’s going on.
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times said of 100 Days to Live: “The subject matter is handled with respect and care, but it’s also the launching point for a small but slick thriller and it might be tough to watch by those whose lives have been impacted by suicide.” That being said, “thanks to the densely packed screenplay and the sharp performances by Johanningmeier, Egglesfield and [Gideon] Emery, 100 Days to Live keeps us in its grips throughout.”
In the exclusive interview, Egglesfield opens up about his role in the thriller, discusses whether we’ll ever see a Something Borrowed sequel, provides a welcome health update, and shares how he manages his very busy career.
Colin Egglesfield was drawn to the 'real and raw' characters in '100 Days to Live'
What drew you to 100 Days to Live?
I was compelled by the story. As an actor, I always am interested in playing characters that are multidimensional, who face circumstances in life that are real and raw. And I think what drew me to this script was that it was just different as well, unlike anything I’ve ever played in my career. And as an actor, the whole subject of suicide, suicide prevention, it’s a sensitive subject. And I just wanted to make sure that we were telling a story that was not trivializing suicide or using it as a vehicle just to tell an entertaining story. I truly wanted to tell a story that hopefully people could relate to, that could shed some light on the subject of suicide and suicide prevention. And crazy enough, during the filming of this, my cousin actually committed suicide.
Yeah, she was in her late twenties and battled depression. Really just weird that while I was filming this movie, that actually happened. So, in many ways I feel like this is kind of an ode to her and her legacy and others like her, who would just feel like the only way in which they can attain any sort of peace and just rest is by ending their life. It’s just really sad.
The subject matter was handled delicately, and in a really unusual way. We haven’t seen you in many thrillers. Might you do more, or maybe a horror movie?
Yeah, no, I would love to. As long as stories are well-written and there’s good people involved, I’m definitely open to doing more thrillers and I’ve done a couple and one of them involved me playing a vampire. Kind of a ridiculous script and story but it was definitely fun to shoot.
So that’s something people need to check out, you as a vampire?
Well, maybe not.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
100 Days to Live was a return home for Colin Egglesfield
100 Days to Live was made by a first time director, Ravin Gandhi. Might we see you working with him again?
Yeah, would love to. I’ve worked with quite a few directors in my over 20 year career and Ravin, I would say, stacks up to some of the best. Having never really directed a feature film before in his life, I was incredibly impressed with how well he was able to delegate, how well he managed the timeframes of when we needed to get things done. His ability to just communicate with so many different personalities, because on a movie set, you’ve got 50 to 100 people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. And he was very good at directing the show and running the show and making us feel that we could trust him with regards to the decisions that he was making at the time.
And as an actor, you definitely have to place a lot of trust in the people that you’re working with because we can’t always see or know or sense how our performance is being conveyed on the monitor. It may feel a certain way, but then you watch the playback back and you’re like, “Oh God, that was the worst piece of cr*p ever, we need to do that again.” So the first few days, and the first two takes, we would do a scene, I would run around behind the monitor or just kind of see if Ravin was watching and seeing the same thing that I was seeing. And once I knew and saw that he had a good eye for performance or what he was going for, for the scene, I started to be able to trust him more and then the rest of the shoot was the exact experience why I chose to become an actor. It was just fun. It was inspiring and just collaboratively, a great experience.
So 100 Days to Live is set in your hometown of Chicago. What was it like filming there?
So I’d spend spent most of my career in New York and Los Angeles. And it was funny, the second week that I was back in Chicago because I decided to leave LA for a little bit, just to take a break, come back home, be around family, I also do some real estate and just kind of felt like, you know what, needed a little reset button so I came back to Chicago and then within two weeks, booked this film and it was my first project, first time ever working in my hometown so it was amazing. It was great. I love it.
Colin Egglesfield says the Something Borrowed sequel isn't happening… right now
You’ve always supported author Emily Giffin in trying to get the sequel to Something Borrowed made. Will we ever see Something Blue or could Giffin write another book about where Rachel and Dex are now?
That’s a good question. The film industry has changed quite a bit in the sense that most movies are now made by Netflix, and some of these bigger budget films are made by these streaming platforms. And the studios are just going through kind of a transformation in the sense that because of the pandemic and just with the advent of people’s home theater systems at home, the amount of people that were going to the box office were slowly declining. And it’s a shame because I just used to love going on dates with a girl to a movie and nowadays people don’t really do that anymore. They say the main demographic of audience member is a 17-year-old boy and I can see it because a 17-year-old kid, you want to get out of the house, you don’t want to be around mom and dad. And so you’ll go and see these superhero adventure movies.
And so the studios are catering to the demographic that is going to the movie theaters in the most amount, in the most numbers, which is the 17-year-old boy demographic. And that doesn’t mean that other people don’t go to movie theaters, but unfortunately the whole romantic comedy genre has sort of shifted into the online space. And on the Hallmark Channel, there’s a new romantic movie or Christmas romance movie every day, and with the Lifetime. But in answer to your question, Emily and the producers of Something Borrowed are still pressing and trying to figure out a way to make Something Blue happen, but I do like your idea about Rachel and Dex, just having their own movie or their own show.
If we can’t get Something Blue made, why can’t we get you two together?
Yeah, I think at this point, we would probably have five kids, we’d maybe have our own reality show, who knows.
Dating during the pandemic has been difficult for Colin Egglesfield
Last year, you said you were going to propose to your girlfriend. What’s it been like dating in the pandemic?
Yeah no, it’s been tough because not being able to see her, we actually have broken up. Yeah it was really tough, just not being able to see each other and just the whole long distance thing. And I think in a lot of ways, this pandemic has made people do a lot of soul searching and has made people have to face certain things that maybe wouldn’t have come to light, because we’re always so busy doing things and running around. And I think in a lot of ways, this whole being stuck at home situation has forced people to face the truth in their lives with regards to really getting focused on what we want for ourselves and what is it that is most compatible for us.
And I think sometimes we can get wrapped up in these false ideas of what’s going to make us happy, and I think this past few months have made me at least really take a close look at who I am, what I want my life to be all about. So in a lot of ways, this has kind of been a rebirth so, even though some unfortunate things have happened, I feel positive and inspired by what the future holds because with every experience that we have in our lives, I think it’s important to take what you learn from each experience and use it to become a better person and to create a better life for yourself.
Colin Egglesfield reveals the charitable causes that are important to him
You did a pre-med degree, which I’m sure a lot of our readers won’t know, and you’ve often said that you might’ve pursued medicine and gone into Doctors Without Borders because that combined your passions of travel and philanthropy. What causes are really important to you?
The causes that I’m really passionate about are pretty much anything related to self development and providing opportunities for people to achieve their dreams and their goals. I wrote a book last year called Agile Artist and it’s all about my experiences working in Hollywood and overcoming the challenges to pursue your dream and what that entails. And I also work with kids who have been diagnosed with cancer because I’m a cancer survivor myself, so I’ve done quite a bit of volunteer work with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and St. Jude Hospital.
I do marathons and triathlons to raise money for these causes and I’ve actually volunteered at the hospitals themselves, where I read books to some of the kids in the wards. And it’s one thing to go into these hospitals and be there and be with these kids, but it’s another thing to have been through what they are going through, because I feel like when I tell them, “You know what, I’ve been through, what you’ve been through,” I think there’s something that helps them feel more hopeful and positive about, “You know what, well Colin got through this, then I can too.” And so if I can be that pillar of hope and inspiration and strength for these kids, when they’re going through that experience, that’s what really makes having gone through that scary experience in my life, worth while.
Colin Egglesfield is five years cancer-free
How is your health is now? Are you doing well?
Yeah, so fortunately after five years after being diagnosed and going through surgeries and the radiation, I was going for checkups pretty much every few months. And at the five-year mark, if all indications and tests show that there’s no cancer, then with my type of cancer, testicular cancer, then you’re considered cancer-free. So I’m totally healthy right now and I thank my lucky stars. And it’s made me appreciate life and want to just, every day, make the most of life because I’ve realized facing those days of not knowing if I was going to make it through that and through that experience was, “Wooh.” That just puts a whole new perspective on things that you complain about.
I’ve developed this community of people who are on that similar path of looking for that deeper, more fulfilling experience of life. So, I put together this six week course based on my book, it’s called Inspire. And so I’m in the middle of it right now, I’ve done five of them. And within each group I have about 25 people that are in the course. And so I created the course to mirror what I learned in my acting classes with regards to, what do you want your Act 3 to look like in your life? And I have them create and write out where they’re at in their life currently, which is their Act 1. And then I get them to write out what is their Act 2 meaning, what are the challenges or the obstacles that they’re going to have to face and overcome in order to get them to their Act 3?
And then I have them do a character biography breakdown, which is what we would do for every script and every audition, we have to go in as actors and what I learned through that experience of going on over 2000 auditions, was that in order for me to be able to successfully walk into this audition, to play this lawyer or this World War II soldier, or this doctor who’s dealing with health issues or whatever, I would literally have to dial up certain parts of my personality and my own characteristics to play these certain characters. And I would realize that, you know what, me, Colin, growing up, maybe wasn’t the most confident, but if I’m going to go into this audition and I have to play the most confident soldier, that’s going to lead these 3000 men into battle, I’ve got to dial that up and I’ve got to dial up those qualities and those characteristics. So, who is this type of character that these people are going to want to be inspired to be led into battle with?
And I realized that we, as human beings, have the ability to create whatever character we need to create for ourselves in our daily lives, in order to accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish in life. So that was the whole impetus for writing the book and doing this course because what I love to do is help people reconnect with their strengths and their authentic qualities and when you do that, the charisma starts to come out, you start to realize that, you know what, I do have something unique that I can share with the world and that people can benefit from. And that’s what’s been amazing about this whole journey and … writing the book and now I’m doing motivational speaking around all of this, and it’s just all about helping people reconnect back to their authentic true selves, which I call your sacred spiritual self and getting out of your mental noise that stops us from going after what we truly want to in life.
And what I’ve learned in my acting classes was that the only way in which you’re really going to be able to create a memorable experience and to get the job, even to begin with, is to get out of your head and drop down into your heart center and connect to that spiritual, sacred, artistic part of yourself.
And that’s what people connect with because when you watch a movie, you don’t fall in love with the character because of how brilliant they are or how smart they are or how beautiful they look. You fall in love with a character because of the journey that you see them go through. You see them go through the challenges and face those hardships in life and yet they still keep putting one foot in front of the other. They don’t give up. And when we see those qualities in our favorite characters in movies, we then tend to start to get inspired by those same qualities and say, “You know what, maybe I can do that.” And that’s what I nurture and that’s where I latch into. And I say, “Yes, and what is it that you want to accomplish in your life and how can we help you get there?”
Colin Egglesfield has gotten really good at multitasking
So, you’ve written your book, Agile Artist, you’re a motivational speaker, you’re running workshops and courses, and you’re a real estate agent and a house flipper. How do you do all of that and what’s your favorite aspect of your career, if you have one?
My calender. I live and die by my calender and my notebook and this is one of the things that I’ve just had to get really good with time management because, like I said, being diagnosed with cancer and living across the street from the World Trade Center and seeing people jumping out of the towers, I just remember saying to myself when I was diagnosed, “I’m too young to die, I have so much more that I want to accomplish in life and God, if you just give me this opportunity to get through this, I promise I will devote my life to making the world a better place.” And that’s really been the fuel for me to just wake up in the morning and be like, “Okay, what 4 million things do I need to get done today in order to create what I’m up to in life.”
Colin Egglesfield has several TV projects in the works
You recently filmed a pilot called Puckheads. Can you tell us anything about that?
I play a minor league hockey coach and it was a super fun script to have been a part of. Unfortunately we took it to a bunch of different networks and nowadays everything has to be high concept. And it’s not enough to just have a TV show about a bunch of guys who are trying to make it in minor league hockey. They’re like, “Well, maybe if there was a lesbian hockey player that was in there too, or I don’t know, maybe if you had an Indian family that came in and bought the hockey team and they had known nothing about hockey.” Everything now has to be so different and outside of the box that it’s hard to just do something that a lot of people just consider mainstream nowadays so, unfortunately we just haven’t found a home yet for Puckheads.
Are there any other movie or TV projects you’re working on at the moment?
I am in the process of producing a TV show so, we’ve made some offers to some actresses. I can’t really say what it’s about yet and what the storyline is about other than it’s essentially about two sisters, their mom passes away and the two sisters are estranged, and the only way in which they’re going to win their mother’s inheritance is if they reconcile and come back together. So it’s a really interesting storyline and, fingers crossed, we’ll get some fabulous actresses attached to it and be able to start shooting that this year.
Colin Egglesfield is hands-on at his customizable T-shirt company
As well as all the other jobs you’ve talked about, you own a customizable T-shirt company called Shout Out!
Yeah, it’s called Shout Out! So, this is… someone ordered a shirt. I’ve got my whole inventory at my place here so whenever anyone orders shirts, I just pick them out of the box, put them into…
You’re shipping them out yourself?
I’ve got the order right here, I ship them out and it’s a completely customizable shirt that has Velcro letters that you can create messages, so it’s all about self-expression and sharing with the world, who you are and what you stand for.
Well, we wanted to know what would your custom tee read?
My Shout Out! T-shirt would say, “Inspire.” It would say, “What are you committed to?” It would say, “Where’s my iced coffee?” Because I’m addicted to iced coffee.
It should probably say, “I’m not Dex,” because [director] Ravin [Gandhi] said that when he goes out with you, women just flock over to you and sometimes it’s quite embarrassing.
Or maybe I could just write, “Yes, it’s Dex.”
100 Days to Live is available to stream now. You can register for Colin Egglesfield’s courses and find out more about his book, Agile Artist, on his official website.
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