In The Lincoln Lawyer, adapted from the best-selling novel by Michael Connelly, country music star Trace Adkins plays Eddie Vogel, the leader of a motorcycle gang that keeps crossing paths with charismatic defense lawyer Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey). When Haller finds himself defending rich playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), it turns into the case of a lifetime and the attorney who usually represents petty criminals finds himself needing Eddie’s intimidation factor.
At the film’s press day, Trace Adkins talked about being able to closely identify with his character, his approach to acting compared to singing in an arena full of people, the challenge of making movies, being the star of his own comic book, which he hopes will be adapted for film someday, and how he’s working on music for a new album that he plans to release in the Fall. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
TRACE ADKINS: I know Eddie. There’s a lot of Eddie in me. I’ve known lots of Eddies. I’ve fought Eddies, in my life. I worked in the oil field with a lot of Eddies. When I read the script, I thought it was something that maybe I could pull off, so I came out and auditioned for it.
How are you like Eddie?
ADKINS: I’ve used that intimidation tool, a time or two in my life. It’s a pretty handy tool.
Do you ride motorcycles?
ADKINS: Yeah, I have a Harley. But, it was funny, they wouldn’t take my word for it that I knew how to ride. They had an insurance guy following me around, the first day I was there, so we rode around awhile. It’s the same way with horses. They won’t take your word for it that you know how to ride a horse. You have to show them.
How do you approach doing a role on screen versus doing a song in front of thousands of people in an arena?
ADKINS: When I’m singing a song on stage, I hate hypocrites. If you don’t put yourself in that lyric and emote and be what that lyric says that you are, then you’re just going through the motions and you’re being hypocritical. I just take that same approach with acting. I just take the dialogue and I emote it and become that. I use the same technic, really. I’ve never been trained as an actor, so it has to be a part that I think I can identify with and is something that I can pull off. I’m no Phillip Seymour Hoffman or Johnny Depp. It’s got to be a very specific thing for me to do. I’m not going to pull off every role that comes along.
ADKINS: Just the waiting. It’s the same way with music videos. That is the one thing that music videos prepared me for, with the experiences that I’ve had making movies. That tedious waiting in between shots is the hardest part.
What do you like about making movies?
ADKINS: The challenge. Anytime you get out of your comfort zone and you have to do something that you’re not comfortable doing and that you’re not real sure of yourself in, there’s an exhilaration that comes along with that. I get off on it, so that’s why I enjoy doing it.
How did you end up getting into acting?
ADKINS: The first couple of roles I had were just invitations to just come be myself in a movie. This is the first time that I’ve auditioned for something and actually won the part. The first day on the set, the director, Brad Furman, came to me and said, “I want you to know that you’re here because of your audition. I had no idea who you were.” And, that kind of hurt. I thought I was a bigger deal than that. He had no idea who I was.
ADKINS: The same as a lot of the other ones. I’ve done several auditions. My agent out here, at CAA – and I’ve only been there for about three years now – gives me a call every time something comes along that she thinks is something I could do, and I’ll come out here and read for it.
What was it like for you to do the scenes with Matthew McConaughey?
ADKINS: It would have been terrifying, if not for the fact that he was so generous to me. He rehearsed the scenes with me and wanted to make sure that I felt comfortable. He just told me, “You’ve got this, man. Don’t worry about it. You’ve got it.” He convinced me that I was going to be all right. He didn’t have to do that, and I appreciate him doing that.
Since Brad Furman didn’t do too many takes of each scene, were you confident in your performance?
ADKINS: By the second or third take, they’d say, “We got it,” and I was like, “Hell, you had it on the first take, didn’t you? I had it on the first take. What, the camera wasn’t focused? What the hell is wrong with you people?”
Do you find it difficult to watch yourself, whether it’s in your music videos or in acting roles?
ADKINS: Yeah, I’m not a fan of me, doing anything. I’m not a fan of my singing. I’m not a fan of my acting. There are a lot of people that can do both of those things better than I can, and I’d rather hear them.
What makes you want to do it then?
ADKINS: Because some people are. And, you can make a hell of a lot of money. I just love it. I do enjoy it. There’s that gratification that comes from performing in front of a live audience, and you can’t replicate that with anything else. In the studio, the creation part of this business is fun. But, when you see the fans letting you know that they enjoy what you’re doing, that’s why I keep doing it.
ADKINS: I only have maybe five or six. Guitar playing is not my strong suit. I cut my finger off, working in an oil field, and it don’t work anymore, so I’m limited as to what I can do on the guitar.
How did your comic book come about? Was that something that was brought to you?
ADKINS: Yeah. These guys just came to me and said, “Hey, we wanna do a comic book, and we want you to be the character in the comic book.” And I was like, “You mean like a superhero or something?” And they said, “No, just you. We’ll run the storyline by you and get some feedback about what you would say in this situation and how you would react.” I was like, “Okay.” So, we talked for an hour or so and, three months later, I got a comic book in the mail.
What did you think of it?
ADKINS: It was embarrassing. In the comic book, he had just gotten out of prison and he goes back to his hometown. It’s at night and he runs into his old flame. They talk and she comes onto him and he goes, “No, I’ve been in prison a long time. I don’t wanna just jump back into a relationship.” I called the dude up and said, “Man, that’s not what I would have done. How long did you say I’ve been in prison? That was not natural.”
ADKINS: We’ve talked about it. There’s been some talk about it, and there’s been some interest expressed. I’m an old jock and I’m very superstitious, so I don’t like to talk about stuff because I’ll jinx myself and it will never happen.
Who would you like to see play the role?
ADKINS: Hell, I’m gonna do it, if we decide to do it. But, I ain’t gonna pay for it.
Now that you’ve been bitten by the acting bug, is there a role you would want to play?
ADKINS: Yeah, a mute gunfighter. I think that would be the ultimate role. You wouldn’t have to learn any lines. You could just shoot people and maybe have a dog that follows you around. I’m working on it. I’m not anywhere close to being finished with the whole idea yet.
Are you currently working on any new music?
ADKINS: I’ve got a new single coming out next week, called “Just Fishin’”. It sounds like a country hick song, but it’s not. It’s about a father taking his little girl fishing and the point of the song is that she thinks we’re just fishing, but that’s not what it’s about. That will be followed by an album, probably in the Fall.