Hot Topic - Talon Reid
Talon Reid has good genes – and we’re not just talking the rugged all-American good looks he owes to his model mother and pro-motocross father. His parents also gave him an entrepreneurial spirit, magnetic personality and a sincere self-confidence that makes it seem anything is possible. It seems for someone with the perfect storm of star qualities, a rise to stardom would be without much effort, but actor Talon Reid has been working, and working hard since he was barely a teenager, building a foundation that would allow him to make it in Hollywood.
Talon lived in L.A. until he was 6 years old when he and his dad moved to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, so that his dad could take a job at a car dealership. Always influenced by music, Talon started a hard-core metal band at age 13. By 17, he was touring with the band, called Burning Graceland. After taking a few theatre classes at The Ohio State University and becoming interested in the acting industry, Talon decided it was time to make things happen, and he drove his ’92 Honda Accord 2,200 miles to L.A.
His career didn’t take off right away, but he maintained the loyal and level-headed attitude that is true to most Midwesterners, and eventually stumbled upon a live audition on Santa Monica Blvd., for Jay-Z’s Video “On To The Next One” and landed one of the principle parts. With the recognition he needed, he was signed by a talent agency, and he’s since played roles in Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” will co-star with Tom Berenger in “Just Kill” and just got signed on for National Lampoon’s new sketch comedy series. Already living the plot of a success story, we can’t wait to see what Talon Reid conquers next. Check out our exclusive Q&A with the hard-core metal frontman turned Hollywood heartthrob and find out what it’s like to work with Lil’ Wayne, The Muppets and Clint Eastwood, all in one year.
Your parents gave you some good stock to cook up your present-day personality and character. Which of your characteristics do you attribute to your mom and dad individually?
Well, they both gave me good looks, I’m not gonna lie [laughs]. Both of my parents, they’re very similar, which is why I think I got this ultimate personality. They’re both entrepreneurial, very go-getting, very personable people. I really got lucky.
Was your mom in any memorable ads as a model?
I’m not sure about her modeling ads, but the last movie she did was “Virtuosity.” She was a model through the ’80s and ’90s in L.A., and she worked in film at Paramount Pictures.
Was your dad a memorable motocross racer?
My dad was a memorable motocross racer, and he raced in Canada. It was way before I was born – I want to say ’70s and early ’80s. My dad has competed all over Canada – Calgary, Ontario, Ottawa, all over the place. When we did the photo shoot for C Magazine, my dad was in the studio with us, and he actually saw the Larry Pegram ad.
You bounced around Cali when you were young and ended up in Reynoldsburg. How did that happen?
I was actually born in Evanston, Indiana. Originally, my parents met on Sunset Blvd. working next to each other in the ’80s. They ended up going back to Indiana to have me right next to where my grandparents live. They had my sister a year later, then packed up and ended back where they were originally living in L.A. I lived there for about six years, and then they got divorced after a really big earthquake that happened in ’94 in southern California. We lost a lot during that, and literally and metaphorically, it split us up. I ended up going with my dad to Ohio. He had a job out here with a car dealership. A couple years later, my mom and sister ended up following us out to Columbus.
Did you do anything in the arts while attending high school?
I was a musician. I grew up as a guitarist in hard-core metal, and I started doing that when I was 11 years old. I’ve been playing ever since. When I was 13, I started my first hard-core metal band. I was the lead guitarist and screamer man, and that carried into ending up going on tour when I was
17. Burning Graceland was the last band I was in, but we had a chain of bands before that.
What are the three most influential heavy metal bands on your music?
That is hard. Metallica is what my best friend and I grew up on. As cliché as that sounds, it’s really not cliché – it’s freaking Metallica, dude. Other bands: As I Lay Dying, Slayer, and, you know what, I’m not a huge fan of Avenged Sevenfold anymore, but they were influential.
You have been in a couple cool videos lately, one with Jay-Z
and one with Andre 3000 and Lil’ Wayne. What kind of clout do video appearances give you in the acting scene?
I just got back from Italy and France, and I was with my mom in a café in Italy, and this video I was in comes on, and it’s number nine in their country. It’s number five over here, but American music videos in other countries are so big. We have MTV, but they have legit-MTV there. You’re justifying your character without saying anything; you’re justifying it through the artist.
What was Jay-Z like? Is he a lot smaller than his persona?
Jay-Z is an awesome dude; it was a honor to work with him. Mad respect for him. He’s kind of like a big brother when you’re working on set with him, always got your back. Always trying to teach you something new. He’s a pretty massive dude.
And Lil’ Wayne … does he look freakish in person?
Lil’ Wayne, he’s a scrawny little dude, he’s scrappy. Yeah, he’s a little ratty, but he’s so smart and he’s such an entrepreneur. I don’t want to say he’s all about the money, but he is. He never stops working. I’m learning from him. And the guy, he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t want to ever stop touring. He has his kids on the bus sometimes – all he cares about is his kids and music. It’s so inspiring.
I saw that you did a commercial for Chrysler. Which of their new rides would you take if you could pick between Dodge and Chrysler?
A Charger. It’s pretty musclely. It’s a beasty ass car. Cops are using those now. Working on the Chrysler commercial was epic. We had Adrian Brody directing, and he had cast me in that. And to have an Oscar-winning, Academy Award-winning actor directing you in a commercial, was pretty epic.
Is it bizarre working on a set with famous puppets?
It’s really cool to work on those sets. It changes your view on the Muppets, kind of, but the guys that do the Muppets, they’re so in their characters. I feel like they express their inner emotions through these characters.
Which of the Muppets is your favorite and why?
I liked the two commentators. I don’t remember the names. The two old guys that are always talking smack about somebody. They talk smack, but they’re really good sports about it.
You were a stunt actor in “J. Edgar.” Any injuries during training or filming?
No, it was really random being brought into that. Literally, all of the training I did was on the day. Clint Eastwood only does one take, and that’s what he’s known for. He’ll never do two takes, he never calls rolling on set. He’s very old school, which is why he gets $120 million to shoot a film. He’s quick, easy, in and out. But no injuries, everything was smooth. Another great experience.
Tell us about the tattoo chest piece?
I got the tattoo chest piece before my first U.S. tour with my hard-core metal band. I actually got the image from some good guys in a band called Haze the Day they made for their album called Pressure the Hinges. We were actually endorsed by a tattoo parlor called Adorn Arts here in Columbus, and they drew it up and laid it on. Eight-hour job, one session, brutal. It’s Stained Skin now. That’s where I got my Phoenix done; Toby did it. Toby’s done most of my stuff. He’s been touching my stuff up, and we did my first tat when I was 17.
What’s your dream car?
Aston Martin, for sure. I see them every day in Hollywood. I got a picture of one on my desk, and within the next five years, I will have an Aston Martin, that’s a guarantee. And I’m excited about it because in the next 15 years I want to be the next James Bond.
Describe Ohio State in three words.
Passion, loyalty and commitment. I bleed scarlet and gray. I’ve got the tattoo of the block O on my arm. When I moved to L.A., I wanted everyone to know where I’m from.
How did you survive during those first few months in LA? Did you eat your dinner out of a can?
The first few months I was in L.A., I didn’t struggle as hard as I had planned. I planned for the worst. What I did is I needed to find a way to come up with a few grand to live off of for awhile, so I got with Steve Boyer from PromoWest, and I started my own music festival called Talonialator-Fest in The Basement. I called record label reps in the music industry to scout out at my festival, and in return the bands would play for free for the scouting opportunity. I had two stages, 15 bands, big show, and I took the profits. So that was enough to get me by for a few months until I could find a job.
Did you ask for or get any advice from the stars of your movies?
I always take advice from everybody. Always. I never stop learning.
When you go home to Reynoldsburg, what’s the first thing you do?
I always go to Outback Steakhouse. I worked there growing up for six years, and my family is there – everyone I worked with is still there, and I love it. I did everything there – I bussed, I barbacked, I served, I painted all the walls in the back, I’ve pulled a cot and stayed there overnight drinking Red Bulls just painting the back of the house. Paul Roberts is the owner of the one in Reynoldsburg, and when I was still an up-and¬comer in acting, I would fly back here to visit family for Christmas, and he would still give me my job back so I could work while I was here for two or three weeks.
Is Hollywood a matter of chance or design?
It’s both, but I think it’s more design. In Hollywood, you get as much as you put out. Where you place yourself is on you, ultimately. And where you get discovered, is how many places you’re placed.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I don’t like flaky people.
Besides modeling and acting, what other profession do you think you would do well at?
Women are the best at_______?
Being dramatic. For sure.
What films inspired you to become an actor?
“Fight Club,” first, for sure. “Snatch.” “Scarface.”
Do you have a mentor?
Yes I do. I have two. Michael Uslan. That’s who got me to move to L.A. He’s the creator of the “Batman” films. He’s the one that brought “Batman” to the big screen in 1989. He’s really helped me through a lot and I believe he’s going to help me do that during the rest of the career – moving from star to superstar. Number two is Gabe Torres. He’s the director of the first TV series I did when I moved to L.A. for Discovery Channel. Good friend of mine.
Name one thing you love about L.A. and one thing you despise.
One thing I love about L.A. is the weather. It’s perfect every day, and that’s really convenient and it’s also motivation. I despise that it can be this warp hole – we call it the Black Heart of America. We call it its own country, too. It’s different, and you can really easily get sucked into the blackness of that city. It really changes your mindset on life and what people get away with. Coming home keeps me grounded and it makes me realize what real life is rather than what screen life is, rather Out there everything is just surreal.
What’s the last book you read?
Who are your muses?
A guy named Jim, his brother Johnny, his cousin Jack and then their Mexican adopted younger brother, Jose. I’m just kidding, I don’t know. Life is a muse to me, and James Dean is a muse to me.
Into what kind of person has Ohio made you?
Ohio has made me hardworking, honest, genuine, well mannered, loyal, and I don’t take crap from anybody.
Coolest guy in Columbus is ?
Up until last year I thought it was Jim Tressel, but you know what, Roopan Dey, no doubt.
What is the food you crave from Ohio that you can’t get on the road? Buckeyes.
What is the most difficult hurdle you have encountered in your life?
The pursuit of an entertainment career.
What is your favorite childhood tradition that you hope to pass on to your kids?
To go to a Spring Buckeye game.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Loading everything in my car and driving 2,200 miles to Los Angeles. And pissing on a cop car while handcuffed.
What is your guilty pleasure?
There is nothing better in life than a post-sex feast with a nice freshly made mozzarella stick, just one, and a good little cup of marinara. Or Chipotle.
What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? In person?
On TV, college football. In person, college football.
What’s the worst job you ever had?
Working at Fazoli’s. One guy who can’t squeegee a floor – you’re talking to him. I can’t squeegee a floor to save my life. For almost a year, this manager would be like, “What don’t you get about this? Talon, there is still water everywhere.”
What is your most notable characteristic?
I’m very personable.
What animal would you be?
If I was a bird, I’d be a falcon because they can fly 240 miles per hour – the fastest living animal in the world. I actually trained falcons.
What one possession do you treasure the most?
I have a signed Troy Smith jersey of all the Buckeyes from that national championship year.
“Hangover” or “Airplane”?
Surely you can’t be serious. “Airplane,” for sure.
If you could sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence, what would it be?
My mom’s boyfriend taught me that everything in life is a numbers game. You’re going to beat the odds by how well you place yourself in the numbers. The more places I place myself as an actor, the higher the chances I will make it.
Tomorrow you get to hang with God. Make a wish?
I wish I could fly. I really want to fly.
Ocean or the mountains?
Mountains. I snowboard.