Euphoria's Angus Cloud chops it up with fellow Bay Area Native and new friend, Red Rocket star Simon Rex.
Topics covered include: escaping to Joshua Tree, the heartbreaking experience of being an Oakland sports fan, pre-Giuliani New York lawlessness, running a small business in Fort Greene Park, whether your DNA is safe with 23andMe, Internet bullshit, fake energy, losing friends to COVID conspiracies, being “famous as fuck,” the transactional nature of Los Angeles, Angus’s favorite movie (Holes), the judgment of vegans, shooting on deadstock Kodak film for Euphoria S2, parallels between Fezco and Mikey Saber, getting thrown into the deep end, and how to cope with being famous when you’re just a normal dude from The Bay.
Speaker: Hey, and welcome back to The A24 Podcast.
Bay Area natives Simon Rex and Angus Cloud have much more than just a hometown in common. Earlier this month, Simon and Angus met for the first time to talk about their characters in Red Rocket and Euphoria, and their experience as Hollywood outsiders who never set out to be actors, let alone become famous.
We hope you enjoy the episode… Tune in Sunday for the Euphoria Season 2 finale, and tell everyone you know to watch Red Rocket — now available on demand.
Simon Rex: Angus, what's up, man? Nice to meet you.
Angus Cloud: What's happening my boy?
Simon: A24. Here we are doing the podcast. Let's just talk some shit, bro. I want to get to know you. We’re both from the Bay, let’s start there.
Angus: Man, let's chop it up. Let's get to it.
Simon: So you live here full time?
Angus: Yeah, I stay in LA just for work. How about you? You live in LA?
Simon: I'm in Joshua Tree. You been there?
Angus: Yeah. I've been camping out there. It's cool out there.
Simon: I bought some land.
Angus: Hell yeah, man. That's the way to go.
Simon: I've been here 20 years. I was in New York five years. Moved here for 20 years, from the Bay originally.
Angus: You from the Bay? What part of the Bay you from?
Simon: Okay, so I was born in San Francisco. Then I moved to the East Bay when I was 11, because my mom wanted me to get out of the city. Because this was in the '80s in San Francisco, and it was kind of crazy. So we moved to Alameda.
Angus: Right, right, right, right.
Simon: You know, right next to Oakland.
Angus: Yeah yeah. It's nice over there.
Simon: Yeah. Alameda's cool. Considering it's 50 feet from East Oakland, basically.
Angus: Yeah. Most of the people from the Bay hate on Alameda just because it's a lot of old money out there. So it's like, all these people are like, "You hooligans walking down my sidewalk."
Simon: Yeah. It's like that. It's like Piedmont or something. So you're from the Bay?
Angus: Yeah, I'm from the Bay.
Simon: What part?
Angus: Oakland, so I grew up right next to Lake Merritt, kind of by Grand Lake Theater and whatnot. Yeah, yeah.
Simon: That's where we would go to parties and go to crash Cal Berkeley parties. It’s crazy, I go back now and it’s like—
Angus: It’s a trip.
Simon: It’s a trip, dude. I feel the same thing when I go to San Francisco. I’m like, “This isn’t my hometown. This isn’t where I grew up.” But it’s still home. I love going back there.
Angus: Oakland, it's crazy. When I was growing up there, the tallest building there was probably, like, 15 stories. Now it's like, every time I go back it's another tall-ass building, and they got hotels over there.
Simon: And it sucks too because my Warriors moved to San Francisco.
Angus: I know, I'm pissed about that.
Simon: The Raiders went to Vegas. Oakland's losing the one thing that it had, which kept everyone together.
Angus: But we got Oakland Roots, man, the soccer team, bro. That's what's got to bring us back.
Simon: I don't even know about that.
Angus: Yeah, yeah. It's pretty new.
Simon: The Oakland Roots?
Angus: We still got the A's, you feel me?
Simon: But the A's are moving, I heard, to Vegas. I heard they're leaving. Because they were going to try to build a—
Angus: I would be sick.
Simon: I know man. If we lose every sports team... Because they're moving to Jack London square, but then they can't—
Angus: Man, because San Francisco kind of an asshole for that. They're like, "Oh, you won? Oh, y'all good now? All right, we'll take y'all now. We'll build y'all a nice-ass stadium over here. Just come across the bridge."
Simon: It lost the magic. I went there to check it out. I went to check out the new stadium just to see it, because I'm like, "All right, I'm a diehard Warriors fan." I was going to Warriors games in 1986. Now seeing Oakland lose... I mean, that was the heart of Oakland. It's sad.
Angus: I was there when they won the fucking shit, bro. The parade, bro, the party in the streets was fucking crazy, man.
Simon: I saw a video.
Angus: Everyone was outside man, everyone.
Simon: At Lake Merritt. They just went around the lake.
Angus: Yeah, yeah. They was playing—
Simon: Draymond Green got way too drunk. I saw the footage. I was actually thinking about going up for it, but I'm still a diehard Warriors fan, even though they're in San Francisco, but you're right. It lost the magic. It's the same as the Raiders. That's Oakland, dude.
Angus: Yeah, but also out here you got diehard Raiders fans all day. I'm still rocking for the Raiders. It sucks, you feel me? You know what I'm saying? Come on now, the Warriors have the town on they jersey.
Simon: I know. They still do though. They still run those.
Angus: You can't erase that, you feel me? That's the town. That's Oakland, you feel me? They ain't going to start saying “the city,” come on now.
Simon: I know. Yeah, Oakland's always been San Francisco's little brother or whatever as far as, like—
Angus: I mean, when I was living in New York and people didn't know about the Bay that much, I would just explain it, like, New York is like “the city.” Or sorry, we call San Francisco “the city” and we call Oakland a town. If I'm making a comparison, it's like Manhattan is more like San Francisco, and then Oakland is kind of more like Brooklyn.
Simon: That's exactly what I say all the time too. That's exactly what it is. I lived in New York for like five years, '93 to '98. This is when New York was still kind of wild. This was pre-Giuliani, so it still felt like the '80s. It was lawless. I go back to New York now, and it kind of feels like that again. It's dangerous again, and I kind of like it. You got your head on a swivel.
Angus: I lived out there for a bit. I was definitely on my 10 toes, you feel me?
Simon: Did you live in Brooklyn?
Angus: Yeah, man. I was actually living in a project building. The Walt Whitman House was right at Fort Greene Park. That was cool. Because I moved in there with somebody that had grew up over there. So he walked me around all the blocks and made sure everybody knew I was validated and whatnot. You know what I'm saying? Everybody was super cool with me in the community, in the project. It was super dope. We’d all be kicking it in the hallway and whatnot. I was running a business that I was like, "I don't need no trouble with this. I think it's time for me to move along." You know what I'm saying?
Simon: Were you selling weed or something?
Angus: Yeah, something like that.
Simon: They can edit that out if they want. Okay, so when did you move to New York? How old were you?
Angus: I would've been 17 I think. I had to leave Oakland because I didn't want to deal with something, and I just never went back. I just ended up staying. You feel me?
Simon: Yeah, I did the same thing. I moved to New York when I was, like, 19 for five years. That was the most fun I ever had in my life was moving to New York. It's crazy. If you haven't been there, you don't know the Bay is the New York of the West Coast. There's not really any cities in—LA's not a city. You can go downtown, but it doesn't have like an urban—
Angus: It's too spread out.
Simon: The Bay is its own world, man. We got our own slang. We got our own music.
Angus: Yeah, for real.
Simon: You know what I mean? It's its own thing. If people don't know, they don't know. But if you go to the Bay, you know.
Angus: Exactly, exactly. And then you got these random people out in the cuts that are super into Bay music and shit. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: Yeah, yeah. To this day, Mac Dre, Too Short, all that.
Angus: Come on now.
Simon: Yeah. Yeah, it's crazy, because the Bay, it's really its own universe. Then you hear the influence it's had on music, like Mustard took that Hyphy sound and made it mainstream. But really that was all, like, Keak Da Sneak. All that shit started in Oakland really, or Vallejo Oakland.
Angus: Yeah. We don't really get the credit that we deserve, for real.
Simon: That's true. So, you're in LA now.
Angus: Yeah, man. I'm just chilling in Koreatown. I just stay at the house for the most part. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: I like Koreatown, man. You know why I like Koreatown? Because you walk around and it's not Hollywood.
Angus: Exactly bro.
Simon: You're not going to get recognized as much walking around Koreatown, but you walk around this neighborhood, you're going to get probably cars rolling by. "What's up?"
Angus: It's chill. It's low key.
Simon: It's low key, which is why I want to move there.
Angus: It's like an actual culture over there. You know what I'm saying? I don't know. It's a chiller vibe, you know what I'm saying?
Simon: Yep. And the food. That's hard to beat. I just go there all the time. My boy I stay with out here, he lives five minutes from Koreatown. So I'm always going over there to get my Korean barbecue, whatever. They just got the best food.
Angus: Yeah. No, we shop at the Korean supermarket. My roommates are Korean.
Simon: That's dope. People listening, we just met. I’d never met you before. I don't know, because I've listened to this podcast, and usually it's like old friends, like Seth Rogan with his boy talking, but we just met. But anytime I meet someone from the Bay, it's automatic.
Angus: Yeah. On God.
Simon: It really is, it's crazy.
Angus: Last night, I just seen this fool, and something about him, I just was like, "What's up man?" I was like, "Where you from?" He's like, "I'm from the Bay." I was like, "Hey, that's what's up. We out here. I already knew you was cool, bro."
Simon: It's automatic.
Angus: You can just sometimes tell by the swag on somebody if they from the Bay.
Simon: Yeah. Okay, so you're Irish. You got family in Ireland. I’ve never been to Ireland, but I want to go. I heard it's amazing. I heard it's beautiful there.
Angus: Yeah no, it's so beautiful, bro. You got to get out there.
Simon: I got to go. Everybody says that. I got to go check out Ireland. You're 100% Irish?
Angus: My pops is an immigrant, you feel me? He was a farmer and whatnot. He got his sisters, my aunties, and all my cousins are out there. My mom, her family used to be sharecroppers in Texas and shit.
Simon: You never did the 23andMe? I just did it to find out what I am.
Angus: Yeah. I'm kind of interested—
Simon: You should do it.
Angus: —but at the same time, I don't want them to sell my fucking DNA and shit.
Simon: Oh yeah, okay. See, I don't care. They can clone me if they want. They can have another me. It's all good.
Angus: Yeah, but who knows what they might figure out what to do with that shit in the next couple years, you know what I'm saying?
Simon: Yeah. A lot of my friends said that, but I'm like, man.
Angus: I'm sure they probably already have my DNA somewhere. It's one thing to say, like, "They're listening to us,” or “These COVID shots have trackers." It's like, "Bro, you have a iPhone, bro.” That shit is listening to you all day every day.
Simon: Don't even get me started, bro.
Angus: And it's tracking every single movement and making a whole log of every place you ever been and how long you spent there. So if you got a iPhone, don't talk about shit. You know what I mean?
Simon: You're right. It's funny you said that because we all got those homies who would go way too deep down the rabbit hole. I just heard this comedian, Jim Gaffigan, do a joke about that. He's like, "We all had that one friend who's like, 'Bigfoot's real.' And then the pandemic hit and they were like, 'Tom Hanks eats babies.'” You're like, “Chill.” “They're microchipping us.” “Chill.”
Angus: I feel bad for those people, man.
Simon: It goes too deep. Yeah.
Angus: People have lost family members falling out with all that shit. And it's just because fucking, if you get into those conspiracy theories, fuck, they're believable, man. They give you some good reasons to believe in that shit. You watch the 9/11 shit, you're like, "Whoa, okay. This is a little... Something's not adding up here."
But most of those conspiracy shit aren't based on any fact, but if you're watching that video, it is like it is made for you to believe that shit. So if you get sucked into it and you don't care about doing your own background research, you going to get—
Simon: Get lost in the sauce.
Angus: It's fucked up, man.
Simon: It's so true, man. Because that's the problem, there's a little bit of truth, and then that's what gets you in the door, and then all of a sudden—
Angus: And even on the news, they're not basing shit off fact. They're just saying shit.
Simon: That's why it's just a waste of energy. I see people putting way too much time and energy into that shit. It's like, “Bro, just enjoy your life. What are you doing?” But yeah, that's been—man, I lost friends to that shit. They went too deep that it's like I can't be around them constantly acting like they got all the answers. I want to be around people asking questions, not yelling answers from the internet. Like, they watched a YouTube video some dude made in his basement. That's what you're going to believe?
Angus: I don't know. It is just kind of ignorance, so it's like, you can't always blame people for being ignorant and shit.
Simon: They don't know what they don't know.
Angus: Yeah. It's like, fuck.
Simon: And at the end of the day too, what it is, I think, is that they actually are coming from a place of—they're trying to do something good. They're trying to be enlightened or share with you what they've found, so their intentions aren't bad. They just lost and I think this last two years, people were just on the internet way too much, went down the rabbit hole, didn't come out.
Angus: I've been talking a lot about that with just intentions and shit. Just a lot of people that end up, fucking, in a bad situation. It's not like they were in their mind thinking, "Oh I'm about to do this, fucking take advantage of this situation and do this bad thing." They just, they didn't even think they were doing anything wrong. You know what I'm saying? They were just ignorant or oblivious or whatever the case may be.
Angus: A lot of people do fucked up shit that they had no idea that, they didn't mean to do it. You know what I mean?
Simon: Right. That's exactly right.
Angus: Sometimes they even thought they might have been doing a good thing, you know what I mean?
Simon: That's exactly what it is. That's why you can't be mad at them because really, it's not their fault, it's these people pumping the bullshit on the internet.
I don't know why I just thought of this, but I got a question for you because you probably are— How long have you been famous? Is the first thing you did was Euphoria? Is this your first acting—
Angus: First thing, yeah. Yeah.
Simon: So you just got thrown into the biggest show on TV. I've been in this business 25 years and I still have a hard time dealing with fame. It fucks your head up and I've been in therapy for years, but no therapist could understand what it's like to be famous, right? And deal with the energy that comes at you and not knowing who's really your friend or who wants something from you, and in LA it's such a transactional deal. How you dealing with the fame? Because, fuck, I mean, you just seem like a real cat and you never asked for this.
Angus: Yeah. I mean, to be completely honest with you, I don't want to be famous.
Simon: Dude, me either, dude. It's not cool. It's not cool.
Angus: At all. I want to be a regular person and have regular interactions with people. And something about fame and notoriety, you lose that.
Simon: I don't like it, but it comes with—it's like there's good and bad to what we do. And I never asked for it either. This found me. I was never like, "I want to be an actor." It fell in my lap.
Simon: Gus Van Sant, this famous director, he saw me, was like, "You want to be in a movie?" He auditioned me for Good Will Hunting. I bombed the audition. He's like, "You're not ready to be an actor, but go to acting school." I was like, "All right." So it just came to me. I never would dream or be delusional enough to be like, "I want to be famous."
Angus: I would so much rather meet somebody who was famous and have no idea they were fucking famous because it changes the way you interact with them. So I would much rather have an interaction with someone that doesn't know who the fuck I am than someone that does.
And then the other part comes in where you say you feel like it's fake and then you're questioning every fucking interaction like, "Is this real? Is this fake? What's their motives?" I'm fucking paranoid now, bro. I feel like everybody knows who I am.
Simon: They do, bro.
Angus: I know, it's fucked up now because, yeah—
Simon: No, it fucks me up too. You'll see someone on their phone and you're like, "Are they looking at their Instagram? Because it's kind of pointed at me and I could tell." And then the flash goes off, you're like, "Yep." And then you're like, "Yo, just ask me, bro. Like, it's cool."
Angus: Yeah. You convince yourself. You're like, "Ah, no, they don't know." And then they prove, you're like, "Oh fuck."
Simon: So what's it been, two years since you've been doing the show? Two years? How long has it been?
Angus: So we filmed the pilot 2018, and it came out around 2019.
Simon: So you've been dealing with fame during the pandemic, your head must be spinning, dude. Because I can't even imagine, I'm 25 years in this shit, and I'm still weirded out by it. I don't think it's going to go away.
Angus: I'm super weirded out. Even by the fact of people knowing my name is...
Simon: Yeah, it's weird.
Angus: I’m like, “How do you know my name?”
Simon: Yeah, it's weird. I mean, I was going to say, being a lot older than you, I would give you some advice, but I'm actually like, how do you deal with it? Because I don't know how to deal with it still. It's been... I don't know.
Angus: I feel like people don't want to hear this shit. They're like, "What do you mean? You're fucking living the dream right now." You know what I'm saying?
Simon: And we are.
Angus: “What could you possibly have to complain about?” And it's like, "All right, would you rather be rich and paranoid that everyone in your life is being fake towards you, or would you just be regular and just..." You know what I'm saying? It's the options. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: Because money and fame don't— here's one thing I'll share with you, and you probably already know this, is money and fame, they don't make you happy. Everyone thinks that, but that's a trap. It's just, you'll get stuck in that.
Angus: Right, that’s what they make you want to believe.
Simon: I learned one thing, because I really hadn't been working in the last 10 years. I was not making a lot of money. And I'll tell you what, in the last 10 years when I wasn't working in this business and I was barely making money, I think I was actually happier when I didn't have a lot, and I was just making enough to eat good, travel, whatever.
Angus: Yeah. No doubt about it, bro.
Simon: And I was fine. And then with all the eyeballs on you and nowadays with social media and just the... It's just, you never can relax.
Angus: It's crazy. The image that people have of you. Right now, they got me like pretty much famous as fuck. But I ain't bought no car, I ain't bought no diamonds. You feel me? You know what I'm saying? We hopefully getting to the paper after this. You what I'm saying? But it's just funny that way that everyone thinks I'm probably balling out, you know what I'm saying? Living the high life. Like nah, I'm just chilling.
Simon: You're living in Koreatown with a roommate.
Angus: Nah. I got, what? It's one, two, three, four, five of us living in the apartment.
Simon: Dude. See, that actually probably keeps you grounded. I'm still, I'm driving a $30,000 car. I live in a 600 square foot crib out in the desert. I mean, it's all good. I don't want people listening to this to think we're complaining.
Angus: Nah, not at all.
Simon: We're just acknowledging—we're blessed. It's a blessing.
Angus: We're so blessed.
Simon: But it's a curse too.
Angus: Every day blessed. Yeah.
Simon: It's just a headfuck, bro. It's a headfuck. And if you're just a normal—I feel like I'm just a normal dude from the Bay, I don't, I never asked for—
Angus: I don't like being treated special, man.
Simon: Me neither, it's fake. It's fake energy. People are extra nice now too, what I'm noticing too is people are overly nice to me. I'm like, "You don't got to do that. It's all good.” Just, it makes me feel uncomfortable. But it's funny, my publicist is here with me and they're doing an amazing job at getting me out there and getting me notoriety and they're doing a great job of it. And that's kind of a necessary thing for us to do what we do. But at the same time—
Angus: It's part of the job. Yeah.
Simon: The heat is sometimes a lot. And sometimes I just sit there in a hotel room and I got to go isolate by myself because it's so much.
Angus: Well, you never, it's one of those jobs where you don't really clock out.
Simon: Nah, it never ends. And then, man, I find myself spending so much time alone because if you're—I'm not saying this is a good thing. It's embarrassing. But I'm too sensitive. I can feel energy on people. And so if you feel that, if you're a empath and you just take that on, it'll drain the fuck out of you.
So sometimes I go out and I deal with all this shit and then I'm just like, "I got to go be by myself for a minute." I just go sit in a room by myself and then I'm like, "Is this normal? Am I going crazy? What the fuck is this?"
Simon: Anyway, so for you, man, you'll get your paper, but man, it's a trip. Fame's a weird thing. Fame is a mask that eats away at the soul. Is that what they say? I think there's some saying like that, because it does, bro. So anyway, I feel like you're going to keep a good head on your shoulders. You just seem like a cool cat.
Angus: Nah, I'm just here, man. I'm just rolling with the punches.
Simon: That's it.
Angus: You know what I'm saying? We'll see. But all the fans have showed mad love, you feel me? Come say what's up. If you see me, holler at me, you know what I'm saying? It's all love, you know what I'm saying? And I love my job, this the best shit that... This the best job I ever had for sure, you feel me?
Simon: So how did they find you for this show? I think someone told me you were in Brooklyn and someone just rolled up on you and kind of street cast you. Is that how you got the job?
Angus: Yeah. So I was just walking down the street with my homies and this woman, Eléonore Hendricks, I believe is her name, she came up to me. She said, "Can I talk to you?" I was like, "You got to walk with me." So she spit her little pitch and I ended up going down to her studio, Jennifer Venditti's JV8 casting studio, and they asked me some questions. They filmed my answers, just random questions about my life and shit. And then they had me do a couple auditions, and then I auditioned in front of some of the producers or whatever, and then flew to LA for the pilot, man.
Simon: That was it. So you never went to acting school?
Angus: No. No, no.
Simon: That's so dope. That's so dope, man.
Angus: I have been to a couple classes for sure.
Simon: After the fact?
Angus: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Simon: Did they send you? They were like, "Go to acting school," or did you just do it?
Angus: No, no, no. I was like, "I should probably do this." That fool, Shia LaBeouf, was doing a free community class at some school in South Central. I think it was South Central, but I went to go check that out in the amphitheater for a little bit. I never met him, but he's in my favorite movie.
Simon: Which one?
Simon: Oh, I never seen it. Yeah, same shit happened to me, man. I got called out. I went to this acting school in New York, and I was just like, "Do I even want to do this?" But it just fell in my lap. I guess it's better than digging ditches and fucking... I worked in Emeryville at a potato sack factory. I was driving a forklift in 1989 in Emeryville at a potato sack factory, making $10 an hour. At the same time, I was doing telemarketing. This is back before the internet, where you just open a phone book and start cold calling, selling life insurance. I was working for State Farm Life Insurance and at a potato sack factory making pennies, so fuck yeah, I'm going to do this.
Angus: It's funny that you said... What year was it? What was that?
Simon: This was '89. No, this was '90 to '92, is when I worked at the potato sack factory.
Angus: Before I started this acting, I was getting $7.50 an hour at the Waffle House, bro.
Angus: Yeah. It was like $7.50 with tips.
Simon: Damn. I guess I was balling for 10 bucks an hour. I was killing it.
Angus: With tips. You feel me? But the tips were shit.
Simon: Wait, where's the Waffle House at?
Angus: It's closed now, but it was on Bushwick. You feel me?
Simon: Not the chain, though. Not Waffle House?
Angus: No, no, no, no, no.
Simon: Oh, it was like a one-off. Okay. I was picturing—
Angus: No, it was crazy. It was like a club, and there would be fucking... It was open until 11:00 AM to 4:00 AM. There'd be fights every day. This shit was ratchet as fuck. You feel me?
Simon: I like ratchet.
Angus: Yeah. DJs in there, motherfucker. It was crazy.
Simon: Wow. That's dope.
Angus: But yeah, no, that fucking $7.50 an hour, fuck that shit.
Simon: Yeah, fuck that. Wait, that was just a few years ago. How you going to live off of that? That's crazy.
Angus: Shit. I was making it happen.
Simon: Yeah, yeah.
Angus: Little side hustles. You feel me?
Simon: Yeah. That's the Bay in you, dude, the side hustle, man. You can't help but have the hustle in you if you're from the Bay.
Angus: I had two jobs. I was working at a vegan pizzeria for a second. They all hated me because I was not vegan. I went in the first day and I was like, "So, am I the only non-vegan in here?" And they were like... "Oh, shit. Should I not have said that?" They for sure judged the fuck out of me. I'm like, "Damn. Y'all vegan and stuff in here." No disrespect to vegans.
Simon: Yeah, do you.
Angus: But it's just like, you’re not better than me, though.
Simon: You know what I mean? That's the only thing that bothers me. It's like, do you.
Angus: Don't try to force it. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: Yeah. So are you guys shooting right now?
Angus: No, no.
Simon: You finish shooting?
Angus: Yeah, yeah. I'm just...
Simon: I bet you're getting offers, right, other movie roles they're sending you?
Angus: Yeah, yeah. There's other stuff coming in, so I'm trying to find the right thing. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: Funny how life works, because there's so many people in LA who came here with a dream, and it falls in your lap and now you're just getting offers, and you could walk outside right now and spit and find someone who would kill to be in your position.
Angus: I know. I feel bad about it sometimes.
Simon: I know, right?
Angus: I'm like, fuck, man. Actors, their whole life, it's their dream, most actors. They just wanted it for their whole life. You know what I'm saying? It's their full passion, and that's just not the case for me. You know what I'm saying? Like, I love doing it. I have a great time, but I do feel bad for the people that have been spending all their time and money fucking trying to make it. You know what I'm saying? Like, fuck. The fact is that they possibly could be as good or a better actor than me, but they just haven't got the chance to. You know what I'm saying? It's hard to get that little toe in the door. You know?
Simon: You're absolutely right, because there's so few seats at the table in Hollywood and everyone's trying to get there, and there's so many talented cats that just won't catch that break, and it's not fair. It's like going to Vegas and being like, "I'm going to hit the jackpot."
Angus: Right, right.
Simon: It's like, "You and everyone else, bro. Good luck." It's a lottery, dude. It's a lottery and it's a lot of who you know. In your case, right time, right place. So I do feel bad, because I go to these acting classes and it's all they want. And sometimes in life, the less you want it, the more it comes to you. That's with women, money, work. When you want it too bad, you got to let go and let that shit just come to you.
I actually worked with the DP on my movie Red Rocket, Drew Daniels. He shot a couple of your episodes. You might not remember, because—
Angus: Yeah, yeah. No, no, no, no. I do remember Drew.
Simon: He's the homie.
Angus: Yeah. He's hella cool.
Simon: He's the man.
Angus: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Simon: Do you know, do you shoot on film? Because we—
Angus: Yeah, yeah. Season two is all on film.
Simon: Oh, that's dope. That makes a difference.
Angus: They even fucking took some deadstock Kodak shit and remade it just for us to use on that.
Simon: I don't think you realize, man, how lucky you got it to shoot on film. Man, in this day and age, that's so rare. That's why even me doing Red Rocket—it was shot on 16 millimeter. Drew Daniels shot it, and that doesn't happen all the time, bro. That's like some Scorsese, Tarantino shit. Not a lot of people get to shoot on film, dude. And it looks so much better, dude.
Angus: Right, right, right.
Simon: Do you notice the difference? Because to the average eye, you might not notice, but—
Angus: Right, right, right.
Simon: It does make a difference, man.
Angus: It’s so beautiful.
Simon: This shit looks sexy. It's like vinyl. It's like the same thing as listening to vinyl. It's got that warmth to it, as opposed to a MP3 or something.
Simon: It's just sexier.
Angus: Do you think that, because I don't have that much to compare it to, but is there a different vibe on the set when you’re shooting with film, because it's like you don't want to waste time or something, anything like that? You know what I'm saying?
Simon: You don't want to burn, because it's expensive. Fuck yeah. It makes a huge difference. I felt that pressure the whole time. I'm like, "Oh, we're shooting on film. Oh, I got to get these lines right, because I don't want to be wasting your money."
Angus: Right, right.
Simon: It's a big difference. On digital, shoot the fuck out of it.
Angus: Right, right, right.
Simon: Film, you better get this. So yes, it makes a big difference.
Angus: Yeah, yeah.
Simon: But I kind of like the pressure.
Angus: I didn't really think about it much on Euphoria.
Simon: Maybe that's better. Maybe it's better you didn't think about it.
Angus: Holy shit.
Simon: I mean, I'm sure they could afford it, and if they gave you some Kodak film, you're chilling. But it does make a difference, man, and nobody's really shooting on film these days, so I loved it.
Angus: Yeah. I loved the sound when they have to reload and it rolls out.
Simon: Yep. Check the gate. Yeah, man. Drew Daniels is amazing, dude. I don't know if he shot season two. I just remember when he came onto Red Rocket, everyone was like, "Oh, he shot Euphoria." That was his thing, and everybody was loving him because he shot—the show looks beautiful.
Actually, I got to be real. I'm late to the party. I just watched, because I knew we were going to do this. I'm weird, man. If I find out a show's a hit, I got this weird thing in me where I'm like, "I don't want to watch it. It's a big hit." Then I started watching it and I was like, "I'm a dick. It's fucking amazing." So I watched the first two episodes of season one. At A24, they were like, "No, watch episode one, season two so you could see Fez's storyline a little bit more, so when you guys hang out, you have a semblance of your character." I didn't want to skip ahead, because I want to watch it in order, but it went right to your grandma rolling into the strip club, and I was like, "Oh."
Angus: Yeah, that opening scene is wild. Yeah.
Simon: I'm like, "All right, I'm fully on board." So now I'm going back.
Angus: Just the way it's shot, everything is on dollies, moving shots. It's so beautifully made. Even if you don't appreciate the story.
Simon: No, you're right. All my real Hollywood writer, director, movie nerds, they're like, "You're tripping. This show is incredibly shot. It's incredibly acted. It's dope." And I fought it for a minute, but I'm always wrong. That's one thing I always do is I'm wrong. I'll be like, "Man, everyone's watching it. I don't want to watch that shit." And then I'm watching. I'm like, "I'm a dick. I've been missing this shit?" But it's cool, man. So now I'm going back to season one, because I didn't want to watch too much on that first episode with your storyline. I'm like, "No, I want to watch this in order." But dude, grandma was a gangster.
Angus: The story is heavy, man. Don't watch it all in one night. You feel me?
Simon: I know, right? You got to take it in little bite-size pieces. But I just love the whole shit with your grandma just loking up in the strip club, rolling in there, shooting homie in the thighs, and then just the whole shit. Man, it felt like some Goodfellas shit, like a Tarantino movie. You know?
Angus: Yeah, no, definitely a lot of inspiration from that kind of stuff, man.
Simon: Yeah, I can't wait to dive into it a little more.
Angus: Do you think there was inspiration behind Red Rocket?
Simon: Oh. Well, the director, Sean Baker, was really inspired by these Italian ’70s sex comedies. I don't know if you've seen Red Rocket yet, but it's basically, I play a drug-dealing, porn star pimp.
Angus: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But the burnt out version.
Simon: The burnt out version. Yeah, Sean was like, "It's a comedy." I mean, it is. It's a dark comedy, but it is a comedy, and it was very inspired, which—I'm not familiar with this. I'm starting to learn a lot about Italian cinema. And even the poster was made after ’60s and ’70s Italian sex comedies. It's like a genre of movies that's really—
Simon: Yeah. It's sexually charged, but funny. They don't really make a lot of movies like that anymore, especially since my character's a bad, piece of shit person. I grew up watching Taxi Driver, Bad Lieutenant, movies where the lead character is a horrible person. They don't do that much anymore.
Angus: Yeah. Sure, sure, sure.
Simon: So I loved it, because I want to play a piece of shit. I don't want to play the fucking cookie cutter dad on everything. I want to be a fucking scumbag.
Angus: It's like, sometimes though, something about the scumbag that you can't just hate him all the way. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: Yeah, exactly. That's what we tried to pull off, which was, you want to root for him a little bit. Otherwise, after two hours of sitting in front of the movie, you're going to be like, "Why do I care what happens to this dude?"
Simon: So that was the whole point, was we wanted to make it like you're rooting for this piece of shit. It kind of holds the mirror up to the audience like, "Why am I rooting for this dude? Would I do that? He's just surviving. He's just hustling." You know?
Angus: Exactly, yeah.
Simon: Yeah, man.
Angus: Did you think he had bad intentions behind the shit he was doing, to bring it circular?
Simon: That's a good question. I keep saying this when I do press for the movie. He doesn't, and that's why you could root for him, because he doesn't know what he's doing. He's just hustling and surviving and he's just doing—he's on autopilot. He's not meaning to do this shit to people. He's just doing it. So that way, the audience is like, "Okay, I could be on board with this dude for a minute because he doesn't mean it." I'm glad you brought that up. It is full circle. It's all about intention, and yeah, he's just hustling.
Angus: It kind of relates to my character on Euphoria too, because he does a bunch of fucked up shit, but he doesn't want to. He's forced to, so it doesn't necessarily make him a bad person. If you're hungry, you might have to fucking steal some food. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: And it's cool that they actually went to your backstory, season two, because then you see you as a kid and you're watching your grandma knock a dude out with a crowbar at a fucking coffee shop or whatever. And you're just watching you as a kid take it all in. It's like, all right, there it is. I think, and I might be wrong about this, but they say your personality is molded in your first zero to eight years of your life. So if you're a little kid watching that shit happen, that's going to be you and it's going to be hard to change. So you grew up in that world, so that's just going to be you.
Angus: Yeah, exactly, man. That's the thing. People don't give a pass or they don't give any room for the different lifestyles and worlds that people come from. It's like people don't have sympathy for that. It's like, “Yo, this person came from a different world.” They are not thinking in any of the same way that you are, especially people from different countries and whatnot. And it's like, “Don't you understand?” It's like, “No, they don't,” because that wasn't part of anything they learned and that's ignorance, too. But, whatever, they're ignorant to you, you're ignorant to them. You know what I'm saying? So it goes both ways.
Simon: That's a really good point and I think, if everybody knew that and understood that, we wouldn't be—this country right now, and I don't want to start going down this road, but we're obviously, this country is divided as fuck, but if we could have that attitude and just be a little more understanding about people come from whatever else... Look, man, I'm from the Bay. I'm not going to start talking about what politics I'm into because fuck politics, first of all, anyway, but obviously, I've got hippie parents. I'm from the Bay. You could imagine my views, but I'll be real, man, when we went and shot Red Rocket in Texas, these people couldn't be more opposite with their religion, their politics, and they're the best fucking people. And if you put all that bullshit aside, I actually had more fun with these people that I would think are just not—the flyover states.
Angus: Yeah, no doubt. Same in Oklahoma.
Angus: It was all super cool. I wouldn't want to ask them what their opinions were on certain things, but it's just kind of how you've got to give people a second chance. Some people, they come out to Cali and they see something that they've never seen before in their life. You know what I'm saying? And when you see something new, your first reaction is to be like, "What the fuck is that?" You know what I'm saying? "I've never seen that shit before. What is that?"
Simon: And hate on it.
Angus: Yeah. It might not even be hate. It's just …
Simon: It's just foreign.
Angus: It's foreign. They're like, "Wait, that's wrong. That's not supposed to be that way." So then they are like, "What the fuck are you doing?" You know what I'm saying? "You're not supposed to be doing that," just because they've never seen it before. You know what I'm saying?
Simon: That's why traveling is the best thing you could do, man. Traveling is when you just start to open your eyes to other ways and you're like, "Oh, shit." And if you just stay stuck in your little town in the middle of America, you just don't know what you don't know and that's all good. What was in Oklahoma? Why were you in Oklahoma? Is that where you got family or something?
Angus: No, no, no, no. We were just filming a movie out there.
Simon: Oh, okay. Can you talk about the movie or is it off the record?
Angus: No, we were making a frat movie, basically, about, I don't know, the brotherhood of the fraternity and whatnot.
Simon: Where in Oklahoma? Oklahoma City?
Angus: Oklahoma City, yeah. We was out there and fucking stuck in a hotel for a month.
Simon: You ever see The Outsiders? It's a famous movie you've got to see.
Angus: I've definitely heard of it, I think.
Simon: Well, they shot it in Oklahoma City and the director put—so there's two groups in the movie, the Socs and the... Oh, shit, I'm going to forget the other one. The Socs were the rich kids and the Greasers were the poor kids. And in real life, the director put all the actors who played the rich kids in a nice hotel and all the actors who played the grimy kids in a shitty hotel so, when they got to shooting, they really hated each other because they got the nice hotel.
Angus: That's fire.
Simon: That's fire, right? But that movie is a must-see and it's in Oklahoma.
Simon: I've only been to Oklahoma City once. It was—
Angus: It seemed like it's pretty cool. We just couldn't risk catching COVID and ain't nobody wear no masks out there.
Simon: I know, right? That's another thing with the whole COVID shit. It's like, you come to California, people take that shit way serious. When we were in Texas shooting Red Rocket, ain't nobody wearing a mask. And at the end of the day, man, it's like do what you've got to do, bro.
Angus: I don't judge, man. It's like, whatever.
Simon: Yep. What are you going to do, man? You can't change people. That's another thing, man.
Angus: It goes back to ignorance. It's not like they got the intention, like, "I'm not going to wear a mask because I'm going to try to give other people COVID." You know what I mean? Not no bad intentions behind it, man. They just don't feel like doing it.
Simon: I get it. Man, I'm just ready for this shit to be over, bro, to be honest. I'm done with it.
Angus: Big facts.
Simon: I imagine you're probably getting—you're saying no to a lot of shit, right? You're getting offers sent in and you're picking your jobs you want to do.
Angus: Yeah. We're figuring it out, yeah, pretty much.
Simon: It's a good place to be, man.
Angus: Yeah. I'm trying to figure out how all this shit works right now.
Simon: Man, you just got thrown into the deep end of the pool, bro. That's crazy. You really got thrown onto the biggest show in the world, pretty much. It feels like that's the biggest show on TV right now. That's all anyone's talking about.
Angus: Yeah, something about it.
Simon: It's crazy.
Angus: It's fucking a good show.
Simon: It's a good show, man. And it's a cultural phenomenon.
Angus: It's different. It's a piece of the times.
Simon: It is.
Angus: It feels relevant now. it's going to stay relevant.
Simon: I'll tell you what, though, bro. I watch that show and I just feel old. I'll be honest, man, I watched the first pilot and it made me uncomfortable, because watching these kids less than half my age wiling out like that and the sex and drugs. And I was like, "Damn, why is this making me uncomfortable? I was that." And I'm like, "Okay, you've got to sit through this because that's good it's making you feel uncomfortable." I want to feel uncomfortable. You know what I mean? But it was like, yo, shit's wild.
Angus: Right, right right.
Simon: I'm about to do a movie with your girl, Sydney Sweeney.
Angus: Yeah, she's the best, man.
Simon: Yeah, that's what everybody says.
Angus: She's so sweet.
Simon: And Lukas Gage—
Angus: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Simon: —he told me she's the homie. I haven't met her yet, but we're shooting a movie in New Mexico in a couple weeks.
Simon: He's like, "Dude, she's the best."
Angus: Most of them are super nice.
Simon: Yeah, super cool. So it's funny because I just did a movie with Lukas and I was like, "Yo, I still haven't watched Euphoria." He's like, "Don't watch it, man. I don't want you to see me." And then watched it and he got his ass beaten near to death and I don't even know if he survived it. That's why I stopped watching it, but man, dude, this show is fucking with me. Now I'm excited to go back and finish it because I need something to watch and I ain't really watching shit. So I'm going to dive back into it.
Angus: Yeah. I don't watch much TV either, to be honest with you.
Simon: I'm a documentary dude. I just want to watch some real shit, especially because this is what we do.
Angus: I like documentaries. I like watching Gordon Ramsay talk shit, man, for real. I crack up.
Simon: Yeah. Oh, wait. Is that the chef who yells at people?
Angus: Yeah. I love that shit. I'm a fan.
Simon: What other shit do you watch?
Angus: I really don't—I've got a TV with a VCR thing, so I just—
Simon: You got a VCR?
Angus: Yeah. It's a little, tiny 12-incher. So I just fucking sometimes throw in some old classics and stuff.
Simon: That's dope. So it's almost like, do you even need to go to acting school? Because I feel like sometimes it's like, your instinct might be good enough to where—in Red Rocket, all the rest of the cast, except my wife, never acted before and they were fucking amazing. And they just rocked off instinct.
Angus: I went to a class, a different class, and I had a scene partner for the class. I asked her, because I was trying to figure out—because I had went to the class and I watched the kids doing their little scenes and whatnot. And I walked away and I was like—I asked my scene partner, I'm like, "What am I supposed to be taking away from this? What should I be learning?" You know what I'm saying? And she couldn't really tell me a direct answer. And so I was just confused. I didn't know what to take away or what I was supposed to be paying attention to and things. And then, at one point, Sam, the director of Euphoria, he told me one day, he was like, "Yo, did you rehearse this scene?" And I was like, "A little bit," and he was like, "Don't do it."
Simon: Yeah. See? That's my point, dude.
Angus: So at this point, I've just been trying to just fucking act like I'm in the moment.
Simon: Listen, anyone listening to this that's trying to be an actor, first of all, what you just said, bro, is exactly what I fight with all the time because, with Red Rocket, I got the job three days before we started shooting and I had to memorize—I'm on every page of that script and I had no time to think. And that is what worked, was because I wasn't overthinking and over rehearsing. "Shoot on film. Let's go. You know your lines, kind of. Let's roll." I'm like, "Fuck."
Angus: If I have a scene coming up, man, I wait until the very last second or else I'll just kill myself with anxiety, bro. So I just put it off and then I'll get my lines. You know what I'm saying? I try not to remember—I don't know if I could work in a movie where I have to say each line perfectly because I pretty much say it different every time, because I don't want to get caught up on the order of the words. It's more like the idea of the—
Simon: I bet Sam likes that, because you'll give him different takes. But some directors do do that. I've been on movies where they're like, "No, it's, 'You need to go to the store,' not, 'You need to go to ...'" Like, every single—
Angus: I'm not sure if I could work like that because it would just fuck me up, not being able to just flow.
Simon: Yeah, man. It's all about the gut, rocking off instinct and going with the gut and just improving. Luckily, Sean Baker, he let me improv a lot. I think he said, in the end, 25% of Red Rocket was improv, which is a lot. And to be able to improv on film, you know how lucky that is, bro? I mean, no one gets to do that.
Simon: But anyway, so anyone out there listening, man, go off your instinct and don't judge. So what's the lessons of this? Don't overthink shit. People don't have bad intentions all the time. That's two. There's got to be a third one. And maybe don't want shit so bad and let it come to you. There's a little bit of wisdom from two dudes who maybe aren't the wisest cats in the world, but we got a little wisdom, I think.
Angus: Yeah, man.
Simon: A little Bay wisdom.
Angus: Just fucking follow your dreams. They're going to lead somewhere.
Simon: There you go.
Angus: You feel me? Ain’t nothing to it but to do it.
Simon: Yeah. Anyway, man, it was cool to meet you. Bay love all day.
Angus: Yeah. You too, man. Bay Area. Come on now.
Simon: I wish you all the best. You know what I mean? And handle that fame.
Angus: Same to you, bro.
Simon: Keep a good head on your shoulders. I feel like you got that.
Angus: I'm trying, man.
Simon: Don't let the fame fuck you up too much, man. It was good to meet you, bro.
Angus: You too, my guy. Congratulations on the new movie and all that, man.
Simon: Thank you. Appreciate you.
Angus: Hope to see you again soon.
Simon: Yeah, I'll see you. I'll be seeing you.
Angus: No doubt.
Speaker: Thanks for listening. The A24 Podcast is produced by us, A24. Special thanks to our editor Thom Wyatt and Robot Repair, who composed our theme.