It has been over a year since the guys of Big Time Rush have performed together and almost two years since 24/Seven was released, so can you blame us for missing them? While the boys haven’t done anything together in quite some time, they’ve been pretty busy individually. Kendall Schmidt released new music. Carlos PenaVega got married. Logan Henderson has been enjoying some down time. And James Maslow jumped deep into the acting world.
And speaking of James, we recently chatted with the 24-year-old singer/actor about his upcoming film, The Seeds of Yesterday, new BTR music (!!!), his connection to 50 Shades of Grey and tons more! Rushers, you’re not gonna want to miss this:
Teen: The Seeds of Yesterday trailer was pretty insane — What drew you to the film?
James Maslow: “People have seen me do a lot of one thing, which is James Diamond from Big Time Rush And as fun as that absolutely was, it’s not who I am and all that I am capable of. So I jumped at the opportunity to play a role that’s probably as 180 degrees away from James Diamond as you can get. Bart is a very complex character and it’s more character work than any other role I’ve ever played. I am proud of it. It was exciting to go that deep into a character and I am really, really hoping people can see that.”
T: What do you think people will be most shocked about?
JM: “You know, people know me as being a pretty nice guy, and I’d liked to say that in life [I’m] pretty upbeat. The large-scale roles that people have seen me in are pretty happy. Bart is not necessarily a very happy person. He can be very mean and manipulative and there are definitely some scenes where people will definitely be shocked. But, remember it’s acting! (laughs) And kind of the point. At the end of the movie, he’s not a bad guy. He’s just very, very tortured. As intelligent as he is, he was just lead out of that path. So, I think that will be the biggest shock for people — playing a character that is not the most likable person.”
T: Let’s talk about the Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired teaser that came out. You obviously didn’t know that it’s going to get cut together like that, but when you were filming those scenes, was it awkward?
JM: “Yeah, there were definitely some awkward moments, but you’re acting and everyone on set is very professional. We actually filmed quite a bit that didn’t make the movie. The director was very avid about making it as realistic as possible. So, for example, several of the sex scenes are obviously going to be cut down because it’s TV and we are not showing Fifty Shades of Grey. But in many ways we still have that movie; It exists somewhere. So, I’m not surprised they cut the trailer down as much as they did. That’s promotion; It’s not reflective of the entirety of the film. A lot of the scenes were cut back from how they were filmed.”
T: Did you actually see Fifty Shades?
JM: “No I haven’t, actually.”
T: Let’s talk about your upcoming thriller, Wild for the Night. It’s so exciting to see you branching out in roles like that. How was filming that?
JM: “Well, strangely enough, it was more in my personal comfort zone than you might think. I always joked that if I ever played myself it would be so different from James Diamond that people would think I was acting. Obviously Wyatt in Wild for the Night is not me. He’s very dark, but different. He’s much more introverted and manipulative in his own way, but he puts on a show, which is interesting. Wyatt has an emotional past because he was an alcoholic and used to do drugs and that back story is nothing like anything I played before. It was a ton of fun, and Benny Boom, who directed it, wanted to make it as realistic as possible. So that was exciting. Quite frankly, that was one of the most fun roles I’ve played to date. It’s an action movie, so I got to get into some fights. Thomas [Flanagan] beats the crap out of me. It was exciting. I am very excited for people to see both. And they are so different that people might find themselves shocked again by the differences between Wyatt and Bart.”
T: It sounds like you had some physical scenes to film! Did you have any mishaps?
JM: ” Luckily, everything went pretty smoothly. It was also my first time working with gun fights for movies. There was one time when the blank went off a little bit close. When you’re shooting someone — even with a blank — you’re still shooting with a real firearm that has been unarmed and can fire blanks. Obviously nothing is coming out, but the cartridge still has powder in it so it’s still an explosion. When you shoot someone you don’t point directly at them. You actually have to point several feet away from them that way on the camera it looks like you’re shooting them. Long story short, if you don’t and get a little close, you can get burnt. One of the shots where, I don’t want to give away any secrets, but I might take a bullet at one point. I looked down later an my entire arm had red little pellets in it, just from the flame. Luckily nothing major and it was all good in a couple of days, but that was probably the only mishap.”
T: Okay, we have to talk about your new music. You’ve been teasing fans for a while, so what can you tell us about it?
JM: “It’s finally starting to come together. I feel like that’s kind of the problem, too; It feels like an elongated tease. Every time you get into the studio and write a song, in the moment, you feel like it’s a hit and think it’s so amazing. You always do. Then I listen to the song the next day and I think it’s crap. It’s a frustrating thing because I want it to be so great. I haven’t put anything out yet because I don’t want to until it’s right. I have a small amount of songs from the past couple of months, but they nonetheless feel right. I’m excited to play them for my friends and family. Everyone is starting to feel like it’s moving in the right direction. The sound is a little sexier than Big Time Rush stuff. It’s more direct and representative of how I am and I’m excited for the fans to get to see me, too.”
T: Any idea when we’ll hear some of that music?
JM: “I don’t have an exact date. I’m sorry! We’re still in the process of creating that EP. I’d like to have something out by the summer. I think that would be a good time to be dropping original music. I’m in the studio just about every day, trying to make it as good as possible.”
T: At the beginning, was it hard to make music for yourself and not for Big Time Rush? How did you get out of the mindset?
JM: “Absolutely. That’s also why the music has taken so long. There’s a bit of a structure needed to write for a band that has to have some set of guidelines. We have to cater to an audience that is somewhat younger and does watch the show on Nickelodeon. You have to write songs that are very pop-rock driven and I was so used to doing that, so absolutely there was a transition when I had to write songs for myself. I found myself writing more BTR music, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I don’t feel like that is the most representative of who I am. I’m finally getting into that groove. It’s funny because I’ve been an artist for my whole life and I finally feel like now I’m figuring out who I am as an artist.”
T: That must’ve been tough! When was the last time you guys all hung out?
JM: “All of us? Not really all at once. We’ve gotten close a few times, like three out of four, but everyone is so busy doing their own thing. It’s been a while since all four of us have gotten together. Frankly, it might have been [Katelyn Tarver’s] wedding.”
T: Well, three out of four is a good percentage!
JM: “The four of us are always going to be good friends. We’ll always be close. I think everyone is starting to build their own careers and figuring out what they want to do — from acting, music, producing — and we are all supportive of each other. It’s not a tease to say there’s a possibility that we might sing together again sometime in the future. But, right now I need to get my stuff together.”
T: What do you miss most about the band?
JM: “I honestly miss performing. It’s been almost a year exactly since I got off tour. Of course it’s nice to be home — there is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed. But there’s nothing like being on the road and seeing fans and getting to play music for them. It’s just immediate gratification to see them singing along and dancing. I promise I’m working on getting back on the road sometime soon.”
T: You’ve been covering a lot of great songs on YouTube lately. Any idea what song you want to do next?
JM: “I’m not sure yet. I actually am transitioning how I am going to be doing covers. I am going to elevate the content in it’s own way. What I’ve been doing is filming two or three at once and back-logging them. Because of that, the song will come out and if I don’t put it up in two weeks, it’s not as relevant anymore. I’m trying to just wait and do things a day or two before now. My goal is to try artists who are just on the brink of breaking cover songs. When I did “Clarity” a few years ago, it wasn’t that big yet, but as it grew it was very exciting. I might even go on to more YouTube stars. Shawn Mendez has some great stuff, so I might cover some of his songs.”
T: We tweeted that we were interviewing you and got a ton of fan questions! @MelmelMaslow16 asks, “When was the last time you cried and why?”
JM: “The last time I cried…good question! Honestly, the last time I remember crying was on the set of Wild for the Night. It was a really emotional scene that starts off the movie where I pick up the phone and basically hear my sister get killed. It’s a very, very dark emotional scene and there were definitely tears running. We’ll see what they find the most powerful. You don’t always have to cry to feel emotion. I’m not a big crier, but I have a sister and I was thinking about her. That was a dark scene and tough scene to film so that was the last time I cried.”
T: @kendallsfunfair asks, “If you could combine two animals together to create one, which two would they be and what would you call it?
JM: “Hmm…I’d probably pick a panda and a tiger. Ilike the athleticism of the tiger. I imagine it to be a big fluffy dog you can play with. The panda is just a little fatter and a little cuter. What would you call that? A piger?”
T: A piger! That’s cute!
JM: “Yeah, like a fat, fluffy adorable tiger!”
Be sure to catch Seeds of Yesterday this Sunday at 8pm ET on Lifetime!