With his new web series “The Real Hollywood Story,” actor Cody Deal is working his hardest to show one thing — the road to success is far different than you see on TV or read about in the magazines. His story is one of perseverance — the 25-year old moved to Hollywood following a brief stint in Las Vegas, and has since seen his share of ups and downs. What really makes this story so interesting (and the web series so entertaining) is not the circumstances that Cody (who recently starred in the Syfy Original Movie “Almighty Thor”) faces — but rather the “keep your head up” way in which he chooses to handle them. This idea was originally spawned thanks in part to his blog Hollywood and Beyond along with help from executive producers Kenn L. Gold (of MediaBlvd) and Gary Morgeinstein (of Syfy), and to this point this tiny team has worked to put together a series that is insightful, at times emotional, and always refreshingly true to life.
Before we get into Cody’s exclusive interview with CarterMatt.com, we want to give you the opportunity to watch the first episode of the series — which was uploaded onto YouTube in order to give everyone a taste of what to expect from the rest of the series — which is now seven episodes in. (If you want to subscribe to view all of the footage, you can do so over at this link).
Now, we turn to our chat with Cody about the show, and what is currently going on with his career.
Carter: After watching the show, I’ll tell you this — I’m not trying to be an actor, but watching this inspired me. When it comes to putting your whole life out there, you are brave.
Cody: When I started [getting into the business] … it wasn’t that I was afraid, I just didn’t think I could. You get so far removed from the business that you don’t think you can. I feel like if I was five years younger, eight years younger and watching this I’d be like ‘wow, I know what to expect. I can do this.’
I feel like it could have helped me, so I feel like there’s hopefully going to be other people out there who watch it and feel inspired — like you! (Laughs.)
One of the things that is interesting within this (and also something that differentiates this from other shows) is that when you made the decision to live in your car, you didn’t mope about it — you completely owned it!
As much as I say in episode 1 that it was a choice, it really wasn’t. Circumstances happened, and [money] goes away. [I’m] still in that situation, but I’m not going to put my tail between my legs and feel sorry for myself. I wake up every day not letting my circumstances outweigh my decision to be happy and my decision to move forward.
It’s hard at times because there’s so much around you that you can’t have — so you can’t live in that mindset. You have to be very conscious of where your headspace goes.
In watching this, there was one thing I do wonder — what do you do for food?
We budget it out at $6 a day, and we keep it really simple. We order four spicy chickens over at Carl’s Jr. and we do lettuce wraps for protein. Then we go to Trader Joe’s for bananas, and I also do protein shakes. I do two, sometimes three protein shakes a day.
You were talking in the episode about going to this big cattle-call audition for ‘Shameless,’ and one of the things I was interested in knowing is if you think doing this show could actually help you when it comes to getting your name out there — that way a casting director or producer may already know you and your story when you walk in the door.
People can do research, but a lot of times when you go in for an audition people don’t. The only time people do their research on you is when it’s a word-of-mouth kind of thing. [For example] there’s a script that was handed to me last week, and obviously the director had to research me. And with another film they knew my story and that I was homeless.
[The show’s] not keeping me away from any work. I don’t know if it is helping, and at the same time there may be some people in the future who say ‘I don’t want this guy.’ If there are people who don’t understand where I’m at right now, [those are] the people I don’t want to work for anyway.
So what is the production turnaround from these?
They come out every Monday, and they literally are like up-to-date, play-by-play accounts of my life. The cool thing is that most productions cost tons of months to get together, even reality. This is very current footage that happens in the moment.
So this is like the ‘South Park’ of documentaries?
(Laughs) Yeah … [There’s] a mini-edition that we are going to release online to the public on a YouTube channel …. people are going to be able to catch a glimpse of each one, just enough to keep people interested each week in what’s going on with Cody. (The full episodes will still be subscriber-based.)
So how are things going with you now? Are you still living in your car?
Yes, and right now my ex-girlfriend [Christine from episode 1] has moved into my car with me. … she’s lived in the car for the past couple of weeks. She’s [also] from Kansas, so there’s a lot going on with that. Also being ex-lovers, there’s that dynamic that is frustrating sometimes.
This is a story about my life and career, but we are more focusing on my career. You won’t see her inside and out, since we’re trying to not focus too much on her since 1) I don’t want to expose her like that and 2) she doesn’t want to be exposed like that.
We have a place that we’re going to try and move into October 22 if she gets a full-time job and if all of our cards are played right … we’ve picked this location because they have a very nice gym in the complex, and so I’m able to make side money by training clients. That was important to us, that I found a place where I was able to do that. So I’m going to train people in my apartment building.
So let’s get in-depth now about your career. What exactly are you looking for right now?
I’m looking to stay in movies, and not do TV movies and straight-to-DVD movies. I’m looking to do theatrical releases. This film that I booked is called ‘Hallow Pointe,’ it’s actually a huge film. It’s produced by the same producer as ‘Predator,’ and it has a slew of horror icons like Jason from Friday the 13th, Candyman from “Candyman,” Michael Myers from “Halloween,” Leatherface from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” … we got all these horror icons and this movie’s about a werewolf. Because all of these people are monsters, you wonder ‘who is this f***ing werewolf?’ I play Curt, a wanderer who becomes an integral part in the storyline. It’s a really good project.
With that, Syfy is doing a new reality show called “Monster Man” — it’s a six-episode series airing next year, and they’re actually doing a whole episode on the transformation of the werewolf from “Hallow Pointe.” We’re not doing any of the ‘Twilight’ CGI crap. (Laughs.) The actor who is playing the werewolf [in the movie] was filming, so the director Thomas Churchill called me in and asked me to be the werewolf for the show since we’re kind of the same size.
I still don’t have a huge resume at all. Last August started my second year here, and really there’s only so much you can do in a year. There is a project called “Avery & Pete: Superseeds,” which is a nano-budgeted. crowd-funded film. It’s like Harold & Kumar material, but a little bit more elevated … I play a supervillain named Mark Hardon. That comes out in November.
When you look at every actor out there, is there any one person you want to work with more than anyone else? I know you’ve talked about Hugh Jackman on Twitter. (Cody had a close encounter with Wolverine himself while working for MediaBlvd at Comic-Con this past July, but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to talk with him.)
Most of [who I want to work with] are guys I look up to — like Hugh Jackman. That guy’s cool, my mom loves him and that makes me love him. I would love to work with him. One person who really inspires me more to anyone else is Brad Pitt. He comes from a similar background from the most part, and he’s really inspiring. The [upcoming] movie ‘Moneyball’ with Jonah Hill looks f***ing amazing. Doing a movie with him would be a dream come true.
I also respect Tom Cruise a lot, and would love to do a movie with him. There are a lot of guys in that quadrant.
When it comes to “The Real Hollywood Story,” Cody’s purpose seems to be simple — to provide everyone (especially those looking to make their dreams come true in the entertainment industry) with a realistic account of all sides of Hollywood. There are times you will laugh, cry, struggle, and succeed — and at the end of the day, it’s all worth it for the pursuit of the dream.
Thanks to Cody Deal for sitting down for this interview.