TWV Interview: The Ultimate Life of Drew Waters

Drew Waters Head ShotDrew Waters  is most recognized for his three-year recurring role as Coach Wade Aikman on the Emmy-Award-winning hit series Friday Night Lights on NBC. He has also recently had multiple guest-lead roles in many popular network shows such as: Chase (NBC), Victorious (Nickelodeon), Breaking Bad (AMC), Breakout Kings (TNT), The Lying Game (ABC), as well as many others. His most recent films include a supporting lead role in Cowgirls & Angels opposite Bailee Madison where he played her father. Drew also recently had starring roles in Breaking The Press as Joe Conaghey, Hit List opposite Cuba Gooding Jr., Mad Money starring Katie Holmes and Diane Keaton, Legend Of Hells Gate opposite Jenna Dewan, and Wonderful World with Matthew Broderick.  Drew was kind enough to speak with The Williams View about his new film, “The Ultimate Life,” Success, his Faith, Acting and future projects.

Jennifer Williams:  How did you get starting in acting?

Drew Waters:  I came out of Orange, Texas and I joined the Navy and tried to get away from a small town and travel the world.  A friend of mine in the military got a part-time job as a modeling scout and one day over breakfast, he said he wanted me to take me to a modeling agency.  I said no, but he talked me into it.  It turned out that this agency in Virginia Beach really liked me, so they sent me to a convention… and I win it!  I thought being in the Navy would take me all over the world, but four years later when I got out, I was doing something I never thought that I would do in a million years and I’ve seen the world ten times over.  Finally, I end up in Tokyo, Japan for a Dell Computer commercial [in front] of some big green-screens with a [Japanese] translator and I fell in love with it.  Five years after that is when I actually decided to chase my dream of being an actor.

TheUltimateLife_Poster

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Jennifer Williams:  Thank you for your service.   What attracted you to “The Ultimate Life”?

Drew Waters:  Well, Michael Landon, Jr.’s reputation is great as a Director and a Writer in the stories he tells.  But, my character in “The Ultimate Life” is Red Stevens and I kind of lived him.  I grew up in a blue-collar family and my dad is a mechanic, he worked hard all his life.  I started working when I was twelve years-old and I got caught up in the money race.  I was a little bit insecure and shy, but I thought that the more money I had, the more people would like me.  I woke up at the age of thirty owning three retail establishments, a full-blown construction company with partners and I was miserable.  I was making great money, but I was just miserable.  I had a two year-old daughter and I was telling her that she could be anything she could dream of.  When I looked myself in the mirror, I challenged myself to do the same.So one August day, I decided that I would sell everything and chase my dream as hard as I possibly could to show my girls that it is never too late.  And that is what really drove me to my character, Red Stevens.  Red was chasing a dream and at the end of it – he wasn’t happy when he finally fulfilled it and he realized that he left so many people behind during the process that he had to rekindle all of those [relationships].

Jennifer Williams:  And your dream was to become an Actor?

Drew Waters:  Well, I didn’t know that until that Dell shoot in Tokyo.  But, yes.  I fell in love with it and I had so much passion for it that it never went away for five years.  Acting just kept eating at me and eating at me.  Could I do this?  Could I make it in this profession and could I be successful?  I’ll be honest with you… I didn’t even know if I could act.  I just knew that I had this passion for it.

Jennifer Williams:  Well, you definitely snowed some casting directors then!

Drew Waters:  Fake it to you make it!

Jennifer Williams:  How’s the reaction to “The Ultimate Life” been so far?

Drew Waters:  Very positive. Everybody likes and understands the redemptive message within it.  The most important thing to us was that people come away with the message that money is not everything.  It is happiness and the love that you have in your heart and around you that will drive you through life.  Money comes and goes.  You find so many people nowadays who are chasing money.  I’ve known a lot of people who are chasing money for quite a long time.  They are successful, but they’re still not ultimately happy.  When people say, “I have an uncle like this” or “I have a brother like this”… at the end of the day, you cannot take it with you.  The people who love you the most are going to be there no matter what to help you back from it and that is most important thing in life – to have that camaraderie in your life.

Jennifer Williams:  As someone who is an actor of Faith, what are some of the greatest challenges that you face in your career?

Drew Waters:  Being truthful.  The hardest thing right now is being truthful to a certain character, redirecting them towards where I feel comfortable within my Faith and allowing the audience to get lost in the character at the same time.  I started making better choices in my career because of the direction that I want to go in, want to be remembered for and the footprint I want to leave in society.  We opened up a production company so we could design our own projects and our tagline is “we take the except-fors out of movies!”  That way we take all the derogatory sex scenes, violence and language that is not needed away and still tell a great story.  We allow the characters to drive the story and the storyline itself.

Jennifer Williams:  There seems to be more and more films that are doing that.  Do you feel that there is a growing market or a market that doesn’t maybe even realize that they want those types of films?  Because they are so used to what the film industry already brings them?

Drew Waters Still

Drew Waters as Red in “The Ultimate Life”
Courtesy, ReelWorks Studios

Drew Waters:  I think that those that are not wrapped in faith… they feel that redemptive-message, family-faith films are “preachy” and in-your-face.  So they stay away from them because they feel uncomfortable watching them.  Those who are wrapped in faith watch these films and they understand them.  I think that there is a change happening in that everybody just wants a great story.  The redemptive message is within each story.  It is just what you take from it and how you come away with what the redemptive message was [for you].  What we want to do is make movies that allow people to sit side-by-side no matter what denomination you are and after the movie is over with, strike up a conversation and talk about what the movie meant to you or what you got out of it.  Allow the doors of communication to open up and see where that goes.  You just never know what will happen.  It can be a very positive thing.

Jennifer Williams:  In starting your production company, was it hard to find like-minded people to partner with? 

Drew Waters:  No.  I once did a film called “The Redemption of Henry Myers” which was an 1890 Western with Erin Bethea who was the lead actress.  I had never met Erin before in my life, but I did know that she was in [Kirk Cameron’s] “Fireproof.”  Well, I had turned down this movie three times and then I finally I called my agent and said, “You make the decision.  If you think I should make this film, you make the decision.”  She told me that I should do it, so I said okay.  But when I got the new script of the film, I said to myself, “They’ve got the wrong guy (me).”  The [filmmakers] took the film from a really honest story as far as when a person is lost in life to a very faith-driven forward story, where everything is faith right up in front.  There is no “thinking of it,” it is just right up in your face constantly.   I am not preacher, I am a guy who is still learning in my journey in following my faith.  I’m not a preacher, I’m a sinner and I’m trying to go through life and learn the best I can.

So I talked to the Producer and Director at lunch, Erin was there, and I said “Before we go further… you may have the wrong guy.  The movie I signed up for was a movie that would open people’s minds up to dig inside themselves and see if there are flaws like this within themselves and then they’d start asking questions about it.  This film doesn’t leave anything to the imagination.”  Erin said, “I’m so thankful you said that because I feel the same way” and that was it.  We talked through the whole production and at the end of it, I had another film called “Nouvelle Vie” [come together].  We are in pre-production in now and start principal photography on April 21st.  The film is a love story about a European man and an American woman.  Erin and I agreed that we were tired of getting the HBO-type of pieces that [we didn’t agree with] or films that were just in-your-face.

As an actor,  I do believe that Jesus was a storyteller and he told great stories with incredible messages and we wanted to do the same.  And through “Nouvelle Vie,” which Erin talked me into making a full-fledged feature, we agreed that we should reach out and lead by example.  So we set out two years ago and now we have a slate of films on our plate and each of them has a family-driven platform.  One of them is a suspenseful thriller called “Blood Bayou” (based on Karen Young’s book).  There is a little bit of violence, but nothing graphic.  There’s no sex or bad language through it, just an incredible story that has a redemptive message of can you forgive a wrong and can you come back from it?  It challenges people to do so.  Another one is a Disney show called, “The Junior Lifeguards” and then the last one is “Hail Mary” which is the Roger Staubach-Drew Pearson life story.  So we are excited!

Jennifer Williams:  Congratulations.  How did playing “Roger the Dodger” come about and do you feel a particular challenge in playing this role?  He means a lot to a lot of people, even for people who aren’t Cowboys fans.

Drew Waters:  He was one of my idols growing up and the man’s legacy is unbelievable.  I knew Drew Pearson and after a get-together once, [a colleague] named Tom Stokes called me and said that we should do the “Hail Mary” story and you could play Roger Staubach!  I said, “Are you kidding me?  I would love to play Roger Staubach!”  We started to put it together and Drew fully supported the idea.  Then we met with Roger Staubach and that led to more meetings before everything was a go.  So we are in development on that for release in 2015.

Jennifer Williams:  Do you have any advice for anyone else who’d like to go into the Entertainment business and particularly into Film?

Drew Waters:  I do.  Find out what you love and chase that 100%.  When I decided to go into acting and really pursue it, I couldn’t really think of anything else I wanted to do.  There was nothing else to fall back on and it was the scariest moment of my life.  Because if I failed, I failed.  I had nothing set up outside of that and I just made a choice that I’m not going to fail.  I’m going to figure out a way and find the angles to succeed.  It is just like any business.  Don’t get into it for the money, get into it for the passion.  If you aren’t 100% passionate behind it and you are just doing it for the glamour, then have something else behind it because you will grow crazy.  Chase it.   If it is acting, find what kind of actor or actress you are and then chase it.

Jennifer Williams:  Last question… if there is one film from the past that you would have loved to have been in as an actor, what would that movie be?

Drew Waters:  Good question.  Being a Texas boy, one of my all-time favorite movies is Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven.”  His character is just so dynamic.  He’s not a bad guy, but he’s not a good guy.  He has morals still, but yet has his side that just triggers… he’s just an incredible character.  I would love to go back and play a character with Clint.  In “Unforgiven” or any of his westerns.

“The Ultimate Life” is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray nationwide at retailers, Amazon and on FamilyChristian.com.

© 2013 The Willams View

About the Author:

Jennifer Williams is an accomplished writer, interviewer and critical reviewer having written about or covered many subjects of interests. Having graduated from Tulane University, La Salle University and New York University, Kevin's career background in Politics and Civic Affairs, Public Relations, Marketing, Non-Profit Management and Filmmaking have helped inspire much of her past artistic and creative efforts. Jennifer directed and co-produced the documentary feature film, Fear Of A Black Republican. Her latest film, Rebel Song, looks at a middle-aged American Celtic Rock band and the music inspired by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Rebel Song is expected to be released in 2014. In addition to The Williams View, Jennifer is also the Entertainment and Politics Editor for Politisite, a Contributing Writer for Townhall, Breitbart's Big Hollywood, Liberatchik and Hip Hop Republican. Jennifer has been interviewed or profiled across many Media outlets such as the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Kansas City Star, L.A. Weekly; Current TV, Christian Broadcasting Network, Huffington Post Live, Al Jazeera and BET News; radio programs ranging from National Public Radio, Voice of Russia - American Edition, the Mark Davis Radio Show, the Chris Stigall Show, the Steve Deace Show, the Bob Grant Show, Victoria Taft Show, to the Michael Eric Dyson Show and many others.

1 Comment on "TWV Interview: The Ultimate Life of Drew Waters"

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  1. JJ says:

    Funny how he talks about “derogatory sex scenes” when he starred in a Cinemax series where he shot an extensive sex scene with an actress that bordered on softcore. Classy, Drew. You know your fans love you with your shirt OFF.

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