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Blackbook: Titus Welliver

Blackbook: Titus Welliver

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Titus Welliver is known as a man with many masks. Welliver has an impressive filmography, including working on television shows like N.Y.P.D Blue and Lost, to films such as Argo and Transformers: Age of Extinction. You may remember him better as the man chasing Mark Wahlberg on rooftops in the most recent Transformers movie. Welliver usually comes off as the bad boy or tough guy, but this was not the case when I met up with him for an interview.

Upon meeting Welliver, the first thing I noticed was how genuine he was and how easy it was to approach him. He definitely looks like the guy you don’t want to mess with, but what I found was an actor who truly appreciates every opportunity he gets. Welliver presents this passion and dedication to the craft of acting both on and off-screen.

It was so refreshing to speak with Titus about his past ventures, the people he has worked with, and his current project Bosch. If you’re in for some action, make sure to catch Welliver on Amazon Prime in the new series, Bosch.

Bless Montajes: Looking into your filmography, I’ve noticed that you usually play a role that has many action sequences. For each of these roles, are you constantly taking training sessions to prepare yourself, or do you have a background that qualifies you for the role?
Titus Welliver: It’s a little bit of both. I started studying martial arts since I was about six to around twenty-four years old. I was an athlete, so I was really immersed in studying the different styles of martial arts and have always been interested in the physical aspect of stage combat work. At the same time, each role does require some training to better your skill set. I mean, yeah, it’s fun because I think if you have to inhabit a character, I think it should be as accurate as possible.

BM: You have also worked with writer David Milch on series like Deadwood, NYPD Blue, Big Apple and Brooklyn South. He obviously likes to bring you back into his series. What was it like to work him on these shows?
TW: David has been a mentor and incredible teacher to me, but when my father passed away nine years ago, he sort of slid into the role of a surrogate father to me. Whenever I work with David, I feel like I grow intellectually as well as an actor. He presents this level of excellence in his writing that I have to try to rise to, so that I can obtain the right to be able to speak his words. I am forever in his debt and it’s almost like I can see those growth marks on a wall every time I work with him artistically as an actor. It’s inexplicable the depth of love and respect I have for him.

BM: You have also been featured in films that Ben Afflect has directed. What can you say on his directing?
TW: Ben is someone who is known as an actor, but a great writer as well. He has this very deep understanding of how a film is constructed, how a story is told, and how it should be acted. He has this depth of knowledge for someone his age, which was something I noticed when I stepped on the set of Gone Baby Gone which was his first film as a director. Then I saw the film and thought, “This isn’t the work of someone who is making their first film, but of someone who has been making films for thirty to forty years.”

Similar to David Milch, Ben has these expectations and boosts actors because he knows what you can do. Rather than being the kind to mollycoddle, he creates this environment where actors can thrive artistically. I have said this before, but I would do a puppet show for him because he inspires me to do well and works so hard himself. You can’t help but find his energy that strives to make the best possible film contagious.

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BM: Besides acting, have you ever thought about writing and/or directing yourself?
TW: I do write and have written a couple of pilots. I had started writing for myself as well during a time I was disenchanted with the business and didn’t want to repeat certain roles or feel “pigeon holed,” so to speak. Then, lo and behold, Bosch came into my life, which ironically has fulfilled that need. I also work really close with the writers of Bosch because it’s really important to me to maintain the integrity of the books, but also try to find some way to personalize it. Michael Connelly and Eric Overmyer have been so receptive to ideas and which just makes it a truly collaborative effort.
As far as directing, I have directed theatre in the past and do feel like I am ready to go that route. Maybe someday I would be able to do that through Bosch, or even through something else. I do feel that as an actor you hit a certain place where you would want to empower yourself, which I think directing would be the natural progression.

BM: Congratulations on your new show, Bosch. What can you tell me about this show and your character?
TW: First of all, it’s one of the most incredible characters to play that has tremendous depth. He has a lot going on and he is not this sort of “cookie cutter” tough guy and cop. He does have this military background during the First Golf war, then after 9/11 he rejoins Special Forces, and then he fights in the caves of Tora Bora. This character is just relentless and myopic and perceives him as this self-appointed, not “avenging angel” but like an advocate for the victims of these crimes. It’s his life and what he does which also relates to his own troubled upbringing. I find myself discovering something new through out the scripts and even from the books themselves.

BM: Out of all the characters you have played in the past, which has been your favorite or most challenging?
TW: I have to say that at this point it would be Harry Bosch. He is a bit of a tortured soul and I suppose I am too on some level, but I relate to Bosch’s humanity, intelligence, and strong moral compass. Without being cliché, he is this sort of hero but does have his flaws and throughout the show you see how he crosses some lines to recover justice. He also has this vulnerability and other aspects to this character that I find deeply appealing because it challenges me as an actor, but it’s ultimately an enormous privilege to take on this role as well.

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