Although it’s not immediately obvious looking at his growing résumé or his famous pedigree, actor Milo Gibson didn’t always want to be on camera.
For the electrician turned actor, who has his first leading role in Breaking & Exiting, which opens in theaters Friday, acting was something of a distant dream initially. “It was definitely something in the back of my mind, like maybe this is something that I’d like to do [someday],” he says. “And one day I was kind of like, you know, I don’t want to be 60 years old and regret not going for it — I think a lot of people regret a lot of things in life — and I didn’t want to be one of those people.”
In the film, which is directed by actor Peter Facinelli and features a screenplay by Jordan Hinson, Gibson plays Harry, a thief who inadvertently interrupts a young woman (Hinson) who is attempting to commit suicide while he’s trying to steal from her.
Gibson, who previously had roles in Hacksaw Ridge, The Tribes of Palos Verdes and Gangster Land, sat down with THR to discuss his latest film, the acting advice his father gave him and why he believes in “staying in the moment.”
Since she also wrote the screenplay, did your co-star Jordan have any insights for you on your character as you were filming?
I know she said at one point that I brought something to Harry that she might not have even really seen, or something that I brought to it that she didn’t realize [about the character] and I think she liked it a lot. So it was really cool to hear her say that. But Peter and Jordan and I talked a lot about that kind of stuff. Peter is an actor, so he sees everything on our level as well, so it was really nice to kind of see it from both sides from his perspective. And he gave us a lot of freedom to play with [our roles] and what we wanted with it.
I just want to add here that I think that Jordan is a great writer and actress and I’m so happy that she wrote this. Because it’s a story that’s so refreshing and new and not a remake, and it was so much fun to jump into that world. It was an adventure.
Do you feel like you’re anything like your character, Harry?
Yeah there’s certain aspects that I can see in myself. I guess I have a big heart, and sometimes I like to wear my heart on my sleeve. Actually, I don’t know if I like to do it, it just happens. I think when you’re playing a character, you always find things that you can relate to.
You were an electrician before you were an actor. Did you grow up wanting to act?
I think when my brother Louis and I were kids — he’s a director now — we’d do home videos all the time and I’d be the actor and he’d be the director. So that’s when it started kind of, but then I moved away from that — it wasn’t something that was always front of mind for me. I think I wanted to try other things that interested me. It was definitely never pushed by my father or anything like that. But it was definitely something in the back of my mind, like maybe this is something that I’d like to do [someday]. And one day I was kind of like, you know, I don’t want to be 60 years old and regret not going for it — I think a lot of people regret a lot of things in life — and I didn’t want to be one of those people.
So was there any discouragement, or encouragement, from your dad or family when you decided to go into acting?
No, there wasn’t discouragement or encouragement necessarily. My dad was always a big advocate of doing what you like to do, and keep doing new things and trying new things, but do what you love. And I did that. I had a lot of different jobs but they weren’t things that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And I have a really big passion for acting and I really love doing it.
Did your father have any advice for you?
Something that stuck with me [that my dad told me] was, when you’re working, to be truthful to your character and emulate them as much as possible, and of course, have fun. Forget the camera is there. They say the camera is your best friend but I find it most helpful forgetting that it’s there, because if you’re aware of it you’re not being truthful to what you’re doing. So, [his advice was] to be honest.
When you think about your career 20, 30, 40 years from now, what do you hope that it looks like?
Whew! [Laughs.] I think I like being in the moment and seeing where it does take me. But I want to continue doing this because I love it so much, so, I think just one step at a time and staying in the moment and take everything in. I think that’s important, you know? You don’t want to look to the past or forward too much because you’ll miss what’s happening right in front of you.