Television junkies, you may recognise Graham Patrick Martin; he has starred alongside Jennifer Lawrence in The Bill Engvall Show; was in long-running series Two and a Half Men and has been seen in The Closer, Good Luck Charlie, iCarly, Jonas, The Anna Nicole Story and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but it’s his role as Rusty Beck in the multi-award-winning Major Crimes that has landed him squarely on the small screen on a regular basis.
Graham Patrick Martin will also be hitting the big screen soon in James Franco’s independent film, Bukowski, playing the lead role of Charles Bukoski, and will be directing a music a video for Harlie. On a side note, this won’t be his first directing gig. He starred in and directed the film Somewhere Slow, which won Best Narrative Feature at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival.
We spoke to Graham Patrick Martin from Los Angeles to talk TV, the importance of giving back and his top tips on where to go in New York City.
Hi Graham, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Could we start by you telling us a little about your background as an actor? How old were you when you first began to act? Can you tell us about some of your early work?
I started when I was twelve years old doing toy commercials. My first steady gig was a sitcom called The Bill Engvall Show which went for three seasons. After that was Two and a Half Men for a bit, and now Major Crimes.
You currently star in the critically-acclaimed drama series Major Crimes, playing Rusty Beck, a once homeless homosexual teen. Can you tell us more about the character? Have you found it quite a complex role to play?
It definitely hasn’t been easy for Rusty, but I think he’s done alright for himself. Starting out as a homeless teen, selling himself on the street in season one – now he’s an assistant to a DDA and a law student. I wish I had his perseverance. Rusty is complex but a joy to play.
You’ve played Rusty for quite a few series, how have you developed the character? Do you enjoy playing an on-going character?
I’ve definitely grown and matured as a person in real life. I think the writers allow Rusty to mature with me. I guess I can look at what Rusty is going through and directly relate it to how I (Graham) am being perceived by the writers.
He’s definitely in danger throughout the whole season. Being the final season, a lot is coming to a head from Rusty’s past. I’m excited for the fans to get to witness it all.
You’re also known for your notable roles on Two and a Half Men as Elridge McElroy and as Trent in the TBS comedy The Bill Engvall Show. Can you tell us about your time working on those comedies?
Sure, Engvall was the best first job ever. I got to learn how to be a professional at a very young age- which totally prepared me for Two and a Half Men, which carried a lot more weight and required a certain level of confidence that I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Engvall.
Do you prefer acting in a comedy or a drama? Are there any differences in the approach you take to developing the characters?
I can’t say that I prefer one over the other. I will say that a sitcom schedule is much easier, perhaps the easiest schedule for a regular gig in Hollywood. I like both. I suppose it would be fun to bounce back and forth between the two.
We also know you do a lot of work with organisation, The Sunshine Kids. Can you tell us about your involvement?
[The] Sunshine Kids is an incredible organisation that I am obsessed with. They provide fun life experiences for kids who are going through cancer treatments. SSK takes kids from all over the country on super cool trips to NYC, LA, and New Orleans, just to name a few. I volunteer and join the kids whenever I possibly can.
As a native New Yorker, can you share any of your favourite spots or hidden gems for our reads to visit in the Big Apple?
One of my favorite spots is called Pearl Oyster Bar. It’s fantastic New England-style seafood. Go there ASAP.
Finally, can you tell us any exciting plans you have in the pipeline?
The final season of Major Crimes is airing right now! Watch it on Tuesdays on TNT.