Joel Thomas Hynes on Joel Thomas Hynes

Joel talks about the early years, acting, writing, awards, and upcoming projects.

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In Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed, editor Paul Cronin recounts an exquisite line the irreverent and acerbic filmmaker delivered on the set of Heart of Glass: “There is work to be done, and we will do it well. Outside we will look like gangsters. On the inside we will wear the gowns of priests.”

That could be an apt description of Joel Thomas Hynes’ modus operandi across all of his crafts: acting, writing, directing, music, and, of course, cursing. Like Herzog, Hynes seems on a quest to discover what the German icon calls “the ecstatic truth.” Doubters be damned. But that’s one-hundred words of wasted space  that could have hosted more of Hynes on…

THE EARLY YEARS

“I can’t remember having any real ambitions toward the film and TV industry. It’s just something that happened to me. Maybe that’s why I’m not a big shot (YET, he says, YET). But I got lucky. I fell in with some good filmmakers who seemed to see something in me worth cultivating. And I needed to perform. I needed to communicate and prove something. I was on the run from a filthy past and I needed to clear the air before I wound up dead and unsung.”

ACTING 

“Probably the hardest thing to do on camera is to simply exist in your own natural charisma. I’m not claiming to be all that versatile as an actor, but I am very aware of my strengths and my limitations and that awareness helps me exploit those strengths and find creative ways to dance around the limitations.”

WRITING

“I can get pretty dark and nothing ever comes close to brightening me up as when I’m balls deep in…ahh…a piece of…ahh…writing. Yes. Writing. But would I still write if there were no readers on the other side, no positive or negative response from publishers or critics? Well, I’d probably write better. I did it for years
as a teenager – writing without an audience, not even knowing what I was doing or why. My only goal was to communicate to myself by getting to the end of that idea or thought, fill another page, keep going. And I don’t think my motivations have changed much in the years since.”

AWARDS

“Awards are fun! Red carpets, gala events, swag bags – it’s the SHIT. And fuck the begrudgers.”

UPCOMING PROJECTS

“I’m hoping, hoping, to go into production this summer on a feature called Dry Swallow. Hoping. I’ve been hangin’ with the script for about four years now and after drafting it nearly a dozen times, I’m very keen to get it shot. It’s a drama about a tormented, reclusive, once celebrated musician who very reluctantly
opens his doors to his estranged, hell-raising teenage daughter. It’s a wild and tumultuous father-daughter story. Hard drugs, bikers, the repercussions of rock-and-roll debauchery, all set against a backdrop of the dilapidated, bygone glory of small town Newfoundland. Hoping, hoping to shoot on Fogo Island, one of my favourite places on the planet.”

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