PopGurls Interview: Instant Star’s Tim Rozon

February 10, 2006 No Comments »

Tim Rozon should be the guy your mother warned you about. He’s got messy dark hair, wears jeans in the absolute best way, and can go from brooding intensity to teasing flirtatiousness in the blink of an eye. He’s even got a leather motorcycle jacket or two, which completes the bad-boy look. So he should be dangerous, except that he’s earnest and polite and doesn’t seem to curse (at least not to intrepid interviewers). He doesn’t do drugs. And he loves his television show, Instant Star, the way 50 Cent’s mythical fat kid loves cake.

Season Two of Instant Star begins Friday, February 10th, at 8:30PM ET on The N. If you haven’t been watching, we’ve provided a handy rundown of Season One. But all you really need to know is that Tim plays Tommy Quincy, the producer of a teenaged singer-songwriter named Jude Harrison, who won an American Idol-like talent competition. Jude and Tommy are one of the most electric non-couples on television today, and Tim’s enthusiasm for his co-star, Alexz Johnson, probably goes a long way toward kick-starting their chemistry.

Just before the season kicks off, Tim agreed to give us his prediction for Tommy’s future, and couldn’t help but wax romantical about The Ballad of Tommy and Jude.

You just got back from vacation, right? I heard you were down in Guatemala.

Yeah, I just got back. It wasn’t really a vacation, though. It was more just traveling.

So you didn’t get to enjoy it?

Oh, I loved it! A friend of mine’s mother lives there. She volunteers, she’s a teacher, so I went there to hang out with her and help out. My friend came down later and we traveled all over the country. It was amazing, one of the best times I ever had. But I did get stung by a scorpion, so that was kind of…weird.

Yikes. Were you out in the jungle? How does that happen?

You know, I was out in the jungle, I was kayaking, I was climbing volcanoes, I was horseback riding, nothing bad happened. I got on a shuttle bus to leave from Monterrico to Antigua, sat down on a chair, and there was a scorpion on my chair. It stung me in the back of the neck. But it was one of these non-venomous kinds of scorpions, so I passed out for two hours and then I was fine.

I didn’t even know there were non-venomous scorpions.

Yeah, as long as they aren’t the colored ones. Those are the bad guys. But this one was pretty black, so it was okay. That’s what they told me, anyway. (laughs) Maybe they were lying!

I know you had to do a little voice work for Instant Star today, but otherwise do you have some time to ease back into your acting schedule?

The first week I got back I booked a movie in Montreal. I think I’m leaving Friday. I’m starting a film there, and I can’t even tell you the title, because I don’t remember. I auditioned the first or second day I got back and booked it pretty fast. I’ll be gone for a month.

Does Montreal have a hopping film scene?

Not so much now as it used to. Montreal does all the movies, Toronto does all the series’ and Vancouver does all the movies of the week. That’s pretty much how it breaks up in Canada.

Before we get into Instant Star, I’d like to talk about a couple of your film roles. You shot a film in Iran, Sometimes Virtual. Were you prepared for that experience?

Who could be prepared for that? You know what, I was wrapping Instant Star, it was the last two days, and it was all I was thinking about. I got a phone call from my agent and he said, ‘Listen this guy saw you in this movie, he’s a director, I’ve met him, he’s real cool. And he wants to shoot this film, he’s offering you this part, and it shoots in Iran.’

For an hour, I was like, “what do you mean Iran? Who goes to Iran to shoot a movie?’ But that’s where it was, and I had literally six days to make up my mind and then I just realized, you know what? I’m never going to get this chance to do that again. There’s no way I’m going to be in that part of the world ever again. So I had to do it. The script was tough to get at first because he was totally Iranian, this guy, and he had transcribed it in broken English. But I got the gist of it, and it was really spiritual and beautiful. And I said, ‘you know what? I’m in. Let’s go.’ And I just left, and ended up being there for almost four months. I was supposed to be there for 28 days.

Was it what you thought it was going to be?

I didn’t have any expectations. I had no idea about Iran, I really didn’t. I didn’t know anything about it, as most Western people don’t. I went there, and it was the most life-changing experience I think I could ever have. It was so amazing. The people were beautiful, warm and giving.

The toughest thing for me over there was the way they treat women, because of the Muslim culture. They’re covered, and they just don’t have many rights. That was hard to deal with, because I couldn’t say anything. If I said anything, they would get in trouble. I’d never be in trouble, but the women would be if I tried to protect them. But other than that it was such an eye-opening, life-changing experience that, I don’t know…I still reel from it. I go crazy when I think about it.

Let’s talk about Pure for a second. What type of person is your character Sam?

(groans) Sam’s not the nicest guy in the world. Let’s just say that. He’s a club promoter. Pure is about the 80s rave scene. It was massive! I don’t know how big it was in the States, but in Canada it was huge. The biggest thing was the after-hours parties, and everyone with their glow sticks and the whole thing. So it’s a movie about that rave scene, and it’s about this girl and I play her ex-boyfriend. And she gets back with the ex, and regrets being with the ex.

Were you involved with that club scene in the 80s?

Me? No. Definitely no raving for me. I’m an old rock and roll guy, if I wanted an out I’d go to bars and listen to music. No clubs, no after-hours.

Did you learn anything about that scene while filming the movie, that maybe surprised you, or made you think differently?

To me it’s just a glorified drug culture, it’s nothing I’d want to be a part of. I couldn’t even get into the music. But the people were really passionate about the music, so I’ll give them that. They weren’t just into the party, they were into the techno, and they loved it. I didn’t get it at all.

Do you know if there are plans to distribute Pure in the U.S.?

I’ve got to go to L.A. for a premiere, I think it’s March 21.

Lots of actors make their screen debut in horror films. You’ve got one under your belt – End of the Line. If you were able to choose the role that would make you a big star, what kind of character would you choose, and what kind of film would it be?

I’d want [a character] who has to be challenged in some way, but who has integrity. Maybe you can’t see it right on the surface, but it’s there underneath. Maybe a coming of age story – a character that grows and builds like that, and comes from somewhere hard and can overcome something.

I’m a drama guy! I love drama! I love to cry. It’d definitely be some sort of drama.

Any other movies in the can or on the horizon, other than the one you are leaving for on Friday?

No. I just go one at a time. I get something, I read it, I like it, and I choose to do it. When I do, I don’t want to be called about something else because that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m lucky, because I have Instant Star and that takes up so much time. Instant Star is my real love. It’s my favorite thing to do.

I heard you’re going to be doing a play sometime soon?

You know what? I just turned down that play.

Not enough time? Or was the script just not right?

It was just a little too gratuitous at some points. There were things I didn’t think I should be involved in, so I said no.

Are you interested in eventually trying your hand at writing or directing?

Directing, no. I couldn’t do it. It’s just too technical. If I did, it would be really awful. (laughs) I don’t want to boss people around. No directing for me.

Writing, though, I’ve always loved writing. I do write things now, and I would love to write, maybe an episode of Instant Star.

Were you approached directly for the role of Tommy on Instant Star, or did you audition?

I went in and auditioned once. I was in Toronto shooting the Disney movie Crimes of Passion, and I got the call to go in and read for this Tommy Q guy. As soon as I read the script, I knew I could do the guy. I really liked him right away. I read for him, got a call back to read with Alexz, and the rest is history.

Was it necessary that you be able to play the guitar and sing to win the role?

Nope. They never asked me. That was later, and they were like, ‘okay, you’ve got guitar training.’ I told them I’d been playing guitar for eight years, I didn’t need guitar training. They were like, ‘great. Wow.’ But they never asked me about it before.

What about the singing part of it? Do you sing, is it a talent of yours?

Oh, I’m an awful singer. I’ll give it 100 percent, but I just don’t think I’m very good at it. And you just can’t be a good singer when Alexz Johnson is there. She’s a great singer. She sings on set sometimes to me, and it’s just…it blows your mind.

You’ve gone on record several times about being a fan of hers. What other things about this show do you enjoy, besides getting to work with her?

It’s just everybody. And I’m sure everybody in the cast says that, but we have the greatest cast. They’re so amazing, and the crew is so amazing. And the writing… I never get to know what’s happening. Every time I get a script I’m like, ‘What? This is where you’re going?’ Then I want to know what’s happening in the next script and no one will tell me.

But, yeah. The people, we have the greatest group. We have the maestro on there, Wes Williams [who plays Darius]. Most people don’t know it, but this guy was one of the biggest rap stars in Canada’s history. He sold more records than almost anybody.

You also write music, right? Have you been approached about contributing to the show in that capacity?

They let me write some stuff, and they let me play a lot of guitar. I actually just bought drums! But you know, they’ve got so many good people to do those things. Music’s something personal for me, something that I enjoy, but it’s not really my passion anymore, not as much as it used to be. And there are so many more musically talented people on the show, for me it’s just something I do to relax.

What’s the atmosphere like on the set? Does everyone hang out?

Oh, yeah. We all hang out all the time. The best thing about being on our set is that it’s very musical. There are all these instruments around, and a lot of the time we just sit around having big jam sessions. Tyler [Kyte], the guy who plays Spiederman in Jude’s back-up band, will play the guitar, and Alexz will sing, and I’ll come in on the guitar – or I’ll play bongos. Wes has rapped for everybody. And Kristopher [Turner], the Jamie character, plays the bass for real. Everybody just jams.

Outside the set, most of the time I hang out with Kristopher. In real life we’re actually best friends. We went to Barcelona this year, and we go through a lot together. He lives 10 minutes from my house. We met in Toronto, shooting Instant Star.

You and Tommy both have a thing for leather jackets. Have you brought your own sense of style to the character?

You know what’s funny? When I walked in to audition for that character, I was wearing my leather motorcycle jacket and the jeans exactly like Tommy wears. When I went in for my first fitting, they asked if I could just bring the stuff I wore to the audition. I pretty much wear my own stuff – I mean, now they bring me lots of new stuff, but originally the leather jacket thing was mine. I’m old school! I’m like James Dean, you can’t beat a white t-shirt and jeans.

If you can tell me without giving too much away, what kinds of things is Tommy going to go through this season?

He goes through a lot, I can tell you that much. His character’s put to the test, and the fans…well, let’s just say I’m counting on the fans to have faith in the Tommy character. That’s my main thing, the fans have to have faith in Tommy, because he’s going to be pushed to the limits and judged a couple of times. The most different thing about this season is that all the stakes are raised and everything’s more dangerous. Things are more important this year than they were the first.

At the end of the show, where do you think Tommy will end up?

Where do I think he’s going to end up, or where do I hope he’s going to end up?

Where you would like for him to end up?

Where I hope makes for bad television, so don’t ask me! I think [Jude and Tommy] should be together! It’s a great love story. Put them together, man! But I don’t know if anyone’s going to watch that.

Obviously there’s a concern that putting the characters together too quickly will cause the show to fizzle. But the reason they give on the show is the age thing – Tommy is 22 and Jude is 16. What do you think is the real reason the characters aren’t together?

Well, right now it is age. Tommy’s not going to do anything until she’s 18 years old, that’s for sure, and it’s not like Tommy is able to express what he feels anyway. He has difficulties with that.

It seems pretty clear that they aren’t going to be together in the near future.

I didn’t say that! (laughs) To me, it’s cool, it’s underlying, it’s like a soul mate thing. They need be in each other’s lives. Even if they can’t be in each others’ lives in that way, they still need each other. They complete each other, they balance each other out. I think at first we thought Tommy would balance out Jude, but we learned that she really balances out my character more. She helps him, she’s there for him in a lot of ways, and he really needs her.

You’ve mentioned that episode nine of the upcoming season is one of your favorites. Can you tell me what we can look forward to there?

Oh, man, how do I tell you without giving it away? It is the most time Tommy and Jude have spent together to date. That’s it. They spend time together, and a lot of things are realized that I think need to be realized.

Instant Star has brought you lots of young, eager fans. Has their enthusiasm spilled off the Internet into your real life?

Cute girls can come talk to me anytime they want. I don’t mind at all.

So it hasn’t affected your personal relationships?

It’s affected me in a way, because – I don’t know what I should say about this – but on the Internet there’s some rumor that I’m going out with some girl who’s dating Ryan Seacrest now. And there’s another one that I have a baby. And there was another one that I was engaged. People keep calling up. My grandmother’s calling me up and saying, ‘why didn’t you tell me about the baby? What’s happening?’ My dad calls me about some Laiken Parker girl with Ryan Seacrest, and I’m like, ‘Listen, man, I’m in Guatemala! I don’t know anything about anything!’ I hear about all these weird things, people read them and then tell me, and I don’t know what it is. That’s the weird part.

But it doesn’t get in the way when you’re going out to see a movie, or sitting down to dinner at a restaurant?

It’s always cool. Fans are great, and if they’re fans of the show I really want to meet them. I mean, they like what I’m doing, and I think that’s amazing. When I do something, I just hope that people will like it and be affected by it. If they want to come talk to me, then I’ve got all the time in the world to talk to them.

The weirdest thing that ever happened to me is that a mom jumped in front of my car, and then put her daughter on the cell phone. And because we have music on the show, people are always telling me about their daughters who can sing, they want me to set them up with a producer. They send me tapes and demos, and I’m the wrong guy to give those things to. I have no power at all in getting people record deals.

The other big rumor about you, of course, is that you and Alexz are dating. Care to set the record straight?

Do I care to set the record straight on that? I wish we were dating! No, listen, to be quite honest, I haven’t dated anybody since we started Instant Star. I broke up with someone about three months before that, and I have not been with anybody since.

When you were a teenager, whose posters did you have pinned to your wall or hidden under your bed?

I don’t think I really had any.

That makes you pretty unique.

You think so? (laughs) When I was a teenager I was quiet. I’d sit in my room and play guitar. I was cool before grunge was cool. You know that quiet, sensitive kid who plays guitar? That was me, before grunge made it popular to be that guy.

No cheesy pin-up calendars hidden in the closet?

No. (laughs) No cheesy calendars.

Wow. That makes you sound so sweet and innocent! Thanks so much for your time, Tim.

No problem. Thank you.

It has been brought to our attention that there is a question as to the validity of this interview. PopGurls.com stands by this interview, and all others published on this site. This particular interview was conducted via phone on February 6, 2006, and was arranged via a publicist at The N.

Photo Credit: The-N.com/Epitome Productions

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2006-02-10

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