Luke Guldan has found “The Good Place” on NBC’s hit comedy show as Chris Baker, Eleanor’s (Kristen Bell) soulmate. From worst auditions to landing a role on Kristen Bell and Ted Danson’s one-two punch to a “Game of Thrones” future(?), we discussed a wide range of topics before Thursday’s third episode of “The Good Place.”
How did you get your start in acting? When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
I knew I wanted to pursue acting once I was in high school. My high school had a bodybuilding show, so I started out doing bodybuilding and fitness competitions with the goal of eventually using that to break into the entertainment industry. When I won my bodybuilding pro card, the organization I competed with helped get me on a cover of their fitness magazine and a feature, which lead to getting my first agents.
What’s your worst audition story?
Ha. Well I don’t know if this was the worst, but it is definitely up there on the list of “when things go terribly wrong” auditions. So I’m auditioning for a period piece project that takes place on ships back in like the 1500s with English accents and swords – the whole works. My character gets killed probably in the first ten minutes, but it was a great role because I had to run around the entire ship introducing the lead characters during a battle of fleets out at sea. At the climax of the scene, the ship has been breached and there’s water gushing into the ship. I have to rush under the deck to alert the captain that we are sinking. At that moment the reader says my line by accident, which happens to have the character’s name in it, so I got completely thrown. The scene went as follows… I burst into the captain’s room (pretend) to wade through water and then I hear “Where’s Shmee?” But that’s my line, so I’m like “Where’s Shmee?! You ARE Shmee!” I have a speech immediately following which I then flop because my accent quickly blurred into an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression “Man the deck, let down the sails…. FIRE ZEE ROCKETS!!!”
How did you get your part in the “The Good Place”? What has it been like working with the particular cast and crew?
It was a blessing; a gift from “The Good Place” gods. And working with them is so fun. It was just a fun and spontaneous time. Both Kristen and Ted were very welcoming and encouraging from the first day on set. It was a great opportunity to work with them and get a glimpse into how they approach the work. Everyone was fantastic.
We got a brief glimpse of you in the first season of “The Good Place.” How much can we expect to see you in this season?
There are a couple reveals in this one, so I think people can expect to see a little more of Chris Baker.
What can you tell us about the upcoming season?
To expect the unexpected. I haven’t seen anything yet, so I’m excited to find out with everyone as the season unfolds!
Was there any pressure going into this season after all of the acclaim the show received this season?
To be honest I was so focused on just being ready and available for whenever/whatever would happen that I did not really think of the potential pressures that can come along with a successful first season.
Has there been a moment for you yet where you’ve thought to yourself that you made it? When was it?
Oh yeah, every day. But for me it’s more the wonderment of “surviving” as opposed to “arriving,” which I think is the way most people think of the term “made it.” I’m not sure if that ever happens… “making it.”
You have a few projects coming up. Can you tease readers what they are and what your involvement is?
I just finished working on a film in New York City called “FLUIDITY” by Linda Yellen. And a project I worked on three years ago about attention deficit disorder and teen/student suicide “ADDicted” will be released on Amazon Prime in December.
Is there one show or movie – or even just a genre – that you’ve been a part of and want to dabble into more?
Definitely more dabbling in the genre of epic tales like “Braveheart” or” Saving Private Ryan” or “Game of Thrones” or “Princess Bride” or “A Very Long Engagement.” Something big.
What has been the biggest pinch me moment of your career so far?
I want to say my first SAG feature film. I had been striving to work as an actor for a long time and I was finally doing it in something that was actually a “real” film. For me, at that time, it was a surreal/awesome moment. We also blew up a huge ship in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay so that was pretty cool too.