Milo Ventimiglia ('Chosen')
'The Chosen One'
'CHOSEN' follows Ian Mitchell - a husband, father and lawyer - who awakens one morning to discover a mysterious box on his doorstep containing a loaded gun and a photo of a stranger he must kill within the next three days.
Ian quickly learns that if he doesn’t kill this man (Diedrich Bader), he may be killed himself along with his daughter who is being held hostage.
Confused and desperate, Ian is transformed from an ordinary man into an unwilling assassin who must risk everything to protect his family.
A heart-pounding thriller, the series features six, 30 minute episodes and co-stars Diedrich Bader, Nicky Whelan and Brett Davern. 'CHOSEN' is produced by Mesquite Productions, Inc. and is showing NOW on www.crackle.com/c/chosen!
Chatting recently with Milo Ventimiglia, I first wondered, being that the preview says that his character Ian won't be the same after the box arrives, what type of guy he becomes - as compared to who he was? Milo Ventimiglia: "You know, kind of mild mannered. Just a guy who works in a law office. He wears a tie, you know. He kind of has these little struggles of words with him ex-wife, you know. And his marriage is falling apart."
"He's a guy who's just kind of dealing with like some everyday problems, you know. And then this box arrives and he is now hunted and has to hunt and is kind of put into this game that is, as the trailer says, not the fun kind!"
"And he has to kind of adapt as a human being for the sense of survival. So, you know, it's that kind of scenario. It gives you some sort of understanding of what he does or how he has to change and manage to survive, not only for himself but for his daughter, for his family. That's kind of where he goes."
And what do you love about the viability in potential shows on the internet like 'Chosen' and how that differs from mainstream TV? "Man, I love the reach, you know, I'm just so excited about digital because of the reach, you know. The actual releases sometimes some countries don't get movies. Sometimes, you know, they're in and out of theaters, TV. Maybe you don't have the channel, maybe you don't have pay cable. Maybe, you know, you live in a remote part of the world that just doesn't have what the network is showing or studio is putting out."
"Digital I kind of feel like anybody can access it, anybody can get to it. And for me being a part of projects like 'Chosen,' you know, working with Crackle and just being a guy who's been in the digital space for kind of a long time now."
"I know it's something that I'm going to continue to do and hopefully as it builds and the profile builds and people understand that, you know. Look, you're going to get the same quality on digital as you can in a movie theater if you actually have a bandwidth for it then great, you know. So I love digital, I'm in to digital."
How did you first become involved with 'Chosen'? "I got a script from Ben Ketai and it was great. It was awesome. And I was a huge fan of his and I worked with Crackle before developing stuff and I was just like, these guys are great. And I kind of into the digital space and what it affords creative types and what we get to do and its reach."
"So cool story, cool release, great character - yes, I'm in!"
But what attracted you to the central character of Ian? "What attracted me to it was a good character with a great story, you know. Something kind of interesting and original and the filmmaker, you know Ben Ketai. He's an awesome guy. He's a great shooter. He understand story and heart and character."
"And again, the format - we actually we shot six 30 minute episodes. You kind of line those up against any TV show nowadays and, you know, tell me the difference. I think they stand up to anything on network or cable television at the moment."
Did you relate to the character of Ian whilst filming? "You know what. I think I have to relate to every character that I play in some way or another. I mean, even the kind of sick horrible ones. But, you know, I think a guy who just goes through an everyday struggle, I mean, you know, we all have things we have to deal with in life and when a curve ball is kind of thrown at us it's like, whoa, what do you do? How do you react? How do you respond?"
Would you make the same choices he does? "You know, would I do the same thing? You know, for me I always say, you know, have to protect the ones you love. You've got to look out for the people you care about. And it's kind of a terrifying idea of thought like, Ian's daughter gets kidnapped, you know. If something like that were to happen in real life and what it would do - or what it would or could drive you to do, you know, especially when it's out of your control."
Soooooo, if you got one of those boxes in real life .... "Please don't ask me that question! That's the worst thing. I hope to never, ever, ever get anything like that on my doorstep. I think I'd - I don't know. I don't know, you know. You can't talk about it with anybody. You can't do anything but kind of wait, you know. And, you know, I'm a pretty moral person and I mean, sh*t, I'm a vegetarian, show, you know, how would they expect me to kill anybody!"
How did you end up becoming an executive producer of the show? "Well, I produced before and I'd worked with Crackle before and so when I got the phone calls from those guys; and we were kind of sitting around talking about ideas and what not - it just was a natural fit to bring me on to produce."
"You know, and I never want to be, you know, in the way of anything. I never want to kind of be like excess baggage. So it was just a natural thing that came up and they said, 'Hey would you like to produce this as well?' I said, 'Yes, of course. Let's do it all together'."
"You know, and we had a great, amazing production team as well. You know, I think whatever I've done in the producing world was just a matter of kind of expanding the bubble of information and experience that we all had had going into this."
Did you cast yourself as Ian?! "No, it actually had all kind of came about right around the same time. So basically I got the script, they said, 'Hey, you know, take a look, we love you.' And I said, 'Great. I love this - I love it.' I had a couple thoughts on it. I love the idea of working with your guys. So it was a natural fit."
What sticks in your mind about shooting your first 'Chosen' episode? "You know, it's so funny man. We didn't shoot episode by episode in chronological order. We actually kind of boarded the whole thing, almost like we would a movie."
"It took about five weeks of five days a week, me all the time, time, time. And we just kind of like, we're mixing and matching, you know. There were scenes when I went back and watched the final edits that I was like, there in the very beginning, I’m like, 'Oh wow. We shot that at the very end'."
"You know, so many for me so many things stand out. Different scenes, you know. Let's say the diner scene with Diedrich or the desperation scene with Nicky. You know, I really have to tell her that our daughter is missing. And Caitlin, my daughter, I mean, just so many, so many great scenes with her. She's such a pro. I'm so excited to see where she goes in the future."
What were some of the initial acting challenges stepping into the Ian role? "Wow. The initial challenges - I mean, first being a father. Like I'm not a dad myself yet, you know, I've got a lot of good friends with kids and a nephew and, you know, that's all cool and exciting but I think that kind of real life. That weight of real life of having a daughter, having somebody you care about so much like they're you're blood. You and a woman created them and that fear of if they are gone, if they are taken, if they are missing."
"You know, I think that was kind of the very first and foremost in my mind was Ian's connection to his daughter and how strong that is and how much that propels him through the situation that - of the game of what he has to go through."
"As well as, you know, here's a guy who works in a an office and he's told to kill someone for sport, for a game. And it's like how do you - you know, it's a question that kind of comes up throughout the course of the show, you know. I know Deidrch's character asks it, Ian asks it. It's like how can someone expect you to do that, you know."
"So I think that - really connecting to that idea of the reality of it, you know, just how much, you know, human beings really don't have that instinct or want to do. That was something that, you know, I was trying to tap into like the reality of the situation and believe it and live it as much as I can."
I love the fact that you throw twists in such as calling the cop back on his business card and listening to the countdown before it erases itself the next time. Was finding ways to throw twists in fun? And do they get bigger and better as we progress? "Absolutely. Yes. I mean, it's the most fun throwing in those little, you know, sharp left turns when you're like, oh my god this guys - that's totally not going to happen. It happened, it happened."
"And yes, the progress. You know the stakes get higher and, you know, there's something that Ian always has going against him and it's a ticking clock. Time is running out, you know, and too what do you do in that eventual event when, you know, you're minutes - seconds away from having to do something you really feel strongly against."
"You know, so the stakes do keep getting raised and we take a whole lot of turns."
Being that I am here in Detroit, MI, why do you think Team Detroit at the end of the episode?! "You know what, I don't know. But I'll tell you what. There was a lot of Detroit on that job. I know Ben is from Detroit, Ryan Lewis is from Detroit. A handful of other people, you know. I got a lot of friends in Detroit. I've got a lot of friends. I've got a lot of people that, you know, kind of want to see the growth - the re-growth of Detroit and industry out there and everything."
"So, I don't know exactly what that means but I'm behind it, Team Detroit," he laughs.
So, does the first episode premiere today, the following episodes to subsequently air every Thursday for six weeks thereafter? "No, the entire series premieres tomorrow on www.crackle.com/c/chosen and all Crackle platforms. So people can binge watch or watch one or two episodes and check in another day and watch more."
"Which is awesome to binge watch. That's personally how I do things. I mean, I can't tell you the last time I had, like, kind of scheduled television. And I, of course, like save it on my DVR at home but for the most part it's like let me just download and watch everything right now. You know? I think that's the greatest way to do to it."
"Like I do that with comic books too. I'm a big comic book nerd. And when - whenever like - I sometimes just wait until the trade comes out. When the trade comes out, cool. I'm going to sit down and read, you know, 120 pages. It's the best!"
Lastly, I kept thinking about your old TV super hero aspects coming out, especially on the roof top before the girl jumps. Did it ever cross your mind that you're still playing another kind of hero? "No man, Russell sadly not at all. You know, I hung up that guys shows on that old show a long, long time ago. And, you know, it's funny like since leaving that show I think it was the most - almost four years ago, you know, I've done eight or nine movies and two or three different TV shows."
"I've done a lot of different work, played a lot of different people so it didn't cross my mind at all to think, 'Oh wow, this guy could jump off and catch this girl,' you know. Not in the least man, sorry."
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Milo on Twitter
Divide Pictures on Twitter
Back To Archives