Hello everyone! It seems that today is that day when we suddenly decide to ask our favorite actor, Ian Harding, a hundred or so of questions, which has already became a tradition! Of course, we are kidding, but there is some truth in this. So, today we replace our sincere curiosity with sincerity and openness!
Are you ready? Let’s start!
1.Ian, we always ask this question as our last one… but not this time! On Birthday we showed you some places on Earth so much loved by us – your admirers and just friends: a piece of Italy, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands and its part – Holland. And Saint-Petersburg. You travel a lot… when will the time for Russia come? Difficult? Ok, you can think about it, and we start with a more traditional question for an interview.
I’d love to see Russia, though I understand the various political tensions at the moment make things difficult...
Next on the Travel list is Rome with my Mother, potentially France for a fan convention, then perhaps some where in the states. My bucket list for travel within the next 5 years will be Argentinian Patagonia, Iceland, and Big Sur California.
2.What about your plans? Oops! Sorry… we won’t have such questions in our interview. Remember, we once talked about the fact that the Internet age brought some conveniences to our real life, which earlier were accessible only to a fantasy writer. For example, now we can walk through world museums using our mobile phones, not everyone can personally buy a ticket to go there. However, there is a reverse side of a medal; thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that the balance between personal data protection and national security is too shaky, but what’s more important – it concerns every one of us. So, what do you think, now when we know about Snowden’s revelations, will people be more responsible in relation to their privacy?
I have no idea. With every human advancement there comes the good and the bad sides of it. There’s a huge art of the human population who are inherently terrible and untrustworthy. Perhaps for that reason, I actually don’t mind some surveillance. There’s a line though, and that line can be very grey at times. In terms of nations monitoring other friendly nations, one would think its a two way street, though I have no idea. What would I know I emote for a living!
3.Life in a virtual world became so complex, don’t you think that there must be someone (government institution or company) who could teach people to keep mouth shut about some personal things. Maybe, it could be volunteers? Or is everything Ok in this area?
I don’t think everything is ok in this area, especially in terms of social media. I think with any new thing comes a bit of responsibility. I would love for schools to have classes or seminars on the joy as well as the dangers of social media. There’s a bit of hesitancy in American culture to speak plainly of harder truths. Sex education, for example, is laughable in this country because of America’s discomfort with the topic, the anxiety around it stemming most likely from dated religious beliefs that most of the country doesn’t adhere to any way. Yet we have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world, so we clearly to have some sort of conversation. The same should go with social media. It can connect people digitally, true, but when used incorrectly, it can seriously hurt people, whether through bullying, sexual sharking by false users, or something as simple as posting a picture from a party that a future employer sees after a job interview. I wish I would have had some one who get point out even the most basic elements of social media and its impact.
I also think its silly to share every little moment of one’s personal life. I really hate doing it. When something amazing happens to me, for some reason I literally don’t have the impulse to turn around and post it on the internet. Its mine, why would I want people to comment on it, or “like” it. Social media for me is purely a business tool.
4.It is not a secret that the Internet at the beginning was a men’s sport, with its slang and gentlemen’s codes. As for us, girls, we often encounter such problem as trolling (we don’t talk about fishing now) in the Russian Internet because we don’t know much about men’s rules. It's annoying. But what’s more annoying, it’s an attitude towards the youngers. Though there is no such notion as “age” in the Internet, you can always tell the difference between a newbie and a more experienced user. I’m far from talking about limitations that are in place for children – they exist in our countries, but not all of them, and they do not always work. What should newbies do? Do you really think that everyone should undergo such “trolling treatment” and learn from own mistakes? Sometimes such learning is very cruel, it turns naivety into cynicism. And then we’ve come full circle, there is new round of negativity. Is there any escape from this situation?
Interesting. I’ve never heard of the internet being a masculine medium, but now that you point it out, I can see your argument. I don’t have much faith in the male population any way, so perhaps I’m a little more prone to hearing your side. In terms of remedying the situation, I say again that some sort of instruction should be available, especially for women and young girls, because I agree, the predatory side of man kind extends to even the digital realm.
5.Do you think that the Internet can smooth, hide our actual emotions or vice versa, does it intensify them under the principle: “in the context of data insufficiency, our brain invents enemies, world view, the Creator and opinions of other people”? Is there any recipe on how to shake off such illusory activity of someone’s brain?
Not quite sure what you mean by this question, but my gut reaction is that the internet distorts connection. In my opinion, frequent use limits ones ability to create real relationships, one that involves honest and vulnerable conversations. I can be a total ass hole to some one on the internet, especially under a false name and never really need to worry about the reprecussions.
6.“Fear those who do not care; they neither kill nor betray, but betrayal and murder exist because of their silent consent”, - is epigraph for Bruno Jasieński’s “A Conspiracy of the Indifferent”.
This quote is well-known in the Russian Internet. I would like to ask you this: when does the person start to feel that he/she wants to be socially important? When does he/she start to do something that is not usual for him/her, but suddenly it becomes the need of his/her heart? When do we stop to be indifferent? Or, on the contrary, become them?
This is an interesting question. The real answer is I have no idea. My first thought read “you have to pick your battles,” which in some way is true. There so much suffering in the world, you have to fight for what you believe and hope for the best for the causes you believe in.
This is also an interesting question for an American. I know we’re seen as the world’s policeman. I think this is a silly position, mostly because we have so much to work on here at home, such as the unsustainable and cruel health care system, gun control, the horrific public school systems, and many others. Why must we involve ourselves, especially militarily, in other countries? Why not use some of that money and resources here at home?
On the other side of this, I’m thankful to live in a country thats insanely giving. There are many charity groups that do great work with out a single act of violence.
In all honesty this is a broad topic and I’m certainly not qualified to make the sweeping statements I’ve written above.
7.Yes, the next question is about charity. Surely you've heard some people saying: “Why should I do this? Healthcare is a concern of the state” or “Help children? I think the parents should support them”. And they think that if somebody spends money for charity, it means that he/she has some spare money. Tell us about your activity. When you come to children’s services, don’t you feel that children don’t need “parade visits of the stars”, because they don’t always know who’s standing before them. They need more kindness that a volunteer can give them. Or does your profession of an actor give you an advantage because you can strike a spark and give a smile at a more professional level?
Another good question. Having some celebrity can be a good thing, especially when it comes to raising money, which is the life blood of charities that are usually run by folks with big hearts and big college debt who truly want to make a difference. So if you’re a celebrity, find a charity or organization you really love and whose purpose you love and has been vetted through various charity watch dog sites (such as charitynavigator.com), then try to get them as much money as possible.
For instance, I work with the Lupus Foundation. I, Ian, can’t actually get a medical degree and work in a lab to find a cure. I can’t devote my life to mapping the Genome of a person with Lupus. Those people are true heros. What I CAN do, is get as much money as physically possible so that those people who are doing the real work can continue to do so.
The danger comes from when you, the actor, start to think you’re a hero. You’re not. You’re an entertainer, and that’s great. I wouldn’t want to be anything else. But know that you are not the most important person in that equation.
Here’s another thought, and I’m not sure if it’s relevant. I often speak with actors or musicians who’ve found success in the entertainment industry, and see how silly the whole thing could be, and because this person has a good heart, they wish to “give back” in some way. I can say that I was actually one of these people. To them I would say “great! It’s amazing you want to help, but don’t throw yourself into a cause because of guilt. Find something you truly love and connect with and stick with it. The momentary spotlight you bring to a cause only helps so much and doesn’t do nearly as much good as devoting years to one cause. Don’t jump around to every cause you can. Stick to several you truly love, otherwise you look like an asshole (trust me I’ve been THAT guy), and you actually do very little service.
8.There is a theory that the thought is material, that’s why you shouldn’t think about bad things, you should avoid any visual contacts with human grief. In general, you should avoid all negative things. What do you think, is such refined lifestyle even possible? Doesn’t it justify the egoism?
I think that’s impossible. I also don’t think your thoughts are material. Only when your thoughts become action do they really matter.
The scary thing is, and I’m learning this more and more through meditation, is how little control you actually have over your brain and thoughts. Author Sam Harris debunks what we perceive as free will in his book titled “Free Will.” I don’t entirely agree with what he says, and in all honesty some of his theories are beyond me, but he has a quote that really stuck with me:
“...you are not controlling the storm, you are not lost in it. You ARE the storm.”
The human brain is one of the most powerful and unexplored things on the face of the earth. Thoughts come from influences within your psyche that you are totally unconscious of. How can you possibly avoid negative thoughts when you can’t even avoid where those thoughts came from? I think its just about learning how to live with those thoughts and seeing them for what they are: just thoughts. Only in action do they gain power.
That being said, we as humans do have some agency, as in free will of some sort, but I don’t think its to the extent of what we now believe.
The more I meditate the more I see this fact, and the more I come to accept it and the greater the ease I have in my own life.
9.On April 17, 2014, Gabriel Garcia Marquez died. His book “Hundred years of solitude” is very popular in the world. There are the following lines there: “I would explain to those who go astray, thinking that no longer fall in love, when age, not realizing that the age when they no longer fall in love!” Do you think that if a person will always be in love, maybe, he/she will live forever?
I might be the wrong guy to ask. I think love is a powerful and amazing thing, and it can happen many times in ones life, even with the same person over and over again, but the idea of eternal life is actually not a belief of mine.
10.Usually we don’t talk about politics, but today it’s too much… This year we haven’t watched the Oscars live here, in Russia, for the first time since 2002, because the situation in Ukraine was shown differently in different countries. However, we know what Jared Leto said: “To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to… to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible… We’re thinking of you tonight». Don’t you think that the stars are responsible when they make their thoughts public, that every public person should be responsible for his/her words, because millions of people will hear them. And if you are not being diplomatic you can easily bring imbalance. I’ll explain – for me personally Jared’s words seemed insincere. Even the famous Tefal’s tagline “Always thinking about you” contains more of that. We have already experienced the break in Russia and Ukraine after breakup of the USSR, which impacted our families and friends. People understand that the situation is very serious to be called “a dream” and too complex. It’s like explaining to a seriously ill child that he/she will soon get better, knowing the inevitable. But this child needs to think positively and be supported in any form, but the people of the whole country need more weighted words and honest actions. Otherwise… otherwise it looks weird. Or is it just me who don’t get it right? And does the fame allow person to voice an opinion for any issue? Can you comment on this?
Well, I don’t fault Jared Leto for his words. He most likely meant them with all sincerity and wants the best for everyone in those countries. I’m not sure though.
One is always responsible for ones words, but for some reason we listen to celebrities simply because they are celebrities. I would hesitate to speak about the situation in your country because I truly have no idea. I wouldn’t hesitate to speak of aid for The Children’s Hospital in DC because I can see with my own eyes that they need every dollar they can get.
To answer, I think people need to give less credence to celebrities, especially when it comes to Geopolitical issues.
11.So, the Oscars. Do you watch all the films nominated for this award? Have you seen “Her”? Film critics considered this film the best. Is it possible that such a fantastic scenario awaits us in the future and will replace human relationships?
I did see “her” and I really loved it. I think that scenario in the future is possible, and I hope to avoid it. Though the two main characters bonded in a purely non physical way, and perhaps shared real love, I personally would still like the real thing.
I think there’s an unspoken wish in this fantasy, and its that one can eliminate suffering or discomfort from a relationship, or perhaps, as Amy Adams, character discovered, the change of heart in a loved one. The sad fact of the matter is that the only constant is change. That’s a natural law, and certainly holds true for matters of love as well. Lovers’ come and go, because people change and grow, because they must. This doesn’t mean that life long partnership isn’t possible, it just means that people must grow with one another, and that growth means some pain will take place. But thats ok. Thats natural.
12.May 4 is Star Wars Day. What’s your attitude towards the saga?
I liked it, though I was always more of an Indiana Jones fan...
13.What do you think about short-length films?
For example, this one
Or this one:
What do you say? It’s amazing that in such a short film the depth of human relationships can be shown.
Short films are wonderful addition to modern film making, though they have been around for a while. They’re like Haikus, in that because of the rigidity of form, a lot of emotion and meaning can be distilled into such a small space.
14.As for your TV show. Did you expect such finale for you character? Can you imagine what your fans feel?
I knew something big had to happen. Ezra had to redeem himself in some way and that seemed the most epic way to do it!
I imagine the fans were a bit worried, but I assure you, I’m still employed!
15.What’s with your other projects?
There are a few that are in the works. I did an independent film that’s in the process of editing right now and will then go to festivals.
I’m in an interesting position in that I’m employed for 9 months out of the year, which is more than most actors can say, so in that sense I’m spoiled, but this schedule doesn’t leave much room for other projects.
16.Let’s talk a little about other TV shows. Do you watch anything? Do you have any favorite TV shows, which ended, but you want to turn back the clock and watch them one more time? Are there any TV shows that you are really waiting for, and in relation to which at the end of an episode you can say: “What was that?!?”
I LOVED True Detective on HBO. It was an existential horror action show set in the deep south. Beautifully written and acted.
I watch Game of Thrones regularly. Other than that I don’t really watch TV. Probably because I’m on a show right now.
17.Nowadays there is a plenty of TV shows. Some of them are meant for family, some for teenagers, some for their parents. There are shows for those who love fantasy. And there are shows, which are meant for people with strong mind. Last year Hannibal started with its brilliant cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne and others. This is the show for strong people. Do you watch anything like that? If you had a script of such TV show or film, would you agree to do it?
I would love to be a part of show like that. Absolutely. Because of the viewership of my show, there are times when I know the script has been changed or censored and those moments usually aren’t that fun to play.
18.With whom do you prefer watching films? Don’t say that you like it when your furry friends sit with you!
I love watching with the dogs! But actually I love seeing films on their opening day. There’s an energy about the theatre that reminds me of when I did stage. I usually hate crowds but I love being in a packed movie theatre. Perhaps its contained group experience.
19.Last time you said that you needed to plunge into language environment in order to start understanding a language. It’s traditional – what about the Russian language? Now it’s time to think about our first question!
Ha! That’s a tough nut to crack. I could really only learn a language if my well being depended on it. I think you’re brain starts listening in a new way.
20.Do you use emoticons? How many smileys do you use at the end of a sentence? Two))? Three)))?
I rarely use them. I think words are enough. That being said, emoticons used ironically, or perhaps, to take your lead, a smiley face used after a horribly offensive comment, is always hysterical.
21.Now it’s time for a traditional question about music. We already know that you are omnivore and prefer live concerts to any record medium. Which concerts do you go to? Are there any Russian performers that you would like to listen live? And say again that you love hard rock! This is so awesome!!! Many readers ask: “Really? It’s so cool, we love it too”!
I really am a Musical Omnivore! I’m going through a female singer song writer phase at the moment. I’m loving Lily Kershaw’s stuff. She’s actually a very close friend of mine and her new stuff is going to be mesmerizing. I’m also pretty addicted to Gabrielle Aplin’s work. She’s a british folk singer whose voice literally takes me to another time and place. She’s also a wonderful lyricist. I could listen to her for hours. And I do. Of course, no music discussion would be complete without my buddy Matty and Memphis May Fire. They’re great live, and he’s a true talent. He was teaching me how to scream the other day and it truly is a fine art. The ability to switch from melodic singing to a vocal fry (which is basically screaming) takes a lot of skill.
Other folks I love and are always playing on my ipod:
I See Stars
My brightest diamond
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
audio books too;
Dan Savage’s “American Savage”
“The End of the Affair” read by Colin Firth.
22.About happiness. Do you think that being happy is a mental work or just a set of circumstances, gift of God?
In my personal opinion, its a combination of the first two options; mental work and circumstances. I spoke earlier of the illusion of free will. I think we do have some agency, and the ability to take action. We can’t control what happens to us, and that’s ok, that’s what it means to be alive, but you can (some what) control your response to outside random stimuli. I read a book recently by Brene Brown called “the gifts of Imperfection” and in it, she says that happiness can become a skill, or a habit. I tend to agree with that.
23.I’m a huge fan of actor, director, script writer, Til Schweiger and of all his works. Many of his works make you think. For example, let’s take his film “Keinohrhasen”, even in such funny and simple movie Til managed to put a couple of moments that make you think. After a long time of trying to mend relations that were damaged during the childhood, the characters Ludo (Til Schweiger) and Anna (Nora Tschirner) manage to find what they need. And at this exact moment they bring up the topic of who should make you happy: you by yourself or someone else. Ludo states his point of view, which I totally agree with: “No man in the world can make you happy if you weren't happy already. You have to make yourself happy. It's totally selfish to wait at home, frustrated, expecting someone else to make you happy all the time. And anyway it's normal to be unhappy”. Do you think that Til said it right in his film or is this just a claptrap?
I think he said it exactly right. Period.
24.What can you say about traveling? Sure, everyone chooses according to his/her pocket, but still, can you give an advice: “What’s the most important in traveling”?
To wander dangerously close to cliche, “Its the Journey, not the Destination.” By that I mean, travel is amazing, but it should change you. Yes, it should be fun and relaxing at moments, but its also a time to see yourself, whether reflected in the culture you’re then inhabiting or in the distance you have from your every day life and habits.
A rule of thumb for me is always half and half, as in one part of the travel should be relaxing, and the other not as much. For instance, I went to Stockholm in December and took in the city and food, and especially the beer, which is a blossoming industry there. I then wanted something more rigorous, so I went north to lapland to experience the cold and to see a whole new way of life. I was away from everything I knew, and you can’t help but grow from any sort of deprivation.
That being said, it wasn’t like I was camping in Lapland, I was in a cabin!
All in all I think travel should be something relatively new each time, and should challenge you in some way. Also, go into the experience with little expectation, that way you are able to take in the experience for what it is as opposed to what you want it to be.
- if there is a girl near you, then – Hopefully she’s funny.
- if you have emotions on your face, then – I’m probably unaware of it.
- if there are the poem lines, then their author is – hopefully writing.
- if there is a steak, then – its for some one else.
- if you listen to the classics, then the composer is – John Adams, a modern American composer. Listen to his “I am Love” soundtrack
- if there are flowers in a garden, then – They are my Joseph’s coat roses in the back yard. I work really hard on those fuckers!
- if it’s a morning in other country, then – I’m probably still asleep.
- if you drive, then your car is – fun without murdering the environment.
- if it’s about the flight to the moon, then you – would like to be on it, though I’m not quite done exploring this planet.
- if your mother is near you, then – I’m in New England.
- if you want juice, then it will be – Home made
- if you love, then you love as - myself.
Thank you for your time. I hope our questions were interesting for you and you enjoyed our interview.