“The little shit doesn’t matter”, says Scoot McNairy. This attitude is likely what has propelled his career forward, from acting in plays at a children’s theater in Dallas, TX, to starring alongside Brad Pitt in Killing Them Softly, which just released. He made a few stops in between, working as both a cameraman and a carpenter on sets. But it was in the early 2000s after he sparked the interest of a commercial agent, that he decided to try his hand at acting again, this time committed to basically ruling the world. Ten years later, he has an extensive list of movie and TV credits to his name (Herbie Fully Loaded, How I Met Your Mother), as well as an Indie Spirit Award for In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2007). He met his wife, Whitney Able on the set of 2010’s Monsters. Gary Oldman tops his list of favorite actors, and he counts Michael Mann’s Heat as one of many favorite movies. However, Touching the Void, a tale of strife and human will, is the film that most inspires him, speaking to the notion that in his line of work “giving up is not an option”. He loves cinema for its ability to take him to different, unknown places, and to tell a story with images. Watch him over the next year as he totally dominates the silver screen in at least half a dozen films, including Killing Them Softly, 12 Years As A Slave, Directed by Steve McQueen, Gust Van Sant’s Promised Land, Dragon Day, written and directed by Jeffrey Travis, and Ben Affleck’s newest directorial endeavor, Argo.
Q: Where are you living at the moment?
A: Off a dirt road in the Texas country side
Q: How did you get into acting?
A: I spent some of my early childhood doing plays at a children’s theater, but when I got to my teenage years I didn’t have much of an attraction to acting. It was not until I moved to Austin Texas when I was 18 that I began to dabble with it again. I spent some time at the Zackery Scott Theatre in Austin mostly to fill my weekends. Even then I was not fully committed to the idea of acting as a career. I was cast in a low budget indie film and spent a lot of the time on set getting to know the cinematographer. By the time I had finished the film I decided that I wanted to be a cameraman and that is what sparked my move to LA to go to film school. After dropping out of film school and becoming a carpenter building sets, its was then that a commercial agent asked to send me out on castings. After doing a number of commercials I began studying acting again in LA and decided that I was going to make a commitment to this industry.
Q: How long have you been working in the industry?
A: 10 years
Q: What was your breakthrough moment?
A: Its really hard to say, there wasn’t one moment that I felt I had broken out. The moment was more of a long slow drawn out moment over the last 10 years of beating the pavement and persistence.
Q: What is your Favorite movie?
A: Come on, how can I answer that? There are so many that I like and all for different reasons. Off the top of my head, I would say Michael Mann’s Heat.
Q: Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
A: Gary Oldman has always been an actor who interests me.
Q: Who do you consider the most inspirational person in film?
A: Touching the Void, which is a true story of a man who was left on a mountain after a unfortunate event. The man pushed his way down the mountain with a severely broken leg, over glaciers and crevasses over the course of three days losing a third of his body weight. It showed me that giving up is not an option, and that the mind will give up before the body.
Q: Do you have a mentor?
A: My father.
Q: If you weren’t acting what would you do?
A: I would be a carpenter or a wildlife photographer, something that I do a lot now regardless of acting endeavors.
Q: What was the most difficult scene in your career and how did you handle it?
A: A scene at the Bar in a movie called “Killing them Softly“.
Q: Did you ever fall in love on set?
A: Yes, and I married her.
Q: Who is your favorite designer?
A: Patty Norris.
Q: Who is your favorite artist?
A: Bryten Goss.
Q: Do you have a motto or words of wisdom you live by?
A: “The little shit doesn’t matter.”
Q: What is it about cinema that you love?
A: Stories in a visual format. To be taken to a different place. To know what it was like to be in someone else shoes. To see others perspectives. To be informed. To get away from the everyday things that are not that important.
Q: Why acting?
A: I enjoy dissecting Human Behavior. People fascinate me, their actions, their reasons behind what they deem as RIGHT.
Q: What are your current projects?
A: I have just wrapped a film called 12 Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen. There is also Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt, Promised Land directed by Gus Van Sant, a film called ARGO directed by and starring Ben Affleck and a film called Touchy Feely directed by Lynn Shelton.
See the full editorial spread in the new issue of The Untitled Magazine, Cinema Issue 5
Photography by Indira Cesarine
Fashion Editor Brendan Cannon
Photographed at the Mondrian Hotel, West Hollywood
Grooming by Tony Chaves @ Jed Root
Top Photo (Cinema Issue 5 back cover): Scoot wears a jacket by Richard Chai & trousers by Carhartt.
2nd Image: He wears a jacket by Rochambeau, shirt by Boglioli, trousers by Kill City, shoes by The Generic Man & tie by Robert James.