POP SPOTLIGHT: Blake Cooper Griffin, Star of Highly Anticipated film “Love Is All You Need?,” is One to Watch
Five minutes into my interview with rising actor Blake Cooper Griffin, it became apparent to me that there was something different about him. In an industry that currently seems dominated by celebrity fads and Twitter followers, Blake’s combination of charm and substance is reminiscent of classic Hollywood icons like Robert Redford, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, and even Willem Defoe. “My goal is to play interesting characters truthfully. I like to find small idiosyncrasies in characters. My hope is, that, you know, that will impact audiences and add up to something. If I’m interested, hopefully the audience will be.. hopefully,” Blake laughed as he sipped a black coffee at Palihouse Hotel in West Hollywood where we met for the interview.
“The second I finished the script, I knew I had to be in the film. I had a hunch that, you know, this was going to be something that could change lives. I became obsessed with what was underneath the character of Bill Bradley.”
A look at his previous work demonstrates that his classic leading man good looks are just the beginning of his talents showing a depth of range from purple-haired bad boy “Trent Rogers” on USA’s Necessary Roughness to Ivy League world chess champion “J. Thomas Gaines” in the Cuba Gooding Jr. starrer Life of a King on Netflix. And that’s just the beginning, Blake has guest starred on some of TV’s hottest shows including Castle, 90210, Major Crimes, and Disney’sJessie. He’s been directed by DJ Caruso in Standing Up starring Val Kilmer and he’s been directed by Helen Hunt twice— once in her film RIDE and again on an upcoming episode of House of Lies on Showtime. But it is Blake’s turn as the antagonistic “Bill Bradley” in the upcoming film Love Is All You Need? that has people buzzing ahead of it’s March 2016 world premiere at Cinequest Film Festival. “The second I finished the script, I knew I had to be in the film. I had a hunch that, you know, this was going to be something that could change lives. I became obsessed with what was underneath the character of Bill Bradley.”
Love is All You Need? is co-written by Kim Rocco Shields and David Tillman; Shields also directs. The film examines a world where being gay is the norm and the heterosexual persons are bullied and follows a girl and a guy who falls in love on a college campus, in a world where same sex couples are the majority and mixed gender couples are the minority. The couple faces bullying once their relationship goes public. Griffin portrays the aggressive, if not bellicose, Bill Bradley, fraternity president and football player who has major issues with the couple’s relationship. Blake joins an impressive young Hollywood cast that also includes Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars), Emily Osment (Young and Hungry), and Briana Evigan (STEP UP franchise). Jeremy Sisto (Clueless, Suburgatory) and Elizabeth Rohm (American Hustle, Joy) also star.
Even from the film’s trailer, you can see the acting chops that Griffin possesses and how fascinating the story is. Blake is very clear on the reason he believes the film works. “Rocco, our director, gave us freedom. That is the greatest gift to an actor. She trusted me. The first night of shooting, we were filming a very climatic scene for my character…which can be intimidating on the very first day,” Blake smiles, “But we all were— Rocco and the cast— we were committed to telling the story. At the end of the day, that’s all we can do— tell the story.” His passion for the project and strong point of view seem paramount to Griffin’s abilities, “I’ve learned to trust myself. In Drama School that was harder, because you feel like you have so much to learn. I’ve come to find what I needed to learn was that I have the answers, I just have to get out of my own way.” It was no surprise to learn that the actor graduated from the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts which consistently tops the list of the best Drama schools in the country.
While sitting for our interview, two women walked over who were presumably from out of town and staying at the hotel. Giggling, one of them worked up the courage to ask Blake, “Sorry to bother you, but do we know you from something? Are you famous?” Blake warmly smiled, almost embarrassed, and introduced himself in a way that revealed his South Carolina upbringing, “I’m Blake. Nice to meet you.” But something tells me, soon enough, fans will walk up to him already knowing his name.
Love Is All You Need? will premiere at Cinequest Film Festival on March 5. The film will have encore screenings at the festival on March 6 and March 9. James Franco and Rita Moreno are headlining this year’s festival.