10 Questions With… Producer/Actor John O’Hern

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With the audiobook version of Christopher Minori’s Dirty Little Secrets near release, we thought it was a good time to get a little close and personal with its producer and actor, John O’Hern.

1. You’re a man of many talents; producer, actor, author. Which is your favorite hat to wear?

I have always been a story teller. It’s my most natural talent (if you saw my golf swing you’d see what an unnatural talent looks like!!) and it’s probably what I was born to do. So…to answer your question I would have to say acting and writing are my most favorite things. I get great pleasure from storytelling and I don’t really care how I do it…by acting or writing one down. Both take a lot of work to properly craft but it’s always worth it in the end.

2. What made you decide to produce Dirty Little Secrets as an audiobook?

Several things. I love a good horror story and I lean mostly to comedy in my own story telling and this project seemed to have both elements. As an actor I was drawn to the idea of getting to slip into many characters. Too much bait for a man like me to resist.

3. How was acting out an anthology of stories, as opposed to performing a novel?

A novel is much more drawn out…plot lines…complications and it’s usually about the journey the characters go one over an extended period of time and events. The short story concept is fun in that you jump right into a character in distress and get the payoff quicker…and then get to move to the next one. Also, it allows the actor to jump locals in his telling. One story might take place in the South and one might take place in New York. It’s fun to jump around like that.

4. The stories range from light comedy to light horror, to extremely dark horror. Which was your favorite to perform?

I like them all but if I was forced to pick one (am I being forced?) I would have to go with light horror. Dark horror has the tendency to be somewhat restricted in tone….every word is packed with impending doom and it’s easy to get trapped into a one note reading. Light horror allows for some levity and usually more chances at fun character work.

5. Which is your favorite story?

Off the top of my head I would go with Cheap Sunglasses but only because I love the idea of x-ray glasses. This take on that top of the list juvenile desire makes me giddy with the possibilities. There’s no end to the devilment one could get up to with a pair of glasses that make you invisible. I’m pretty sure that almost everyone in the history of the world has wanted to be invisible at one time or another so the concept alone touches a big, fat, throbbing fantasy nerve. Most of my wildest fantasies come to me at night just as I’m dropping off to sleep. This particular story fed my nighttime travels for quite a few days. One night I was robbing a bank…then next I was a hit man…the next I was getting revenge… and on it goes.

6. Who is your favorite character from Dirty Little Secrets?

If I were to be cast in the movie version I would like most to portray Evil Moe (from the novella, Devil’s Advocate) . There’s something really desperate about that guy …needy …lonely …hungry …and seething with hate; there’s a lot to sink your teeth into there.

7. Who is your favorite author? Why?

Probably like a lot of people, my taste in writing has changed a lot over the years. Steven King of course…I love getting the shit scared out of me. When I was in college I read a complete collection of H.P. Lovecraft over a weekend when the dorm was empty for Easter weekend. I don’t think I slept one minute after reading that stuff. Then I went through a John LeCarre period. His early spy stuff is the best and if you want the very best in biting dialogue…check out Tinker Tailor or A small Town in Germany. Priceless. Last year I made it through Forster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Blew my mind.

8. As an actor, what would be your dream role?

Tough question. There’s a big difference between what I would love to play and what I would actually be good at. I fantasize about playing roles tough guy roles like Paul Newman’s character in Hombre…silent…strong…deadly…but who would cast me as that? No one…that’s who. I just watched A Band of Brothers (memorial day must see TV) and any of the meaty Easy Company guys would have been fantastic. Still…I’d love to be a gunslinger in a good Western…even if I got mowed down in the end. Think Jack Palance’s role in Shane and you’re close.

9. You’re a published author yourself; what is your favorite genre to write in?

Comedy. I like the funny in life. There is comedy in everything that happens to us…even the sad and tragic. In a few years you’ll start seeing movies and plays about the current administration and I guarantee you, they will all be comedies. Comedy is also a wry examination of the truth with a twist to take the sting out. Or put the sting in …not sure which. I’m so addicted to hitting golf balls that it’s surely injurious to my career and marriage, so I wrote about it. When I came up with the line in “Sweetspot:Confessions of a Golfaholic,” where the main characters wife screams, “…you wouldn’t have sex with me now unless I painted myself green and stuck a flag between my legs…” I laughed out loud, but I knew I was close to the bone.

10. I could only think of 9 questions. Go ahead and give a John O’Hern plug.

Ha ha…I just did!! If any of your fans are golf fanatics I invite them to check out Sweetspot:Confessions of a Golfaholic, Available on Amazon. It’s a funny read and I’m quite proud of it. You can find out more about the book at www.sweetspotthebook.com or just about me in general at johnohern.com.

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