An Interview with Matthew Gray Gubler (Dr. Spencer Reid, Criminal Minds)
From Rachel Thomas,
Many actors really do lead interesting lives outside of work, and then there are truly unique actors like Matthew Gray Gubler who take creativity to the next level. Like his character on the hit CBS series Criminal Minds, Matthew is a brilliantly creative man who uses his intelligence and extraordinary humor to make the world a better place. I had the fortunate opportunity to chat with Matthew about his life, where his character is headed and his plans for the future.
Q: How old were you when you got into acting?
Matthew: "It was really when the show started that I got into it. I did filmmaking and through a roundabout manner, I got into this. I was 25 when the show started."
Q: What do you think you'd be doing today if you weren't acting?
Matthew: "My family and friends sort of chastised me.
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They're kind of upset that I'm on the show to be honest because it wasn't what I had set out to do. I would hopefully be directing movies now or writing them."
Q: Your grandparents founded the first radio station in Las Vegas (KENO), did you ever work as a DJ on KENO?
Matthew: "No I didn't, that was way before I was born. My mother was pretty active in it. I think they gave up the station in the mid-60's."
Q: Your web site is quite possibly one of the most unusual places I've ever visited, where did you get the idea for the design?
Matthew: "Oh, thank you so much for finding it, I'm honored! To be honest, the design was born out of not knowing anything about programming and what would be the simplest way of getting information out. I'm not the biggest fan of technique. I wanted to do a simple, honest, hand-written web page."
Q: You've created several short films, going forward do you hope to do more work behind the camera?
Matthew: "Oh definitely. That's what I'm better at doing than anything. I've been fortunate enough with the show that I've been able to work in some time. I did a music video recently. It's what I'll do one day when the show slows down or gets cancelled."
Q: I understand you wear two different socks, what's the significance?
Matthew: "My grandmother told me at a very early age that it was good luck to not wear matching socks, which I've come interpret to as bad luck to wear matching socks because the one time I wore matching socks in ten years was when I was acting in this movie called The Life Aquatic. We were doing a moment where Bill Murray is leading us in exercises and somehow I managed to sprain my ankle on camera. It actually wound up being in the movie. I attribute that entirely to me wearing matching socks."
Q: Tell us about Dr. Spencer Reid.
Matthew: "He's an eccentric genius, with hints of schizophrenia and minor autism, Asperger's Syndrome. Reid is 24, 25 years old with three PH.D.'s and one can't usually achieve that without some form of autism."
Q: What's ahead on Criminal Minds for Spencer?
Matthew: "I've heard some pretty exciting stuff! I've heard I have an archenemy coming up. He's a kid I went to school who is one I.Q. point smarter, a little bit taller, better looking. He lives in New Orleans and plays jazz. They've hinted at shades of schizophrenia with Reid. I know his mother was schizophrenic and he has a fear of going schizophrenic himself. I'd like to think that one day down the line he will go schizophrenic and maybe turn into the type of person they'll chase relentlessly."
Q: How is your personality similar to your character?
Matthew: "He's not too similar. He's a genius and I'm technically and functionally retarded [laughs]. In the show, Reid was sort of hand-picked from college. He's in the FBI, but he didn't strive to achieve that or have any intention of doing that. Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) recruited him and I feel kind of akin to that because I had no real intention of being an actor or being on a show. I've sort of fallen into it. Reid makes the most of it and so do I. It's fun and quite an honor."
Q: How are you different?
Matthew: "He's a PH.D. in physics and mathematics and nobody knows what the third one is and I'm in no way scientifically minded. I think he's way more analytical than I am."
Q: What's ahead for Matthew?
Matthew: "Thanks to the show, I've been drawing and painting a lot because we have a lot of down time on the set and it's the perfect amount of time to make pictures. I've had a few art gallery exhibits and I hope that continues. I hope to direct some more. I just shot a movie with John Malkovich and Tom Hanks that is coming out in April."
Q: Anything you want to say to the fans?
Matthew: "I'm beyond proud and happy - I never imagined I would have one fan, and there seems to be a few. I just couldn't be happier that people seem to like what I'm doing and seem to respond to it. If they weren't there, I don't know what I'd be doing right now."