Eric Chastain (Eric Ladin) in Columbia Pictures' WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING.

Eric Ladin of Ozark and Where the Crawdads Sing Talks Politics and Being of Jewish Faith

Actor Eric Ladin is a face you’ve seen before… Ozark, video games such as Street Fighter and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, just to name a few. Be sure to check out his new film Where the Crawdads Sing which comes out July 15, 2022. You can watch the official trailer here.

Eric also discussed religion, school, his audition for Where the Crawdads Sing and if politics should play a role in the entertainment world.

You play Eric Chastain in your latest film Where the Crawdads Sing, due out July 15, 2022. What was your audition like? When and how did you find you were chosen for the role? Who was the first person you told?

Like the majority of auditions these days, it was a self-taped audition. While the script was not included in the material, I had read the book, so I was familiar with the story. My reps told me I had the offer for the film as I was boarding a plane headed to Atlanta, as I was working on “Ozark” at the time. I immediately called my wife, Katy; she is always my first call!

You studied theatre at The University of Southern California where you earned your BA. Why did you choose this University? What was the most valuable lesson you learned from school?

Once I visited the USC campus, the choice was quite simple. In addition to all the wonderful things USC has to offer, I loved the professors I met with and had a wonderful audition experience. So my decision was made once I got the word that I had been accepted to the program. Theatre school was incredible; I wish I could go back and do it again. To spend so much time working on my craft, learning technique and creating art in a safe environment is a luxury.

You have an extensive film and television resume. What are your likes and dislikes regarding working on film vs. television?

I love everything about it, to be honest. As I get older, I recognize more than ever the beauty in doing what you love for a living. While the travel and hours may be difficult, they are outweighed by the experiences I have had and relationships I have made along the way.

Eric Ladin Ozark

Julia Garner and Eric Ladin in Ozark. Photo by Steve Dietl Courtesy of Netflix

Tell us some stories about your time on Ozark!

Unfortunately, there is nothing juicy to dish. I can say, that it was as well run of a production as I’ve been a part of and that’s saying a lot due to the fact that we were shooting during a pandemic. The majority of my work was with Julia Garner and she is a fantastic scene partner who made the job seem easy.

Behind the scenes of Where the Crawdads Sing has mainly women running the show, having been produced by Reese Witherspoon, Aislinn Dunster, Elizabeth Gabler, Lauren Levy Neustadter and Erin Siminoff, written by Lucy Alibar and Delia Owens and Directed by Olivia Newman. What differences, if any, did you notice on a women-produced and directed film vs. other film and television you’ve worked on that were run by men?

It is and that’s fitting as the story is a coming of age love story about a woman. And don’t forget Polly Morgan, who was the film’s DP. As for differences, I saw none.

You’re of Jewish faith. To what capacity do you consider yourself Jewish? Tell us about your Jewish upbringing.

I absolutely consider myself Jewish and I am proud to be Jewish. I was raised reform and attended Sunday school. I had a Bar Mitzvah and visited Israel with my synagogue when I was in high school. I enjoy going to services, especially on the High Holy Days and always look forward to Passover, my favorite of the Jewish Holidays. My wife is not Jewish, but attends temple with me and loves learning about the Jewish Faith and looks forward to celebrating our son’s Bar Mitzvah when the time is right.

Your wife, Katy, is a fashion designer and stylist. How did you two meet? Does Katy have a steady job or is she a freelancer like you?

Katy is actually a psychologist. She was in the fashion industry for some time, but after we had kids she decided to switch career tracks and follow her passion. She does have a steadier schedule than I do at the moment, but let’s be honest, everything is steadier than being an artist!

You’ve voiced characters in popular video games such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Left 4 Dead and Infamous 2. Are you allowed to read your lines off of a board or do you have to memorize them? Is there someone directing you?

It depends whether or not you are performing in a voice over booth or on a motion capture stage. While in the booth, you have your script in front of you whereas on the mo-cap stage, you are performing as you would in TV and film, so best to be memorized. And yes, of course, there is always a director.

Eric Ladin. Photo Credit Riker Bros

Eric Ladin. Photo by Riker Bros.

You’ve been an actor longer than you’ve been a dad. How did you explain to your kids that you’re an actor who works long hours, sometimes has to go on location for days at a time, etc? What were their reactions?

I have two boys who are 7 and 9 years old. Fortunately, I have been able to do a few projects that are appropriate for them to watch, so that makes explaining things a lot easier. As for time away from home, it is certainly one of the most difficult aspects of the job.  That said, when I am home, I get to be fully engaged as I don’t have that standard 9-5 job.  So I get to eat breakfast with them, take them to school, pick them up, etc. When I am home I choose to be a very active Dad.

It seems that entertainers who have a fan following feel pressured into talking about politics — fans think it’s the actor’s duty to voice their opinion. Originally being from Houston, Texas, have you ever been asked your opinion about birth control and/or Roe v. Wade and felt that you *had* to answer?

I don’t feel pressured to voice my opinion about anything. I also don’t believe that because I have a fan following that my opinion is any more weighted than that of someone who doesn’t.  Social Media has become a platform where entertainers can certainly reach their fans and discuss topics that they are passionate about, and that’s wonderful. I choose to use Social Media as a platform to promote my work and communicate with fans, but tend to stay clear of politics and polarizing subjects because I don’t believe those platforms are conducive to reasonable and thoughtful discourse.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks for the time!

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