We had the good fortune of connecting with Damian Joseph Quinn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Damian, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The greatest risk in my acting career I’ve taken is letting go.
I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was a child. It has always been my dream, & a large part of my identity. The risk I take every day is choosing to let go of the false notion that I have any control: over casting, finances, or the edit. I’m a straight A student who is now walking a pathless path. And I’m left vulnerable to rejection, unemployment & failure.
Art is not quantifiable but I’m armed with algorithms. So I have to constantly surrender my addiction to the idea/image that my life will be better once I’ve “made it” (because that definition will always be a few steps ahead).
So I risk letting go of the perfectionism & trusting that the Art will flow when & how it’s supposed to. & I pursue my joy with all that I’ve got. & trust.
(that’s a nightmare for a Taurus!!)
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I just played Roy Cohn in US v. Billie Holiday. The same week of shooting, I found out about my dad’s cancer. A year later, I’m throwing a premiere party in heels & a dress, isolated in quarantine, watching the Oscar nom on Hulu with my mom in the basement. The same week, we got the news that my dad’s cancer procedure is working & numbers are looking good (they still are). The ride has been thrilling, to say the least.
I graduated from Tisch in 2017. I stayed home to save up some money & came out to LA in September of ’17, not really knowing any one.
I started with tons of short films &college thesis projects. I wanted to act in any story that may have some quality. I did some bad projects (Nazi Overlord) & some great ones, too. I played creatures under 20 pounds of prosthetic face makeup, modeled bargain sunglasses, sobbed in character on a 110 degree desert floor. I had fun the entire time.
I’ve had dry spells & consequentially long periods of self-doubt. I was so drunk once that I was fired on-site catering a Seth Macfarlane Christmas party. It’s really hard to beat the “names.”
But no matter what, I hold fast to the dream & the Joy. I want to play! & imagine!! & pave the pathless path for people to heal, learn, laugh & cry.
& I trust every experience I have — rich or painful or sleazy or lonely — will be elements in the nature of the characters I play.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Go to Laguna Beach. Go for a hike in Topanga Canyon or in Malibu (Lion’s Rock I think?). Take a swim lesson with Kapowui. Watch a film at the Hollywood Cemetery. Ask about the orange poppies (you didn’t hear it from me!), see a Groundlings show, walk barefoot in the little meadow on the Silver Lake Reservoir. Catch a sunset!! Smoke weed!! Stay present!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate this Shoutout to Hawaii — living on the Big Island has healed me to my roots. I think of the Ocean & her magic every day.
Other: TikTok damequinn8
Artists include: Joseph Adivari, Kimberly Millard, Stefano Lirezzi, Christophe Mcwhorter