Jon Lindstrom – True Detective

Jon Lindstrom


Photographer Joshua Shultz
Styling by Lisa Martinez
Grooming Susan Zeytuntsyan
Location The Sunset Marquis Hotel

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Bellus Magazine (BM):  How long have you been acting?
Jon Lindstrom (JL):  Oh, man. Since I was a kid! My father was an Ad-Man (yep, from the Mad Men era) at our local TV station in Oregon. He would put me, and sometimes my older brother, in the commercials he directed. Started when I was about 5 or 6. But it was James Bond movies and our family trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland that really hooked me. Still, I didn’t get serious until high school. I took a drama class and the teacher decided he saw something and asked me to audition for a play he was going to direct there. I got a part, a very small one, and I totally sucked, but it was the encouragement I needed. By the end of the school year I was doing leads, much to the chagrin of the school’s established “thea-tuh” crowd. I had the same trajectory my first year at the University of Oregon, which was also encouraging, but I soon found that acting professionally in Hollywood takes a little longer, and a bit more commitment. (laughs) But I’m lucky in that I always knew what I wanted to do. 
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BM:  What can you tell us about your character on “True Detective” “Jacob McCandless…
JL:  That’s, Mister McCandless, to you. (laughs) He is a very rich and very powerful man, and he thinks nothing of going toe-to-toe with a violent mobster like Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn). Of course, I can’t say a lot, but I can tell you McCandless figures very prominently in the land deals that Semyon needs so badly to go legitimate. When people smell the kind of money that McCandless
represents, they tend to do things they wouldn’t otherwise. It’s that desperation that McCandless likes to play off of. It makes it easier for him to take advantage of you. I think he enjoys it. 

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BM:  What was it like working with the True Detective writer Nic?
JL:  I had a great time with Nic! He was on set for every shot and is someone who truly appreciates and respects everyone’s individual talent and contribution. He’s not an actor, so he thrills to see what actors can do with his words. Here’s an example of what he’s like; We’re shooting episode 2, which is the first time I have any real dialogue, and it’s all with Vince. It’s the scene with the indoor oil pumps, and it requires all day to shoot. Justin Lin, who is also amazing and a great guy, is directing. At the end of the day, I’m walking past the video village, where the director, producers, and Nic all hang out to watch the work on the monitors. I’m heading to, I don’t know, probably to hand in my mic to the audio guys, and out of the corner of my eye I see Nic, with a big smile on his face, hop off his chair, yank off his headphones and rush over to me and say, “Jon! You’re doing a great job! Thank you!” He didn’t want me to leave without acknowledging that he knew what we had all done in service to his material for the last several hours. That’s Nic Pizzolatto. A guy who says thank you and means it, then gives you a big hug before you part ways, and means that, too. Totally honest and genuine. And he’s managed to completely upend television storytelling as we know it. So, what else would you like to know? (laughs)  
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BM:  What do you think of the new season of True Detective?  
JL:  I think it’s spectacular! My wife and I have been watching each episode twice, and it not only gets better and deeper, I think someday it will be like revisiting great movies. I mean, how many times have you seen The Godfather? I feel that True Detective will have the same longevity. But whatever criticism I’m hearing, I notice they’re complaining that they’re missing exactly what they were complaining about in the first season“Oh dear, so much character development, the story takes a whole 2 episodes to build! What are we to do?” I’m sorry, but I gotta’ call bullshit on that one. I’ve read that Nic is a big fan of Dennis Potter (The Singing DetectivePennies From Heaven), as am I, and [that] criticism is very similar to what greeted Potter’s shows when they premiered. I mean, come on, even I’ Claudius was ripped to shreds in the beginning. Personally, I think Nic has reinvented the TV cotton gin, and history is on his side. And by the way, I don’t know what happens, either. Ha! I can’t wait to see it all! 
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BM:  What is next for you?
JL:  Where to begin? Since Detective wrapped I’ve shot a TV gig in LA and a movie in Arkansas. A show like this tends to bring a certain amount of visibility, which is great for an actor, and there’s certainly a lot of interest and meetings happening. I’ve also been shepherding the release of my own feature, How We Got Away With It. It’s my debut as a feature director, and I play a major role in it. It won several awards and I’m very proud of it. You can find out how to see it at  The new big news there is, since it’s become available at AmazoniTunesand all the usual outlets, and will be going to DVD and TV later this year, it’s also now one of the first film releases on the huge Indie Gamer site, STEAM! That’s a big deal.  
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BM:  What advice can you give to the other aspiring artists out there?
JL:  You know the one about the guy walking down a New York street and a tourist stops him and asks, “Excuse me, sir, do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?” And the guy says, “Practice.” But more specifically, here’s how Dennis Hopper described Sean Penn’s process: “Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Become.” I think it’s important when starting out to recognize that there may be lucky breaks, but there are no shortcuts. Whatever the opportunity, you have to be ready for it, because if you’re not, there will be someone else who is. Follow your bliss and do what you love, every chance you get. You will get better, I promise. If you’re a painter…paint. Someone will see it. If you’re an actor…act. Someone will find you.  
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BM:  I hear you do music as well?  What can you tell us about that?
JL:  Yeah, I play drums. Or I claim to. (laughs) I was in a band called The High Lonesome for many years in LA. We were basically out of work actors who needed something creative to do between what meager acting gigs we could find back then. We had different names like, Hiatus, The Actors, The Need and Johnny Socko!. We started playing clubs, got pretty popular around the city, and suddenly got signed to a record deal. That was some years back now. But then a couple years ago our Masters reverted back to us, so we broke out any unreleased songs, remixed the old stuff and recorded a couple new songs for a compilation album; The High Lonesome Collector’s Album 1995-2010. It’s up at iTunes and CD Baby. I hope to get together with the boys soon. I’d love to put out a new song every year or so, just to play together. Then it’s just for the love of doing it, and only good can come from that.  
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