Orlando – Jordan Woods-Robinson’s career is at an upswing. He currently plays “Eric” on AMC’s blockbuster series The Walking Dead (one of the first gay male characters ever portrayed on the show) and co-stars in the upcoming Solace with Colin Ferrell and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
A full list of his credits and links to his other projects can be found at JordanWoods-Robinson.com.
The actor, who lives in Orlando with his wife and children, recently sat down with Watermark to discuss his role on the record-breaking show and what it’s like to be LGBT-identified. He also talks about his role in the Blue Man Group and his blossoming role as entrepreneur in music production.
WATERMARK: The auditioning process for The Walking Dead—how did that come about?
JORDAN WOODS-ROBINSON: It was done through video. There are more and more projects being done that way.
It means that rather than going into a room with a casting director and driving for hours, I actually booked the role of Eric without having to set foot out of my own house. What is also cool about the audition is that because the show is so under lock and key, they send out fake scenes and character names, so as an actor you have no idea how you’re going to fit in the show.
It wasn’t until I was cast did I go “Oh! That’s who I am!” And then I got the call that said “Ok, we need you up here by the next day.” It was a whirlwind to get out of my day job with (the Blue Man Group). Normally we have enough guys in town so we can trade off, but it just so happened one guy was out of town and one guy had just had an emergency surgery.
I thought “I am going to have to turn down the largest opportunity that has come up in my career.” I called actors all over and it wasn’t happening, but at the last minute the guy who was out of town agreed to come back. It came down to the last minute—the last three minutes—to accept the role.
How did you handle negative reactions from fans who didn’t want a gay character?
My onscreen partner Ross Marquand, who plays Aaron, we only had about 24 hours to get to know each other before we filmed our first scene.
We are both straight men playing gay characters but we immediately [agreed] that this story is so crucial to the show and to life in general. They are a strong and powerful couple who is bringing hope and love to a world that is devoid of that. This is a show about relationships, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or race. Everyone understands love.
But it is a large fan base. There are 17 million people following and people are going to have opinions they can’t keep to themselves. Some people won’t like certain things. But the amount of support I’ve gotten is incredible.
I had read (co-star Ross Marquand) took to heart a lot of the nasty stuff said via Twitter.
Ross has seen a lot more opinions come his way because he is more prominently featured in it. He was upset by the comments because he was getting a glimpse into what some (LGBT) people might go through in their personal lives. I don’t want to speak for him, but that’s the impression I got from the conversations we’ve had.
Also, because I have a wife and children, I made sure to remove my personal life from my social media.
Is Playing gay different than it was 20 years ago?
I hope so. But taking all of the personal stuff aside, let’s just look at the paycheck. What kind of roles can I book? They’re based on my looks—how I present myself—so most of the roles I book have been gay characters. Am I worried about type-casting? No. All I care about is bringing a level of honor and truth to the characters I play. But yes, I do hope things are being re-focused in the right direction. We have to include everyone in order to survive.
How did you get involved with the Blue Man Group?
My girlfriend, who is my wife now and went to college with me, saw a sign that said they were holding auditions. So I skipped class and showed up for auditions.
I got a callback and they said, “We like you. We want to bring you into training but you still have a year and half of school. We don’t want to pull you out of school because if it doesn’t work out, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. Finish up and we’ll have a spot for you.” And that’s what they did.
you’re also a musician and you’re an entrepreneur?
I am. I run SOS Studios, which is an online recording studio utilizing professional musicians around the world who don’t have their own studios. We provide custom tracks and mixing as well as a blog and podcast for the business side of being a recording artist.
We want to teach people to maximize their own self-promotion, branding and networking so they can have that knowledge in their back pocket.
So you create an online community of artists?
Yes. In fact, SOS Studios has a session this summer where all of our musicians, vocalists and mixers get together and write, record and post 14 songs in 14 weeks!