Tyler Tuione may be used to saving people money on their travel plans (as Priceline’s The Big Deal), but this week he has an entire village to save. Thursday marks the debut of Tyler’s character Chief on ABC’s new hit show Last Resort. Join us as we discuss island perks, acting, stunts, and the price of being an action figure.
MV: Welcome to Movie Vine, Tyler.
Tyler: Thank you very much for having me, Jan. I love Movie Vine.
MV: Congratulations on your new show Last Resort. What can we expect from your character Chief?
Tyler: Thank you very much. I love this role. Basically, I bring my family to this island and take them away from civilization because I grew tired of taxes and things like that. I wanted to be able to raise my family the way I wanted to raise my family without all of the rules and regulations. So I move my family to this island to do that. We’re pretty self-sufficient, we take care of ourselves, and I’m pretty happy and content with that. However, not everyone in my family is 100% on board with that.
MV: Last Resort films in Hawaii which is not a bad way to spend your working days eating fresh pineapple and relaxing on the beach. What is the best part of working on the island?
Tyler: The beauty of the people is the best part of working on the island, and the beauty on the set is incredible! But, I really didn’t have much time. I arrived Wednesday and went straight to set. My day was spent getting hair approved, getting wardrobe ok’d, and doing paperwork back at the studio in Diamond Head. Once all that was completed it was already getting kind of late. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and went to my room to rest up. On Thursday we shot and wrapped around 1:00AM. So by the time I showered and went back to sleep it was like 2:00AM. I woke at 4:00AM to finish packing and left for the airport at 5:00AM on Friday. So really my intro episode was pretty busy and I didn’t have much time to relax.
MV: How has playing the Big Deal in the Priceline commercials changed your acting career?
Tyler: It has definitely given me more exposure. And, I feel like I have an identity for people who hadn’t seen any of my work. If someone brings up, “he’s the Big Deal from Priceline commercials” just about everybody at that point had seen them. So in that aspect for sure it has given me more exposure.
MV: When auditioning for the role, did you know that you would be working with William Shatner?
Tyler: I did. I believe it was in the breakdown that he would be part of the new characters on the commercials. Which excited me, because not only was I excited about working with William Shatner, but I was also stoked because I actually loved the previous Priceline ads. So I was very happy to be a part of it all.
MV: I was happy to see Mr. Shatner reprise his role as the Priceline Negotiator this month. Is there anything in the works for you two to reunite?
Tyler: I am so hoping. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for that. At this point I’m in the dark so I can’t really say “yes” or “no”. But that’s what Team Tuione is hoping for. Hopefully, we can start working together again.
MV: What can you tell us about your character Granhorn in Syndicate?
Tyler: Granhorn is a member of this group of hit men and women called The Syndicate. They are kind of like the Bad News Bears in a sense that each member has their own quirkiness about them. And although they get the job done in the end, I might not be as smooth as some of their high end competing establishments. It was written and directed by Michael Karnow of Alphas. I don’t know where it’s gonna go or what plan he has for it, but it was a pleasure working with him and everyone involved. So, Granhorn is a little bit of the world’s most interesting man and the Tommy Jefferson character from Harry’s Law and even though he’s a big fella, he still has luck with the ladies. He’s one of those guys that has been just about everywhere and seen just about everything. His specialty is taunting fellow Syndicate member Glen, played by Alex Watson, and his creative knack for taking out his targets. That’s Mr. Granhorn.
MV: How did you get involved with the Danny Trejo film Bad Ass?
Tyler: It was so awesome working with Danny Trejo. When I found out he was the actor that I would be doing my scene with, I was so happy, you have no idea. Here is an example of the exposure the Priceline ads gave me. Craig Moss, the director of the film had me in mind for this based off of the Priceline commercials. He liked them so much. Production actually got in touch with my commercial agent to have me read for the role because at the time I wasn’t represented theatrically.
MV: Be honest, even with your Sumo background, were you a little scared to take on the legendary Danny Trejo?
Tyler: No. I wasn’t nervous. Because there was no way I was really going to take him on and go through a window. That’s what we have stuntmen for. Thank you, Mikal Kartvedt. He did my stunt for that and actually I think he broke a rib going out that window on the last take.
MV: Did you just hit the ground for the stunt?
Tyler: No. Although I think that was the idea at first to have him fly out of the window on a pad. Then, they would insert me and I would roll. However, that isn’t what happened. There is no way I would do that stuff. Those guys are like super heroes.
MV: I can almost see Danny Trejo actually picking you up to throw you out the window. He is awesome, but he is one scary guy.
Tyler: Yeah. That’s how you see him from the outside, but I’ll tell you what, Danny Trejo is one awesome guy. We were shooting in this neighborhood of Los Angeles and people from the neighborhood instantly recognize him. He was signing autographs and taking pictures in the street in between filming. He is one of those guys who appreciate what they’ve got and they give back. That’s super cool.
MV: I watched a documentary on Danny and it seems like he is so charitable, and has such a loving and kind heart.
Tyler: Yep. That’s exactly what I saw.
MV: How did you become involved with the interactive shorts by Chad, Matt, and Rob?
Tyler: Those are my boys! I was involved with a show called The Cleanup Crew. It was written by Scott Rickels and Tim Dragga. On the show was Matt from Chad, Matt, and Rob at the time. Matt Bettinelli. I was his sidekick on the show. When we were finished with that, he gave me a call one day and said “My friends and I do these shorts, would you be interested in being involved with that?”. I just wanted to work, I was having a good time, and I loved Matt, so I was like “yeah, let’s do it”. I think the first thing we did was a short based on a spoof on Prison Break, and then eventually they moved into the interactive stuff. I had started with them pretty early on in the Chad, Matt, and Rob era, so they wrote me in on just about everything they did. Which is really cool.
MV: I loved the interactive shorts. How many scene combinations did you have to film per episode?
Tyler: I’m not 100% sure, but maybe I did up to 10 on the longer ones. They were shot very fast and using two cams allowed us to get what we needed in order to move along. Most of the footage shot, we could knock out on a weekend. Post and CGI is what took the longest. When the camera operators are perfect, direction is great, and when you have great chemistry working together, you’re going to get magic. These guys are really good at what they do. Since then, Rob has his own projects lined up, and Chad, Matt, Tyler Gillett and Justin Martinez are now Radio Silence. If you love horror, then you’ll LOVE V/H/S! I think the last thing we all did was Treasure Hunt with Alfonso Arau and what a pleasure that was to work with him.
MV: Treasure Hunt was brilliant. The CGI was amazing.
Tyler: That’s Justin Martinez. He’s really good.
MV: You grew up in Los Angeles, what was it like to film Southland in your own home town?
Tyler: I was REALLY excited to work on Southland! I grew up in the city of Hawthorne. It’s such a great show and it takes place in my back yard so to be a part of it was really cool. Plus, anytime you get to work with a director like Christopher Chulack and actors like Michael Cudlitz and Lucy Liu, It’s a bonus.
MV: There is a figurine based off of your character in Pirates 3. What is it like to be immortalized in plastic?
Tyler: It’s so awesome. My kids absolutely love it. And, I don’t know. I guess it is weird, but it’s … I don’t know. I can tell you that I think it is so cool to have a figure made off of a character in a film that you were in. I went out and bought a whole bunch of them. I think I still have a couple up in my closet. I bought a bunch and was giving them to family and friends. I was just stoked about it. I probably spent more on those things then I got paid on the film. (laughs)
MV: (laughs) Last question, you’ve played a thug, a thief, and a bear. When will audiences see the sweeter side of Tyler?
Tyler: (Laughs) I am attached to a show with Barbara Eden, entitled Teen Genie. In this show, I play Barbara’s butler and confidant and am a big brother/father figure to the other main characters in the house.
MV: Thanks for sharing with us today, Tyler. We look forward to seeing you on Last Resort and wish you the best of luck.
Tyler: Thank you for having me on and for doing the interview. And, I wish you the best of luck too. I can’t wait to see Last Resort either.