One of Chris Messina’s great gifts as an actor is that audiences are never quite certain whether they’re supposed to like him. When he plays nice, you still keep a suspicious eye on him in case he ultimately decides to pull the rug out from under the heroine. When he’s a total heel, like on The Newsroom, you kick yourself for wanting to see more of him. To paraphrase Swingers, he’s often the guy from the R-rated movie you’re not so sure about yet.
In Fairhaven, a festival favorite that is now available on iTunes and video on-demand (and in select theaters), Messina gets to showcase both sides of that coin. He plays Dave, a messed-up guy who returns home for the first time in 10 years to attend his father’s funeral, reuniting with high school friends whose lives have unspooled in different, unanticipated directions. Messina and director Tom O’Brien — who also stars as Dave’s ex-jock pal, Jon — came up with the story around the time that Messina was still on Six Feet Under, and the duo, who first met as members of the All Seasons Theatre Group in New York, slowly pieced it together and debuted it at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. “You have a shorthand with friends,” says Messina. “He knew what I could do and he saw in me something different than most of Hollywood had seen up to that point.”
Watch a clip of Messina’s Dave reuniting with a former flame, played by Sarah Paulson, and then read his thoughts on The Mindy Project, the challenge of TV, and his childhood ambition to be the next Baryshnikov. READ FULL STORY