Interview by Melissa Pellicer
Where are you from originally? Please share with us a little bit about your background, family, and hometown.
I grew up between France and Canada, I would spend my school months in Canada and each summer I go back in France. I grew up with three languages and speak French German fluently. Growing up my father would always speak German to me and my Mom French. Growing up I had to act differently in France than I would in Canada. Mannerisms and one's perception of art or other people does change with the language.
As you can imagine France was very romantic growing up, beautiful settings, people, music, food; all my experiences in my formative years were varied. My father is a clothing designer and being German again came another outlook on how to conduct business and apply design.
Tell us about a day in the life of Xavier Schoppel. Any routines that keep you grounded? Any passions, and interests?
Sport is my anchor, I try to do as many activities and sports as I can in the day. My day will usually start with a workout and end with one. I hate routine and feel I grow and learn more in my day by constantly adapting to what needs to get done, if it's a script, a production meeting, audition, or working on a side business, my days are busy but I love every minute. One of my greatest passions is to get out into nature.
Growing up in Canada my father would take me on canoe trips sometimes for several nights in the lakes and woods. I have always felt very comfortable and connected with nature and still find it can heal and reset anything I go through. I love showing those closest to me where to look and how to enjoy the simplicity and beauty oftheir surroundings.
I believe that ‘what you do,’ and ‘who you are,’ are not always one in the same; quite the opposite sometimes... Actor, Producer, Director aside, who are you? Xavier in a nutshell is….
A man who can make the best of anything. It doesn't take a lot for me to be happy or really enjoy myself. I’ll take anything that comes my way and see the potential or best that I can offer. It's a trait I feel is very helpful in this industry. Everyone and everything has a potential for excellence, it just depends how you look at it.
When did you decide that your life’s calling is to act, produce, and Direct? You shared that you were on a decidedly different profession not too long ago. Tell us about the moment you took the leap, and never looked back.
I went to school for finance and worked as a trader for three years. The job was great, paid well, but deep inside me I knew I wanted something else. A friend put me on to an acting course for the sake of just trying something new.
I took an intro course and found that I was very comfortable playing out different characters or building on familiar ones. It really was liberating to create with no bounds. The head of the acting school Dean Armstrong suggested I take an advanced course and from there we would see if I could become a viable actor.
Well the course went well, but I had no reel, no agent. I used some scenes from the course to put together a reel - and lone behold it landed me an agent! I remember going out for my first audition wanting only to leave a good impression. The audition was in the morning and I remember laying on a couch that afternoon wondering if this was really for me - the phone rang - it was my agent, and I had booked it! I was accepted into the world of acting and it was a very personal breakthrough for me.
Who are the actors and directors you look forward to work with.
It would be so hard for me to say. I admire so many people in this line of work and find their approaches fascinating and inspiring. I’m happiest when I’m working and no matter the fame or stature of director actors I am always looking forward to work.
Tell us about your current projects
We just finished post production for my new feature Hard Visit. This was my first experience producing and starring in a feature. It's been a wild ride, and one I can't wait to take again. We had such a great team and group of people that worked together to make the project possible. It all started at Sundance this year we threw around an idea and it snowballed from there. Go check out Hard Visit people!
If you could go back to any point and time in history and share a drink with three people, who would they be and why?
Stanley Kubrick - he was a perfectionist like me - I wonder if he ever got over this.
Robin Williams - With a bottle of scotch and just watch him go! Incredible talent.
Hemingway - There's something about his view on life and how a man interacts with his emotions and surroundings. He had a great way of doing it.
Which life experiences do you feel has shaped you the most?
Growing up I was always involved in sports and the outdoors. My formative years were spent travelling and trying new things. I've never lost this and find it hard to stay still even now. I constantly want to explore and learn more. It's hard to single out one specific experience - but having taken the leap into acting and producing has been a testament to those feelings of going for something new and never looking back.
Who is your first hero, first heroine? Why?
My father. The man does it all, from living through world war 2 to raising a family, to running a business, to exploring the farthest reaches of the earth. He explored the country he immigrated to from the arctic circle to the mountains. His stories and learning his appreciation and love for everything in his life was simply inspiring growing up.
What do you love most about acting? Are there any particular roles you played that solidified your love for the craft?
It really is just being a kid again. I think in life if you don't hold onto some level of make belief you do miss out on a lot of fun and self-growth. Every role confirms this for me. Never take things seriously, be silly, if you feel it go for it, there's no right or wrong, be weird it's the healthiest thing for you.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still doing what I love!
Top five favorite movies.
True Romance Cool Hand Luke La Piscine
Leon the Professional
What is the proudest moment in your career thus far?
Honestly - the beginning was wild. To sign and then book my first audition and be accepted into this wild world of film was such a great leap and one I never take for granted. My work ethic has not changed since day one.
What music do you like to listen to?
This list would be huge, anything and everything! Right now it's early summer been really into some solid throwbacks to the 90’s always brings back good memories of summers past!
What is your favorite travel destination
I do love going back to France. I have been very fortunate in getting to know the south of France one little town a little past St Tropez is called Bormes les Mimosas and I love going back with friends and family.
What advice would you give to aspiring actors? What proffer did you receive that you feel helped keep your dream of becoming a working actor alive?
Never ever ever ever give up. Just don’t, it's so easy to step off and call it quits especially in this industry where you are constantly up against rejection and being criticized. Know what you bring to the room and believe in it.
If you were given the opportunity to support a charity, which one would it be and why?
It would have to be Unsung - we are very fortunate to live in the country that we do and have the opportunities that we have. At the very least everyone should have access to the basic necessities to survive and it doesn't take a lot. Having meal insecure in the US should not be a thing. In order to go forth and empower a person to believe in themselves and work towards a better life they've got to be at the very least not starving. I would urge that people petition and get Unsung going in their communities! It’s a really great charity because it works and you can see the changes.
What do you want your legacy to be?
To have made people happy, if even for a scene or for something embarrassing that happened to me, if your day got better or I made you laugh, then I've done great!
On behalf of Unsung's co-Founder, Jason King, I would like to thank Xavier for supporting this great cause. As a representative for California, and very soon, the Asia Region, it means very much to know people are helping spread the word about this timely endeavor to #hackhunger. For more information about the Foundation and the collective work we do, please visit the website at: Unsung #HackHunger - Melissa Pellicer, Producer, Managing Editor
Please visit the Unsung Facebook page, and share with your friends. Together, we can make a difference.
Photography IRVIN RIVERA
Photo Asst PHIL LIMPRASERTWONG