Jason Gedrick went bad in a great way with his performance as serial killer Raynard Waits in Amazon’s original series Bosch, tangling with the title character (portrayed by Titus Welliver) while also making us almost uncomfortably sympathetic to his own history. Now last week, LA Fan Cultures Examiner sat down with the veteran actor to find out what made the role memorable for him, and what he’s most likely to be recognized for after a lengthy, impressive career.
You might be surprised to know that Jason had originally auditioned for Bosch almost a year before getting the role of Waits. “I was excited to be part of the project however I could,” said the actor, who was aware of author Michael Connelly and a fan of Raymond Chandler, one of Connelly’s literary adaptations. Prior to his audition, he’d immersed himself in Connelly’s Bosch novels, and brought that plus a career of crafting characters to the TV series.
The result was a Waits that wasn’t just a worthy adversary for Bosch, but also a complete individual. “The temptation to either identify or empathise or sympathize with the guy that could be responsible for very despicable acts is probably what I’m most proud of,” Jason reflected. “Not so much that I want people to suffer with that, it’s just more an understanding that anybody is capable of devastating consequences on others or society if pushed to the brink. That’s what most people that snap and have these complete breaks have. They’re pushed to a point of no return.”
“I was clear about what my contribution would be on this,” he continued. “There are a couple scenes where you could possibly interpret emotion coming from a guy that’s seemingly devoid of it. That emotion almost confuses him…Different experiences maybe would have made him a great guy.”
He’s the latest in a long history of interesting characters that Jason has played, so it’s not surprising that it’s impossible to pick just one favorite. “There have been a lot of great ones,” he told us. “Obviously you think about your initial arrival if you will, you could say that was Iron Eagle. The great fortune there would’ve been working with Lou Gossett Jr. and to be accepted by him and also looked out for by him on the set. He was warm, he included me and accepted me. That was one.
“I played sort of a more earnest young American guy for a while,” he continued. “To break out of that, it was Steven Bochco with Murder One and that was the first time that someone had a certain depth or insight to say he could play someone like this. No one had really seen me like that…I had a great experience working on the HBO show Luck, where again Michael Mann had the insight to say this guy can play a degenerate. Now this role, it’s a huge leap from the degenerate gambler in Luck to who this guy is in Bosch.”
You might have an easier time trying to find a type of character that he hasn’t played and played well. Remember, this is the same actor who was a major part of the cancelled-way-too-soon crime drama Boomtown as a reliable LAPD officer. Then he also played a much less scrupulous character over ten episodes of Dexter. He’s been around at this point, and so it’s equally hard to pin down what he’s most likely to be recognized for.
“I get surprised all the time,” Jason reflected. “They’ll still bring up things like The Heavenly Kid or Class of ’96 or The Last Don. It’s kind of like music. Depending on where you are in your life and what you’re going through at the time, a certain song resonates for you every time you hear it. That might be what happens with certain people who click with certain roles or a certain show.”
No matter what alter ego he’s taking on, he personally stays the same – a hard-working actor who has as much appreciation for the medium as he does the material, who’s not looking just to give a performance for his sake but to tell a great story, and who’s more interested in what viewers take away from it than what he gets from it.
In fact, if there’s one thing he wants to say, it’s that you shouldn’t wait to get serious about what your passions. “It makes a lot of sense to let younger people know that what you want in the future begins by doing something now, today, then tomorrow and every day,” Jason told us. He might make a spine-tingling bad guy, but he gives some pretty good advice – and he’s a pretty great person, too.
The entire first season of Bosch is now available for streaming on Amazon.