James Immekus talks ‘Friended to Death’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’ in an Exclusive Interview

James Immekus (Image Credit: Jenni Blong Photography) / James Immekus as Emile Lewis in FRIENDED TO DEATH (Image Credit: Green Step Productions)
James Immekus (Image Credit: Jenni Blong Photography) / James Immekus as Emile Lewis in FRIENDED TO DEATH (Image Credit: Green Step Productions)

In Friended to Death, actor James Immekus plays Emile Lewis, a young man who happens to share a fired date with a social media-obsessed coworker. What ensues is hijinks galore and a fake death on Facebook, just to see who would show up to the funeral.

The Daily Quirkhad a chance to chat with Immekus about his role in Friended to Death, his time as Michael Darling on Once Upon a Time and what TV has caught his interest. Check out the interview below!

The Daily Quirk: Hi James, can you tell us what attracted you to the role of Emile in Friended to Death?

James Immekus: Sure, well originally it was just an audition and I loved the script, I thought it was really great and an original idea and very relatable, especially with how big social media is.

I think with the film, the script really captures everyone’s experience with social media and how crazy it is. It’s still relatively new to all of us so there’s still a lot of mixed emotions about it so I thought that part of it and the dark comedy of it. And yeah, Emile is just a great role, I thought. I liked that he’s a bit of an introvert, he’s mid-20s, living with his mom, sort of being coddled by her his whole life, a little afraid of the world but at the same time there’s a strength in him that’s sort of dying to get out. And throughout the script it really comes out and I really enjoyed that arc, it was nice.

TDQ: Can you tell us a bit more about Emile?

JI: Well he is a parking enforcement officer, but he doesn’t have a vehicle, he rides a bike. And he’s cold all the time, he wears long johns and he lives in LA, so go figure. He ends up getting fired for wearing his long johns on the job, it’s a uniform infraction. He’s sort of a loner, doesn’t have too many friends and he and Michael [Ryan Hansen] both get fired on the same day and they sort of forge a friendship or what Emile thinks is a friendship and hijinks ensued. He’s so desperate for friendship he can be easily manipulated.  It just spirals out of control from there.

TDQ: Seeing as to how you guys talk about hijinks, it seems like you have a really fun cast in the film. What was the dynamic like on set?

JI: Oh it was really nice. It really felt like a family unit and it was just a lot more relaxed than most sets.  It was fast, we only shot in 22 days, so it was a lot of filming. So it felt very guerilla style, we had to get a lot of stuff done. I really felt like Ryan [Hansen] was really great to work with, his energy, his humor, it was really infectious.  Just working with him, next to him, it freed me up as an actor that I’d never had before and I just got to react off of him, which was a blast. I felt pretty nice and easy and relaxed.

TDQ: Is there any one scene that stands out for each of you as especially fun to film?

JI: Yeah I would say the funeral scene at the end, I don’t want to give too much away, everything builds up to this moment and it puts Emile in this nightmarish neurosis. I’m just going nuts and trying to handle everything and keeping Michael [Hansen’s character] at bay and keeping him out of the situation. And one thing piles on after another and it’s just absurd. That would definitely be the moment for sure.

TDQ: If you have to describe the film in five words or less, what would they be?

JI: Oooow, Wow, Um. Did I just do it? Does that count [laughs]? I would say: Dark. Comedy. Facebook. Death. Friendship.

TDQ: You also recently did a run on Once Upon a Time as Michael Darling, what was that like?

JI: Oh man that’s so cool. Initially with things like that you never know when you audition for them, they kind of keep those things secret, they always rename the characters and things like that. So initially my character’s name was… he was ‘Glasses’ and I was something like that, something hidden and we end up finding out afterwards who we ended up getting.

It’s so neat to play this iconic role that’s been around for so long and you know, and to film up there in Vancouver, it’s so beautiful up there. We had so many great locations and I got to drive this awesome convertible and I had a gun, it was just cool.

TDQ: And was it cool to see Michael in a completely different light? Because no one knew if you were good or if you were bad and ultimately it came down to saving Wendy.

JI: Right, exactly, that nice little turn where you’re not sure. That’s a great thing about the show you’re just not sure what people’s motives are quite yet. We were bad in the beginning, and then you find out why we’re doing it and why we’re forced to do it by Peter Pan and then yeah, your heart starts to break a little bit. But it all works out in the end.

TDQ: Any chance we’ll see more of the Darling family in the future?

JI: I’m not sure quite yet, I think the last time we left off we gathered Wendy up and headed back to Neverland, but with that show you never know and you can’t predict anything.

But it was fun and the cast was great, really welcoming and warm, it was a blast.

Matt Kane and James Immekus in ONCE UPON A TIME (Image Credit: ABC)
Matt Kane and James Immekus in ONCE UPON A TIME (Image Credit: ABC)

TDQ: One more question, what is your current favorite TV show that you’ve been watching lately?

JI: True Detective right now. I was just swallowed up into that. It was just kind of nice. I like dark stuff, it had some great humor in it actually and it just had that grittiness and the acting was superb, from everybody, the guest stars, everything. Everyone was top notch. It’s just sharp, sharp storytelling, I loved it.

TDQ: Well that’s all the questions I have today, I look forward to the movie and hope to see you on Once Upon a Time again, I admit I’m quite a big fan of that show.

JI: Nice, very good. Well Matt Kane, who played John, he and I hang out quite a bit. We’re bros, we have a bromance.

TDQ: Well that makes me happy, glad to hear Michael and John Darling are still in touch.

The Daily Quirkwould like to thank James Immekus for taking the time to chat with us. To find out more about Immekus, follow him on Twitter.

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I believe that Keanu Reeves is a national treasure. I also love wine, popcorn and peanut butter M&Ms. I spend a lot of my time writing and picking up Cheerios off the floor. I currently live in the Los Angeles area with my husband and young son. @katelin

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