While he may have just played a galactic villain, Chris Sullivan used to call someplace a little closer to Sacramento home.
The actor grew up in Gold River and attended Fair Oaks Elementary, Churchill Middle School and Jesuit High School.
“When I was growing up in Sacramento, Sacramento still had a wild element to it,” Sullivan said during a phone call from Los Angeles. “You know, the nature of the American River, the mountains, the foothills, there was still a sense of adventure when I was growing up there ... I always felt like we were on some kind of adventure.”
He’ll be returning home for the Fandemic Tour, June 22-24 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Other celebrity guests include "The Walking Dead" alums Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Michael Rooker, and Clare Kramer (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Bring it On”).
Growing up here isn’t the only tie to Sacramento Sullivan has either: He and Greta Gerwig had the same high school theater mentor in Ed Trafton.
“He’s running one of the best high school theater programs in the country,” Sullivan said.
Acting for Sullivan was mostly an outlet for his energy – “I’d always been a bit of a loud kid” – and it was his mother who sent him to his first audition. And now, Sullivan can be seen playing Taserface in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.”
“It was kind of a dream come true to be able to transform completely into a space pirate named Taserface,” Sullivan says.
Sullivan’s transformation was an hours-long process that he did 18 times during his time on set. The get-up also meant physical limitations: The silicon, full-eye contact lenses and fake teeth made facial movement difficult, not to mention hard to see and speak.
“Literally, 'Guardians 2' was a blur for me, because, seeing through those contacts wasn’t always easy,” Sullivan said. “But the physical limitations is where the kind of creative solutions come from.”
This included over enunciating and overacting, he said, but when it came to playing the character, that was “terribly simple, it only has one note so you just play that note as hard as you can, and the harder you play it the funnier it is.”
While Sullivan said that there weren’t as many comic cons happening when he was growing up, he did attend local air shows and saw the Sacramento Kings at Arden Fair mall. And, for him, conventions somewhat have a certain theater-like quality.
“It’s a bit of a curtain call for film and television, you know?” Sullivan said. “I come from the theater and at the end of a theatrical performance you get to come out and lower your head to the audience, bow to them and thank them for coming. And these conventions have kind of become that for me, where it’s been incredible to meet the people that make all of this possible, that go to see these movies, who watch these TV shows. And it’s great.”
“These conventions are a little bit of heaven,” he added.
If you go
When: June 22-24
Where: Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St.