Born into a showbiz family with a famous father and grandfather, Jason Ritter has become a staple of both indies and television. In between his long-running recurring role on “Parenthood,” he’s appeared in a handful of small movies every year, and of great diversity. He made “7 Minutes,” in which he plays part of a small town working class trio who rob a bank, around the same time he made “About Alex,” a “Big Chill”-esque drama in which he played someone who recently attempted suicide. But “7 Minutes” is the one where he got to share a scene with Kris Kristofferson.
You tend to play all over the place. How does your agent pitch you to people?
I don’t know. [Laughs] That’s a good question. I know sometimes there’s some convincing involved.
How did you convince the filmmakers to cast you as a bank robber with neck tattoos?
I sat down with Jay [Martin], the director, and we had this great conversation. When I first got the script I was also asked if I could play Tuckey [a terrifying loose cannon character]. I wonder if in that meeting if the realization of how wrong I was for that part made him realize I should do the other one instead. There was something I understood about him. I also have a younger brother who I think is a better person than I am. [Laughs]
The structure of the film jumps around between the robbery and the backstory for all the characters, showing how they got there. It’s not just about plot, but about revealing things about the characters themselves.
You have this bizarre feeling of knowing that for some characters it’s not going to work out. When you know a character isn’t going to have a great time later, whether they get hurt or don’t make it at all, it imbues their life with this extra meaning. You see people do bad things, and you think, this person is a bad person. But if they get hurt or die you think, oh, they were just a person trying to work things out. They just made some mistakes.