CUE & A: "True Blood" and Of Mice and Men Star Jim Parrack on Rapping, Wrapping and Smoking at Work

Jim Parrack, making his Broadway debut as Slim in Of Mice and Men, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Jim Parrack
Jim Parrack (Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN)

Parrack is perhaps best known to TV audiences as Hoyt Fortenberry on HBO's "True Blood." Other screen work includes "As I Lay Dying," "Monk," "Grey's Anatomy," "Criminal Minds" and "Alcatraz."

He studies and teaches acting at Playhouse West.

Full given name: Jim Parrack
Where you were born/where you were raised: Allen, Texas
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
What your parents did/do for a living: My father is a retired army captain and banking software salesman, and my mother is an English teacher.
Siblings: My sister is a professor of nursing
Special skills: I'm the best actor-slash-rapper (not the other way around) in America.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Really bad at wrapping presents (worst wrapper)
First Broadway show you ever saw: Rent
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire with Brando
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: After Midnight
Some favorite musicals: Chicago, Les Miserables
Some favorite modern plays: Burn This, True West
Some favorite modern playwrights: Shanley, Shepard, Lanford Wilson
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, John Cassavetes, Peter Falk
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: I'll never forget watching Ciera Danielle in A Hatful of Rain
You personal acting idols: Bobby Duvall, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Gena Rowlands, Jack Nicholson. The ones that are always reliable for a surprise.
MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: "Can I Live" by Jay Z
Last book you read: "Hard Times" by Studs Terkel
Must-see TV show(s): Can't think of any one MUST see, but I like watching NBA basketball.
Last good movie you saw: "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Some films you consider classics: "On the Waterfront," "Young Mr. Lincoln," "It's a Wonderful Life," "The 400 Blows," "Paths of Glory"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Jay Z
Pop culture guilty pleasure: "Gossip Girl"
Three favorite cities: New York, Philadelphia, Austin
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: "Nirvana Unplugged"
First stage kiss: I think it was Burn This
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Maybe it sounds like I'm splitting hairs here but I don't wanna perform for a living, I wanna live for a living.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where) A place called Fuel on 9th has awesome juices and protein shakes.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Coffee
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Shadow-boxing with loud loud hip hop music playing, then a prayer of gratitude.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: The stage manager would know better than I would grin
Worst costume ever: "Sal," directed by James Franco. Not a bad costume, but a terrible fit.
Worst job you've ever had (non-theatrical): Abercrombie and Fitch for two days before I got shit-canned for not having a glazed over, reverent mask of stupefaction and cult devotion to some 24-year-old former male teen model on my countenance while folding tee shirts. Or maybe it was the cigarette I lit while doing that.
Some favorite screen or commercial roles: Cash in "As I Lay Dying"
What drew you to this project? My desire to do theater and to do it at the highest level with the best people and finest material possible.
What sort of research did you put into playing this role? Quite a lot, but it bugs me some when actors parade their process all over the place so I'll keep it to myself.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? The big challenge at this point is to keep it as brand new to me every night and not drag habits around from one show to the next. It's a challenge that makes this the most exciting thing to do.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show/character? The communion of company with author with audience and feeling all of us united and swept up in that.
Most challenging role you have played onstage: Pale in Burn This. I wanna play that part in NYC more than any other. That's gonna happen one way or another.
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Pale again... but on Broadway
Career you would want if not a performer: Teacher or director
Three things you can't live without: God, wild human expression and hope
"I'll never understand why…" … some people prefer lies to truth in the theatre. They can't get enough of 'em sometimes. They shriek with joy when an actor manipulates them of a moment. They gawk at times at the wink or the forced moment with pure adoration. I know why people lie to themselves in life but I'll never understand the appeal of the dishonest theater where the actor doesn't make some earnest attempt to include their own honest humanity in their collaboration with an author. It's so ugly to me that it hurts sometimes to see it happen.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: 1. Find a like-minded community that you can trust and who will fuel you rather than exhaust you. 2. Work harder than everyone else without exception.