Actor, photographer, musician and filmmaker, Adam Goldberg wears many hats, and he does so incredibly well. A journeyman in film and TV Adam boasts an illustrious career that spans 30 years (and counting). Starting out in the early 90s, his breakout role in 1993’s Dazed & Confused got him introduced to a wider audience.

Since then, Adam has amassed a number of incredible roles in both film and TV in productions such as A Beautiful Mind and the FX series, Fargo. Most fans will identify with him in the Academy-Award winning film, Saving Private Ryan where he portrayed wise-cracking infantryman Private Mellish in opposite Tom Hanks.

Today, audiences know him best as Harry Keshegian, the loyal computer hacker on the hit CBS series The Equalizer. A reimagining of the classic series and films, the series sees Adam as a friend and confidante to the lead antagonist, Robyn McCall (Queen Latifah).

From mining the neuroses of characters for both dramatic and comedic effect, and a filmmaker adept at exploring the philosophical questions at the heart of the human experience, Adam has become a staple in the entertainment industry with his versatile and unique talents.  But beyond film and television, Adam has also amassed a following in photography and music, which fully solidifies him as a renaissance man.

As a photographer Adam’s signature dreamy, double exposures shot on film (oftentimes posted on his Instagram account) document and explore people, landscapes, and create a scene where viewers can draw their own interpretations from his art.  As a musician he has already recorded four albums under his moniker ‘The Goldberg Sisters’, a collaboration with his mythical twin sister and alter ego ‘Celeste.’

Three decades on, and Adam Goldberg is clearly far from done entertaining his fans and followers in the realm of creative and performance arts. Although he considers himself a journeyman, in this exclusive interview with AugustMan, he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that his journey as an actor and artist is far from over.

How does it feel being involved with a series like The Equalizer?

After 30 plus years doing this I’m just grateful to be working and have a reasonably well functioning pre-frontal cortex.  I am constantly reminding myself that, for all my crank and some legitimate woes, I’m a very fortunate person.

Going into the third season, are you pleased to see how the series is carving its own path away from the previous series and films?

I want to say yes, but I also want to tell you that I’ve never seen the films, and while it’s likely I saw the original in my teens I think I may conflate it with MacGyver. But I definitely do like how we’ve become more of a team or extended family as it were. In the first couple seasons, Queen’s character was the only real common denominator; each of us was sort of doing their own show. But this season I got to meet the cast!

You’re a seasoned veteran in acting, how does it feel to be a part of such an incredibly diverse range of projects?

On the one hand, when I actually reflect on it, I think it’s pretty remarkable. On the other hand, not being known necessarily for one or two things I think can make it challenging for people — in and outside of the industry — to sort of identify your strong suits. I mean I did Friends and Saving Private Ryan the same year, I think?, and while that’s kind of cool, I wonder if had I been less of a journeyman whether things would have come easier. Or maybe it’s because I’m a journeyman that they came at all. I mean, it’s not as if I’ve had some say in the matter, so doesn’t much matter what I wonder.

What sort of roles do you look for to challenge yourself?

Well, this speaks to the last response I guess. I wanna say well,  “I try and constantly challenge myself, look for things I haven’t done, get out of my wheelhouse and safe space…:’ But the truth of it is that actors like me don’t make these choices — save for the occasional ones when maybe two roles with conflicting schedules are offered you. The roles choose you. Honestly some of my most interesting work is archived and perhaps erased over? in the archives of a casting office that didn’t hire me for this or that role.

Of all your work and television, thus far, which projects are you most proud off and why?

Dazed (And Confused) will always be my fondest memory. And even then I knew that, we all did. We were all cognizant of what a special time in our lives and career it was, and what a truly unique opportunity it was.

Saving Private Ryan for sure. The hardest I’ve ever worked as an actor maybe. Just the sheer physicality of it. I really like what I got to do in Fargo, though I think I could have done it better. I just began learning ASL (American Sign Language) as I was finishing up directing myself in my film, No Way Jose.

Two Days in Paris. Though Julie (Delpy) and I (former bf/gf year prior) stopped speaking halfway through, it probably added to the realism. Lots of improvising and collaboration. Hebrew Hammer. It’s not every day you get to say, “Shabbat Shalom motherfucker”, though these days I find myself needing to say it more and more. A small film I did called Untitled in which I play an Avant Garde composer. It’s funny and strange and gave me an opportunity to create a unique guy.

Beyond acting, you also have a passion for photography and music, what drew you to these two art forms?

Well I had started taking pictures when I was about 14 and it wasn’t long until I started making and studying films.  That was always the goal. Film is an all-encompassing medium in some ways — visual, aural, etc. In fact my first film, Scotch and Milk, was replete with so much jazz, woven so inextricably to the fabric of the movie, we could never get the music cleared.

So I actually ended up composing with The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd the music for my next film, I Love Your Work. That kind of gave me the confidence to take things a bit more seriously with my music. And from about 2009 to 2015 I made four albums, on two of which I played everything but horns and strings.

I still don’t know who it was that made those records. It’s truly beyond me. I was — and am not — a great technician or musician, so it felt a little bit like a possession or some sort of channeling. I, to be clear, don’t believe in that, but I’m not sure how else to describe it. Whereas the photography stuff is something I can trace way, way back to the desire to document and hold on to everything — sometimes at the expense of being in the moment I’m capturing.

What do you like most about taking photos?

Oh, well, touched on this a bit. But stopping time and skewing it slightly. Making something that is there what I want it to be

How did you come up with the concept of The Goldberg Sisters?

You mean like Celeste etc? I mean, I had chosen a band name — born out of sessions I did with Steven Drozd, wherein we kept calling my late dog Landy, like after a bad take or something — a reference to Eugene Landy, Brian Wilson’s Svengali “therapist/ co-producer” — and so my first moniker was LANDy, which was oft derived in the press for its fun with letter cases — but there were, it turns out, other Landys!

So I made it easier on myself for the subsequent albums and called myself The Goldberg Sisters. I like Sisters bands, we have good friends called The Chapin Sisters who are beautiful musicians. Anyway, one thing led to another and suddenly I had a sister named Celeste who did all the writing while Adam fronted as the mastermind. I guess that’s sort of how I felt about not feeling totally connected to having made these records, which, again, seemed to have been made in some manic fugue state.

What draws you to make music?

The pure visceral transportation. Something that can only be experienced by listening to music but for me, really, by making it. I guess you could call it my religion, but that’s a tad heavy.

Acting, photography music – what continues to inspire you in your approach to all these genres?

Good isn’t good enough. I don’t necessarily recommend this approach, but it’s the truth. My truth, as the kids say.

Catch Adam Goldberg in the third season of the CBS series, The Equalizer.

(Images: Adam Goldberg photos taken by Daniel Silbert)

written by.

Richard Augustin

Digital Editor
Richard went from the confines of the kitchen working as a professional chef into the realm of media twenty years ago. In his two-decade career in writing, he has plied his trade in a number of regional print and digital media organisations in the lifestyle, in-flight, entertainment and finance space. When not busy chasing deadlines and writing stories for AugustMan, you can find him experimenting with recipes in his kitchen.
Adam Goldberg Discusses His Pursuits In Acting And His Love For Music And Photography
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