If you're a "Whedonite" (the moniker given to fans of Writer/Director Joss Whedon) then you probably know Fran Kranz from his role on Whedon's "Dollhouse." But Kranz' credentials go far beyond his stint as "Topher" on the short-lived sci-fi series. His filmography includes roles on "Frasier"; M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village"; "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules"; "Cabin in the Woods"; and most recently Joss Whedon's modern interpretation of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing."
And yet, with so much experience in film and television, Kranz doesn't hesitate to lend his talent and presence to a web-series like "JourneyQuest." JourneyQuest tells the story of a band of adventurers and their trials as they go on an epic quest. There's Perth (Christian Doyle) a "terrible wizard" who has been charged with carrying the Sword of Fighting (voiced by Jeremy Spray) a sentient weapon with a cutting wit. Perth is accompanied by Nara (Anne Kennedy) an elfmaid who's deadly with a bow; and Carrow (Brian Lewis) a priest and healer who struggles with his faith.
You also have Wren (played by the scene-stealing Emilie Rommel Shimkus) a bumbling bard-in-training who is mistakenly given the task of chronicling the greatest epic ever. And of course you have Kranz in the role of Silver Tom, an affluent bard who is charged with taking Wren's epic from her.
(The most recent JourneyQuest season, "City of the Dead", can be seen online at the JourneyQuest site, or on the YouTube Page. Read the interview then see how you can win a FREE COPY of the JourneyQuest DVD.)
Kranz took time out of his schedule to talk to Geek To Me about working on JourneyQuest; how the show compares to other shows like The Guild and Legend of Neil; not being cast in The Avengers movie; and how he feels about sequels and crowdfunded movies:
Geek To Me: What led you to take a role in JourneyQuest?
Fran Kranz: I loved the show. I was approached by Matt Vancil through a mutual friend about playing a role in the first season but couldn't because of a prior commitment. When I finally saw the finished product I was jealous I wasn't able to be a part of it. I reached out to Matt to congratulate him and shamelessly ask for a part in a later season. The guys offered me this great role Silver Tom. I see him as a brilliant lothario Bard but whose arrogance can be costly and humorous. A qualified and actually talented Guilderoy Lockheart.
Also I'm a big fantasy fan so it was all kind of a no brainer. All the characters are so fleshed out and interesting at this point that I'm really excited to continue with it. I hope I get a chance to interact with a lot of them though as a Bard I'm not supposed to.
It's a super dysfunctional world but also very sincere. Matt Vancil and Ben Dobyns really created a perfectly balanced atmosphere of comedy and adventure. It's captivating. There is plenty of satire for the genre and self awareness but it's not a spoof. There's good drama and action. As an actor that wants to do both comedy and drama that's satisfying. The world and characters have great range.
Geek To Me: How do you think JourneyQuest compares to other similarly-themed shows like Legend of Neil and The Guild?
Fran Kranz: I respect The Legend of Neil and The Guild too much to spoil their story lines with comparisons to JourneyQuest. JourneyQuest is better? JourneyQuest has no peers? JourneyQuest and who? Just kidding I love Felicia Day.
Geek To Me: Your fellow Dollhouse alum Felicia Day is also into gaming, do you two ever talk about the hobby?
Fran Kranz: I just mentioned her! I don't believe we have but I certainly will now. I'm getting too old to play Link in a movie though, so the whole gaming world is becoming a sensitive subject for me. That being said I am really an NES/SNES guy, so I may not be able to keep up with the kids these days anyways. Final Fantasy though, I'll come to days later with a restraining order for trying to put a green wig on girls and call them Rydia.
Geek To Me: You have a role in Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" but no appearance in the Avengers movie, dude! What gives?
Fran Kranz: We actually stopped speaking after The Avengers. It made filming Much Ado very difficult. "Could you please tell the pre madonna playing Claudio to move to his left and learn to emote?"
Honestly I am very thankful to be in his black and white artsy Shakespeare adaptation and not his giant superhero franchise crossbreeding behemoth. Did I say 'thankful' I meant poor.
Seriously though, stop joking, Fran. I don't mind at all. I am so thankful and grateful for the work Joss has given me. He bought my home. He's made my career in many respects.