Ward grew up on a farm in North Carolina with his family where he spent his days riding horses, playing basketball and acting. Thus the yearn for role play was seeded at a young age but it wasn’t until he found himself bored of investment banking that he decided to pack up and move to NYC to pursue his acting career.
Shoes: Dr. Martens
Photographer: Mat Abad
Grooming: Taschi Lynell and Porshawna Nicole Mosley
F: Annabelle did phenomenal in the box office with a $37.2 million debut. Following this massive success what’s the aftermath like in your acting career?
W: We are all quite proud of the response the audience has had to our little film. As an actor, you hope to be able to tell a story to which people respond and when you can do it at this level it becomes a dream come true. Some people might think that everything changes for an actor after this kind of success and it definitely has opened up some new doors and given me more say over project selection. I start work on a new film next week. But, the day to day hasn’t changed much…I was back with my acting class and study group a week later, I’m auditioning for lots of different projects and I’m still bathing kids, washing dishes and taking out the trash at home like always! Very glamorous.
F: What are some of your favorite horror films? Did you turn to those once more to prepare yourself for the role?
W:The horror films I responded to growing up were exactly the types of films that inspired us while making Annabelle. There is a strong influence of Rosemary’s Baby, so much so that our lead character is named Mia after the legendary Mia Farrow. My favorite films in general, not just of this genre, are character driven stories that allow me to relate to and go on a ride with the people telling the story. So many of the modern films of this genre are full of blood and gore and sex and cheap scares which, to me, take away from the story being told. What we tried to do with Annabelle was to create a deep underlying tension throughout the film and really earn the scares through truth and reality. This creative team did that so well with The Conjuring and it was this quality that attracted me to the project. Our wonderful director, John Leonetti, has such a fantastic cinematic eye and I had full faith that he would get it right. In fact, that was our on-set motto…get it right, no matter who’s idea it is.
Shoes: Dr. Martens
F: As John Form you channel mad-men vibes, how would you describe your style outside of character?
W: I loved playing this time period and wearing all of those vintage clothes selected by our extremely talented costume designer Janet Ingram. I’m sort of that classic look already so that type of wardrobe seems to work on me. In my everyday life, I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy but I do like to dress up from time to time. There is nothing like a well fitted suit. Once in a while I’ll add something a little fashion forward to my look, especially when I’m out and about, but I can’t go overboard…it looks forced and ultimately I’m not comfortable. Because of the film, I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with some great stylists for publicity events and it’s been fun to test the waters with fashion forward elements. I’m taking small steps in that direction but, ultimately, the more classic style fashion has always spoken most loudly. To me, it’s timeless.
F: As an actor and full time family man how do you balance the two?
W: It is a constant balancing act and there is an ever present feeling that you’re not doing either one well enough. The good thing is, I have my priorities set and that always makes the decisions I make more clear, albeit not always easier. Any success I may have is in direct correlation to the support system that I have surrounding me at all times. Spending time away from my kids is brutal but I also know that I am a better father and husband because I am passionate about my work.
F: What qualities do you think make up a man?
W:Being confident in one’s skin is an attractive quality for any person. But with that confidence, they can’t take themselves too seriously. Self-deprecation goes a long way. A real man knows when to speak up and take charge, but also knows when to sit back and listen. He is comfortable in any group people and has a very natural sense of humor. And, of course, he has a deep sense of respect for both men and woman….especially women. I’m old school when it comes to manners…I don’t have patience for impolite people. And if you disrespect a woman or child, you’d better hope I’m not around.