"Read Between The Lines: I Will Take Your Head Off Your Shoulders"
KD: Okay, let me hear it.
CA: A few years before that -- after five years in college, three different schools -- I remember having a conversation with my father at the end of our driveway. I told him I wanted to quit school and go to L.A. and become an actor. I didn't think about this until just now. I did bring up the fact that Brad Pitt was the chicken at a Pollo Loco and ate at a Taco Bell to get through. Now, I don't know how much truth there is to those stories, but I admired what I'd heard. I tried to use that as leverage, but my dad wasn't having it. We didn't argue, but he said, "You need a backup plan." I said, "I only need that if I plan on failing, which I don't." [My parents] were always supportive, but if I were in their shoes, I wouldn't want my kid to go into acting.
KD: Let's get back to The Wire: when did they find out that you weren't actually Russian?
CA: I was way beyond cast. Some people knew it from the outset, but...I don't remember how long David Simon thought I was Russian....
KD: And a lot of your fans still think you're Russian, right?
CA: All the time. At Sundance, it was overwhelming. I mean, I'm all about Southern accents and hospitality, and if you were to describe [the fans who approach me], it's just one word and that's warm. And I think I speak and it's kind of like shell shock: Sergei's so violent and so cold. I try to spend time talking to whomever. It's such an honor and privilege for people to give input on The Wire. It flatters me and keeps me going; it's the gas that fuels my fire. Even if it's bad feedback. [laughs] I mean, I haven't had any, but if anybody's got any...
At the Nexflix party at Sundance, I was waiting for my friend to come out of the bathroom, and this guy was just standing across from me, staring at me. I didn't know what he was thinking about or what his motives were, and finally I went over him and said, "Hi, I'm Chris Ashworth." He said, "I know, and it's a huge pleasure to meet you. My family is Russian and I have to tell you that I believed you were Russian and I'm not easily fooled." Turns out he was a producer working on a film in Chicago and asked me about playing a Polish character. He asked me if I could do it, because the accents are similar, and I said I could. I have to alter some things, but that was great, and that was a great idea that may actually take me somewhere, by fooling someone into thinking I was Russian.