Jack Quaid on the Fear of Filming HBO's 'Vinyl' and Ignoring His Parents' Advice

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“Don’t worry.” It’s seemingly simple advice Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan gave their son, Jack Quaid, who is one of the stars on the ensemble HBO drama, Vinyl, created by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger. However, the 23-year-old actor fully admits that he doesn’t follow it. “It is advice I’ve never taken,” Quaid tells ETonline. “Being a young actor -- it’s chaos sometimes.” Yet, the budding actor has been carving out his own career since he landed his first on-screen role in the 2012 adaptation of The Hungers Games as rival tribute, Marvel, opposite Jennifer Lawrence. In the four years since, he’s appeared in Courteney Cox’s directorial debut effort, Just Before I Go, starred in his mother’s film, Ithaca, and even successfully crowdsourced his own short film, Roadies. WATCH: 'Vinyl' Star Olivia Wilde Says Her Son Is a Meathead Now, Quaid is playing Clark Morelle, a young A&R executive at American Century, who has a touch of Mad Men’s Pete Campbell in him. “He does have a talent for putting his foot in his mouth,” the actor admits, but promises his Vinyl character is more ‘70s archetype of his TV counterpart. “I believe he really changes and grows throughout the course of the season, but right now, he doesn't really know what he's doing.” Part of Clark’s stumbling efforts is a wild goose chase to sign Alice Cooper (Dustin Ingram) in one of the show’s earlier episodes. In a standout moment for Quaid, a boa constrictor is wrapped around his shoulders as Clark goes golfing with Alice. The fear in his eyes is very real, the actor insists.
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“No acting required,” Quaid says of the scene, which was shot during sunset. While filming only lasted about 30 minutes, the snake (which apparently does not have a stage name) grew tired and needed prodding by the animal wrangler to stay in position.   “The animal wrangler -- I guess this was cool to do -- was just hitting it in the face. Like, little, light taps,” he says. “Eventually the snake bit him on the hand and he started bleeding. The fear in my eyes right there is: The snake has tasted human flesh. It's on me currently. I can only imagine it might go for me next.” MORE: Bobby Cannavale and Rose Byrne Welcome Their First Child Ahead of 'Vinyl' Premiere Suffice to say, Quaid finished the shoot unscathed. While the scene was a wild moment, it’s not as crazy or as revealing as some of the show’s other scenes, which often see Bobby Cannavale doing an assortment of drugs as Richie Finestra, the executive trying to hold the label together.
Vinyl is certainly Quaid’s most adult role to date. And given that it’s HBO, there’s bound to be some sex and nudity along with all the rock and roll. “It wouldn't be Vinyl without all that stuff,” he jokes. All of that could seemingly result in some awkward interactions with his parents, who watch all of Scorsese’s work. “Both of them have seen all the episodes so far and they're big fans -- which is great,” Quaid admits, revealing no one appears bothered by his part in the edgy, new series. “Really what I value from them is their support,” Quaid adds, even if he doesn’t always heed their advice.  Vinyl airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and the first six episodes are streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.