Mademoiselle Robot still loves you – Catching up with Matthew Gray Gubler

After last year’s interview series, I wanted to create a real link between you guys and the people I interview. I want to get an almost photographic portrait through my interviews. To begin this new catching up series, I chose one of my favourite interviewees, for many reasons. It is pretty obvious, Matthew Gray Gubler is one of those people who can do everything. Whatever he touches turns to magic.

First, I asked Matthew to step into the photobooth. He did say this picture would hurt my eyes.

What have you been up to since our last interview?

I just finished a voice-over for the sequel to Alvin & the Chipmunks (it comes out Dec 25th in the US). 500 Days of summer came out in America, How to be A Serial Killer had a small release in America (comes out on DVD Oct 13). Season 5 of Criminal Minds started shooting, has finally been excavated. I started a record label, a T-shirt company, and have been getting into puppet manufacturing. I played a small part in The Great Buck Howard. I Just finished the album artwork for a friends record, and also got to collaborate with Jacques Cousteau’s son on this super cool environmental zine for the Warped Tour. (they let me design and paint the cover)

I have  been working on a children’s book that I am 90% done with. Hopefully it will have some puppets to go along with it.

But mainly, I have just been trying to walk for the past 4.5 months after completly shattering my knee, that’s been the big priority.

What is the idea behind Gublerland?

A friendly playground on the internet where everyone is welcome except bullies and fascists. When I was little my favourite thing to do was play with puppets and toys. I would give them dumb voices and make up fake scenarios. It’s kind of hilarious that twenty years later I’m doing the exact same thing only now instead of playing with plastic action heroes on my floor, I am now playing with pixel monsters I have drawn on my computer, and instead of doing all of this with my imaginary friend, I do it all with my real friend named Steve who helps bring them all to life.  At least Steve tells me he’s real.  That would be great if Steve Damstra ended up being my imaginary friend. Ha! Oh man. I hope that’s the case.  Jaffe and Haruka too, what if it turned out you were just interviewing a total psychopath.


The site is going to keep growing. I am working on an underground Gublerland subterranean cave level and other hidden stuff.

Next we want to get into cartooning and alternate methods of story telling with fabric and pixels.

What are you working on currently?

I am doing a few cartoon voices  from our childhood. Scooby Doo and Superman.  A total dream come true. I’ve been filming more fake documentaries,

I have also been making puppets and little monsters with a friend of mine named Haruka. We collaborate very well together.  we are from the same planet. She has the innate capability to basically bring whatever i think up to life in 3 dimensions. We’ve been turning my characters into finger puppets, buttons, sock puppets, bags, etc. I am making those, and also tee shirts. I am trying to do tons of other things, besides the acting stuff. I love hanging out at fabric stores.

My friend Jaffe Zinn (Haruka’s husband) is directing a movie called “Buhl” that starts filming in November. I play a character who’s going to be in his next movie (about Death Metal). He wanted to give the character some background, so he is introducing me in the prequel. I am so excited because it is the first time I get to work so closely with a friend on a feature length movie.

Can you describe a normal day?

If it is a Monday, I wake up at 5 am, go to work at 5.30. If it is Criminal Minds, I don’t get home until 7 or 8pm, try to look at my lines for the next day and then start it all over again on Tuesday. Occasionally I’ll have a day off and I will either do voice over, or meet with a director. If I am very lucky, I will get a spare hour where I get to draw or do something I like to do for myself. My weekends… Saturday evenings I just stay at home and try and make stuff of some sort then I eat a pint of ice cream, light a pumpkin candle and watch a movie, but only after I feel I have done something productive with my day. If I haven’t done something productive, I will carry on working through the night.
Photo FanPop – Matthew Gray Gubler as Spencer Reid
My job is really time consuming, but it is the greatest in the world!  I love to work, even when I worked for retail shops in high school, nothing is better than a long hard day of work.  If i don’t fall asleep exhausted it feels like a waste of space.

The only bummer is there are so many things I want to do and so many friends I want to collaborate with, I just don’t have time to do everything.  It gets to a point when I just have to say “no” and that is really frustrating. I know it sounds lame, but I have so many great things going on, I sadly can’t do everything.

Bath time is the only time I am not technically working, although actually, I typically learn my lines in the bath so scratch that, i’m always working.

What did you do during the summer break?

I mainly destroyed my knee. I was going to go to London and Monte Carlo and hopefully Japan but instead I spent a lot of time back home hanging with the family like it was 1994. I had a bar mitzvah into manhood with that knee injury.  The doctors tell me it was one of the worst cases ever recorded in North America.  There wasn’t even an existing protocol to follow with the post op rehab, because what i did had never really been done to that extent before.  I am working on getting this specific type of injury named after me.  Enduring constant mind bending pain for a third of a year has changed me for the better, its made me stronger, more focused, more patient, and more empathetic.  I am so glad it happened. I feel like a damn cowboy.

What was the soundtrack to your summer?

I have been pretty much exclusively listening to 1940s music on a station called 40sOn4, which is pretty big in America.

Garfunkel & Oates are so good.

The new Folded Light album as well is pretty sweet. Halloween Town is also amazing… I am trying to pretend like I am not giving press to my buddies here.

Truthfully though… Django Reinhardt and Angelo Badalamenti. The new Dinosaur Jr. tracks are also stellar.

How was it working on 500 Days of Summer?

WONDERFUL! It was great fun to be a part of such a special film.  Also, I rarely do movies with people who are anywhere near my own age. I’m usually the “little kid” in the movies I’m in. It was Marc Webb’s first film, he is from the music video world and he did a phenomenal job.

Zooey Deschanel is incredible in this, so is Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

I am proud of the message this movie sends, a completely accurate depiction of the rollercoaster known as love.

Tell me more about How to be a Serial Killer.

It was the exact opposite of everything i have been doing on Criminal MInds for the past 5 years.   The director (Luke Ricci) wrote this genius script but was willing to let us improvise which opened up a realm of freedom I had never known as an actor (outside of my own fake documentaries), for once I wasn’t tied down to words on a page or notes from a studio/network, i had to constantly be thinking of what to say next. it was the best!!!!  It essentially forced me to live as the character for the month it took to film. a very bizarre and hard to describe sensation.  Bart (my character) is not the sharpest tool in the shed and with every passing day i could feel myself life loosing braincells, but gaining a new friend.  I guess he’s technically a “bad guy,” a killer, but man… i really grew to love him.  I miss him, i feel like i should send him a postcard. i hope he is well wherever he is…staying out of trouble.
Matthew Gray Gubler as Bart

Tell me more about Cornstalk Recordings

Music is an area where I have no talent whatsoever. I am a pretty good whistler but that’s about it. What’s weird is for some reason most of my friends are musical wizards.  So I started a label in order to showcase their talents. There are two bands on it at the moment Folded Light and Halloween Town but there will be some more soon.

I put out the albums; occasionally do artwork, direct a video, fund the records, etc. im like a sugar daddy only i get high fives instead of kisses.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done for a love interest?

Wow…let me think…I have done some pretty crazy stuff…  I once hand made a girlfriend a 50 page leather bound book.  It was an illustrated fairy tale about a princess and an eccentric magician.  The magician had his heart broken so badly in the past that instead of keeping it in his chest where it could easily get hurt again, he kept it locked up in a rusty trunk under his bed, where it had withered into a shriveled apricot.  a lot happens that cant really be summed up in one paragraph, but at the end, his apricot heart swells to the size of a house and they end up living happily ever after inside of it.  It took me about a month to make, it was all rhyming, hand painted… something i was pretty gosh darn proud of.  I really poured a lot into it, and I think its filled with some of my best paintings yet.  Sadly in real life the story didnt end as happy as it did in the book.  Lets just say i’m living alone in that giant apricot heart at the moment.

I once gave a girl a bloody fake ear in a TIffany jewlery box with a letter that said, “will you Gogh to prom with me” yeah, I guess I’m a romantic.

Top Babes

Fran Drescher (I have no idea why I love her so much but I do)

Amelia Earheart (for too many reasons to list)

Mary Poppins (my first crush, beautiful voice, great style)

Elvira (oh man)

Lisa Bonet (one of the many reasons I loooove the Cosby Show)

Ashley Smith (a friend of mine photographed this painter/model in New York recently. I have no idea who she is but she has the most enchanting smile I have ever seen)

Ashley Smith

Bebe Neuwirth (I have a soft spot for ghostly pale women who wear their hair in tight buns)

Casey Wilson from SNL (a sense of humor is the most attractive thing in the world to me, I also like the fact that she’s not emaciated.  Ive seen so many beautiful curvy women gain success in hollywood and then wither into bobble headed stick figures in some grotesque attempt to fit a revolting hollywood trend) I like real women, not the broomsticks that Hollywood has been selling lately.

Winnie Cooper (when she broke Kevin’s heart in the “Wonder Years”, mine shattered into a million pieces, also the girl that plays her in real life, Danica McKellar, is a brilliant mathematician who has her own math theorem named after her)

Last but not least, I am wildly in love with pretty much all of the Disney princesses (that includes Jessica Rabbit). Their optimism/innocence/beautiful dresses/and old fashioned values drive me insane.  Belle will always hold a soft spot for falling in love with the beast despite his horrific appearance.

What’s your relationship with your fans?

I’m the luckiest person in the world because besides having the best, most loving, most awesome, and most unique family, friends, and coworkers in the world, I also happen to have the best, most loving, most awesome and most unique fans in the world.  I can’t begin to describe how blessed i am. They are so much more than fans they are “fands” (fans/friends). 

I’ve never understood the notion of shunning or acting “too cool” for fans.  I know, and occasionally work with, actors who seem to think it is beneath them to take 5 seconds to stop and sign an autograph or even shake hands with their admireres.  To do that, you really have to be filled with a lot of self-hate and insecurity.  An actors job is to entertain, how can you resent, or look down on the very people that find you entertaining? It would be like being a birthday clown who gets hired, goes to the party, shouts insults at the kids, and then kicks all the dads in the crotch. If you have the ability to make someone’s day by giving them a moment of your time DO IT!

Favourite Horror Movies

Something Wicked this way comes – Jack Clayton 1983

Watcher in the woods – John Hough 1980

Halloween  – John Carpenter 1978

Night of the Hunter – Charles Laughton 1955

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – Robert Wiene 1920

Still from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

What is your interior style?

My apartment in new york is the size of a shoe box
My LA apartment is a tiny bit bigger, its the size of a hat box

I really like small confined areas, not only because i prefer to live modestly but because I find them creatively stimulating.
My dream would be to live in a hollowed out tree.

I guess you would say each place has a Victorian library feel, old family photos, red walls, taxidermy, some of my friends art, strange artifacts etc.

What are you going to be for Halloween this year?

Beaker and Bunsen from the Muppets with one of my friends if he agrees. I am not sure yet.

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