15 Minutes with Chuck

Actor Eric Close interview: THE MULLIGAN – A new Faith & Family film about Second Chances

September 08, 2022 Chuck Fields Season 5 Episode 9
15 Minutes with Chuck
Actor Eric Close interview: THE MULLIGAN – A new Faith & Family film about Second Chances
Show Notes Transcript

THE MULLIGAN is an inspiring story about relationships, forgiveness and second chances. In this movie Paul McAllister, played by actor Eric Close, seems to have it all as a successful businessman, but his life starts to fall apart. Guided by the wisdom and advice of an old golf pro, Paul learns about playing a good game both on and off the course. Based on the popular book, THE MULLIGAN is an inspiring reminder that second chances are only one shot away.

Lead actor Eric Close joins me today to discuss this amazing new movie. Eric is best known for his roles on the CBS mystery drama “Without a Trace”, the ABC musical drama “Nashville”, and the movie “American Sniper”. 

Eric Close is an actor, director, and writer. Recently he starred in the Amazon film LEGAL ACTION. He can also be seen in the war drama INDIVISIBLE. Eric is perhaps best known for his roles in the hit television series NASHVILLE and WITHOUT A TRACE which was nominated for a Golden Globe for best ensemble cast. He also starred in CHAOS and the hit series SUITS. Other credits include AMERICAN SNIPER, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, NOW AND AGAIN, DARK SKIES, MCKENNA, and the Golden Globe-nominated mini-series TAKEN among many others. Behind the camera, Eric has directed episodes of NASHVILLE and WITHOUT A TRACE. Eric also recently directed his fifth movie for Hallmark Channel, SUGAR PLUM TWIST in addition to CHRISTMAS AT GRACELAND, WEDDING AT GRACELAND, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and A CHRISTMAS LOVE STORY. Eric married Keri Moyers in 1995 and they have two daughters, Katie and Ella.

THE MULLIGAN is now available On Demand on Amazon Prime and Apple TV, as well as DVD (Walmart). For more information:


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Chuck (host) (00:00):

In today's episode, we're gonna talk about the Mulligan, a new faith and family film about second chances.

Chuck (host) (00:23):

Hello, thanks so much for joining me today. Today. We're gonna talk about the Mulligan, a new movie that I know you'll love. The Mulligan is an inspiring story about relationships, forgiveness, and second chances in this movie, Paul McAllister played by actor. Eric close seems to have it all as a successful businessman, but then his life starts to fall apart guided by the wisdom and advice of an old golf pro Paul learns about playing a good game, both on and off the golf course lead at your Eric close. Joins me today to discuss this amazing new movie. Eric is best known for his roles on the CBS mystery drama without a trace, the ABC musical drama, Nashville and the movie American sniper

Chuck (host) (02:47):

Eric, thank you so much for joining me today.

Eric Close (02:49):

It's good to be with you. Thanks for having me

Chuck (host) (02:51):

On. Well, it is a pleasure. Now I tell you I really love the new movie, the Mulligan. I think it's just a fantastic movie. I love your role role as Paul McAllister and the amazing message behind it. I was just wondering in your own words, can you kinda describe the movie to your audience?

Eric Close (03:06):

It's the story of second chances in life and the lessons are taught through the game of golf. So but at its core, it is a story of second chances and a redemption story and a feel, good story.

Chuck (host) (03:23):

You know, it is good too. And I have to say, I was really impressed with, with all the acting. I mean, not only you're acting, which is incredible, of course, but I mean, working alongside pat Boone, what was that like?

Eric Close (03:33):

Yeah, Pat's a legend and you know, I've met a lot of people in my life, but at one thing I can say about pat is he is app. He is as real as they come, he's genuine. He's incredibly transparent. He's, he's an authentic human being. He doesn't put on any HES. He's just, he's just a great man of integrity. I, I, I admire him because he sticks to his words sometimes even you know, when he gets criticized for his faith or whatever that is, he's just very steadfast. And I admire that in, in someone who's not wishy washy. He doesn't apologize for who he is and what he believes.

Chuck (host) (04:13):

I tell you that is an incredible, unfortunately it's rare, but I mean, I think it's just incredible. That he's that way. And I wish more of us were like that. One thing I was thinking too about, you know, as I said, the Mulligan is there might be some audience out there who maybe aren't up on golf. So what is a Mulligan for those out there?

Eric Close (04:36):

That's a great question. You know a Mulligan in the game of golf is a second chance. So the way it works is by the rules of golf, you can't take a Mulligan. If you're playing in a tournament or a competitive round of golf with your buddies, there are no mulligans. You gotta play by the rules. And, and the rules of golf have stood the test of time over 700, almost 800 years that these rules have been around. Now, they've been tweaked a little bit, but pretty much for the most part, they, they are the same. And that's what is a game of integrity when you're playing with your buddies, you're having a good time and you're just out to have fun, which golf should be fun. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, and we're not playing, we're not playing it for a living. Sometimes your, your buddies will give you a, a, a Mulligan.

Eric Close (05:24):

If you have a bad shot, they'll go, Hey, take a mu again. And it's a second chance. And in this movie, I, we, that concept of a Mulligan gets translated into life and a relate with God that God is a God of second chances where, you know, we play life and life doesn't always work out the way we had thought it was. And I would say for anybody that that's the way it is. And sometimes we feel like we've messed up so badly, or life is going in a direction that we just don't have any hope. And the message is, yeah, we do have hope and that God offers not only one chance, a second chance, but many, many chances, and to make things right. And that can cover a myriad of different issues. So that's what a Mulligan is, is a second chance.

Chuck (host) (06:10):

See, and I do love it. I love how the movie does that without too giving too much away. I mean, it goes into great deal about the relationship between your character Paul and, and his wife and his son and his business as well. I was just wondering, did you feel sort of a personal connection to the role and, and, you know, what was most difficult about playing Paul McAllister for you?

Eric Close (06:30):

Well, I'm I'm a, I'm very fortunate in my life, the relationship I have my, with my wife and daughters you know, my, my wife and I are getting ready to celebrate our 20 well, we just did celebrate our 27th anniversary. Congrats. and we, we, you know, take great care of our marriage. We love being married, we're best friends. And we, you know, we, so we certainly enjoy that. And I'm not estranged from my kids, thankfully. We've had our moments where I'm sure that they wanted to be estranged from me, but <laugh> all in all. I I'm, I'm very fortunate and in, and Paul his priorities are, are out of whack in the sense that he's a, he's actually a decent guy. He's a good guy, but the thing that he struggles with is pride and, and, and in his wounded and in his wounded soul, he's trying to fill a hole in his, in his soul by working and being successful at work, nothing wrong with being successful and working hard.

Eric Close (07:32):

But what ends up happening is he ends up it's at the cost of his relationship with his wife and with his son. And so, you know, I, you know, I, I don't know that experience, but I can certainly imagine what that would be like to not have my, my want to have any sort of relationship with me or to see my marriage falling apart and thinking, boy, I'm doing the right thing. Why is this happening? And I think when Paul sees where his priorities in his balance in his life are out of a whack and he learns that he can adjust that and makes, make some different choices. You know, that's where the story really makes a, a term and a hopeful term. So, you know, I love playing the character of Paul. We do have, you know, we do have, there were things about the character that I could relate to. Definitely. and so I'd relate to that sense of him feeling sort of lost and isolated and missing, like what's going wrong. I mean, I feel like I'm doing right thing. And so, yeah. But I, I enjoy the character and I love playing the game of golf. It's one of my greatest passions in my life is the game I I've been playing for a long time and it's opened so opened so many doors for friendships and fellowships. So it's, it's an awesome game.

Chuck (host) (08:49):

That is so cool. I'm so glad to hear that you're in a golf too, cuz your character was believable enough. I mean, I, if you didn't hit a round of golf ever as still would've believed that Paul McAllister is the greatest golfer ever on the planet. I do wanna get, if I could, Eric, if I get just a little personal and I just wanna dive into this cuz I, I can relate to, to your personal story from what I heard is that you, you know, became a Christian as a teenager and then fell away as a young man. I mean, I've, I've done that too. But you turn back to God and I was just wondering, can you share, would you be willing to share what drew you back to the Lord? How'd that happened?

Eric Close (09:22):

So just a little backstory. I was, you know, I grew up in a family, we went to church on and off. You know, my dad was an elder in the Presbyterian church when he was younger. My mom came from communist hungry. So there was a lot of conflict there because they were, you know, weren't allowed to worship God, but she had my mom's heritage. There are pastors in her family. So I think God was in a part of our family. But you know, with three boys, my parents were raised all into sports. It was hard to find time to go to church. And so when I was 13, my parents sent me to a a, a Christian junior high and that's where I came to faith. Thing that resonated with me about Jesus is that he loved everybody didn't matter color, their skin, any of those things.

Eric Close (10:04):

It was just, he loved people. And I was like, yeah, I can get behind a guy like that because you know, when you see people being discriminated against or whatever, you know, I just hard because I know my, my mom went through it when she had to, you know, escape her Homeland. Mm. But like a lot of us, you know, we come to Christ and we're, we suddenly, we hit our teenage years and go a little wild. And you know, I did that. And to answer your question, I had throughout my college life, my high school and college life even though I had walked away from God in many aspects, there was still a deep longing to have that relationship just didn't know how to do it. And I thought, I wouldn't be cool if I was, you know, following God more closely.

Eric Close (10:49):

And so I, I was definitely longing for it and it just, I didn't know how to put it into words and really what that was. And when I graduated from college, you know, and ended out into the real world I remember just a part part a particular day in my, I was sitting in my apartment alone. And the second hand on the clock was kind of ticking by one second at a time. And I was looking at the clock and I just felt very lonely and kind of like lost, I guess. And I just, I, I, every time that second hand moved on that cheap old clock, I thought, man, my life's just ticking away a second at a time. What am I doing? And I remember this is the exact thing I said. I said, God, I don't know if you wanna have anything to do with me, but I miss you.

Eric Close (11:32):

That's all I said, cause I dunno what else to say, but I just said, God, I, I dunno if you wanna have anything to do with me, but I miss you. And that, that was my prayer. And I, I kid you not from that day forward, there was no question that God started opening doors saying, I do wanna have a relationship with you. One of the first things that happened was I met a guy that I was doing a play with who was going to a church in Altadena. And I invited myself to go and I was the only white member at this church. It was an African American church in Altadena. And I joined there. And that was just an extraordinary time in my life. Early in my acting career, I was just starting out. My two younger brothers ended up joining, following me there.

Eric Close (12:17):

And so that was a great foundation. And I will say the thing that really resonated with me at this new time in my life and a relationship with God is it really became personal. And I wasn't necessarily afraid of God anymore. I a healthy fear of God and his awesomeness and power, but I, I, I felt a loving God as opposed to this sort of judgemental God that I chose to commit, commit the rest of my life to. And it's, you know, they, they, they equate a, a relationship with God like a marriage and a marriage relationship and where you have to trust and have faith and, and, you know, not be so judgemental in, you know, and so I, I just found that new relationship was much more peace filled, joy filled and a great, a great step in my life and the new direction I was taking and everything that's happened since then, even through hardship, you know, I lost my brother in December to cancer. He was my best friend and I, my closest closest friend, but through that grief and all that, I knew that God was right there with my parents and I, and my other brother and you know, all of us. So anyway,

Chuck (host) (13:31):

Oh, thank you, Eric, for sharing that, cuz that's so true. You know, I, I, I think a lot of us need to understand, you know, God is, is loving and, and he's there for us. All we have to do is, you know, knock and the door will reopen. So thank you art for sharing that with us.

Chuck (host) (13:49):

You, you mentioned acting, I kind wanna go into that cuz you have this phenomenal career as an actor or director and writer. How, how did you get into acting where that bug come from?

Eric Close (13:59):

Well, I, I did some plays when I was a kid and I, I knew that my mom had wanted to be an actress when she lived in Hungary, but it just wasn't, it wasn't meant to be for her because of the circumstances there and what they were UN facing. I knew that it could be a thing that possibly I could a career, but join on stage. I enjoyed the acting and I love the applause. <Laugh> you know, when you do a good performance and walk off the stage already collapsed, you're like, well that's kind of feels good.

Chuck (host) (14:32):

You got applause. I just got boos. So

Eric Close (14:34):

I may have gotten a few tomatoes thrown at me, but there you go. I don't know. What about that? What ended up happening was when I graduated from college, I was pursuing a career as a director. I wanted to direct. So I was really trying to get, get my foot in the door in the production side. But I kept getting asked by people to act in their films, their student films and their music videos and whatever. And so I thought maybe God's calling me to be an actor. And so that's when I really kind of took a, a, a, I took a pause and I really took a look at, is this what I'm really called to do? And I took an acting to kind of explored it was called the business acting <inaudible> who was one of the actors in the movie, Greece. And it was through that class that I met. I met Howard fine. Who's a wonderful acting teacher in Los Angeles. He teaches all over the world. Now he's very renowned. And Howard I networked with Howard. He invited me into his studio and I started studying there. And that kind of was the beginning of me really embracing a career as an actor.

Chuck (host) (15:38):

Yeah. Folks it's, it's really important to support these family friendly movies like the mulligans. So, you know, Hollywood can see the response and do more of them. The mulligans now available on demand at Amazon prime and apple TV. It's also available on DVD more for more information, encourage you to go to the website, getamulligan.com. I just wanna thank you so much for taking time on your busy schedule to join us today. Thank you so much.

Eric Close (16:03):

Yeah, I really appreciate it. And thanks for your time and hope everybody enjoys Mulligan

Chuck (host) (16:12):

Well, I really enjoy my conversation with Eric today and I'm loving the movie. The Mulligan. You should definitely check it out. If you'll let you know more, just go to their website, getamulligan.com. I wanna thank Eric for joining me today. I wanna thank you for joining me as well. If you can do me a small favor and share this episode with a friend, we'd appreciate that. Thanks so much for joining me. We'll see you next time. God bless.