This Portland-based theater, TV, and film actor is an incredibly talented artist who already has a wife and two kids. Originally from the rural lake region of Maine, Matthew Delamer can be known for many movies nowadays such as The Tender Bar, Tumbledown, Daddy’s Home 2, and many others.
How did you realize you wanted to become an actor?
I found acting later in my life than many as I found it in my twenties. I had graduated from college, majoring in finance and minoring in English, and was pursuing a career in banking and the financial world and never thought that performance was something even remotely related to what I might be able to do as work. But I had always loved theater and dance and loved movies and film. I had graduated college, gotten a job, and felt like I had a hole in my life where passion and creativity were concerned. Somewhat out of the blue I reached out to an old writing mentor of mine, Sally Jones, who I’d know in high school and she talked me into auditioning for a local production of The Music Man with a wonderful community theater in my hometown – OHMPAA (Oxford Hills Musica & Performing Arts Association). And quite simply, like so many in this world of performance and acting, I fell in love. I loved every minute of the rehearsal process, the teamwork in putting together a play, and the thrill of performing and connecting with people. I was hooked from then on and haven’t stopped auditioning since.
At what age did you start acting?
I started at 25, a few years after graduating college.
Who brought you into the acting career?
My mentor and former English teacher, Sally Jones inspired me and then was able to work with so many great directors when I first started in theater such as Chris Schario at The Public Theater of Lewiston, Maine, Linda Britt from Community Little Theater in Auburn, and Sean Mewshaw who gave me my first big film opportunity in a film called Tumbledown with Jason Sudekis and Rebecca Hall. I was so very lucky to have had so many inspiring directors and teachers when I first started who kept pushing me to get better and keep going.
What made you want to go from theater to movies and TV shows?
I always loved film and tv like so many people, and when I heard that Massachusetts had attractive film incentives that were bringing in big productions I began auditioning in Boston for film and TV projects. We’re so lucky to have such incredible casting people here in the Northeast with places like Boston Casting and CP Casting and I found I could get access to amazing projects just a (fairly) short drive away. Those casting companies and the tax incentives really made it possible for me to break into more film and television opportunities.
What is your favorite movie or tv show that you have done so far?
Honestly – The Tender Bar has absolutely been one of my favorite projects to get to work on thus far. How could it not be getting to work with incredible people like George, Ben, and Tye – right? It was a dream project getting to work with and learn from such amazing performers. To be a part of a team like that where there are stars at every corner of the set from DP and First AD to Director and lead actors – it was such an incredible experience and one that I’m so grateful to be a part of.
How did it feel participating in movies with well-known actors?
I think whenever you are a part of a cast with such incredible talent there is always a bit of nerve at the start. I don’t think you can walk onto a George Clooney set and not feel nervous about wanting to do your best. But I think once you get past those initial butterflies or insecurities or whatever they are it’s honestly the best scenario you can ask for. To get to work with people so talented, so gifted, and solid at their craft and have the chance to be a character in the room with people like that – it’s what you always dream of frankly. And I was so lucky with The Tender Bar cast. Every single actor no matter their resume (and there are some pretty impressive ones on this set) was a delight to work with. Tye and Rhenzy were so much fun and so darn good and of course Ben and Lily and of course George were just amazing. I felt lucky to be on set every damn day.
What made you want to move to Portland? Is it career-based or a personal choice?
I’ve lived in Maine my whole life. I love it here. The people are amazing, the land is rich with diverse landscapes and lots of peace and quiet. I found acting at a time when I had a life already built here – a home, a job, the beginnings of a family, and all my family is here in the state. I’ve always felt so lucky that I can do this work of acting that I love so much in a place that feels so much like home. I cherish that. Portland and the surrounding area is such an amazing place to raise a family and have access to the coast and be an hour from the mountains or the midcoast area of Maine and beyond which is so beautiful. We live in a town called Bridgton now, which is outside “the city” but has more space and land and air for our kids and our family and I love being able to give them that. I’m sure that I do sacrifice some things in terms of a career living here but I wouldn’t change it for the world and am always so grateful when I do get the chance to do this work that I love so much and get to raise my family in such a magical place like Maine.
Who do you wish to work with in the future?
As a kid from the 90s (older kid, but still a kid darn it!) I’d love to get to do a project someday with Brad Pitt. That man is such an icon and his films and roles are so rich and I just think it would be such an incredible experience to get to be in a room with that man doing this work in any capacity frankly. If I can add another – the ex-football player in me would also love to be a part of some cool sports film with Dwayne Johnson. That guy is such a pro and seems like a blast to work with. Dwayne could kick my ass on film any day and I’d be stoked haha. So yeah – no big asks here – just Brad Pitt and Dwayne Johnson. You gotta dream, right?
What actor or actress has been your idol?
I have always been a huge fan and admirer of Jeff Daniels and Frances McDormand and their incredible work. I love their crossover ability from theater to film/tv and their brilliant skills to completely inhabit a character in a way that just completely sucks you in. Both their work is so inspiring. One of the last things I saw before covid hit us all was the beautiful work of Jeff Daniels on stage with To Kill a Mockingbird in NYC and it absolutely blew my mind. He had the entire room in the palm of his hand for every minute of the play and all because he was fully committed to every moment of that play and completely honest with every choice. I wish I could have seen it a dozen times. And Nomadland? C’mon. Insanely amazing. These two actors who seem to truly love the work and the process really motivate and inspire me.
Are there any new projects that you will be working on?
I was really lucky recently to get the opportunity to work with the incredible NBC/Dick Wolf franchise Chicago PD in a really fun guest star role that airs in early January. What an incredible team of people to get to work with and such incredible actors and crew. Everyone worked so hard, clearly clicked so well together, and made you feel right at home instantly. It’s a tribute to their production team and the professionalism of the whole crew there – I had a blast working on that project. I also recently shot a short film called The Diver with director Sean Mewshaw and based on the short story by the same name written by amazing Maine-based writer Lewis Robinson. Sean directed the wonderful Tumbledown and produced and directed some of my favorite stage work in Maine with productions of True West and Constellations at Space Gallery in Portland, ME. We got to shoot in the beautiful town of Bucks Harbor, ME in the Blue Hill/Deer Isle area of the coast and it was such a fun project. As the title character I had to learn how to dive for the role and got to do some really fun stunts and writing is just so honest and tense – I think it is going to be a really great film. I hope Maine can one day follow Massachusetts’ lead and we can make more movies up this way more often.
Have you ever thought of changing your career?
To be honest I think that the reason why I love wearing so many hats in my life – actor, photographer, beer CFO – is because I’m always preparing myself for that question. I think that if I just keep myself busy enough I’ll always have at least one career to work on so I don’t even have to make that choice. I think living in Maine where it has always felt like such a luxury and a gift to get to act, to get to do this work, I always walk away from each job I get with a little bit of the feeling of “well that’s the last time I’ll get to be on a movie set.” So maybe it’s self-preservation but I feel like if I have 2-3 careers going on at the same time if the phone does ever stop ringing in my acting world I’ll be more prepared. But the honest truth is that if I can continue to find a way to tell stories and be a part of amazing teams telling stories on film or tv or on stage – it’s when I’m at my happiest self for sure.
Do you want your kids to become actors like you?
The honest truth is that I want my kids to become whatever makes them most happy. I want them to feel the passion in what they do for work one day and I hope they get to have that with their careers or life’s work. Sure, there are always the parts of you that you don’t want your kids to become too vain or self-involved or self-important that can sometimes come as trapping of this work, especially at a young age, but if my kids are lucky enough to find something that they are passionate about and want to pursue I don’t want to stand in the way of that. If acting is that thing – then so be it. But I might sell them on having a few other careers on the side just in case.