Shane, what is the most important thing in your life right now?
Always the same thing....family, friends and career.
Let’s tread down the memory lane a bit. How did you get into acting in the first place?
It took me a long time. I was going to high school in Los Angeles and noticing kids in my school popping up in commercials and thought that I might be able to do that. I answered an open call for managers in a mall in Redondo Beach that thankfully worked out. They liked my read and hired me on the spot. Then it took about 2 and a half years to get a role. My parents, my first manager, and friends helped support me until I booked a regular acting gig.
Music is definitely in your blood, was it ever a part of your professional development?
My parents were in bands when I was growing up in Baton Rouge, LA. My family as a whole are very musical. Some classically trained. So I always thought that music might be the way to go but I also wanted something a bit different to call my own. That "different" being delving into the acting industry.
What could we possibly find in your iPod right now?
Anything and everything. I have one of the best collections of music in my IPod, hands down. Filled with every form of rock n roll and blues, punk, hip hop, classical, pop, dance, and even some modern country thanks to my ex.
Salem is back with it’s brand new season, Witch War. Could you shed some light on what we can expect from your character?
I'm absolutely stoked for Salem's new season! This year John Alden is going through a dramatic change both spiritually and physically. He is hell bent on revenge. His main focus is to end this Witch War before its even started even if that means disposing of the love of his life, Mary Sibley.
What is it like working with the cast of Salem?
The cast of Salem is a wonderful eclectic colorful bunch. I love them all. They really give each day 110 percent. And that also includes days off! Never a breather on this set but we like it that way.
How do you see John Alden as a character? Was the approach a challenge at all?
John Alden has a little bit of Shane in him or vice versa. We can both be very stubborn and are very proud people. For better or worse.
What was it like going back to Louisiana?
It's kind of a dream come true. I would like it better if it was in Baton Rouge (my hometown and where my family lives) but it's still nice to be in my home state. You can't beat the cooking, food, brews, and charisma in Louisiana.
How do you normally prepare yourself for a role?
Depends on the role but I usually do as much backstory and character development work as I can before rehearsals and production. I like to have a strong idea of who the character is and where he is coming from before I set foot on set. Once I get on set I like to try something different each take. Experiment with scenes as long as the other actor(s)/actress(es) are game to do so. I don't think "method" is necessary, it can be very polarizing. (I did use it for What We Do Is Secret to an extent but that's because I was playing a non fictional person in a very realistic punk rock world)
Of all the roles you’ve taken, which has affected you the most?
Playing Darby Crash in The Germs biopic proved to be quite an adventure in more ways than one. It was mentally and physically exhausting but it was 100 percent worth it. And who could see me becoming the actual lead singer of The Germs as a result?
Who or what do you look up to for inspiration?
I look to my family for inspiration. My mom. How she was able to be a single parent and take care of me and my sister for so many years. Inspiration at its finest.
Tell us about your sense of style.
I used to switch it up more when I was younger but now I stick to greys and blacks and dark blues. Streamlined suits, fitted sweaters and T's coupled with nice boots. And I always have to have a pair of Chuck Taylors.
Photography assistants: Ivan Feign & Katherine Phillips
Fashion assistant: Kelsey Le
Catch Shane West as John Alden in Salem, on WGN America.