Cameron Monaghan was offered his role in SHATTERED…on the first day of shooting…and plays the lead. It’s safe to say that this represented a challenge for the actor. He met some wonderful people while working on this project which made the experience all the merrier. Also a musician, he picked up his first guitar at the age of eleven and hasn’t stopped since. This marked the first time he was creating just to, well, create! He also shared his thoughts on TILTED’s favorite talking points, giving us a VIP inside look into his thoughts! Check out and discover more about Cameron Monaghan…
Friendship can be a challenging thing to find in a city like Los Angeles. It’s isolating, full of walls and fences and barbed wire separating us all. Many of its residents experience the majority of their world through a piece of glass. Time is spent sitting in traffic, in cars with our own personal music, our own realities, our little spaceships. Sometimes, it feels like our experiences with the majority of the human race is through their brake lights rather than their eyes.
LA is a place transient by nature, filled with freelancers and aspirers, those who come here with big dreams and (oftentimes) little funds. A town full of visitors pursuing a way up the ladder, some willing to step on others to use as rungs on their ascent. As a native, born in Santa Monica, I try to avoid that flavor of toxicity. Furthermore, I’m lucky to have found the majority of my friend group for the better part of a decade ago. Many were neighbors, coworkers, and classmates who I met in my teens. We all try to support each other and lift each other up as we navigate through our lives and careers.
Family can be adopted, it can be chosen, it can be made. I personally came from a small biological brood, a complicated family tree full of addiction, depression, mental illness, prison time, and institutionalization. That’s not to say that I don’t love many of the people who I am linked to genetically. Rather, that is not the limit of where my love lies, and I found it necessary to branch beyond the simple constraints of a name. Family, to me, are the people who you support and will support you no matter how tough it gets, no matter how low you fall, no matter how inconvenient it may be. Family requires a bit of faith, and I’m lucky to have people who I have faith in.
On SEXUAL FLUIDITY
I find it puzzling that anyone in this millennia can possibly have an issue with what two consenting people of age do with each other. Worrying about the sexual lives of strangers feels like a remnant from the times when people were burned alive after being tossed in a river if they floated, or executed due to the placement of a mole on their body. It’s arbitrary, antiquated, disgusting.
Sexuality is a gift granted to be explored however an individual sees fit. If you have a desire to question or explore any aspect of yourself, you have the right and you SHOULD do it. To mock someone for their personal journey, or worse, to attempt to control it is not only deeply juvenile, but also one of the most greedy things a person can do. It’s an attempt to steal another human being’s most personal possessions: their expression of love, their autonomy over their own body, and their free will.
No one should feel they have the right to dictate or regulate another’s sexual activity – not an individual, a culture, a religion, or (most of all) a government. Made short: stay out of other people’s business. It’s insane that in this day and age some people view this statement as a hot take, but here we are.
I have faith in humanity, as complicated and frustrating as we sometimes may be. I think we are capable of such profound and beautiful things when we band together in the pursuit of raising the quality of life for each other. I think faith in a higher power (or powers for the polytheists out there) can certainly lead us to that path and I would never judge a person for how they might come to the decision of helping another.
But I’m also pragmatic and generally a realist, and by that I mean regardless of what you might think happens after you die, there’s still an inevitable truth: You. Will. Die.
So instead of doing things out of some “brownie points” system that you eventually cash out after your passing, I think life should be lived as if it’s the only one you’ve got. Try to leave things better than you found them. Appreciate the present and pay attention to the moments slipping by, however small. And most of all, just don’t be an asshole. Check in often and ask yourself if your actions might be negatively impacting someone else’s life and, as obvious as it may be to say, try to avoid that. We all make mistakes, but admit it’s a mistake and do your best to avoid it in the future.
On GENDER EQUALITY
I’ve grown up with many incredible women in my life, starting with my mom who gave me the opportunities I have today, as well as so many friends, coworkers, and idols. While I’m an existentialist by nature and believe that every individual has the capacity for wonderful and awful, I can’t help noticing that women seem so much more equipped in awareness, sensitivity, and social dynamics. These are some of the most fundamental building blocks for civilization and the toxic and destructive elements of the male psyche can view this awareness as weakness or a tool for exploitation. The simple truth is that most of the strongest, most capable, and most reliable people I know have been women.
Males historically have been threatened by this, a symptom of one of the most influential weaknesses: fragile ego. And while I hate to make statements simplified like a bumper sticker, even one as prescient as “the future is female,” I truly believe the world would deeply benefit from more women, non-binary, and non-male people being better paid, better supported, and put into more positions of power.
On RACIAL FLUIDITY
I’m far too pale to get on any sort of soapbox about. All I can say, really, is that I’m excited for a future where the media we consume, the companies we patronize, and the systems that govern us more accurately represent the diversity of the world as it actually is. All people have a fundamental right to be represented, and to see themselves in positions of power, to aspire to success and for their hard work to be rewarded. It’s incredible to start to see more people of different skin tones, heritages, and backgrounds become leaders in a broadening number of fields. While it’s come far later than it should’ve in the dark history of this country, it’s a change that must be supported, protected, and cultivated.
On SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is junk food. It’s not inherently wrong to eat candy, but you can’t expect to be healthy if you consume it all the time. I get it, we all need ways to unplug from the stresses and mundanity of everyday life. But I think it’s smart to recognize social media is designed to stimulate your short-term pleasure centers like a drug. It’s made to be addictive, to give the illusion of gratification and to fool you into feeling as if you’re accomplishing anything. You might as well try to see it as the electronic stimulant that it is.
Do yourself a favor and attempt to limit it. Personally, I set timers on my phone. If all else fails, delete the apps. I promise, you can do it. And if you can’t, is there any clearer sign that you might have a dependency problem?
On CLIMATE CHANGE
Look, everyone hates when some celebrity lectures them about how they’re not doing enough to protect nature. But the truth is that little things, if done often enough, can make an extraordinary difference. Seek the changes that don’t break your wallet, but can still benefit the world. Take something like plastic waste: a water filter is cheaper in the long run than bottled water. Similarly, it costs nothing to drop something in your recycling bin. Or you know what’s free and makes a big difference? Voting for people who at the very least offer long-term plans regarding the environment.
Listen to scientists. Corporate bottom lines do not care about your personal safety, nor the safety of delicate ecosystems. The climate data is freely available and spells disaster. We’re already experiencing the effects. Support companies that appear to be more ethical.
Personally, I’m excited that I am installing solar panels for my home. Now, obviously for many people, that isn’t something they have the opportunity or the means to do. I’m deeply grateful I’m financially in a place to do it (and also, hopefully the savings from the energy company eventually cancels out the initial cost!) My intention is that my next car will be electric and hopefully powered primarily through my renewable energy. Now obviously I’m aware that even these solutions have detrimental impacts such as lithium mining, but I suppose all we can really do is weigh our options and pick the alternative that currently appears to be the least horrible. Reduce your evil.
On IMPORTANCE OF POLITICS
This answer is why I’m an actor and not a politician.
Or a tech developer.
On IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL STYLE
I think it’s sick whenever I see people dressing in the ways that make them feel confident and comfortable in their skin. Good sick, I mean. That’s my California vocabulary coming out. Like dope sick. Not the bad kind of “dope sick.” But like “dope” equals “sick.” What was I talking about again?
On CULTURAL DIVERSITY
I think a civilization becomes more robust the more diverse it is. Gatekeeping only one kind of person creates a homogenization that can be better described as cultural inbreeding. We’re at our best when we interact with, support, learn from, and shelter people from many walks of life.
Why did you originally audition for SHATTERED?
I was actually offered the role, so no audition.
In what ways did this project challenge you? Explain.
The role was offered extremely last-minute. To be honest, that would be an understatement. The role was offered to me on the first day of shooting. It’s an immense task to prepare for any role, but especially the main lead of a film. So, to answer your question… everything was a challenge. We were under the intense limitations of an independent film in terms of schedule and budget, only made more complicated by COVID’s impact, freezing weather, and my trying to stay alive artistically with such little preparation for the project. It’s a little miracle the movie got made at all, and while in all candidness, I can say it’s not my favorite of my performances for this reason, I’m thankful I had the opportunity to be a part of it. I met some wonderful folks and developed business relationships that have already led to great projects since.
Who did you connect on set with? What do you believe you brought to the table?
The female leads for the project, Lilly Krug and Sasha Luss, were both great. We had a lovely little trip to Yellowstone on the one day we all had off, and saw the extraordinary natural beauty Montana had to offer. The two ladies were wonderful, effervescent, funny, and talented, and it was a pleasure working with them.
Also, an honor to share billing with was John Malkovich, a performer who I had admired from a young age. On-set, he came off as humble, hard-working, surprising, and most crucially, talented. His scenes are my favorite in the film and it’s no secret to say his craft elevates anything he’s involved with.
Tell us about a time in your own life when you were betrayed. How did you handle it?
This is a funny question because I believe the word “betrayal” implies a certain relationship with trust, grief, and anger. I don’t tend to hold onto things, I’m not a grudge person. I approach most relationships with a cautious optimism where I hope for the best of another’s intentions, but I do not put blind faith in others. Perhaps a byproduct of my upbringing by descendants of hard-nosed Catholic immigrants, I’m slow to trust and quick to move on, for better or worse.
Have I felt disappointed by people? Sure. Is it painful when a romantic or business relationship doesn’t work out? Absolutely. Say, for example, if I found out a personal friend was spreading untrue rumors about me, or a partner was cheating… I’d be hurt, of course. But then what? Well, I’d learn from it, remove the person from my life, wish them the best, and keep moving. I don’t have the desire for retribution, or revenge, or whatever that I feel the word “betrayal” implies. Nobody’s killed one of my pets, you know? No battles that have ended in court, thank God. Here’s hoping it never comes to that.
What do you believe our world needs the most of right now?
Listening is a big one. Our perspectives are deeply limited by nature. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have our own sets of biases, assumptions, and fallacies. We are the products of time and place, of cultural perception. This is not an inherently bad thing. However, no matter how smart you are, how capable or perceptive, there is always going to be something you’re ignorant about. Potential knowledge is endless, but your personal knowledge is limited to the information you have received.
Seek out more information, listen to people from different cultural backgrounds than your own. Try to avoid the knee-jerk dismissal of a thought that challenges your own. You might end up still disagreeing, but you’ll probably have learned something in the process. Or who knows? There are things that you view as a fundamental truth now that will probably age like milk within your lifetime. That’s okay. The fact that we’re capable of learning, of revising our thinking, of growing and changing is what makes the human animal so extraordinary. Not everything is binary. We’re messy, nuanced creatures and we have a rather nasty habit of ignoring our own cognitive dissonance. This is a gentle reminder to question your preconceptions and hopefully we can mitigate the many echo chambers we all reside in.
Share with us a moment in your childhood that marked a stepping stone in your life.
Probably first picking up a guitar, I think I was maybe 11 years old. I’m not a professional musician by any margin, but I think that’s the point – it’s about what an instrument can represent. To me, it was the first time I can remember creating simply for the act of creation. No end goal, no assignment, just expression. That is what art is at its most fundamental, externalizing the internal.
Once the guitar was bought, there was no additional cost to create, I wasn’t required to follow rules, there wasn’t a boss or a script. And it didn’t matter if it was good, not really anyway. Because every time I strummed, an energy was transferred, and seemingly, something was born. If there was an idea, an action could be taken. All of a sudden, something existed where before there was absence. Let there be light.
What comes next?
Talent CAMERON MONAGHAN @cameronmonaghan
Photographer TED SUN @tedsun77
Retouch ELIZABETH EIGHT @retouch.liza
Styling BENJAMIN HOLTROP @benjaminholtrop
Styling Assistant EMILY JOHNSON @emilykejohnson
Grooming DANNI KATZ @dannidoesit
Interview ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites
Production @bellomediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites x @pressepr