A Nevada graduate has a key role in an upcoming episode of “Documentary Now!” on IFC. Tony Forsmark is starring in the Oct. 5 episode titled “Globesman” with some alumni from Saturday Night Live.
“‘Documentary Now!’ was created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels,” Forsmark said during a telephone interview last week. “The show takes classic documentary styles and preserves the style but tweaks the subject matter.”
“‘Globesman’ is a nod to the 1968 documentary ‘Salesman,’ which followed four depressive, post-40 salesmen drudging Bibles door-to-door,” Forsmark said.
“Globesman” shares a similar story about four hard-working business men trying their best to sell globes to a community of people who find them too expensive and ultimately prefer atlases. Feeling pressure from their regional manager, and dealing with the constant rejection from customers, the salesmen do anything they can to reinvent the globe as a need-to-have household item.
“In the days of atlases, it’s kind of hard to sell globes door-to-door,” Forsmark said.
He plays the character Bob Campbell. “Bob is not quite the brightest bulb in the bunch,” Forsmark said. “He’s the lummox of the crew. He’s usually leading negative things they do — he’s kind of an instigator.”
The mockumentary was filmed in March. “We spent several days up in Minneapolis on location,” Forsmark said. “It took a little more than a week of filming to create the hour-long episode.”
During filming, Forsmark had several opportunities to improvise lines with the three other globesmen: Armisen, Hader and Bill Smitrovich.
“We do a lot of improv in the show,” he said. “Fred Armisen and Bill Hader are both former Saturday Night Live cast members, and they were really generous in that respect of doing improv. There was one scene that was two or three pages long but it took about 10 minutes to do the take because we were all improv-ing lines. We’d follow along with their leads. It was great they let us play with them.”
Forsmark became active in improv and other performance at a young age. At Nevada High School (Class of 1986), he was commonly in the cast of plays, and was one of the first freshmen to make swing choir and compete in All-State improv.
He moved to L.A. in 2001 to pursue his acting dream. “It was slow starting,” he said. “When I got here, there was a writers’ strike and 9/11.”
He worked on his graduate degree while the acting roles were sparse. He got married; he and his wife Regan, have two daughters, Delaney, 6, and Everley, 3.
Forsmark continues to hone his craft through an actors’ group he’s involved with. Milton Katselas, Gene Reynolds, Doris Roberts and Howie Deutch are some of the actors that have been mentors for him over the years. “It helps me as an actor just being around people who have that much experience,” he said.
When Roberts died in April, it was a big loss for Forsmark and others in his group. “Doris Roberts was invaluable,” he said.
“Documentary Now!” is executive-produced by Armisen, Hader, Meyers, and SNL’s Rhys Thomas, who serves as the show’s director alongside Alex Buono. Season 1 of “Documentary Now!” is currently available on Netflix and iTunes.