Landon Pigg is full of caffeine and about to make the transition from music to movies with Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Whip It. Maya Singer has coffee (naturally) with the singer and discusses his new role.

“I’m looking for a girl,” says Landon Pigg, tugging on the sleeves of his moth-eaten cardigan. “I’m looking for a girl who looks good in a coffee shop.” Pigg, for the record, is not talking about his personal life. The singer-songwriter’s new album, The Boy Who Never, is coming out soon, and Pigg is on the hunt for a girl to star in a music video. “I guess it would help if she actually drinks coffee,” he cracks, leveling the foam off his own cup of cappuccino. “Is that typecasting?”

Yes, it’s just a standard day in the life of a rock star, if “rock” is really the right word to describe Pigg’s hushed, melodic songs. Interview, photo shoot, casting session for a girl who looks good in a coffee shop. Typical, typical. But for Landon Pigg, things are about to get pretty un-typical indeed. As well as releasing The Boy Who Never, the Detroit-born, Nashville-bred, L.A.-based Pigg is about to make his debut as a movie star. In Whip It, out this October, Pigg plays the love interest of Juno star Ellen Page. And in this instance, he was the one getting typecast.

“They wanted a real musician,” Pigg explains with a shrug. Not that his skills on the six-string were enough to land him the part of Oliver in the film, which marks the directorial debut of one Drew Barrymore. “One day I’m in the car with my manager, and he’s like, oh, by the way, do you want to audition for this thing Drew Barrymore is directing? The girl from Juno’s in it…” Pigg recalls with a laugh. “So we go down into the basement of the studio where I was recording, at the time, and he shoots me reading some lines. Only the thing is,” he goes on, “it was sort of like, an emotional, lovey-dovey scene, and my manager is reading Ellen’s lines. And at one point, he just busted out laughing.” That was the tape Pigg sent in to the Whip It producers. “I think they found it funny, him laughing over me saying those lines. I thought it was funny, for sure.”

Whip It wound up bringing Pigg back to Detroit, where he found himself holed up in a hotel in the middle of the city. “They built a roller derby rink in a warehouse downtown, and the hotel was nearby,” Pigg explains. “So we’re talking, real Detroit. The kind of situation where you walk by eight buildings, and seven of them are empty.” But over the course of the two-month shoot, Pigg came to like the town. “I had just enough time there to get to know Detroit, like, see the nooks and crannies, the stuff that’s special. And being on location was productive for me, too” he adds. “I’d go down to the hotel lobby and bang on the piano. I got a lot of ideas for the album that way. Maybe,” Pigg goes on, “the next time I’m trying to make a record, I should make another movie.”

Photography: Paul Maffi
Fashion: James Valeri
Words: Maya Singer

A full version of this article first appeared in Wonderland #19, Sep/Oct 2009