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Matthew Gray Gubler, actor and author, talks with Long Island kids

Actor and author Matthew Gray Gubler with Kidsday

Actor and author Matthew Gray Gubler with Kidsday reporters, from left,  Samantha Cross, Lauren Gillepsie and Katerina Liveris, of Carle Place High School. Photo Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We met actor and author Matthew Gray Gubler while he was in Manhattan. He starred for many years on the TV show "Criminal Minds," but he also spent a lot of his free time writing and drawing. We loved his book "Rumple Buttercup."

Were you surprised to get an Emmy, and where do you keep your award?

That’s funny. I was surprised. I’m still shocked. I’m very grateful, and that’s very sweet. But the best award I could ever receive is you guys reading something I’ve made. Or watching something I’ve read and then smiling. And that’s the only reward I search for. And I have an Emmy in my closet. It’s a hat rack.

Does fame ever get in the way of who you are?

No. Never. I think I was very lucky to have my mom behind me. My family always really encouraged me. So I always felt really grounded. And now I just feel very lucky I’m somewhere.

Do you have a favorite place to write your books?

Yes. I’m very specific about environments, because I feel like I find a lot of inspiration in where I am when I’m making something. With each project, it’s different. With “Rumple Buttercup” I did a lot of it in a bathtub, to be honest. I don’t know why. There’s something about having a ledge in my tub, and a lot of the drawings came from there. The way that my house is set up, there are nooks everywhere, and I find something about being in like a cubby hole — I don’t know what it is, as a kid I always loved it, too. I think being cozy, and maybe it keeps the ideas inside that little room. And I can fish them out.

Did you enjoy creating the illustrations for your book?

I loved drawing. I’ve always loved it.

Did you write “Rumple Buttercup” specifically for anyone?

I wrote it for anybody who feels like they don’t quite fit in, which I think is pretty much everybody. And my hope is that they feel they know at the end, or they feel at the end like they have a friend and a place, and they’re not alone.

We think the moral of the book is to be yourself. Is that what you think?

That’s exactly it. Thank you. That’s exactly my hope and intention. It’s just about being happy with who you are. And not even like, never trying to be what you’re not, is kind of what it’s about.

When you were growing up in high school, did you always like to perform?

I did. I went to a very awesome high school for performing in visual arts. It was where a lot of kids went that didn’t quite fit in in a normal school. They were like, oh, there’s a school that’s opening, and if you get beat up, and when you’re kind of weird and you have a talent, you can go here and there’s no one that’s going to get you. So everybody flocked to this really special place. And I loved it. I loved school. And I had a great time there.

Did you like drawing when you were growing up?

I did. I loved drawing. I went there for filmmaking, which they didn’t have at that time. But I went there because I loved to make movies and they had acting there. ... And I took some art classes.

Now that “Criminal Minds” is over, do you hope to be on another show like “Criminal Minds”?

I hope to just keep making stuff. I think since I’ve done that for so long, I would like, if I’m going to do anything acting-wise, it would be as in comedy or something, maybe a little different. But I love the character. It would be cool if in two years there were some sort of movie. A reunion movie with all of the people there. I think trying some new things would be really fun, too, for the next little while. 

Would you like to create more of a career with your magic tricks?

Oh, that’s a great question. Heck, yes. I would love to do more magic. ... I love ghost stories. I’ve had a lot of cool experiences with ghosts. My hope is to create a sort of merger, doing some kind of magic show. ... hopefully relating with like ghosts or Halloween.

Did you always know you were going to become an actor?

No, I definitely didn’t. And I never really pursued it. I pursued filmmaking. I went to school to study how to be a director. And that kind of led into becoming an actor. I kind of fell into it. I’m very thankful that I did. And I love it.

Cherie Gisondi's ninth-grade English class, Carle Place High School

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