It’s no secret that with the ending of Criminal Minds coming up quickly, the quintessential character close to everyones heart since the show’s beginning in 2005, Dr. Spencer Reid, is undoubtedly on everyone’s mind. However Matthew Gray Gubler hasn’t always portrayed the genius with an IQ of 187 that can read 20,000 words per minute with three PhD’s and eidetic memory. Who was Gubler before he became the youngest member of the BAU?
I won’t lie when I say that I will miss seeing Spencer Reid on my screen every week, but that doesn’t change the fact that Gubler has a complexity factor about him that is like no other. With that said, I want to dive into Gubler’s projects that are some of my favorites to hopefully introduce you to a whole part of his career that may be unbeknownst to you.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2005)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was Gubler’s first role at the ripe age of 23 in 2004, while he was still in film school at NYU’S Tisch School of Arts. Gubler was interning for Wes Anderson at the time, who directed the movie, and Anderson had encouraged him to audition. This lead to Gubler landing the small role of Nico the Intern. In the extended double disc version of the movie, Gubler had the opportunity to create the Intern Journal documenting the life on set of the movie while following around the cast and crew.
While The Life Aquatic is not my favorite title Gubler has under his belt, it forecasted him into stardom as this would lead to him getting his role on Criminal Minds in 2005. The movie shows a glimpse into Anderson’s imagination with his incredible visuals and quirky details.
Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007-2015)
Where I first learned about Gubler many moons ago was in the iconic Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise. The Chipmunks series does play a fairly significant role in his life now as art and animation are all around him. Gubler plays the smartest of the three chipmunks, Simon Seville who has an IQ just north of Einstein. Simon definitely balances the group out because he’s very mature and independent. This role opened a door into animation and voice acting for Gubler that aided him in adding Batman: Assault on Arkham and Scooby Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur to his resumé.
Suburban Gothic (2014)
It’s no secret to anyone that knows who Gubler knows that his favorite holiday is Halloween — he even lives in a haunted tree house. Coincidentally, the movie follows Raymond, played by Gubler, who has just finished school to get his MBA, but his attitude lands him in trouble when he can’t find work. The unemployed man that can communicate with the dead returns to his hometown where he finds a vengeful ghost is terrorizing his home. He recruits Becca (Kat Dennings), the local badass bartender, to help him solve the mystery of the spirit that is threatening people’s lives. The cross between old fashioned horror and slightly raunchy humor fits perfectly in this movie. The characters’ personalities really shine and the dynamic between the cast works perfectly. If you’re a fan of oddballs, Tim Burton, or John Waters, this is the movie for you to add to your watchlist.
Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging and Being Yourself (2019)
Gubler also started diving into the world of storytelling. For years Gubler had a flash site where he shared his drawings and writings with the world. This past year it became a reality when he released his first book, Rumple Buttercup. The New York Times #1 bestseller is a charming and inspiring story that is perfect for all ages, as it’s a story of being yourself, while also learning to love that version of yourself while being comfortable with yourself. I own the book, and I personally love it! The story itself is a very quick read with only 136 pages that have mostly illustrations. The design of the book was designed entirely by Gubler from the interior drawings to the barcode. The tale really reflects Gubler’s individuality, and let’s face it, we all need to embrace our weirdness every once in a while, too.
I really felt like an outcast all of my life. I still feel like one, and I remember that feeling well. It’s the thing I can conjure up the easiest. I feel in a unique position as [an] entertainer [who is] somewhat successful to be able to hopefully inform those kids and let them know that it’s OK to be weird, it’s OK to feel like an outsider, you know? The popular people, it doesn’t really matter what they think…I just want to make those that feel like outcasts feel like they belong somewhere. I just thought that was so profound and honest.
For years Gubler has taken on the true meaning of life imitates art. Gubler has done several self-made shorts, as well as documented his art through his websites and now all forms of social media. Gubler is a true creative mind. Not only does he act, he also paints, draws, performs magic, and even directs — including 12 episodes of Criminal Minds throughout the years, his own un-authorized documentary, and several music videos for The Killers and Whirlwind Heat’s song Reagan. Gubler even has fans that get his drawings tattooed, and he will occasionally post them with the hashtag #gublertattoo. His art encourages the creative side of not only himself for his various lines of work, but also his fans.
I just love entertaining. I will do anything – stand-up comedy, video games, fencing, internet shorts – I just want to keep being lucky enough to entertain people anyway I can. I try never to limit my art to a medium.
So there you have it. Matthew Gray Gubler. He is the definition of a multitalented performer, and I hope this convinced you to dive into his work in more depth to truly see what he has to offer. With this chapter of his life finally coming to a close, I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
Now that Criminal Minds is edging towards its final bow, what does Matthew Gray Gubler have in store? For 2020 so far Gubler is set to star in a new comedy film with Angela Sarafyan, King Knight, as well as Horse Girl with Alison Brie and Debby Ryan that is slated for release on Netflix in February.
For Gubler’s entire filmography, check his IMDb here.