How old were you when you saw yourself as an actor?
Most of my actor friends got started performing when they were kids, in school plays. It never even crossed my mind to try acting until I was 24 years old. I took an acting classs just for the heck of it during my last year of college. It took another 5 years, almost 6, before I was convinced that I'd found my calling in this world.
Did you see yourself acting in horror films?
I had done about 5 years in L.A. working mostly Tv shows when I really took note of what was going on in independent film in the world. I liked what I was seeing in the originality of subjects and the freedom for filmmakers and actors alike to be full-on creative. So I left L.A. and started taking part in indie films all over the country. After a year or two of this, a horror movie crossed my path and I had a lot of fun with it. Then others followed, and before long, I'd played all these fun characters in a good number of horror movies. I never set out to do Horror, but now I work at least one horror movie a year, somewhere in the world.
What was your first horror project?
The first true horror movie I worked was ''The Hamiltons' which shot in early 2005. At the time it was just another indie film that crossed my path and I'd gotten used to landing most of my auditions at the time. My character was as straight-laced as could be and like my character, I really had no idea how dark the events of the story were and what a successful film 'The Hamiltons' would be.
A name that seemed to grab attention is 'Pocahauntus'. Is this a horror version of the Disney flick?
Up in the hills above Santa Cruz, between L.A. and San Francisco, a whole different kind of movie then Disney's story of Pocahontas was made. We had a ton of fun shooting Veronica Craven's film and it was non-stop laughs working with my long-time buddy Barry Ratcliffe. The story does have a strong Native American presence but its uniqueness comes mainly from the string of horrible murders and the cast of beautiful beautiful women. The character I play is a rich, snooty guy and I'll be the first to agree that he gets what he deserves in the end. People often ask me what it was like working on this movie or that, including PocaHauntus, but I'm not really into throwing wild parties in my hotel room or getting into a fight at the local bar. I get so involved in my character's lives that I usually just keep to myself around movie sets. It just makes it easier for me to stay true to these crazy characters I put together
What was it like working on the film 'Familiar Spirits'?
I have roots in the state of Idaho, lived there for 8 years, so when I came across this family-themed movie with horror touches that was shot in beautiful Idaho, I jumped on it. It's a story, a film, that should air on The Hallmark Channel, it's that well put together and beautifully shot. I play a Dad who's up to his neck in a family crisis and writer-director Perry Shumway really has a knack for taking a look at how evil can undermine our best intentions in life.
You had a part as a Cop in the slasher flick '7eventy 5ive' which starred many cult icons like Rutger Hauer and so fourth. What do you do in this film?
I'm used to playing lead roles in movies but when this film featuring Rutger Hauer came to town, I jumped on a supporting role playing a cop that would appear opposite of Rutger. He had been an actor I had a lot of respect for as a kid so acting in a movie with him was a privilege. It was kind of funny though, the first day I reported for work. I rolled into the film company's base camp where all the trucks were parked and it seemed deserted. I walked all around and around and finally found four teamsters hanging out under a tent, shooting the breeze. I asked them how lunch was and for directions to the set and as one driver was filling me in, one guy who'd had his back to me turned around to look at me and it was Rutger. I laughed and just sat down and became a Teamster for the next hour while we waited.
You often get typecasted playing a detective like I noticed in the flick 'Son of Terror'. Was this role any different personality wise with what you do in this one compared to your other roles in shows?
I've played my share of detectives in movies, and I'm always grateful when writers cook up law enforcement types who have compexities that make them rewarding to play and rewarding for audiences to watch. 'Son of Terror' is Antony De Gennaro's first feature ahd his great imagination came up with a rich collection of characters including the detective I played. What made this guy stand out over other lawmen in film was how he was reminiscent of Clint Eastwood's man with no name in the Leone Westerns but my guy was living in modern times.
You played a Crazy Innkeeper in 'Chainsmoke'. Was this a horror film?
I'm very proud of what I did in this film. 'ChainSmoke' is fundamentally a drama but has lots of dark horror overtones. The movie was shot a couple of years back when I had long hair and my appearance fit right in with the psychotic nature of my character. I've played a lot of individuals who were touched in one way or another but Phil Grasso, the director of 'ChainSmoke' gave me free reign so I just cut loose with a lot of improvised stuff that took me to the brink of madness. The fact is, I'd love to play crazy people for the rest of my life. After all, madness is often only thinly vailed in our world and we all run across it in our daily travels. Playing crazy guys is just about as much fun as the law will allow in my book.
You played Professor Sutton in the flick 'In Search of Lovecraft'. This sounds like a fun type of flick. Do give us detail from start to finish on what it was like working on this film whether it was good or bad?
It may seem a little funny to more educated folks, but until I worked on this movie, I knew nothing about Lovecraft and his contributions to our understanding of human nature. Now I see his mark in the themes of many movies, horror especially. My character in this movie is a straightforward intellectual type who's had his world rocked now that he's hip to Lovecraft's vision. This aspect alone, giving a stereotypical character some color and quirk is always a good time for me.
You played the role of Sheriff of Bedlam in 'House of Bedlam'. Was this character a bad guy?
I always have a heck of a lot of fun working with Paul Gorman and appreciate how he embraces my takes on the characters he writes. For the Sheriff I played in The House of Bedlam, I dug my regulation lawman's uniform out of the closet, added a set of false teeth and disagreeable attitude, both inspired by a meth addict I'd recently met while shooting another film, and we were off and running. I just kept chattering away and my mind up in the backwoods of hillbilly country and we had a hoot.
You also played Serbia in 'Loved Ones' with Chuck Williams. What was this role all about and what he did in it?
Playing Serbia, monarch of all vampires was a big assignment so it took a lot of thought figuring out how I'd play him. Instead of portraying an aggressive, impulsive sort of soul, since Serbia had been around for a long, long time I decided on a more seasoned, been-around-the-world kind of approach. In looking back on what I did, I was glad I kept an appetite for the opposite sex but would have done better to inject more of an edgy, unpredictable nature. No matter what though, it was a blast working with all the beautiful women in this film and shooting in all the great locations we had.
I definetely want to hear your experience in the film 'Dog' as it also had a cast of horror film actors like Debbie Rochon and Jim O'Rear. Of course you played Detective Robert Burns. How was it working in this film?
Once again, I play a detective, out to right the wrongs of the world. The wrongs in 'Dog' are just plain wrong so it was definitely a case of good vs. evil and there was just more evil on my plate in the story than I could handle. The film shot in and around Jackson, Michigan, a town my great-great-great grandfather had founded with two other people a long time ago so it was a real treat to be there and walk on the same ground that my ancestors walked on. The key production team on this movie was outstanding and I hope to work with them again some day soon. One of my scenes was with Jim O' Rear and we hit it off like old buddies and while we've both been a part of at least one other film together since then, we didn't have scenes together so I'm really looking forward to the next time our paths cross again. He's a total professional.
A film I understood you were mostly fond of is 'Cut' as Deputy Bobby Peterson. What was it like doing this flick as it's another one fans remember you from?
I'm very proud to have been a part of Joe Hollow's film along with Wolfgang and the all-star cast. I'm very, very proud of what I did as an actor in the movie. My character goes through all sorts of challenges and torment in the story and thanks to the great work in my scenes by the other actors in the cast like Fred Doss, Deneen Melody, and Seregon O'Dassey I was able to hit several home runs, going to some very raw and painful places as my character, Detective Bobby Peterson. Joe's a hugely supportive human being and I can't wait to work with him again.
You also finished working on 'Sisterhood of Death' which is a comedy horror. When do we expect to see this one come out?
Where do I begin with this one?! Since Antony De Gennaro, the director, and I are buddies, I couldn't wait to work with him again after 'Son of Terror.' While 'Son of Terror' is hugely psychological, 'Sisterhood of Death' is much lighter, an outright comedy, with bits and sprinkles of horror peppered on top. Shot in Seattle, it looks beautiful and the crazy chemistry that came off between all the actors knocked me out. As the only Hollywood-based actor in the cast, I was totally impressed by the incredibly talented people in Seattle. It's Antony's movie, from beginning to end though and this one's going to show a lot of people just how gifted he is. As for me, my character, Franky, is totally inspired by Antony's script and went on to inspire me to channel a couple of very quirky people I know into the mix. You'll see. This is a one-of-a-kind film, very unusual in American Horror.
Do you have other horror film projects coming soon?
In addition to the release of 'Sisterhood of Death,' early in 2012, I have a family-themed film, 'Treasure State,' with my buddy Andy Wiest up in Kalispell, Montana due out at about the same time. Andy's done two family-themed films in a row now but his first major feature was a horror project distributed by Lionsgate so he knows what he's doing, no matter the genre, no matter the subject. He's another I can't wait to work with again. Eric Pereira's 'The Locals' with its all-star cast should also be coming out in the next few months and I look forward to seeing what he does with that. And also in 2012, I expect to go to Canada to work with my good friend Derek Milton on his film 'The Scorpion's Kiss' with the gorgeous Brenda Bakke playing my wife in the story.
Now here's some fun stuff: What are your favourite horror films?
I'm old school in so many ways, I have to say that my sentimental favorites in horror are the ones I watched from my sleeping bag as a kid on the Tv. The black and white ones. Frankenstein. Dracula. And Vincent Price's films, 'House of Wax,'
'Theater of Blood,' and 'Madhouse.' I watch Vincent's films over and over and just loved that guy.
What is your idea of perfect happiness ?
This is an easy idea to dance with. I'd be tickled pink if I could work every day of the year with my favorite directors and favorite actors on films that made a difference, films that could improve the way we humans look at our world.
What are your ambitions in life?
I'm in the process of getting re-established in L.A. I'd left about 8 years ago to focus on working in independent films around the country and now it's time to get back into Tv to supplement the movies. I love indie film, all genres, and enjoy working repeatedly with a number of directors. I'm just so grateful to have the career I have, doing this thing I love, and I hope to keep working in movies til I'm 150 years old.