At what age did you see yourself as an
If you ask my mother she
will probably tell you 2. I grew up in a family
that placed a fair amount of value on a good self
deprecating sense of humor. That is very rare for
Germans! My earliest performance was doing a skit
in 3rd grade. When we immigrated to the US I
began seriously getting involved in the drama
club in Junior High School that carried through
into High School and then the film and TV work I
did throughout college.
Did you see
yourself acting in horror films?
are 18 years old and starting out in the business
you will take any work offered that isn't morally
offensive. I acted in commercials, eating cheese
filled pretzels at 8 am in the morning. Horror
couldn't have been worse than that! As both a
producer and actor I get a great sense of
satisfaction evoking a reaction out of an
audience be that laughter, tears or fear. Horror
is the movie business equivalent of the biggest
baddest rollercoaster at a theme park! The rest
are just kiddy rides when it comes to the
What was your
first taste of acting?
grade in Germany, doing a comedy monologue for
all the students and parents. I remember being
scared to death until I received the first laugh.
From that point forward I remember having the
time of my life up on stage. It helps when you
have great material to work with and whatever
piece my teacher gave me to perform was right on
the money for that audience.
How old were you?
So was 'Sleepaway
Camp' your first horror film?
How did you hear
about the auditions?
manager sent me on the audition, which was great
as usually she only sent me out for cigarettes.
She received word from the producers that they
were casting and looking for teens to play lead
roles in the film.
What did Robert
Hiltzik ask you to do for an audition?
tons of adlibbing. I read a little bit of the
script but it was mostly just free style acting
like a brat of a kid that he wanted to see. Our
tag line for 'Return To Sleepaway Camp' is
"Kids Can Be So Mean" and he already
wanted to see that emphasized in the first film.
Who were you up
against for the part?
remember seeing what looked like hundreds of
resumes on a table in the audition room. I knew
at that point, if your headshot ended up on that
table you weren't returning for a call back. I
believe every actor in the 15 to 28 (campers and
counselors) age range auditioned for 'Sleepaway
Camp'. Any New York actor that is now in his or
her mid thirties to mid forties would have
auditioned. Judging by that, it is fun to think
about who you beat out for your role.
Were there other
characters Hiltzik had in mind for you than the
role of Mike?
Robert always plays things close to his chest. I
never asked him to this day. Looking back at the
film now, Mike seemed to fit fairly well for me,
so not a bad casting choice.
What was Hiltzik
like to work with?
easy. I remember having a great time up there. We
were all young and hanging out off the set as
well. The atmosphere was very relaxed and
comfortable. Seemed like a family film since
Robert had Missy (his wife) working on the
picture as well as Missy's brother and other
relatives were always popping up. He just let the
kids act like kids and caught as much of that as
possible on film. I think that is why it worked
so well and struck a chord.
What scene will
you always remember performing?
I remember most of
it fairly vividly. The one that will always stick
out is the rec hall fight scene. They wanted it
to look real and we didn't have stunt doubles for
the scuffle. The scene involved a lot of local
extras, big tough, farm kids. We antagonized them
prior to shooting the scene to get them pissed
and work up their adrenaline. When the camera
rolled, we all really got into it in a real way,
fists flying, punches connecting. What they
captured on film was really not acting but as
close to a brawl as you can get.
softball scene were all of you experienced
players and were there many goof ups?
A mix of
experienced players and New York City kids that
had most likely never had as much as a catch. It
was a fun scene to shoot. John Dunn had his
sports ego cranking at full steam, to this day I
still think he hits the ball like a girly man!
Ha, I am still friends with John so I can say
that. I hate watching that scene to this day
because of my head motion. Robert never shot the
close ups of my making faces at all the players
coming past third base. The whole scene looks
like I am doing a bad Stevie Wonder head sway
move because of the edit and the close ups never
being filmed. Was fun to knock the ball around
though, especially since it was a beautiful day.
have a great chemistry working opposite of John
E. Dunn who played your bully friend Kenny?
was instant, we actually dated for years after.
KIDDING! John was an instant friend and remains
one to this day. We are both very busy with our
grown up lives now but still always try to find
the time to keep in touch or get together for a
bite to eat. I think he has fathered 20 children
so far so he is quite busy being a Dad.
What was it like
working with Karen Fields during your make out
scene as she played the nasty Judy?
She was a
fun and nice (truly) person so the scene was
comfortable to do. Everyone was easy to work
with, Karen included.
Mike seemed to get away with murder as he
encouraged the other bullies to be mean to poor
Angela yet he didn't get killed for it. Or was he
killed off screen before Judy was going to get
what was coming to her?
Interesting point Professor! The next installment
is entitled 'Sleepaway Camp Reunion' and we begin
filming next summer. Nuff said, you will have to
wait and see. There was a lot more to Mike than
meets the eye my friend!
Who do you stay
in contact with since the filming of it?
as mentioned before. Rick Edrich is working on
the CGI work we are compositing now for 'RTSC' so
we see each other all the time. We are also
collaborating on other projects, so we've come
full circle in a way as I was friends with Rick
on set and for years after until we lost touch
for a while. I was re- introduced to Loris at one
of the Fangoria Conventions and stayed in touch
for a while after, I actually dated his best
friend (a girl!) for a few years. I see Robert
all the time as well as his wife Missy. His
daughters who are all smart, beautiful, funny and
great athletes are in the new movie. Having just
re-read that last sentence I wonder if Robert is
really their father. Let's put that in the things
that make you go hmmm category.
What kinds of
work did you do afterwards as I understand you
had featured extra roles in 'Muppets Take
Manhattan' and 'Heaven Help Us'?
I did theater and
TV work and paid the bills by doing extra work.
After college I ran my own Concert Promotions
company in Asia and then the regional office for
Universal Music Group prior to coming back to NY
to head international for Universal. Universal
was fun and gave me the chance to work with
everyone from No Doubt through to Stevie Wonder
on a close personal level. I then started my own
company IN2N and had a great roster of acts and
some Usher publishing, before concentrating full
time on my film and TV production company.
Did you act in
any more horror films?
think my acting days are over.
What made you
leave acting to pursue being a record executive?
always been a student of business and it was a
natural transition for me. I wanted to develop
and distribute content, not just be a part of it.
If I ever find the time, I would love to do some
theater work as a hobby.
Did any of the
band members see you in 'Sleepaway Camp'
and talked to you about it while working with
them. I am amazed at how many people know the
first film. Doesn't matter where they are from or
what age they are. The film struck a chord and I
am excited to know that fans of the first one as
well as a whole new crop of Sleepers will soon
get the chance to see the sequel on the big
You co-produced a
documentary on horror films called
Unconventional. Were any clips of 'Sleepaway
Camp' shown on the piece?
was just the fan enthusiasm and brand loyalty
that we wanted to showcase. Horror fans remind me
of Rock Music fans..... Once a fan of a band or
film, always a fan of the band or film. Much
nicer to see than the disposable loyalty on the
Pop side of the business, where you see such a
short shelf life.
really exciting is the upcoming sequel 'Return
to Sleepaway Camp' as Hiltzik hired you
to come on board as an executive producer for it.
I understand you've been busy with many other
projects during it's post-production that the
film is taking a long time. Are you back on it as
me and the fans are cringing like crazy wondering
if it will ever come out as there's lots of
questioning on it as well as there's some idiotic
webmasters out there we have heard about that's
saying the film is a hoax etc which is upsetting
alot of the fans. Please tell us the scoop as
it's frightening us all and really want to see
not a hoax and I believe I hired Robert to
direct. The film was completed and we ran into
some glitches in regard to how the CGI footage
was shot on location. Much of what you will see
on screen should have been shot in a
"practical" manner instead of us
relying solely on CGI. It was my intention to
have the film look as realistic as possible and I
believe we now accomplished this. The truth of
the matter is that we weren't happy with the CGI
work being completed and at great expense and
considerable time opted to throw all that work
out and start fresh. We easily could have gone
with what we had and the film would have been
released already. In my opinion that would have
cheated the audience, something I didn't want to
do. 'Sleepaway Camp' fans have waited a long time
to see the true sequel and I want them to see a
great, entertaining and scary picture. That is
exactly what we now have. To me, it was worth the
wait. When you have a loyal fan base you need to
deliver something that meets or beats their
Are you at work
with it now as we speak?
We are composting the FX, finishing the last of
the ADR work. It is 98% complete and the
remaining pieces will be completed by end July
mid August latest. I would like to see the film
hit theaters at Halloween. Love having it come
out in the fall, something we did with the first
What would it be
like compared to the first one? Some people are
wondering if it's compared to 'Halloween:
H20' as that one was a direct sequel to
part 2 like this one is a direct sequel to the
first one and not to 'Unhappy Campers'
and 'Teenage Wasteland' that
starred Pamela Springsteen as Angela. 'H20'
was a disappointment but I heard nothing
but good stories from people who saw the rough
footage of it as comparing two totally different
horror films is like comparing apples to oranges.
consider this a true sequel to the original film.
It stays true in character and spirit. We had a
much larger budget to work with so the quality of
the film and the way it was shot is a significant
step up, as are the FX and killings. At the same
time you have the core element of kids behaving
badly, the suspense, a touch of campiness and of
course "who done it" factor. Once that
is coupled with some very nice plot twists,
familiar faces from the first film and the big
surprise at the end (as with the original) and to
me it's once again a winning formula.
Did you ever see
the sequels starring Springsteen and what were
your feelings about them? I found them a little
too silly myself but had great killings.
didn't. To me 'Sleepaway Camp' is represented by
the first film and now the sequel. The rest
simply borrow the name.... Just one man's honest
Did you ever
wonder why Mike didn't return to those ones since
they were taken in a different direction?
No. I am
happy with my involvement on the first film and
making 'Return' happen. That is satisfying
Hiltzik of course is
planning to make another 'Sleepaway'
sequel after 'RTSC' is
officially released. Will your role as Mike
return as well? I always wondered what became of
him if he didn't get killed offscreen and perhaps
maybe Judy can return since she wasn't proven
to wait and see. If I told you the story line,
I'd have to kill you right after. We have Reunion
in the works and plan on shooting next summer.
Great storyline and the mother of all surprise
Now here's some
What are your
favorite horror films?
Griffin Dunn at a party and told him that
'American Werewolf in London' actually got me
interested in doing some work in the genre.
Definitely on my short list of ones I like most
since it had me on edge the whole time. All the
original slasher pix are up there as my favorites
including the original 'Halloween' and 'Nightmare
on Elm Street'. Also love watching the new breed
with my kids (yes they inherited the scare gene)
like 'Jeepers Creepers' and 'Saw'. And the throw
back style of M. 'Night Shyamalan' is something I
love. You can be more scared by what you don't
see sometimes than by what you do see. Love
'Signs' and 'The Sixth Sense', although not
really horror in a pure sense.....
If you have a
show you were in that you'd like to change. What
would it be?
change nothing. I am an optimist and never make
it a point to revisit the past with regret. I
concentrate on today and how my actions effect
the future, nothing else.
What is the show
you acted in that you cherish the most?
on stage! What a blast! High energy, the audience
involved and lots of singing. And at that young
age you could eat all the donuts you wanted
without putting on a pound! Was a good time.
If you were a top
scream king for one day whether this actor was
alive or dead who would he be?
question. Wouldn't want to be one that seems so
personally disturbed to me that being myself
(that person) would scare me, e.g. Steven King.
And to top it off Steven is a Red Sox fan and I
am a major Yankee fan! I would have to say
Hitchcock. I love clever and no one was more
clever when it came to scarring people than
Alfred Hitchcock. Pure genius behind the camera.
What is your idea
of perfect happiness?
on a beach chair (on an actual nice beach in the
Caribbean or Mexico) with a drink in my hand
watching my children play is up there. Playing a
round of Golf with my eldest son Brandon, who now
kicks my butt big time when we play. Life if
What are your
ambitions in life?
remember having a long discussion about this
years back with rock god Sammy Hagar, one of the
nicest most intelligent guys you will ever meet.
We both concluded that a great and simple
ambition to have in life is just plain old HAPPY.
I am sticking with that....what it all boils down
to is simply being happy.