Q: When you were first starting off you were in a couple of early Polonia Brothers movies, TERROR HOUSE and THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED 2. How was it working with John and Mark? Any funny stories about any of the shoots?
I have great memories of working with the Polonia Brothers and Jon McBride. I was around 17 when I got in contact with them. I remember that it was always a family-like atmosphere. I'd crash on John or Mark's couch, work for no pay and a sandwich, we'd all watch obscure horror flicks all night after shooting. It was all fine by me, though, because these guys were heroes to me. I remember being shocked that they were banging these feature movies out in like two days, it was freaking crazy! The movies aren't high art by any means, and I'd like to think that my skills have grown a bit since then. But, to me they serve as a time capsule of SOV moviemaking. At the time, not everyone and their relatives were scrambling to make their own movie like they are today. It would be several years before video would even be considered a respectable way to shoot a "real" movie. People are obviously much more forgiving about video these days. But, that's because of the early efforts of people like the Polonia Brothers, which undoubtedly helped in pioneering what is now considered DIY. I feel honored to have been at least a small part of the tail-end of that era.John Polonia passed away this year.Hopefully he knew how big of role he played in helping the indie film scene.
Q: You were also in Ron Ford's WITCHCRAFT 11. How was it working with Ron?
That was a just a photo cameo I did. Ron was a very cool guy and was nice enough to throw a pic of me in the movie. I was only 15 or 16, so there were no speaking parts for me. This whole series is terrible. They pretty much only had the box art going for them.
Q: TERROR TOONS 2, directed by Joe Castro, was a follow-up to the Fred Olen Ray movie?
I believe you're thinking of EVIL TOONS. But, that would have been cool too!
Q: Talk about some of your recent movies, like DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT!, WATCH OUT, BEYOND THE DUNWICH HORROR... SCULPTURE, directed by Pete Jacelone?
DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT! is shooting this winter in Indiana . I couldn't be more excited with the way it is coming together. I had always been a fan of the original movie, and I think Alan Rowe Kelly is the perfect director to pull off a remake. I play one of the lead patients, Danny. He's a bit of a homicidal maniac. So, in other words, a really great role for me.
WATCH OUT has been playing in select theaters all over the country and played the Raindance Film Festival this year to a sold-out crowd, and received a Best International Feature nomination. I'm really proud to be a part of this one. It was directed by Steve Balderson (PEP SQUAD, FIRECRACKER). I've got a fun and trashy supporting role. The movie definitely pushes some boundaries. It was a very surreal experience shooting it in Wamego , Kansas . The whole place has this sort-of mystical feeling to it...
BEYOND THE DUNWICH HORROR is almost set for release. I play "Upton Armitage," definitely one of my favorite roles so far. It was a blast! There was a lot of gunplay and I got to drive a totally badass car. That's always a plus. The cast and crew were gold! They were some of the nicest people I have ever worked with. We shot it in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the fall of last year. It was beautifully photographed. You can't beat New England locations. Richard Griffin is a super talented guy!
As for SCULPTURE, we shot that in New Jersey over a couple of weeks this past July. The movie is about an artist who is commissioned to make a life sized sculpture of the "perfect man" ... at any price. The shit hits the proverbial fan and you can be certain that there will be some blood. A LOT of it! I play a goofball personal trainer who doesn't take his job all that seriously. I met a lot of really cool down to earth people on the set. I'm excited to see how it turns out!
Q: HOME SICK was recently released by Synapse Films but that movie was shot several years ago. What a weird movie! Any anecdotes about the production?
Yes! It is so cool that the film has finally hit DVD. I agree that it's a weird movie. I think it creates its own unique atmosphere. Initially, they cast me in the movie when it was a much smaller project, but it eventually became a union movie with name actors, and they decided to shoot 16mm. They were able to snag Bill Moseley for one of the characters. Needless to say, I was like a kid in a candy store after that. We shot in rural Alabama . We encountered gold toothed hookers and pimped out crack heads, who were running their "business" through the motel set that we were using for my scenes. Looking back, it didn't really phase me all that much. I think I was too busy having a blast playing the role. It was the first movie part that I was able to really sink my teeth into that wasn't just a minor stoner guy character. I have very fond memories of it all. Evan Katz & Adam Wingard are very innovative filmmakers. They ended up using me again in POP SKULL, an extremely unsettling drug film. Everyone should see how much different the two films are, it's like night and day. POP SKULL is one that really needs to be experienced on the big screen. It played at the Arclight Theater here in Hollywood and it was quite an experience to see it with a crowd. I have a good feeling that these guys are going to blow up any day now.
Q: And you've also recently directed a movie, PSYCHOSOMATIKA? What is that about?
It has definitely been a long difficult road, but a fulfilling one at that. It has been my baby for about a year and a half. PSYCHOSOMATIKA is a mystery/black comedy about a man who wakes up from a coma only to find himself in the middle of what he believes to be an alternate reality--an adaptation of his own life. Remembering only bits and pieces of his past, He begins to wonder if these vague memories of the life he once had are merely masking a much deeper truth? Just why is it that everyone around him seems to have a laundry list of secrets of their own? Why does everyone in his town seem to be a Leave It to Beaver version of "themselves?" Will he be able to put the pieces together?
All I can say is... SEE IT! It can't really be described beyond that.
Q: How was it not only directing, but co-writing the screenplay and acting in it? Of the three, which do you prefer? And which one is the most difficult to do while you're working on the project?
This is a very good question! The filming of PSYCHOSOMATIKA taught me more than I ever learned over the ten years I've been acting in movies. You learn almost immediately, especially as a young first time director, that you are going to have to prove your talent before anyone will give you any respect. Once they see that you are not just some pompous asshole and that your goal is to make the best film possible, it opens up the opportunity to truly collaborate. I'm blessed to have a talented and savvy producer, Ned Christensen, who has really been the driving force in keeping the film afloat. He has helped assemble the key figures working behind the scenes, as well as wearing twenty hats at once while I wear the twenty others. I was being rather ambitious at the beginning when I decided that I would also play the lead role. To me, I don't think there has been anything more challenging for me than learning how to juggle everything at once. I'm probably the most critical of my own acting, so I'd find myself saying, "I really sucked ass in that scene guys, what do I do?", and having everyone look at you like "Dude.... You're the director, just deal with it."
Now, I'm not saying I don't have a kick-ass crew, because that would be a lie. They are great and have stuck through all the way to the end. They are a circle of truly talented people who I would love to work with again any day. I'm fully aware that I'm am lucky beyond words to have such a great team right out of the gate.
That said... I find when I'm directing/acting/wearing twenty hats all at once, that I get the most satisfaction out of directing. I love acting so much, and I want to continue doing it for a very long time. But, I found that on this particular project, once I had my director boots on... it all just felt right to me. I feel that it has made me a much better actor in the long run. I think a lot of actors are not aware of just how much work goes on behind the camera. It's not really their job to, I suppose, but it never hurts to learn. The film has kicked my ass into the ground, but all in a good way. When the film finally is seen, I believe that all of this work will show through.
Q: What would be your "dream" acting or directing project?
As far as acting, I'd like to continue playing great character roles. The last year has been really good to me because I've been able to play these really quirky characters. If I could create a comedic character that had the potential to be a "So and So Goes to Antarctica ," or something like that, would be really awesome. I'd love to do more comedy.
As far as directing, I seem to have good luck with bringing the right visual elements and music together... so I'd have to say... maybe a music video? I think I might actually do well with those.