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An Intervier with Andrew Hunsicker, Star of Epidemic

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2018

Films starring Andrew Hunsicker on (re)Search my Trash


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with Amanda K. Morales in Epidemic  

Your new movie Epidemic - in a few words, what is it about?


My character, Rufus, is looking to connect with his estranged daughter Dana on her 30th birthday. However the visit escalates into a horrific series of events after a deadly pathogen is released at Dana’s house, and Rufus has to fight to save her life.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Andrew Hunsicker can we find in Rufus? And if it's not too personal a question, are you a father yourself, and what would you do in a situation like that one portrayed in Epidemic?


Rufus is an active alcoholic with a lifetime of regrets of how he treated his daughter. I am an alcoholic father of four (including two daughters) who has made more than his share of painful mistakes. Although I have not drank alcohol in 9 years, and would like to think I am a better father than Rufus, I can certainly understand the shame of past actions and the overwhelming need to make amends for these actions, particularly to those you love.

The short answer is, I drew a lot from my personal life to play Rufus. 


How did you get involved with the project in the first place?


I was very lucky, Stephen Giglio (the director) [Stephen Michael Giglio interview - click here] reached out to me based on a recommendation of Rich Wolff, the CEO of Breaking Glass Pictures, Epidemic’s distributor. I met Rich several years back discussing another project and was very flattered for him to mention me to Stephen. Stephen and I met a few times to discuss the script and I was dying to do it, Rufus was a character that I understood and wanted to play. I also wanted to work with Stephen and his team, they are good people and talented filmmakers.


With Epidemic being a zombie movie of sorts, is that at all a genre you can identify with?


Oh yes, one of my favorite movies is Night of the Living Dead, the granddaddy of all zombie films. And the best thing about the genre, is that they always depict the worst of human nature. And this is where the horror comes from, regardless of how creepy, invasive and frightening these undead creatures without reason are, the threat from them becomes secondary to the horrific things what we as humans, creatures with reason, have the capacity to do.


What can you tell us about your director Stephen Michael Giglio [Stephen Michael Giglio interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Stephen is a very, very good director who places a significant priority on preparation and communication with his actors. Stephen also wrote the script (with Adam Romanchik, the DP) and we spent a lot of time discussing Rufus and his role in the story. To help, Stephen wrote a detailed back story on Rufus and shared this with me. He also had a table read with all the principals. This preparation provided such a strong foundation for my understanding of Rufus that when we got to set, it helped us to begin work at a high level immediately, which is so essential particularly in an economically budgeted movie.


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!


It was a really relaxed and creative set particularly considering the intensive shooting schedule (about 14 days or so). I attribute this to all the preparation Stephen and Adam did as well as their relationship. They were two peas in a pod, always seeming to be moving in the same direction. They are a very good team.


It was also a very small set, I don’t believe we had more than 10 people there on any given day, including two excellent makeup artists. And, all the actors like Amanda Morales, Shelley Rieber Brietling, Gina Destra, Joe Walz, Marqus Valdez, Mike Sutton, Bill Roberts and Chloe Carroll were just a joy to be around. It was wonderful to trade lines and energy with them. I am amazed at the high quality of work produced by this small, committed and talented team.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I have a few acting gigs coming up in the fall and I am looking forward to them. But I am most excited about shooting a horror feature I wrote called The Arrangement with my production company Noble F Productions. The story is about what happens to people who sold their soul to the devil have to give it up. My son, Jake, is directing and my three other children (Jessi, Melissa and Nick) are involved along with some talented film family members in the Philadelphia area. We plan to shoot in Jan/Feb 2019 and release later in 2019. 


From what I've read, you actually got into acting rather late in your life - why is that, and what can you tell us about your training on the subject?


I definitely came to acting late in life, I got my first paid gig when I was 50, but I always wanted to do it. In 1983, I was accepted into the summer program of the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts, but I did not go. And I regretted that decision, all my life. But I met my wife Jackie in 1984, got married a few years later and have four wonderful children. My wife and kids are the best thing that ever happened to me.  If I went in 1983, who knows if my life would have turned out this way? 


I know now, I made the right choice, but for years I was angry for “chickening out”, in 1983, I essentially talked myself out of it, told myself I was not good enough, convinced myself I could not take the risk etc. It really bothered me and that resentment helped fuel my alcoholism.


When I finally left alcohol behind in 2009 (after my second rehab stint), I took an acting class with Mike Lemon, the casting director on Sixth Sense, Philadelphia and some other big films. I loved it but did not take it any farther. I went back to Mike in 2013 and started again, and he helped me to get out of my own way, learn how to commit to a character and shared with me what is now my philosophy for acting, “Know your lines, show up on time, hit your marks and tell the truth”.


Mike only teaches a few times a year, so I started to train weekly with Kenneth McGregor who is a great veteran actor and teacher. Ken taught me so much about character, scene analysis and emotional recall. Using the techniques Mike and Ken taught me I started to go to auditions and I was fortunate to be a character type and age that was in demand. So I was able to get involved in some great projects, build a body of work and get valuable experience in front of the camera.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Epidemic?


When I started in 2013, I told myself to take any gig I could get my hands on. And I was lucky to be a character type (“husky” middle aged gray haired guy) that seemed to be in demand. So I have been involved in over 100 projects over the past 5 years. Of course, the vast majority of these have not been seen beyond the film festival circuit. But, they were all essential in helping me to refine my work, there is no better teacher than doing. 


Recently, I have been blessed by being cast in shows with a wider audience, like House of Cards, the CNN series Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History and a lead role in a TV series called Law of Perdition. And all this has led to the exciting opportunity of being in Epidemic. In addition to the amazing contributions of Stephen and Adam, it had a fantastic makeup team and a stellar cast of young, talented and good looking actors. Epidemic is also special because of the backing it has from Breaking Glass Pictures to help get it out there.


How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


I would probably be classified as a method actor, one who does his best to immerse himself in the character’s emotional state to perform. And the key to getting to that emotional state is what I learned a few years back, “Know your lines, show up on time, hit your marks and tell the truth”. The key here is the first part of “know your lines” or preparation.


Practically, this involves scene and character analysis, knowing the script inside and out, knowing your lines, knowing the other actors lines, knowing what the arc of the story is, what the arc of every scene is, and knowing seemingly nonsensical things like what the season is, who was President during the time, what did your character have for lunch the day before etc. These all help me to understand the story and how your character is immersed in it.


And when you shoot, if you prepare right, you will be able to bring the appropriate emotions to tell the truth, in the moment, in the character’s voice.  And this preparation will hold true wherever the director or other actors take you, like changed lines, improvisation or ad-libbing dialogue.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


I am inspired by lots of actors, but my favorites are probably Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Kathy Bates. I will watch anything they do. I am also very partial to character actors like JT Walsh, JK Simmons, M. Emmett Walsh, Harry Dean Stanton, and Laurie Metcalf. Good movies must have good character actors. But bad movies have good character actors and these guys have made me watch some movies I would not have, just to see their work.


Your favourite movies?


I do love horror films where the biggest scare is between your ears, like Rosemary’s Baby, Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead and, to be so bold, Epidemic. The best ones show our capacity as humans to be more horrific than any monster, ghoul or zombie can be.

Overall, I am fan of anything Sidney Lumet has done, most specifically Network, 12 Angry Men, Q&A and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. I will also always watch Saving Private Ryan, Shawshank Redemption or The Godfather I and II anytime they come on TV, no matter what I am doing.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I try not to slam movies, it is so difficult to make them and requires the integration of so many artists’ work, writing, cinematography, makeup, acting etc. And with most movies, the whole is much less than the sum of its parts. So I try to find moments in movies that I can enjoy, like good character actors, a nice piece of writing or a wonderfully conceived shot. But I saw a movie in 1985 called Transylvania 6-5000. I would prefer to do hard prison time then ever watch that movie again.


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Anything else you're dying to tell me and I have merely forgotten to ask?


My mother passed in June of this year, after we wrapped Epidemic. She was looking forward to seeing the movie. So, I will watch it for her.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you so much for your time and interest in Epidemic!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD