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An Interview with Carl J Grasso, Star of Bloody Nun

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2018

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Your new movie Bloody Nun - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


It is a story about reality video ďjournalismĒ. What is real journalism, reporters researching, interviewing and putting their lives on the line vs phony journalism that is printed or uploaded just for clicks. The story involves a haunted house where a murdered nun supposedly haunts. Paranormal internet reporters or vloggers partake in a challenge of documenting a haunting in the house. One of our six investigators though is NOT part of para-normal academia. This man, Hugh Lewis AKA Hunk is played by me. Hunk was a former investigative journalist videographer who was almost killed in a firefight in Afghanistan, so he is a serious scholar of doing in-depth reporting and documentary. Itís only when his long-time friend Becky asks him to partake again in a haunting venture which Hunk is not happy about, he only says yes to get closer to Becky as his experience in Afghanistan caused a deep dark trauma. Hunk says yes to maybe confess his true feelings to Becky and heal his soul.

As an acting choice I kind of based him in tone of speech from Bruce Willis in the early Die Hard movies.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Carl J Grasso can we find in Hunk?


I saw Hunk as somebody who didnít take and nonsense from ANYBODY. Hunk is a real tough guy who though was thirsty for knowledge and wants to learn more about any topic that he comes across; definitely somebody who doesnít want to be ambushed in a firefight again. Personally I LOVE, LOVE books and try to listen to as many audiobooks and read a book a week.


How did you become involved with the project in the first place, and hor did you end up being an associate producer on the movie as well?


Will and I remained friends after the last film that we did, Theater of Horror. He was kicking ideas of other films and I assisted him on some ideas. He was going to shoot another project in April and held a role for me. However he switched gears and wanted to do something bigger with me, I only had two days to shoot however. Will didnít care and believed in me as an actor and retooled the entire NEW project which eventually turned out to be the Bloody Nun around my schedule.


What can you tell us about your director Will Collazo jr [Will Collazo jr interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Will is a friend. He was there for me during some serious times I was going through with my infant son. I will never forget that; it goes to show what really the definition of a friend is.

Him and I definitely clash with our styles and our sensibilities but at the end of the day the goal is to  make a good film (Iím the Keith Richards to his Mick Jagger).


To what extent could you actually identify with Bloody Nun's brand of humour?


I am actually funny, in fact when I was a kid an educator wrote a book on funny children and she interviewed me. So Hunk is basically the straight man which is fine because everybody in the cast were amazingly funny. I love the fact that this film is really funny.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


I think Mark mentioned this in  his interview [Mark C. Fullhardt interview - click here]. The one outtake that SHOULD HAVE been filmed but wasnít - me wrestling a Dalmatian. The location was a cabin that actually had real live chickens and ducks andÖ the owner had a Dalmatian. I didnít see this thing at first but it rushed me outside from the bushes barking and growling trying to get into the cabin. I grabbed this Dalmatian and held it by the body and the collar which wasnít easy. He was strong and not happy that I was preventing him from going into our location. The owner was apologetic with he wonít bite. This is always the last thing you hear before the animal bites.


Other than thatÖ making a movie with your friends is something you have to do once a year. I worked with a majority of the cast in Will's prior film, Theater of Horror. Angie Hansen, Cayrem Landt, Matt and Joe were awesome to work with the first time and a pleasure to work with again.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I just completed a short film for a university in the USA, University of North Carolina School of the Arts; it's title is Painted Love, and I play a jerk co-worker (a part that is usually on my resume). I am currently attached to a crime drama that will be filmed in North Carolina(USA) called A Rat for All Seasons, and I am really excited about that. I also have a few other projects where I play ďnormalĒ people, which actually excites me.


What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I started when I was in junior college, and read every book (Uta Hagen, Stanislavski, Lee Strasburg) took every class and learned from great people. The main idea I got from learning how to act is MAKE IT LOOK REAL. Make the audience be able to sort of identify with the person you are playing. I also have Bachelors in English Literature and a minor in Media Arts which introduced me to playwriting. Drama led me to playwriting and actually got me into America's Dramatist Guild.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Bloody Nun?


When I lived in New York, I was involved in music videos, short films, and webseries.

My favorite webseries was a series shot on the subway of Manhattan, the Q line went to Coney Island and I saw the Wonder Wheel ferris wheel for the first time in my life; Iím a big fan of the 1979 Walter Hill film The Warriors, and that was a big deal for me.


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


Like I said, you know phony acting when you see it. So I like to transform and lose myself, study the dialogue and disappear into the guy. Sometimes I have to drop my blood sugar so the performance I give is genuine exhaustion or fear. You have to make it look real no matter what.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


Samuel L Jackson! Thatís why I use the ďJĒ to split my name; I feel that Mr. Jackson is one of the best character actors of our time. He taught a master class for the Masterclass series and he really got into the work. Even if the film is horrible you still remember him and his character.


Honestly I can write a whole book about who influences me, but in the female department I think Bette Davis was a real true talent, who prided herself on doing her best work each time. I try to do that as well.


Your favourite movies?


My favorite genre are thrillers, not necessarily horror but I love whodunnits (Agatha Christie type). I love suspense and of course older horror films, for me the 70ís and the 80ís. I also love Ed Wood films [Ed Wood bio - click here].


My favorite top three films in the horror genre(I hate making lists because I always forget something): Alien, Ridley Scottís masterpiece is terrifying. If I have to pick two other horror films, probably The Thing, John Carpenters remake, is awesome and has a memorable line every second. Probably one of the scariest films from the 70ís in my opinion is Phantasm, with a terrifying score and Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man.


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


Not a big fan of the teenage light stuff, like the Twilight series, my wife had to throw me out of the room when she was watching that because I kept screaming ďTHIS IS STUPID, VAMPIRES CANíT WALK IN THE SUNLIGHT!Ē She said something about twinkling and sparkling and I just went to bed.

Iím also not a fan of the 50 Shades of whatever nonsense. Three dirty movies that made a ton of money that are actually ridiculous, sexist and very insulting towards women I feel. I donít see how these films are sexually exciting, and Iím no prude I enjoy whipped cream like every other sex stud (on my ice cream that is), but please Cinemax has been making better films for years, like The Devil wears Nada.


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


I want to thank Will Collazo jr [Will Collazo jr interview - click here] for giving me a chance and letting me play the action hero love interest. He took a chance on me and I hope I didnít let him down. I loved working and meeting the new cast too, Mark, Jessica, Tim, and Jen. They were awesome to work with. This is a good film, itís funny and you actually care about the characters. Please give the film a chance.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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directed by
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written by
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