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An Interview with Chuck Pappas, Star of To Jennifer

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2013

Films starring Chuck Pappas on (re)Search my Trash


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


To Jennifer is a found footage road trip movie with so many twists and turns that you may actually forget what genre you're watching. My character Joey is a guy on a mission. He is trying to prove his girlfriend of two years has been cheating on him while he's been away.


To what extent could you identify with Joey in To Jennifer, and what did you draw upon to bring him to life? And maybe connected to that, how do you personally deal with break-ups?


I think from the minute this movie begins most people can relate to Joey. We have all had the moment we knew a relationship was going south. I am no different in that respect. I've had my fair share of horrible relationships. One in particular where I was cheated on 6 times. The human mind is a very interesting place and I like to think that my past experiences were vital in bringing truth to the character of Joey. With all that being said I'm not good at dealing with breakups in my personal life at all. I honestly wish I could say I was but I more or less vege out and take solace in a familiar movie while completely avoiding the world for a bit.


How did you get involved in the project to begin with?


The movie business can be a very funny place at times. To Jennifer came about on a sleepless night while prepping for another film. I am James Cullen Bressack's Director of Photography on a couple of his other films [James Cullen Bressack interview - click here] and we were going over shot lists for an upcoming feature when he showed me a video app on his Iphone. The rest is history - we quickly moved our attention over to the device and talked about shooting something on it in the future. Little did I know the first scene of To Jennifer would be shot that same night.


What was your collaboration with your director James Cullen Bressack [James Cullen Bressack interview - click here] like?


I am the executive producer and lead actor on the film. I do have some additional dialogue credits as well from what looks like will be answered in the next question. To Jennifer is a creation of James and my collaboration was to first and foremost facilitate that. What you see on the screen is very much a James Cullen Bressack Production.


To Jennifer seems to be somewhat improvised in style. So how rigid a script did you have to work with, and how much of the movie was made up as you went along?


The funny thing about a James Cullen Bressack film is the minute you get a script in your hands and start speaking the words on the page you begin to realize what sets him apart. He is a young guy with a young voice. He freely places crude language and overlapping thoughts much like a young Twitter and Facebook generation would. With all that being said, this is a scripted movie that had what I can recount was only 2 improv scenes, which resulted in my additional dialogue credit.


To Jennifer was shot in several rather long continuous takes - so how stressful was that, and what can you tell us about the on-set atmosphere as such?


It's always stressful to know that your work doesn't have a safety net (i.e. multiple takes and angles). With that being said it was a very, very, very comfortable set to work on. James is without a doubt an actors director. I've known that working with him behind the scenes on other films. His actors come first and he is there the minute you have a question or are confused by what exactly is going on with a particular scene. The only time I felt the pressure was in the final scene of the movie. Tensions where high because it became something that was so real to me. Needless to say when anytime he said "we got it" after many of those very long takes, we all just cheered and felt like we had accomplished something. This brought us together as a cast as well as made the process that could be stressful at time feel like something immensely rewarding.


Any future projects beyond To Jennifer you'd like to share?


There are a couple of great things coming out from me as an actor and as a Director of Photography. As an actor look for me in the upcoming 13/13/13. As a DP I've got two movies releasing with James Cullen Bressack. One being his dramatic debut in White Crack Bastard and a short being optioned right now by some television companies entitled Family Time, which James Cullen Bressack fans will be happy to know is a horror! Then there is a beautiful little film hitting festivals next year entitled AWOL which I shot in New York City over the course of the summer of last year starring Oliver Singer and Camryn Grimes.


What got you into acting in the first place, and what can you tell us about your training as an actor?


I remember the first time watching a movie and thinking that's it! This is what I am going to do with my life. As a child I had two parents that worked a lot and were not necessarily around as much as they would have liked. So I was raised mostly by films. It just felt right making the transition into acting as it was somewhere I already felt at home. I've been through my fair share of training and encourage anybody reading who has hopes of becoming an actor to do the same. I was trained in improv at Second City Las Vegas before it closed back in what I believe was 2008. I have trained in voice, dance and stage combat for my early stage career. Then when I arrived in Los Angeles I was very over the top and sought out tutelage from Charlize Theron's coach and one of the greats Ivana Chubbuck (Studios) in order to bring more truth to my work.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to To Jennifer?


Hard to find (laughs)... In all honesty I came from the stage. I've done a lot in front of a camera in terms of commercial work. I took a small hiatus in the beginning of 2012 to refocus my craft. While on my hiatus I found an opportunity to move back into operating cameras and became quickly lost in a whole other side of the industry. To Jennifer marks my return as an actor and it was a long time coming.


Before you entered the filmworld, you did quite a bit of theatre, right? So what can you tell us about your stage career, and how does performing on stage compare to acting in front of a camera ... and which do you prefer?


So surprisingly enough I was a musical theatre and children's theatre actor. I went on a West Coast tour with Stephen Schwartz's Children of Eden and got to run around as Mowgli in the Jungal Book for a while. The list goes on but needless to say I love the stage. Its a different monster and I think having to execute an entire performance in front of a live audience is an amazing place to find your confidence as a performer. It's exhilarating as it requires you to simply leave it all on the stage night after night. With that being said I do enjoy the final result of a film more then the final result of a play. However I'd get back on stage in a heartbeat if the right opportunity presented itself.


You're also a singer/songwriter, right? So what can you tell us about Chuck Pappas, the musician?


I am a singer/songwriter. I hit a spell while living in Las Vegas, NV where the only thing that made sense anymore was music. So I took to it. Opened for a couple of cool local talent. Music for me is and always will be a very very personal matter. Some of my songs are available to listen to on my website and I just recently picked up representation on a music front. That's as much as I have to announce currently but if you like Chuck Pappas music just know there are some cool things ahead.


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


I would like to think that I am my own type of actor. I hope to bring a bit of me in all of my work while still establishing a strong and rooted character. I feel it is by those qualities that we are drawn to our favorite performers. This being said I am a big fan of many methods of acting in which I use in a variety of ways. One such technique in particular I used to hold character in the duration of these long long takes was to use a strong assortment of personalization for all bits of dialogue and actors involved in the scene with me. I would pick out things that Joey was talking about and directly attach emotional moments from my past to them. This really helped me understand Joey and the world he was living in.


Actors, filmmakers, musicians, whatever else who inspire you?


I am inspired by people who appear fearless in all their choices in life. I have to say I recently saw The Way Way Back and Sam Rockwell is brilliant. I look at an actor like Tom Hardy and his ability to completely mold himself into the roles he takes on and I am simply in awe. People like Shane Black who are not afraid to completely reshape a genre or change beloved characters (referencing The Mandarin in Iron Man 3). I have to say the list goes on and on but if you are fearless and I mean truly fearless with your choices in life odds are you'll inspire the heck out of me.


Your favourite movies?


Ok so these might seem a bit odd to some of your readers but my two favorite movies of all time are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Moulin Rogue. I am a huge fan of bringing truth to a surreal existence. These two movies establish an absurd and crazy setting but you never bat an eyelash to it. They're great and speaking of dealing with breakups from earlier... these two are pretty much my go-to for that as well.


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


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Oh god this list is probably bigger then ones I like. Sadly I think Hollywood misses the mark most of the time. Recently I walked out of The Great Gasby and asked for my free ticket back. Yes I didn't even pay for it and I walked out and yet I still don't deplore that movie as much as others. Anything I walk out of and think man that was a waste of time has definitely made this list and sadly that's been done with a lot of movies lately. Oh and video game movies... why the heck haven't we been able to figure that one out yet?


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


You can keep up to date with everything Chuck Pappas by following me on twitter at or by going to my official site


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


Hmm anything... well let's Just do a shout out to South West Airlines. Yo South West stop losing my girlfriend's bags! It's not making my life any easier (laughs). Thanks for that Mike. I feel better now.


Thanks for the interview!


© 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