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An Interview with Gabriel Lee, Star of The Laughing Mask

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2015

Films starring Gabriel Lee on (re)Search my Trash


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


The Laughing Mask is a horror film about a gentleman, Jake Johnson who is trying to track down the murder of his wife and daughter. That killer is known as the laughing mask. It's filled with a lot of twists and turns. It's kind of a thriller horror. I play Alejandro Cardova who is one of the lead investigators tracking down the laughing mask killer.


Your character is pretty much an asshole in more ways than one - so what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and how much of Gabriel Lee can we find in Lt Cordova?


Yeah I guess you could say that. He's not really a nice guy. It's kind of funny because I typically get cast as the antagonist character. You will not find any of Gabriel Lee in Cardova. Of course I get cast for a lot of the nice guy roles but I think I find it easier to relate to evil characters because as even a kid, I always found it fun to pretend to be the bad guy. There is just more character to build usually.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and to what extent could you identify with the movie's horror theme?


I actually auditioned for the role of Jake but ended up being cast as Cardova. I was really excited and a little nervous since this was the first time I would be playing a Latin person. In independent films there are a lot of horror movies. What I liked about this project was it wasn't your typical bloody slasher horror movie but it was more of a horror movie that had aspects of a thriller. As a viewer it really keeps you interested in the story to try to figure out what is going on and who the killer is.


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


Michael was great to work with. He knew what he wanted but he was still open-minded to listen to input from the others. We were under really tight timelines and he was able to get everyone to pull together and get the project done. Even after so many setbacks and people falling through, he always had a great attitude. I hope I have the opportunity to work with Michael again in the future.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


On-set was great! We really did have a great team that pulled together to make this film happen. There were a lot of long days and everyone really had fun being around each other. I still keep in touch with a lot of the cast and crew from the film and consider them my friends.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Future projects, ahh wow! There are a couple. I am in the middle of producing a feature film titled Black Pills and slate of 10 other projects in various stages. Black Pills is filled with thrills, dark mystery, drama and suspense around every corner. The story follows a group of dysfunctional heroes as they discover a miracle drug with the power to change their lives. However, like all drugs, it has side effects of monstruous proportions. I do have a role in Black Pills as well as a couple other films I am co-producing on. Another project I worked on last year with Rob Schneider, Real Rob, will be premiering on Netflix this December.


You started acting at a very early age - so what can you tell us about your early days as an actor, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


My mother would tell you I was always a little entertainer. I think I started doing grade school theater productions in about first or second grade. At that time and through high school, the only training I really had was drama club. Since then, I have completed the Meisner masters program at Truthful Acting, many workshops, and continue to study twice a week with the Actors Group Orlando. As an actor training is very important and you should always be in class. I really enjoy the Actors Group Orlando which is ran by Bob Caso. He really understands what makes people tick and knows how to get you to feel the core of the character.


Having done both stageplays and movies, how does performing on a stage compare to acting in front of a movie camera, and which do you prefer, actually?


Wow, they are both so different and both so fulfilling in different ways. I really enjoy film because of the intimacy with the camera and I think you really get to develop and become the character more. It is just more of a visceral feeling. The stage is great but I have not been on it in over 15 years. I would love to but the time commitment with rehearsals and production just doesn't work for me right now. With the stage you get that excitement as soon as the curtain raises and the instant gratification when they all applause. The added pressure to perform while everyone is watching you is also exciting. My main focus is film though and I hope to be doing this for a very long time.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Laughing Mask?


Before The Laughing Mask I think I had done about 24 or 25 film projects. Features and shorts. Really a variety of different role and characters. My first lead was in a short film where I got to play a alcoholic single father who was grieving over the death of his wife and about to lose his daughter to child protective service.


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


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As an actor I would say my best work is still ahead of me. I actually stole that from Robin Williams I think. But I really like that line because I think we really need to continue developing and growing as an artist so our best work will always be ahead of us. I really try to empathize with the character no matter good or evil. Put myself in their shoes and figure out what I'm fighting for. Once you understand the psychology of the character then you can start layering on the other parts that make it more interesting.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


There are a ton! Kind of expanding on the above, I really like actors who are subtle and I have been working on that myself. Tom Hardy is the best at that. I really like Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and the list could go on and on. I really do enjoy everyone's work. Same with actresses really. Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman and many others.


Your favourite movies?


My favorite movie right now is Inception. Another one of my favorites would be Inception and really any of those other cerebral thriller type movies. It's hard to say my favorite really though. I just love watching movies. I think there is something good in every movie because it is an art form.


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


I was going to list some films that I guess I would deplore but then I would sound like a hypocrite from my answer before. So I'm just gonna leave it at every film has something to offer.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


Please check out, and You can find me on Facebook and Twitter at Gabriel Lee.


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


Of course, I would just like to say I would be interested in speaking with other directors, producers and actors about collaborating on future projects. Give me a call!


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