with Jessica Morris
Your new movie Art
of the Dead - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
I play the patriarch of the Wilson family. A family who has a
nice cushy existence in the hills outside Las Vegas. My wife and I like to
support the arts and we are invested in spending our good fortune with
causes that speak to us. At an auction led by an auctioneer played by Tara
Reid, we decide to buy seven paintings by an obscure painter. They depict
animals, each representing one of the deadly seven sins. Once hung in our
home, the sin of each painting attach themselves to family members,
changing personalities and urges. Mayhem ensues. Itís a funny,
horrifying and colorful take on family and loyalties.
What did you draw
upon to bring your character to life, and how much Lukas Hassel can we
actually find in Dylan?
Dylan is someone who actively likes
to be involved in making changes. Something that I do too. Passively
letting life go by is not my thing. Proactively, Dylan and his wife
(played by the prolific Jessica Morris) get down and dirty. Personally, I
too, speak up about things that matter to me. And in the end, protecting
loved ones, is something we can all tap into. When everything goes
haywire, Dylan gathers strength to try to save the family. Of course, it
isnít always easy and there are casualties along the way. As an actor,
taking on a role like this, the main thing is finding a truth in
everything Dylan does. Whether good or bad. When the toad painting gets
into my system, I accessed a darker side. A fun challenge.
of the Dead you become the personification of greed - but
honestly, in your private life, which deadly sin could you fall prey to
Ha, thatís a fun question. Arenít we all
guilty of a little of each? Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Pride, Envy, Sloth and
Wrath. If I had to pick one, itíd pride. I tend to think Iím always
right - even when sometimes Iím wrong. I try to catch myself when this
of the Dead, some quite impressive makeup effects work has been
done on you to turn you into a toad - so what was it like to act under all
the prosthetics, and did it at all influence/hamper your acting?
Guastini is an incredible SFX artist and he and his team were a pleasure
to work with. They came up with a super effective way of giving me a toad
tongue (cream cheese - donít ask) and pulsating neck (condom - donít
ask). I have worked on SFX makeup-driven movies before, most recently Mike
Fontaine in the short film Nest, so Iím comfortable sitting in the
makeup chair for great lengths at a time. I had the pleasure of doing The
Black Room (on Netflix) with Natasha Henstridge and Lin Shaye
under the helm of Rolfe Kanefsky [Rolfe
Kanefsky interview - click here], and Vincent also did the makeup on that
feature. As an actor, itís wonderful when youíre surrounded by uber
talented people. In the end, acting with prosthetics can be exhausting,
but since I always act from inside out - as opposed from outside in - it
doesnít bother me much. If my head is filled with the right thoughts,
whatever comes across on the outside will be right.
did you get involved with the project in the first place?
did a film (7th Secret by Bridget Smith) with Natasha Henstridge and when
she came on board Rolfe Kaneskyís film The
Black Room, she recommended me as the male
lead opposite her. Very grateful for the opportunity, I got introduced to
Rolfeís team of trusted insiders, including the wonderful producer
Esther Goodstein. It was a natural fit. They like actors and give us
freedom to collaborate. Art of the Dead was a great followup to The
Black Room, and Iím grateful to the Mahal brothers for trusting me with Dylan
can you tell us about Art
of the Dead's director Rolfe Kanefsky [Rolfe
Kanefsky interview - click here] and what was your collaboration
Rolfe is brilliant. Not just as a writer with a
million ideas, but his unique comedic skills mixed in with a gift of the
macabre, is a real talent. The fact that he is present, kind and visionary
on set helps to set him apart from to so many others. He is open to
collaboration, which is key to me. He works similarly to me. We are detail-oriented and I respect that. This is my second film with him, and I would
welcome many more opportunities to help interpret his dark visions. An
Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set
The location was Las Vegas and the exec
producers Michael and Sonny Mahal took good care of everyone. The actors
stayed in a lovely house together which added to the comradery in the
cast. I had the pleasure of having already worked with the amazing Robert
Donovan, and chatting about the world over a coffee in the mornings at the
cast house with him was fabulous. Also, Alex Rinehart was someone I had
worked with before, and being greeted by a shriek and hug on the first day
on set by her set off the shoot beautifully. Michael Su was our DP and
his presence and expertise put everyone at ease. As an actor, sensing that
each shot has been carefully set up gives that extra level of confidence.
The set was busy, intense and productive. Working with Tara Reid was a
blast, and she was very generous with her time and talent. Of course,
Richard Grieco is the consummate professional and the film was lucky to
Any future projects you'd like to share?
about to start shooting Jeremiah Kippís feature [Jeremiah
Kipp interview - click here], which he also write the
script for, and Iím thrilled to be on board. Shooting upstate NY, itís
based on his successful short film Slapface. I play the
monster - go
figure. Here I was thinking I was a nice guy :) It should be a blast. So
many great people on board. Dominick Sivili is the DP and with Jeremiah at
the helm, you know itíll be spectacular.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Yeah, anyone can follow
me on social media:
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
My own film The Son, the Father is having one of its final
screenings - after a successful festival run of over 60 festivals - at the
NYC Horror Film Festival this December. Come check it out and say hi.
Iím also slowly gearing up to direct my own feature, a drama I wrote
called Halfway - a take on codependent relationships. Watch this
for the interview!