Your new movie Chopping
Block - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us
about your character in it?
is a really fun film about a group
of slackers that get fired and try and find a way to get enough money to never
work again. Typical slacker plot haha. I play "the leader" of those
slackers. Donnie always seems to have a plan... never a good one, but that
doesn't matter because his sarcasm and bullying seem to somehow hypnotize the
others into going along with his terrible ideas.
What did you draw upon to bring the character to life, and how
much Michael Malone can we find in Donnie the slacker?
away Donnie's drinking problem and it's pretty much me haha. I think we
share the same quick wit and sarcasm... and plus, he ain't too bad on the
eyes either ;-)
did you get involved with Chopping
Block to begin with?
Joshua Hull [Joshua Hull
interview - click here] reached out to me,
said he had been a fan of my stand up and would love to do a project
together. I read the script and loved it. I felt like it was the perfect
mix of Horrible Bosses and a classic slasher film.
You eventually also did
some writing for Chopping
Block - so how did that come about, and what can you tell us about
I actually got tagged in last minute
like a back up quarter back haha. We ended up a little behind on the
shooting schedule and had about 15 pages left to shoot in less than a day.
So we had to put some pages on the "Chopping Block" haha Boom!
Comedy. Get it, cause the name... Never mind. Josh and I worked together
moving stuff around, cutting stuff, adding a few things. We ended up
shooting from 9am til about 5am that next morning. It was intense and
crazy but full of amazing creativity and persistence. By that time, the
whole cast and crew felt like a family. We knew each other's strengths and
everyone stepped up and worked double time. Josh did a great job keeping
everyone motivated and working towards a common goal.
What can you tell us about your
director Joshua Hull [Joshua Hull
interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?
and I clicked from day one. We hit it off immediately. Before the camera's
were even rolling we were already ball busting like brothers. I had never
worked on a film set before, so I didn't know what to expect. I loved how
laid back and approachable Josh was for ideas. He created such a great
environment for all us to add our own spin to the characters and scenes. I
think most of the film ended up being takes from what we called
"Third Take". Haha, we would shoot two scripted takes and then
Josh would turn us loose for the third take and we would improv most of it
or exaggerate the dialogue. We had so many inside jokes, fake movie
pitches and yo momma type burns going by the end of it, we actually all
had plans to work together again on another project before we wrapped.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!
I said, the whole cast and crew were more like a family by the time it was
all over. Not only were we shooting all day but afterwards we would hang
out at the hotel and read over our scenes for the next day, joke around,
and just flat out hang until 2 or 3 in the morning. We all bonded. I think
it shows on screen.
future projects you'd like to share?
Josh and I and well,
most of the cast from Chopping
Block shot another film last year named Bethlehem. I co-wrote it with Josh and I ended up directing
and starring in it. It's a film about a family who is falling apart as
they come together for Christmas. It's shot and colored to mimic those
classic 90's holiday films. It ended up winning a few awards in the
festival circuit last year including Best Picture, Best Ensemble Cast and
was named of the top indie films of 2015 by NUVO magazine. We had it up
for a limited time only around the holidays last year, but I recently
broke it up into a four part series and starting this Thanksgiving I'm
making it available on YouTube for free, forever. So hopefully people will
dig it and pass it around this holiday season.
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
have always loved acting. As a child, my friends and I would do parody
sketches of the SNL characters we watched on the weekends. I even had a
public access television show in Ohio called Citizen's Arrest
when I was in my early twenties. So I've always been in front of the
camera just never on an official film set prior to Chopping
haven't had any formal training but have been on stage doing stand-up and
improv work since I was nineteen years old.
the past five years, I have toured around 46 weeks a year on the road
doing stand-up. It's made me very comfortable and flexible in most
settings and situations, so acting on film was just a matter of adding the
How would you
describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
I think my improv background both helps
and hurts me as an actor. It helps me a great deal because I can easily
adapt and transform into a character literally on the spot. But It also
hurts because in improv you are trained to take an idea and multiple it by
100, make it bigger than life on stage. So I have to be careful not to go
overboard and really ground the character for film.
Actors, comedians, whoever else who
tend to like actors and comedians who can do things I can't do. Admiring
strengths and trying to work towards but being careful not to copy them.
Bill Burr is a great example. I wish I had that biting sense of humor he
has. He has raw, unfiltered anger towards day to day life, in which I
share similar views within my own head. I could never figure out how to
express them. I admire that and work towards sharing more raw and
unfiltered views on stage without directly copying his vibe. I think
that's how you eventually find your own voice. You go, "That guy
thinks/feels just like I do... And he's getting away with it. Now how can
I find that same freedom in my own mind?"
wise, I could sit and watch Kevin Spacey read the phone book.
American Beauty is in my top five films. He is masterful in
that movie. He just always comes across so honest and pure. He is one of
those guys that transform on film. Anything you place him in you feel like
you are peeking in the window of that person's actual life. I strive for
that level of purity.
Your favourite movies?
John Hughes. I believe that Planes, Trains and Automobiles is
the perfect film. It's so funny but also drops you on your face a few
times. I love the dynamics between Steve Martin and John Candy's
characters. Their comedic timing in that film is legendary. The twist is
fantastic and it's over the top without letting you know it. John Hughes
was a master at making you laugh, think and sometimes cry all in one film.
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also have recently become kind of a super fan of Tim Burton. I love those
dark undertones and wild worlds he builds. I would love to do something
like that one day. I want to create a world that seems so real that you
just accept it, no matter how colorful the characters are. I absolutely
love The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice. Those films are so iconic, not only because they
are creative storylines but also because he transplants you to that world.
He does an exceptional job at taking you to the great beyond.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I could write a college thesis on Superman: Man of Steel.
It's absolutely some of the worst cinema I've seen in a long time. They
ignored almost everything that makes Superman super. I don't think any of
the writers have even read a Superman
comic book. I think they wrote the
entire movie based on hear-say. "Oh he's strong? Cool. Let's have him
get angry at a customer and wrap a truck around a telephone pole."
Superman would NEVER do that. I could pick that movie apart frame by
frame. "Oh he's from another planet? Cool. Let's have his secret
layer his father built for him to learn about his home planet be a UFO in
Alaska." THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE IS NOT A ROCKET SHIP LAYING OUT ON
DISPLAY ON A SHEET OF ICE! Read a book! Lois Lane (or any human) can't
just walk right into the Fortress of Solitude!!! Sorry... I get a little
worked up over it. It's so bad. It's beyond bad. It was like watching the
longest Join the Marines commercial.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
also host a series called Punched Up on iTunes:
Thanks for the interview!