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An Interview with Robert P. Young, Star of Batman: Dante

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2016

Films starring Robert P. Young on (re)Search my Trash


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


Batman: Dante is about the power Batman has to inspire people to change. My character, Dante, is a junkie with a dead end life--until a chance meeting with Batman causes him to clean up his act.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and quite honestly, how much of Robert T. Young can we find in Dante?


I've had friends who were addicts, and I've peeked into a couple of AA meetings. There was also a bit of a character I played before, a terrorist who rationalized his actions. Dante is a man who has a lot of excuses, who finally changes when someone sees that he is capable of more. I've never descended into drug addiction personally, but I have felt at times in my life, as Dante did, like a nobody. Thank God that I've had people in my own life rescue me from that kind of darkness.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and are you at all into Batman and comicbooks in general, personally?


I am a huge Batman fan--comics, animation, film! I knew of the director Chris R. Notarile [Chris R. Notarile interview - click here] by reputation--we've both posted on when we were working on comic book films. I directed my own take on Batman, called Batman: The Final Victory, which you can see here: it's not a perfect film, I had fun including topics like politics, race, and the legacies of family relationships. Of the "official" cinematic Batmen, I prefer Michael Keaton--to whom we've paid homage in Batman: Dante.


What can you tell us about your director Chris R. Notarile [Chris R. Notarile interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Chris is a driven, yet also easy-going guy who is a one-man filmmaking machine! Director, cinematographer, writer, audio engineer, editor... the list goes on. I admire his work ethic and productivity, and I wish him continued success with bigger films!


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!


Chris presided over a professional, yet fun-filled environment, both in the Narcotics Anonymous scenes and the scenes with Batman. I will say that he put us all through our paces with stuntwork--crawling in a dank alley for twenty takes is not my idea of fun--but one must suffer for good art! (The bad guys that Batman beat up got it worse.) Our Batman, Zack Santiago, was a true trooper, wearing a 1989-style full rubber Batsuit, enduring sweat and the inability to turn his neck just like Michael Keaton did. Zack was a phenomenal martial artist and brought a true danger to the character.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Director Rory J. Gamble and I will soon be exploring the darker side of super powers in Telepath, and I'll be part of a rogue cop story in Jay Frost's Black and Blue.


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


I've been acting since I was three--albeit, only for my family on ancient home videos. I attended Interlochen Arts Camp and made a connection with an up-and-coming director, Michael B. Chait (
) who had me star as a 70s Shaft knock-off. I continued performing and studying throughout high school and college, and took private lessons in New York with Mr. Stanley Harrison. From there I worked in a sketch comedy group, did stand-up, and continued to study great actors of the past and present.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Batman: Dante?


It's been rewarding--personally, if not monetarily! Besides my work with Michael B. Chait, I've been lucky to have been cast in several Detroit, MI films (that's my home city), playing diverse roles such as the manager of a restaurant, a coke-snorting film exec, a detective, part of a gang that creates serial killers... it's always been fun and I would look forward to working with any of those filmmakers again.


Besides being an actor, you have also worked as a director on quite a few projects - so what can you tell us about those, and about Robert P. Young the director to begin with?


Thank you! I've mainly stayed in the lane of comedy, such as the political satire of Reagan Returns ( back the Gipper and making his arch-nemesis his illegitimate black son; or web series The Live at Home Hitmen ( in which slacker killers take advantage of still living in Mom's basement. As I mentioned before, Batman: The Final Victory was another directorial effort, though that blended more drama with comedy. I work low-budget, I love having martial arts in my films, and you're gonna see a morally-dubious hero. One last thing: a real treat I had as a director was meeting with inspiration Spike Lee several years ago.


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


I'm good at playing people with attitude. Great character actor. I like to mine the script for clues about how to inhabit my character's life--what he says about himself, what others say about him, what the stage directions say. To get into the mood of a guy, I'll watch the masters--Pacino, De Niro, Morgan Freeman--and try to steal whatever puts them over. I've customized clothes that I thought the character would wear, I think about what he carries in his pockets and wears around his neck, and I work with the other actors to make sure that our relationships come through clearly on camera.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


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As I said before, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman. Also James Earl Jones, Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen. 


Your favourite movies?


Last Tango In Paris, Mar Adentro (a wonderful Javier Bardem performance), Licence to Kill, Robocop... and of course, 1989's Batman


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


I couldn't sit through Jurassic World. Just boring. Batman v. Superman could have been so much better. The Legend of Tarzan--seriously, who gives a damn about a white guy being King of the Jungle in 2016? That passed its expiration date eighty years ago.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


Actor website:



Twitter: @rpyiii


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


Everyone, keep supporting independent film! Certainly Chris R. Notarile's and my own, but keep asking to find out about other up-and-coming artists! Write and direct your own stories! You can make it if you keep at it!


Thanks for the interview!


You're very welcome.


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
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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
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from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
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Michael Haberfelner.


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Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... and for the life of it,
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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