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An Interview with Carl J Grasso, Star of Lock-In

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2020

Films starring Carl J Grasso on (re)Search my Trash

 

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

 

The beauty of the plot of this film, is I JUST KNOW THE PLOT. Itís about an alien that captures the planet and ďlocks-inĒ every human on earth in their house. As for what happens in the movie I couldnít tell you anything which makes this very exciting to me.

 

What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Carl J Grasso can we find in Jimmy?

 

In real life I am boring and quiet. When I get a character I throw myself into that person to make him four dimensional (script willing of course). This guy Jimmy is the guy on the car lot who most likely is connected with the mob who can ďget you anything! At a good price!Ē But if you donít hold up your side of the bargin heíll break your ankles with a croquet mallet. I used a lot of people I have met or encountered from Long Island, New York and New Jersey to fuel an entitled bully who is a real Mammaís boy. Itís hilarious to me because most of my work involves me cutting people's heads off; and I wanted to play a funny character. I turn on my funny and I love every second of it, itís harder than what I have done.

 

How did you get involved with the project in the first place?

 

Accidentally, I answered the wrong post on Facebook for a local theatre production. I thought I was answering something for a remote script writing job but Erinn and Dan checked out my Backstage page and I thought I was adequate and good looking enough for their film.

 

As far as I know, Lock-In was shot entirely under lockdown regulations - now how did that work on the technical side of things?

 

It was difficult for me being alone. I have shot remote before for other productions. But when I do it normally, my FAMILY is not in the house with me. So I usually had to wait for bedtimes of my kids to play my menacing role in my office with doors closed. I have film set ups here with boom mikes and lights, but my tripod broke so I had to improvise with ladders and my own personal exercise mountain climber, which acted like a great tripod.

 

Making a film under lockdown conditions, with no director or crew on site, how difficult and/or liberating is that for you as an actor?

 

It's hard because there isnít a camera operator who can say to you ďHey you looked at the camera, do that again." Which was HARD for me to look at the rushes after I filmed them BECAUSE I HATE watching rushes. I want to see the finished product. Normally, the rule is donít look at the camera but my guy was doing commercials so he had to look at the camera, eventually I put a piece of orange tape below the camera to keep reminding me.

 

What can you tell us about your directors Dan Beckmann and Erinn Dearth [Erinn Dearth and Dan Beckmann interview - click here], and what was your collaboration with them like, especially regarding current conditions?

 

This is amazing because since they are involved more with musical theater with kids and Iím in movies where we run out of Karo syrup for blood half way through it. They were working on a musical called Children of Eden and I got a phone call about starring in a film called Vampire Strippers. Which I simply said back to the director into the telephone ďCanít you make a nice movie?Ē

 

Our paths should HAVE NEVER crossed and Iím not saying anything bad about them, I just am not a musical person. I have done only straight theater, and the idea of me directing or being in a musical is comical to me. I think Marlon Brando said after he heard himself in Guys and Dolls ďI sound like the mating call of a Yak!Ē I will agree with Mr. Brando.

 

When I did research on Erinn and Dan I was amazed with all the positive things they did with their USO tours around the world, and all the wonderful work with childrenís theater; I took a minute and said let's see where this adventure leads. I would love to work with them again in person but I feel that might not happen. I mean you can smell the ink on the restraining order drying from here.

 

So do talk about the shoot as such!

 

I canít or Iíll have to drown you in your toilet. Itís in the contract.

 

Myself and 99 other people had to shoot their own specific scenes that Erinn and Dan had written for them. Erinn and Dan both got on a video chat with us and told us what they wanted and if they needed reshoots. Iím sure it was worse for them because they would have to wait a couple days for people to reshoot. Not to mention the majority of the cast never shot a film before ever, so Erinn and Dan had to teach everybody how to shoot with their cellphones. I salute them for their patience.

 

Based on your experiences with Lock-In, could you ever be persuaded to make another "lockdown"-movie? And any other future projects you'd like to share?

 

I prefer being on a set I always have. I donít mind shooting stuff on my own but I donít think being in front and behind the camera where you are the only crewmember is for me.

 

Before Covid-19, I had a dozen things going on at once, a lot in local theater at the time. I have my own podcasting channel that will eventually come out in the summer, itís just a slow process with that. I shot Bloody Nun 2: The Curse remotely and that should be wrapping up soon with the special effects. Thatís where I worked with my favorite director Will Collazo jr - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4005028/ [Will Collazo interview - click here] - and yes he was the director who asked me to be in Vampire Strippers which is still in development (weíre going to make into a nice movie with milk and cookies). Iím supposed to film Camp Murder this summer as well, again tentatively. Camp Murder is another collaboration between myself and Will Collazo jr with Mark Polonia - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0689789/ (horror director since the 1980ís). I am excited about that because of the character twists, and I play somebody interesting thatís making me excited just thinking about THAT character. Lots more from that hopefully soon.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

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Lock-in trailer: https://youtu.be/xHkCLIF8r5E - and you can check out Lock-In at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12234276/, The Bloody Nun 2: The Curse at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10216812/, and eventually Camp Murder at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11409750/.

 

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

 

In seriousness, Covid-19 is not a joke and humanity depends on the whole human race to work together. I never thought I would be living in a 1970s science fiction movie (most likely with Charlton Heston). The human race has to come together in solidarity and embrace compassion and science and stop this thing. We have to defeat this virus and that means we all work together ...or an alien will come to Earth and force you idiots inside your houses!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

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directed by
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written by
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starring
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