Your new movie The
Arrangement - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
would describe The
as a cop drama with a supernatural element.
Human beings are very complex, but one thing that we all have in common is
that we all live and die. But what's really interesting is what we do in
between life and death, and I think The
lengths human beings will go to acquire their wants and desires, no matter
who gets hurt along the way. I play the lead detective, "Harry
Frick", in the film. Harry is a guy who is a bit of a pencil pusher
now. I like to think he was once out in the field, but could not really
handle being on "the job". His OCD tendencies and his lack of
self-confidence got in the way of him wanting to be a good detective. I
think after a few blunders, he was placed mainly on desk duty, where it
was safe for him and kept him out of the way. Harry is also a bit of a
loner with a deep desire to find someone to love.
What did you draw
upon to bring your character to life, and how much Danny Donnelly can we
find in Harry Frick?
the page, I am nothing like Harry. Jake [Jake
Hunsicker interview - click here] and Andrew Hunsicker [Andrew
Hunsicker interview - click here] really wanted to
bring Harry's OCD tendencies and cautiousness to the screen. Growing up, I
had a friend who was a bit like Harry. He was not the most athletic kid,
was very smart in specific topics, and lacked self-confidence in himself.
He was usually always picked last when playing sports, but damn did he
always give his all. So from his posture to the way he moved, I took that
from that one friend. When it came to his vocal pattern, I knew I wanted
him to always be afraid of possibly saying the wrong thing, so he was
always cautious when speaking which caused a bit of a stumble into some
sentences, but then as the story progresses we see Harry transition into
someone I think he always wanted to be. Someone with passion and drive and
showing that progression was very important to me.
How did you get involved with the
project in the first place?
the past 6 to 7 years we have worked together on numerous projects. Mainly
short films. So when Andrew and Jake were going ahead with production,
they reached out and asked me if I would play Harry Frick for them.
To what degree can you
identify with The
Arrangement's approach to horror?
of my favorite horror movies are ones that involve a supernatural element.
I'm not a big slasher flick fan. I enjoy a horror film where the story
comes first. Where there's a connection to the characters and a
What can you
tell us about The
Arrangement's director Jake Hunsicker [Jake
Hunsicker interview - click here], and what was your
is super easy going. As an actor, he gives you space to create and try
things out. Before shooting there was a lot of discussion about character
development and the look of the character, which led to the Joaquin
Phoenix "Her" / Gary Oldman "Commissioner Gordon"
Do talk about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
we have all shot together before, I would say it was like family getting
together to create art. We are all very passionate about filmmaking,
acting, directing, etc, so we all show up and put in the work, and overall
have fun. There were a lot of laughs, but also a lot of everyone helping
everyone. We all wore many hats, especially Andrew Hunsicker. He wrote,
produced, acted, gripped, gaphed, etc lol. The guy did it all. We had a
small crew and limited time, so we all just jumped in. We have always
worked so well together and will continue to do so. I love this team of
Any future projects you'd like to
an actor I have a couple of things in the works. I had a small co-star
role in AMC's Dispatches from Elsewhere (I'm at the end of
the first episode if you're looking for me, lol). Unfortunately, I had
a few projects I was cast in postponed because of COVID, so hoping they
will pick back up sometime in 2021. But as a director, I have a series I
co-directed that is out now on Amazon Prime. It's called Certifiable. It stars Jennifer M. Kay who played "Det.
Alvarez" and Aimee Theresa who played "Melissa" in The
Arrangement. I am also in post production on a short film called Something Borrowed that I directed and shot, and was written
by Aimee Theresa. I also have two upcoming projects as a director/actor. I
recently directed the pilot episode for a sitcom called Recipes For
Love which I also have a role in, and as of right now, I am gearing
up to direct and act in the feature film Last Known Location
written by Aimee Theresa. This will be the first feature film from Aimee
and myself and the first feature film from our new production company
Silver Octopus Productions.
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
began acting over 10 years ago. Growing up I was an athlete playing
numerous sports, but mainly ice hockey, football, and basketball. But
another thing that I was, but didn't claim to be, was an artist. I always
loved drawing, painting, and writing as a hobby. Fast forward to college,
I switched my major from Pre-med to Broadcast Journalism at Temple
University, and I was working a job at University of Pennsylvania. While I
was working there, Transformers 2 started location scouting and they chose
University of Penn. My supervisor was their contact, and when I met them,
they recommended I be an extra on set. So I went to an open call and was
chosen to be an extra. Already a huge movie buff, it was great to see
filmmaking in action and also Shia Labeuf. I saw him acting, and I thought
I could do that. Also at the same time, my younger brother Casey Donnelly
(also in The
Arrangement and gets to body check me into a pole, lol)
started acting. He also recommended that I do it. So I declared a minor in
Theatre at college and started studying, auditioning and booking
independent jobs. After college, I did some various classes, but
nothing opened me up to the world of acting more than Lee Edward Colston's
Philadelphia Meisner Technique Intensive. I would say that PMTI, and also
reading and studying different techniques such as Stella Adler, Chekov,
and Lee Strasburgs after hearing some of my idols talk about their
training on Inside The Actor's Studio, has taught me different
ways of approaching the work. I would also say that performing in
the theatre is also my biggest teacher as an actor. Nothing like a live
audience to let know immediately if you're good or you suck, lol. If
you want to learn acting, do theatre.
the years, you've also done your fair share of behind-the-camera work - so
what can you tell us about that aspect of your career, and what was the
motivation behind this move to the other side of the lense in the first
love movies. Growing up, I would watch everything. I could sit on the
couch and watch 6 to 7 movies in a row. I also enjoyed watching the
behind-the-scenes footage of movies. So I think that always stuck with me.
So as I got into acting, the more I got on sets, and the more I wanted to
do it all. Also, I have always been that actor who sees the whole picture
when I read a script. So being able to be the one to take words from a
page and bring them to life cinematically was an easy transition for me. I
honestly love directing and editing. It's just like painting a picture to
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to
The Arrangement, in
lot of the filmwork before were stepping stones in a career that I have no
plans in retiring from. I will be acting and creating until the day I die.
So all that came before, the successes and the failures, were great
learning experiences that will prepare me for the next films to come.
How would you describe yourself as an
would say I am about the work, but I also like to have fun and play. I
would also say I'm a selfless actor. It's not about me, it's about
the story and my commitment to bringing the director's vision to
life. Overall I just want to tell a great story and make a great film
or piece of theatre that people can enjoy. As an actor, I would say I
could go either way as a character actor or leading man. One of my
favorite actors at the moment is Tom Hardy, so his career is one I would
like to strive for as an actor.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
man there's so many, but I guess right now I would say Christopher Nolan,
Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese,
Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Ed Burns, Penny Marshall, and even though
he's crazy, an actor/director that I admire is Mel Gibson. One day I will
make my Braveheart.
not sure if I can list favourites, but here's a few I could watch over and
over again: Braveheart, Dark
1 and 2, James
Dean (2001 with James Franco), A
Knight's Tale, Interstellar, Saving
Private Ryan, Awakenings, Team
America World Police, Superbad, The
I Love You, Sweeney
Fifth Element, Gangs
of New York, ... I
think that's good for now, I could go on and on, lol.
... and of course, films you really
with crappy storylines, bad dialogue and a forced sense of reality. So
some sci-fi turns me off if the story is weak, which usually in turn makes
the acting bad. Hard to say which films I really dislike, because usually
if they're bad within the first 20 mins, I will turn them off, lol.
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