Your new movie The
VelociPastor - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
Iím so glad you asked. My character, Father Doug Jones, is a troubled
soul. Just as heís hitting his stride in the priesthood, he suffers a
familial tragedy. While traveling to China on a visionquest, he encounters
an artifact that allows him to transform into a dinosaur. At first
horrified by this power, a local prostitute - played by Alyssa Kempinski -
encourages him to use his power to fight crime. And ninjas.
What did you draw
upon to bring your character to life, and how much Gregory James Cohan can
we find in Father Doug?
Well, Doug loves his parents, as I
love mine. I think that is at the core of Dougís journey. In every step,
he questions his actions and wonders what his parents would think or
encourage him to do. I can certainly relate to that, I think a lot of
people can. But whether you have a human heart or a dinosaur heart, you
have to follow it. Your heart. Other than that, we followed the fun.
Director Brendan Steere [Brendan
Steere interview - click here] and I were on the same page with the tone of the film since our
first meeting. He provided some incredible films and performances to watch
heading into shooting, including Michael Jai White in Black Dynamite and
William Shatner in Incubus.
Since you're playing a priest in The
VelociPastor, do you at all consider yourself a religious man in
your personal life, and to what extent could you identify with the
"priest"-part of your character?
I was raised
catholic, so I can identify with being somewhat religious very early on in
my life. And when I say somewhat religious, I mean we would go to church
on most Sundays and on holidays growing up. Iíve done confession and
taken communion. But I wouldnít say Iím someone who is presently
ďreligiousĒ in my personal life. I believe in a higher power, and the
power of thought and meditation and prayer, so I would say Iím more
spiritual than religious. I can certainly identify with the priest part of
Doug because ultimately he wants to do good. He wants to help people. I
love that about Doug. We share that in common for sure.
You also do
quite a bit of fighting in The
VelociPastor - so how did you prepare for that aspect of the
Iíve done some fight choreography training in the past, so I had a
little bit of that under my belt, and I like to stay in good shape, just
because itís part of my daily routine. But boy did we have a bad ass
choreographer in Ryan ďNapalmĒ Wagner. Yes. His nickname/B-boy name is
Napalm. He is an incredible martial artist as well as world-class
breakdancer. Ryan and his team all played our ninjas and choreographed
every bit of the fighting that Alyssa and I were involved in. It was so
much fun to work with those guys.
How did you get involved with the project in the
first place? And what were your thoughts when you first heard the title
Itís funny you ask that,
because the first thing I heard - before I even knew what it was - was the
title. While pursuing acting in New York, I was working with
Seed&Spark, the film-centric crowdfunding and SVOD platform, when our
head of crowdfunding had announced that ďa movie called The
VelociPastor has just submitted for funding.Ē The room erupted with laughter, and we
all huddled around to see if it was real. And it was. It turned out I had
worked with one of the producers and asked if they were casting. They sent
me the audition sides - which I absolutely loved - and I sent in a tape. I
had a lot of fun taping that audition. Next thing I knew I was meeting
Brendan Steere in Bryant Park to talk the arch of our vigilante
What can you tell us about The
VelociPastor's director Brendan Steere [Brendan
Steere interview - click here], and what was your
I can tell you that I love Brendan.
Iím so grateful to have met him in Bryant Park that day and to have
grown our friendship from there. The dude just loves movies. He loves
music. He loves art. Like, Iím sure thereís at least ONE thing that
you can ďgeek-outĒ on. Right? Every person has ONE THING, or should
have ONE THING. Brendan has like a THOUSAND things. Heís a really
smart guy with a wealth of knowledge of film, music, history, et. al.
Everytime I hang with him, I feel like I learn something new, which is the
type of person or people you should seek to surround yourself with. Plus
he loves to laugh, so that helps too. After we met in Bryant Park, Brendan
sent me the ďDOUG BIBLEĒ which was everything I should reference for
Dougís journey in this movie. It was chock full of movies he wanted me
to watch, a killer playlist, photos of Shatner and Orson Welles, but also
Bruce Springstein. It was really fun to dive into it with him. And he
totally understands that film is a collaborative art, so if ever he
didnít understand something or have a clear enough outcome for
something, he would ask his collaborators and we would find it together.
There was one in particular which was necessary, but we just couldnít
get the tone of it. So we all decided to improv, Alyssa and I, in a
rehearsal and Brendan just took what we improv-ed and we shot it. It
ended up being one of the funniest moments in the movie.
A few words about the shoot as such,
and the on-set atmosphere?
Nothing but fun. Everyone
brought their A-game to set with their skillset(s), but included in that
was the ability to play and to laugh. Everyone wore more hat than one, but
I can honestly say there was never a moment where anyone felt like they
didnít want to be there. We all had a blast on set together, whether
shooting or hanging out at the house after shooting. Being able to see our
cast and crew at one of the recent screenings at Nitehawk Cinema in
Brooklyn was one of the most joyous nights Iíve had in my career. I love
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
Iíve got another feature film in festivals
right now and on track for distribution called A Little Water. Itís way
less Dino-Priest as it is family drama. Other than that, small writing
projects with creative partners here in LA, auditioning in film and TV and
texting Brendan any thoughts/ideas about VelociPastor II.
What got you into acting in the first
place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
always had a toe dipped in theater/performing arts in high school, but I
was kind of insecure about it. I put all my attention on football and
lacrosse instead. It wasnít until college that a guy on my lacrosse team
at Hartwick College was a director and theater major and insisted I come
audition for his plays. I did, he cast me and I loved it. I did a few
plays in college, but still didnít think it was something I could do as
a career. I got a full time job out of college selling billboard
advertising, but decided to start auditioning for plays and taking
classes. I was in a 2-year Meisner program at The Acting Studio, Inc. with
James Price. I would rush off to class in a suit and tie in New York every
night to do scene work, or rehearse a play I was in. I was always either
in class or in a play while in New York. Once I started booking TV and commercial
work, I decided to cash in my chips and go full time. The
my first feature film.
can you tell us about your film and TV work prior to The
Other than independent theater I was doing in NY, I had a few student
films under my belt and very few TV appearances. I did background work on
the pilot episode of Boardwalk Empire, and got some screentime, but it
wasnít really acting. So I would just act any chance I got, whether in
plays or class. My first TV appearance was on a Nick Jr. TV show called
Team UmiZoomi. I actually had two parts; a robot salesman and a court
jester. I remember calling my best friend asking him I was going to ruin
my career if I accept a role as a court jester. He kindly responded,
ďDude. What career?Ē I didnít really say no to anything after that.
I just wanted to act. And when I got the chance to audition for a priest
that turns into a dinosaur, I jumped at it with a resounding HELL YES. The
VelociPastor was my first feature film. It wasnít until after shooting
VelociPastor that I started booking more TV appearances on shows in New York like Blue
Bloods, The Blacklist and other night time dramas.
Besides making movies, you've also
been in quite a number of TV series - so in how does shooting for a series
compare to making a stand-alone feature or short?
Iíve only had small parts in the TV series that Iíve shot. So I know
my place. However, I will say that as actors, no matter how big or small
the role youíre playing - whether the lead of the show/film or just a
day player - youíre still just a small part of the whole machine. It
truly takes a village to make a TV show or a film. Just because youíre
in front of the camera doesnít mean youíre any more entitled or
important than anyone else behind the camera. We all have different skills
that apply to the job weíre doing in order to create the end product
weíre creating. The only major difference between shooting TV vs.
independent film might be the relationships. With a smaller production,
everyone has to wear more than one hat. You just know that going into
production. I think it also helped us get closer as a cast and crew.
We spent a lot of time together over the 3 weeks it took to shoot, and we
all got very close as friends. Iím really proud of the work everyone did
on this movie and proud to call them my friends.
would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
Youíre asking great questions and Iím enjoying this thoroughly.
When it comes to my look, Iíd say Iím the love child of Michael C.
Hall and Mark Wahlberg. As an actor, I truly do love dramatic roles. Any
roles that allow me to access emotions that I donít feel on a day-to-day
basis are very exciting to me. But I also love making people laugh, so I
enjoy comedic roles very much. I think thatís why The
VelociPastor was so
much fun because I got to play it - at times - very serious and dramatic,
but because the circumstances are so ridiculous, it ends up being really
funny. As for techniques, I think the first thing is understanding the
genre youíre playing in. We knew what we were making with The
so we understood the tone of the genre. I love the idea of dressing like
the character before you get to set. Styling my hair as they would,
wearing what theyíd wear, talking like they might talk. Thatís always
fun to explore on your own. You may not use it, but itís in there once
you get to set. Aside from that, listening is a pretty valuable technique.
Actors (and indeed
actressess) who inspire you?
Cranston is my guy. Heís
someone who truly inspires me. Someone who has been working most of his
adult life, I believe since his early twenties, and who most people
didnít recognize until later in his career. But, man, that guy has
worked his ass off to get to where he is. His persistence alone is
admirable and inspiring, and I think heís so talented because of how
much work heís put in. So Bryan Craston is my number one, but after that
there are just so many. I love actors/actresses and their stories,
learning about how they got to where they are and the amount of hard work
that goes into it. They all inspire me in a way.
Your favourite movies?
Jurassic Park, Heat. Love me some Spielberg, love me some Michael Mann.
Thereís so many that I love, sometimes itís hard to pick three. I was
telling Brendan the other day how Newsies was the movie that made me want
to act. I mean, being a rough and tough kid on the streets of New York
slinginí papers and singiní your heart out about it? Yeah, I want
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Films I deploreÖ
hmm. Thatís tough, because in making The
VelociPastor, Iíve grown to
really appreciate even THE WORST films. Thatís probably not the answer
youíre looking for. But itís what you get.
Facebook, whatever else?
Instagram and Facebook: @gregcohan
(way more active here)
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
on DVD August 13th!!! Thanks for having me here!!!