What can you tell us about your movie The
Awakened, and your character in it?
is a film about 5
people who decide to throw a party to ride out a hurricane hitting Florida at a
friend's house. While confined they attempt a
"Spiritual Healing" - and the consequences of that choice turns
out to be more than any of them bargained for.
I play Kevin, one of the fab five. Kevin
is an asshole. He is sarcastic, spoiled, condescending and the catalyst
of the mayhem.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how
much of you can we find in Kevin?
When I read the script, I was drawn to
this role immediately for two reasons. First, as an actor I enjoy
playing the bad guy. You have the ability to make strong character
choices and add color.
Secondly I felt I had P.O.V. in to why he
is so brash. I think we all know or have met someone like
"Kevin". Quick with a joke at someone else's expense. Immature,
obnoxious and loud.
I wanted to delve into why? I think in my
youth I have acted like Kevin. Not my proudest moments I might
add. I did so because I was insecure within myself and acted out to
avoid people taking too close a look to who I really was in fear that
they wouldn't like what they saw. Luckily somewhere along the
way I realized that who I am is ok and that was a significant change in
my life and relationships.
So yeah there is definitely pieces
of myself I drew from past experiences in my performance.
As a New Yorker, are
you at all familiar with the concept of hurricane parties, which is pretty
much the trigger for all things to come in the movie?
I had never heard of a hurricane party before and if I had it's
not something I would attend. Unfortunately after Katrina and
just recently Sandy, we all should have a healthy respect for Mother
I think that the idea of these characters making light of the storm by
making it into a party says a lot about them as characters before the dialogue begins.
The Awakened being a
ghost story, essentially, is that a genre you can in some way relate to,
and your thoughts about the paranormal in general?
haven't seen any ghosts - if I do I am calling Bill Murray.
can you tell us about your directors Lou Simon [Lou
Simon and Juan F. Gonzalez interview - click here] and Douglas
Villalba, and what was your collaboration like?
can tell you that I respect and admire them greatly. Their passion for the
project was contagious. Lou and Doug allowed me the space to create. Lou
wrote the script and was co-directing. "Kevin" was not written
to be humorous, yet she allowed me to paint him as I saw him and
I think thats a testament to her understanding of actors.Juan made me feel
like an A-list actor everyday. He couldn't have been more
encouraging or accommodating. Douglas was open to suggestion and able
to balance our creativity with the shot schedule. I would work with them
again in a heartbeat and grab a beer with them any day. Any actors that
have the opportunity to work with them should do so!
Awakened was shot on very limited and confined sets - was that at
all a problem, and what can you tell us about the shoot and the on-set
atmosphere as such?
I think that because it was shot in
basically three rooms, it avoided a lot of the clichés horror films are guilty of.
The characters couldn't run, there was no where to go.
The atmosphere of the shoot was great,
everyone showed up to work, I made great friendships with the cast and
crew that I hold dear. I was blessed to work with everyone from Pedro
holding the boom right up to Lou and Doug calling the shots.
Let's go back to the beginnings of
your career: What got you into acting in the first place, and did you
receive any formal education on the subject?
I have always loved film, it was my
secret dream to be an actor since I was a kid. I was inspired to give it
a go by two dear friends Jeremy Luke and John Barchitta. We grew up
together and while I was in a "normal" career they followed
their dream. Jeremy will be costarring with Joseph Gordon Levitt and
Scarlet Johansson in Don Jon in theaters everywhere
in Oct, and John is a successful stand up comic and actor.
Every step of
my journey they have been supportive and I cant thank them enough.
I studied the method at The Lee Strasberg Institute
for Theatre and Film in NYC with amazing instructors. I still attend
workshops whenever I can and will always do so.
you tell us about your filmwork besides The
I have been fortunate to work
on some great projects, some of them currently screening at the
F**K New York is a feature by Kirk White
about struggling actors in NYC and when it's time to give up the dream.
We sold out the Queens World Film Festival and were accepted into
Hoboken Film Festival in June.
Sharp Love, Sharp Kittens by Jon
Sajetowski is a short that has won multiple awards and screened in over 15
festivals. It will be in the Long Island International Film Expo in July
Tied Up by Red Wheelbarrow Productions
has won several festivals and accepted into like 20, it will also screen
at Long Island International Film Expo in July.
The Letter with James Franco
and Wynona Ryder is a feature I shot, unfortunately my scene
hit the cutting room floor, but I made the credits and learned so much
working with such heavyweights.
Any future projects you'd like to talk
Yeah I am
very excited to have four features shooting this summer into the fall.
When The Storm God Rides is a huge Epic
Western based on a book by Thomas E Kelly and being directed by the
legendary Michael Preece. Mr. Preece directed Dallas, Knots
Landing, MacGyver, Seventh Heaven, Renegade, the list goes on and on...
I get chills thinking about working with him. The cast is so amazing, I
urge you all to check it out on IMDb. Kimber Eastwood, daughter of Clint
Eastwood is producing. The book is fantastic obviously to get this
caliber of talent on board, so I think if you like westerns it is definitely worth
a read. I have to pinch myself about this film daily.
Wisp by GMD Films and directed by Paul
Gorman is a thriller about a copycat serial killer. I play the title
character. The script is fantastic as is the handful of cast already
on board. GMDFILMS.COM
Moonman is a exciting new take on
Dracula being filmed in the Himalayas and England. I will be
Helsing!!! I mean that is so cool even to write it. lol! I
also get to work with a friend of mine and a talented actor Andrew
Roth on that one, which is icing on the cake. It's a truly original
take on an immortal tale, pardon the pun. Really looking
forward to working with the director. Wins on this one.
Feeding on Fear by the Breed is a
horror film shooting in the fall with a great cast. Again check this
lineup out on IMDb.
You have worked on indies like The
Awakened, but also a handful of big budget films. So how do these
two types of sets compare?
Big or small the common denominator is
the work. Preparation is always the same. Bigger sets mean
more names to remember. lol
How would you describe
yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters
I hope I am a learning actor and always
remain so. This business is all about knowing yourself,
exposing everything about yourself most people keep guarded and
being open and ready to try new things.
I have a very detailed way I prep for my
roles but hope I continue to be able to allow spontaneity and
my gut instincts to be present when the director calls action.
Actors (or indeed actresses) who inspire you?
So many and too many to name. I am a huge
fan of John Hawkes, I think he is incredible. I am so inspired by the
sheer talent of Hugh Jackman. I will watch anything with Jack Nicholson
at least three times.
Tom Cruise and George Clooney define movie star. I think that Chloe Moretz is fantastic as is Jennifer
Lawrence and Anne Hathaway. I would love to work with Edward Burns and
John Cusack. Finally Dwayne Johnson has bigger charisma than biceps.
This list will have changed a hundred times if you asked me
the same question a hundred days. So many talented people.
list would change and be too long... recent films I really enjoyed:
Silver Linings Playbook,
A Place Behind the Pines,
Fast and Furious 6... does that sum up my tastes?
... and of course, films you really
This is a tough
buisness and everyone from actors, crew, producers, assistants, background,
the list goes on and on work so hard on every project. I won't disparage anyone else's hard
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
pics, reel, resume, and a blog I update
as often as I can with what I am up to.There is a contact sheet and if
you write in the comment box it automatically goes to my
personal email. you dont have to fill out any personal info. I hope to
hear from you.
John J Thomassen on IMDb, hope if you
check it out you click the like button.
Thomassen on Facebook.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
else you are dying to tell us and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Thank you so
much for the interview Michael.
If it's your
dream to work in this industry, go for it. Its not an easy road but very
I am excited
to promote The Awakened. I hope we get distribution so
you all can check it out. http://www.theawakenedfilm.com
It is being screened next at The Fright
Night Film Festival in Louisville Kentucky July 26-28.
I will be attending the Hoboken Film
Festival as well as the Long Island International Film Expo in June and
July. If you attend, say hi.
I am on the cover of Two upcoming novels,
Karmic Wind by Debra Markowitz and To Whom Much Is Given by Cecilia
Capers. In bookstores soon.
Friend me on Facebook.
for the interview!
Thanks again, pleasure