Your upcoming movie A Grim Becoming - in a few words, what is
it about, and what can you tell us about your character?
A Grim Becoming
is a dark comedy about a young handsome succesful
executive that accidentally sees a grim reaper taking a soul. If you see a
reaper take a soul you have to become a reaper. The film is about the
comic lenghts he goes to to retain his humanity and not become a reaper.
Your character Magoo is actually Death himself - now how do you even
prepare for a role like this, and what do you draw upon to bring such a
character to life?
Adam Steigert [Adam R.
Steigert interview - click here] wrote the role of Magoo for me. Im' a character actor and
a role of this size (a co-starring role) was humbling and challenging,
definitely the role of a lifetime for me, I considered MAGOO (DEATH) for
months, thinking about what he would be like and decided he was dry, sad,
Shakespearean in tone, never swore (he doesn't have to, he is death) and
has a bizarre sense of humor, grizzly voice and a deep dark laugh. He is a
jerk that toys with the executive and everyone else around him. I hope the
way I played him that you will fear him, hate him, sympathize with him and
How did the project come into being, and how did you end up being an
executive producer on A Grim Becoming? And to turn the
question right on its head, how did you hook up with DefTone Pictures
Studios in the first place?
Adam sent me the script, I read it, loved it and was very happy to be an
executive producer on the film. I was also the first assistant director, casting director and got to direct several of the scenes personally. How I
joined Deftone is an amazing story. My friend Mark Mendola (who has
directed several movies with Deftone) told me that Deftone was
auditioning for a movie called Ombis: Alien Invasion. I audition and
won the role of Mayor Logan, and was also cast as Luke in Black Guy on
a Rampage. Adam liked the characters that I created and when an opening for
an executive producer for Ombis opened, I became one. A few months later
and I'm a co-owner of the company along with Christopher Burns Jr., Janeen
Avery and of course Adam.We work very well as a team with each bringing a
different slant to the company and projects. We are very much a family
unit and really love each and respect each other.
What can you tell
us about your director Adam R. Steigert [Adam
R. Steigert interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
Adam is a brilliant director, an actors director and
lets an actor have free reign, but if the actor has a question or is
veering from Adam's vision, he is kind and forthcoming with wonderful
advise and direction. He is a brilliant and gifted young man that never
ceases to amaze me.
What can you tell us about A Grim Becoming's
brand of humour, how easy was it to adapt to it, and since we're at it,
what can you tell us about your own sense of humour?
A Grim Becoming's
humor was a combination of loose script following and ad-libbing as well as
some rehearsed humor. I think watching the crew with their hands covering
their mouths on set to not ruin a shot says alot about how funny this film
will be. As to my own sense of humor, I was the class clown and always in
trouble because of my sense of humor...
talk about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere for a bit!
ran the set professionally, we had so much fun doing it and there was
great joy but above all hard work. We brought in some serious talent
from Los Angeles , New York, Canada.... Time is money and we ran the set
like it was a job site and not a playground. (But it was alot of fun.)
future projects beyond A Grim Becoming
you'd like to talk about?
an actor I'm playing The graverobber William Hare in Frankenstein's
Patchwork Monster, directed by Emil Novak, and a few other projects this year,
and our next project is going to be T.H.E.M. The Horriffic Evil Monsters
SAG project). This will be an awesome venture for all of us at Deftone and
our beautiful area of Western New York and the awesome talent that lives
here as well!
got you into acting in the first place, and what can you tell us about
your training as an actor?
I was very active in music and
acting in school and studied acting at Studio Arena Theater in the 1970s.
I appeared in plays, and eventually won the lead in a small film entitled
The Johnno Story. I was hooked! I was 15 and it was shot over 2
consecutive summers. I ventured into music for the next 38 years of my life
before joining Adam and the gang, and I've done alot of projects recently
including television and film.
Do talk about your filmwork prior to A Grim Becoming
for a bit!
My IMDb includes Dembela, Ombis, Mostly Dead, Holland
Road, along with
many other films and projects.
Besides being an actor, you're also an accomplished musician, right?
So what can you tell us about that aspect of your career?
I play about 8 instruments, but piano and voice were always my favorite,
I was clasically trained and was a Pianoman well before Billy Joel wrote
the awesome song. I love acting and playing and writing music equally.
How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of
your techniques to bring your characters to life?
I am a
character actor. I draw on my lifes experiences, both the happy and
sad, and translate it to my current character. I create an entire life
around the character I'm portraying and always try to respond accordingly.
Definitely Method all the way.
(or indeed actresses) who inspire you?
There are so many
amazing talents in film and on stage and I can say that I'm inspired by
young people devoting themselves to the craft of acting and these young
people inspire me the most.
I'm old school, It's a Wonderful Life,
Going My Way, Ninotchka,
The Exorcist, The
Godfather, Jaws, all wonderful films.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
deplore no films. They were all made with passion and hopes and dreams.
Who am I to hurt someone's feelings? So many people talk about making a film
and never do. God bless the filmmaker that makes a bad one, at least he
realized his dream.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Michael Sciabarrasi on IMDb, Ombis and A Grim Becoming
Facebook pages are a good start.
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
only thing I'd like to add is the joy of meeting new people and new talents
that filmmaking has brought into my life. The tenet that I use in my life
and my business are simple: Build people up, always address the strengths
and not the weaknesses. Help as many people as you can. Always ask a
favor, but never for yourself. This has served me well.
Thanks for the
for the interview!