Lifeguard. Best two summers of my life.
What were the deciding factors in you becoming an actor/director/producer and did you have a Plan B if neither of these careers were to come to fruition?
In my senior year of high school I did a play. It was on a dare from a friend of mine. The first time I stepped on to the stage I never wanted to step off. I felt that I could be ME. I had played sports my whole life, which I liked, but never felt like I truly fit in. On stage I was most comfortable. No one in my family knew anything about how to act or be in the business of acting. I took it upon myself to figure it out and never looked back. No plan B. Ever.
You worked with PlayboyTV for a time on a reality show called “BadAss.” How did you get involved into PlayboyTV and what was it like shooting their show “BadAss?”
I needed money. That’s how I got involved. I regret working for them. I thought the Exces were terrible people who had no concern for the girls. They’d step on one of their faces to pick up a dollar bill. The movie biz is driven by men, and Playboy was a thousand times worse. It was a debilitating environment, and not creative. I met a few great people, namely Miss Scarlett Fay.
How did you get sold on the idea of High and Outside and what were some of the major struggles while making this film and what can you tell us about the main character you portray in this film?
One of my best friends, the Director, Evald Johnson approached me with the idea. Flash back to New Years of 2009, Evald and I were at Geoff Lewis’s house. Geoff’s wife suggested the idea that he and I play father and son. Evald obviously put that idea in his back pocket, because he had developed that idea, which became the film and pitched it to me. Geoff and I said yes and the rest is history.
Phil Harding is a lot like Jake LaMotta. Or Tony Soprano. He’ s a hunk of meat. A breathing hunk of meat. Simple in his quests. He thinks of one thing only…himself. He is the ultimate narcissist. The victim, always. I’ve known guys like this. Watched them. Studied them. Violent men with no sense of themselves. Snake charmers. But that’s not to say I dislike Phil Harding. I like him. He’s a very fun character. And he has some good qualities. He’s an Anti-Hero.
What are some of your favorite scenes while working on this production and how did the cast get along a whole?
My favorite scenes were shooting all of the baseball sequences. I lived out the dream of being a baseball player without having to live the life. I took BP off Roger Clemens and had dinner with him. Took batting lessons from Pedro Guerrero. Played Minor League baseball in front of a crowd. Trained with the best, my heroes from when I was a kid.
The cast was great. It’s big! I had a scene with almost everyone. Got along with them all. But of course, my favorite cast mate…Geoff Lewis. But I also cannot count out the Director, Evald. He’s not an actor, but besides Geoff, he was the one person who I worked off the most and enjoyed.
How did you prepare yourself for the role and what was the most challenging scene for you?
I put myself into the life of a ball player. I played in spring training camps and hung out with the players. The off field time with them was more valuable then the on field time. Baseball has its own culture, it own moral code. And I had to learn it.
Every scene is always a challenge.
Plenty of Adult Entertainers are crossing over into mainstream features. What was it like working with Scarlett Fay who has been in the adult industry for over eight years?
I knew Scarlett was perfect for the part of my stripper GF. And it’s not a stereo type role. None are in this movie. The Director has an improv type approach to all of the scene work. It reminded me of what it might have been like to do a John Cassavettes movie. But I knew she was perfect because she has no hang ups. A lot of “actresses” have hang ups. Which I mean, like, “I’ll do this…but I draw the line here on that….etc” Brando never had any hang ups. I think actors with lists of things they will do or won’t do, are insecure and do not know themselves. Scarlett knows herself very well. The scenes we did were very raw, and she went well beyond what any of us thought her character could be. Scarlett is a very good actor. If the AVN awards are smart, they will not only nominate her when our movie comes out (for best cross over) but they will award her. I saw that Paul Schrader movie with the male porn star. He was terrible. I’d rather watch his porn work. AVN Awards should be happy to have such a talent (Fay) come out of their community.
Aside from High & Outside, you created a movie called, The Man in the Silo, (2012), which starred Ernie Hudson, whom also plays the role of your coach in High and Outside, who is battling some serious demons after a car accident leaves him completely alone, only to care for his wife’s incapacitated grandmother. What was your inspiration for this film and what more can you tell us about it?
I don’t want to take up this interview to speak too much about another project. But it’s a unique movie. Not for everyone. Google the title. There’s a ton of reviews and trailers. Ernie is amazing in it.
If you could no longer act, direct, produce, what would you see yourself doing?
Cooking. All day. Everyday.
Recently we lost an amazing actor and friend, Geoffrey Lewis, before the film was complete. How do you hope to honor him in this film?
I am personally going to do all I can do to make sure every human on this planet sees this film. He is amazing in this film. He believed in it a lot. He had so much fun. At his funeral celebration some of his family spoke to me about how much “life” this film gave him. I was honored and happy that I was able to work with him on film. Just because an actor is old, does not mean they are done expressing themselves or creating. Hollywood is great at putting actors out to pasture. Well, this is not a Hollywood movie. Fuck Hollywood.
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