I’m happy to announce that the trailer is now available for the sitcom pilot Stool Pigeons, in which I play a clueless and abstemious Pastor who finds himself surrounded by hard-drinking oddballs:
If you’d like to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign to help get the pilot post-production work done, please click here. (Although maybe this one should be called a Kickfinisher campaign?) Thanks!!
I’ve identified some sort of trend in my casting. A couple of years ago, I played Pastor Manders in a production of Ibsen’s Ghosts. Last August, I filmed a scene as a subway preacher in the upcoming 2013 film Can A Song Save Your Life? with Mark Ruffalo. Then last December, I played the Ghost of Jacob Marley in a production of A Christmas Carol. Now, I’ll be playing a Pastor again. What’s next–playing the Ghost of a Pastor? ;-)
This time, it’s a small but fun role in the pilot of another web sitcom pilot. This one is called Stool Pigeons and it centers around the denizens of a downtrodden neighborhood bar. Sort of like a down and dirty version of Cheers. I attempt to preside over an impromptu memorial performance for one of the characters–but I won’t say which one! We shoot the pilot the last week of March.
I’ve also just learned that the comedian Gallagher is now attached to the project, so that should make for an amusing shoot!
I’ll share more information when I have it.
For the first time, I landed a gig based solely on resumé and video clips. Video clips are definitely the big casting tool these days, and I’ll be creating more of them. This shoot was a blast. It was for my favorite local TV station, so already I was psyched to be part of their ad campaign for their new mobile app. They were shooting five 15-second silent comic spots that day, and they will be released gradually over the next six months. I’ll do another post when I know mine is launching.
I can’t say too much about the spot before it airs, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll just share a post-shoot photo with my co-star and new buddy Sarah Seeds. We really had a blast working together, and with the great team from the TV station. It was a lovely bunch of people with great senses of humor, and I hope we’ll all find a reason to play together again sometime soon. Plus, I got to work in my pajamas–it doesn’t get better than that! ;-)
Wow, this all happened so fast! While I was in Massachusetts rehearsing A Christmas Carol at the Hanover Theatre, my agent let me know that I had landed a great role in a new ensemble sitcom pilot aimed at web distribution, set for filming in January 2013. The show is called Terminal B and it centers on a classic band of misfit workers at a down-and-out airline in the middle of nowhere. I was cast as Stephen Brown, the well-meaning but uptight and hapless manager of the team (think Steve Carell in The Office and you’ll have a general idea).
The merry madness of Terminal B is the brainchild of executive producer Charles Berlepsch and co-creator and producer Jimmy Sackenheim, co-producer Tim Flocke, story by Kevin Steele, with script and direction by Mike Basone. It was great fun receiving the updates for the script, and imagining what my fellow actors were going to do with the wonderfully silly roles as each character blossomed on the page. When we started rehearsals, the cast did not disappoint. Each and every one of these actors is a hoot. And we all got along immediately–essential for a good ensemble comedy. There was a lot of riffing during rehearsals, and Mike decided to keep some of it for the shoot.
We filmed the pilot over four days this past week, and the crew was every bit as savvy and fun as the actors. Everybody had a great time, and when we filmed the final party scene, it was a real party. I’m crossing my fingers that our pilot will be picked up and funding will materialize so that we can make at least a season of this show. The characters are so much fun, and have so much potential for both comedy and emotional growth, that they really deserve a long run.
My thanks again to Charles, Jimmy, Mike, and the entire cast and crew of Terminal B. It was a real pleasure. Here’s hoping this is only the beginning. I hope you’ll Like the show on Facebook, and support our efforts to make more episodes!
The wacky cast of “Terminal B”!
I heard from director Kathryn Rotondi today that her lovely and thought-provoking short film Free Man, in which I have a brief scene as a Funeral Director caught between family members, is continuing to make the rounds at LGBT film festivals. The film is a sobering look at what happens to a gay couple when one partner dies suddenly and they do not have civil marriage rights to protect their last wishes.
Here’s the list of screenings so far. Congratulations, Kathryn! I’m proud to have been a part of this project.
Free Man Festival Screenings:
Spokane GLBT Film Festival
San Francisco, CA
Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Reelout Queer Film + Video Festival
Inside Out Ottawa-Gatineau LGBT Film & Video Festival
Reeling 2011: The 30th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival
Chicago, U S A
Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Tampa, U S A
Austin Gay International Film Festival
Austin, U S A
New Jersey Film Festival
New Brunswick, U S A
Out of Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa
Jersey Shore Film Festival
Deal, U S A
Toronto Inside Out Film Festival
Costume by Arjun Bhasin for the film “Can a Song Save Your Life?”
Late last Friday night into early Saturday morning I filmed a scene for Can a Song Save Your Life?, written and directed by John Carney (Once), and starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly. The shoot had to be done overnight because the scene was set in a moving NYC subway car, and late at night at the end of a subway line was the only time a real station and train could be used. I played a man the script titles Christian Father, a quiet man with a well-worn bible and a handful of prayer pamphlets. Honestly, it all went so smoothly that it was over almost before it began. John and Mark couldn’t have been more gracious and fun.
When John introduced himself before the first take, he mentioned he wanted to add a new line. He also said he liked the line improvs I did on my audition clip, so I should just keep those. I think we ended up doing only three takes of the brief scene; each time Mark reacted slightly differently to me, and I had great fun responding to whatever he sent my way. I’ve never had a nicer or more generous scene partner, and hope I get to play with Mark again one of these days; he is seriously fun. When it was all done and I was wrapped, I thanked John for a great time. He has a great attitude and energy, and I would love to do another project with him. Even though we were under a time constraint, everyone was working smoothly and having a great time doing it; that doesn’t just happen by itself.
As with my experience on the set of The Smurfs, every single person with whom I came into contact was incredibly nice as well as talented. Mariela Comitini (first AD), Maura Kelly (second AD), Arjun Bhasin (costume designer), Deirdre Wegner (asst. costume designer), Patrick, Joanna, and so many more. While waiting outside my little honeywagon, I had a good time chatting with the actors who make up the “band” in the film before they shot their scene that night; what a bunch of sweeties. I also had a great extended conversation in the wee hours with a lovely young woman named Grace, who lived up to her name, looking after me and getting me where I needed to be when I needed to be there. The funny thing about a movie shoot is that while there’s typically a lot of waiting in the process, once your scene is up for shooting, time is of the essence, and you meet a whole bunch of wonderful pros for very fleeting discussions and arrangements. Someone hands you a cool prop, one or two other people are wiring your mike into your costume, while someone else might be sharing last-minute instructions with you. Suddenly things fall into place, the others vanish, the director calls “Action!” and in no time the whole thing is over. You never get to go back and thank all those folks again for the great job they do!
John has written a lovely script, and has surrounded himself with a great bunch of performers; in addition to Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly, the cast includes Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden, and Adam Levine. Given how beautiful John’s film Once is, I have high hopes for this one, which shares a spiritual kinship with that hit. Anyway, my thanks to John, Mark, and all involved for a swell time. I can’t wait to see the finished film!
Here’s an adorable trailer for the upcoming claymation feature film inspired by Lewis Carroll’s immortal nonsense poem, The Hunting of the Snark. It’s written and directed by Saranne Bensusan. I’m not featured in this trailer, but I contributed the voice of the Judge to the Barrister’s Dream sequence. After all, who could turn down an appearance in a Lewis Carroll project? Not me! Enjoy.
The Hunting of the Snark – Official Trailer from From the 3rd Story Productions on Vimeo.
Back in 2010, I played a small role in an independent short film by Kathryn Rotondi entitled Free Man. I appeared in the opening scene as a well-meaning Funeral Director who finds himself caught between a grieving mother and her late son’s partner in the planning of a memorial. The script was beautifully written: simple, and powerful. When the hero loses his partner of 13 years, he finds that without the proper legal protections in place (such as those guaranteed by the right to marry a same-sex partner), he has no say in carrying out his late partner’s last wishes. Instead, the mother does what she believes is best, even though it directly contradicts everything her son actually wanted. The film is a heartbreaking cautionary tale.
I’ve learned that the film has been playing to great response at some LGBT festivals around the world, including the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, Out in Africa, and Canada’s Inside Out festival. And I’m thrilled to see that the film now has a distribution deal in Canada as well!
I hope the film continues to receive attention around the globe. The message is a sobering and timely one that many people still need to hear.
After two rounds of audio auditions, I’m happy to say I landed a cool role in an animated short film called Majnun’s Dream Theater Shadow Show which is being created by talented filmmaker Alexandra Huzsvai. I’m very excited about this piece because the script is beautifully written, and it takes a fascinating and fantastical approach to the very serious issue of leaving an abusive relationship. The script doesn’t preach, it just subliminally teaches the lead character Layla by example. I play a mysterious, Cheshire Cat-like creature called the Living Skeleton, who opens Layla’s eyes to the possibility of another life. We record next Monday, and I can’t wait!
On Sunday, Tim and I went to see the Smurfs movie in 3D with our nephew Nicholas, his mom Patty, Tim’s brother Danny, and his wife Ginny. We went to the brand new Ridge Hill multiplex here in Yonkers–it’s one of the only things open in this massive development (which is so big they may actually end up declaring it a village!). We made sure to get there good and early, prepared to take silly pictures next to the movie posters in the lobby, only to find out there weren’t any at this theater! So instead, before the action started, Danny kindly took this picture of us to mark the occasion of my major motion picture debut.
As it turns out, only about 1/3 of my little scene made it into the final film, so I’m really only onscreen for about 7 seconds. But I still interact very briefly with Hank Azaria (aka the villainous Gargamel) and hey, I’m up there. My thanks again to director Raja Gosnell for casting me and keeping a bit of the scene in the final film. As soon as I walked offscreen, Nicholas leaned over to me and whispered: “You were great!!” which really made my day. I told his mother later that being in a movie is indeed really cool, but being in a family and sharing little moments like this–now, that’s great!
Nicholas noted that we needed to stay and watch the credits at the end so that we could see my name. When the credits rolled, he pointed out: “Look! You’ve got a mushroom next to your name!” Evidently in the Smurf world, that’s a good omen. So if you end up seeing the movie and checking out the credits, look for the little red mushroom. Rumor has it that if this film makes enough money, Hank Azaria has already signed on for two more. So maybe we’ll cross paths again at greater length in a sequel! (And maybe the full version of the scene will show up on the DVD bonus reel…!)