It was a great pleasure to speak with the local celebrity about his latest film, Badge of Honor, and what it's like transitioning between film and television, good guy and bad guy.
tV: Let's talk about Badge of Honor.
AP: It's an Indy film with these big names, which is really interesting. I play a character named Samuel who is a very bad man and the antagonist of the piece.
I love playing the bad guys because it's such a departure from who I am, but I also love doing things that are in the pocket and feel right with who I am, like the character I play on Arctic Air (Jim McAllister) who is pretty fun-loving and a straight up guy.
I shot this very bad scene for Badge of Honor, which was kind of uncomfortable because it was very raw and the first time I'd ever shot a scene with a completely naked girl. Then the next day on Arctic Air I had this beautiful, sweet scene with one of the other characters, almost like a speed-dating scene where my character's really shy. Then the day after that on Badge of Honor I do this scene where I beat up Mena Suvari with the intension of raping her. There were so many different things within the last three days of shooting that it was a whirlwind, but also super exciting and fun. Working with these guys on Badge of Honor has been phenomenal.
tV: How did you find that transition going back and forth between those extremes?
AP: What makes it easier is finding the motivation in those people; finding why they would be doing something like that and what their drive is. To them their actions aren't bad. To them it's what they have to do to feed the family. I always find the difference between a bad guy and a good guy is that the bad guy is willing to go that much further for what he wants. It's definitely challenging at times.
tV: Is there a role that you haven't done yet that you'd like to try? Something that you think might push you in a direction you've never gone before?
AP: That's such a great question. I love characters with a massive arc within the movie. A character which I haven't had the chance to play yet is an everyday guy who is there to feed his family, who has a huge turn within his arc and will do whatever it takes to get there. One of the best films that I've seen that has done that is Moon, with Sam Rockwell. To be the central character in a movie and be able to compel and audience to stay with the piece, is to show so many different roller-coaster rides he is going on. That's something I would love to do; a huge complete arc of a character.
tV: What a lot of people may not know about you is you've also worked in theatre. How has that work helped you in the film world?
AP: Honestly, when I did Danny and the Deep Blue Sea in 2010, that was the first play I'd done. Jason Goode, Lori Triolo and Larry Moss really shaped me in going for the full piece. That was the first time I'd ever experienced being within the character for an hour and a half. When I did that, I felt like I could do anything. It was a really great feeling and helped me a lot in working in film and television.
A really good friend of mine, Tahmoh Penikett, said the best thing to me. He said, “Aleks, you're not really an actor until you do some theatre.” At first I took offense to it and got so upset because I'd never done theatre but did consider myself an actor. I'd never done the solid hour and a half in front of a bunch of people, telling a story, and when I finally did it, I got it. That's what it feels like right now; I feel like a complete actor. I've always admired people in theatre but I was too scared to jump in. Now that I'd done that, I want to do a lot more.
tV: What has been the best part about working on this new film?
AP: Working with Academy Award nominated, respected actors. These people are at the echelon of their business but there's nothing different between their process and my process. It really surprised me that we were so on-point with each other and I didn't feel like a fish out of water, which is great. We all take the job seriously and want to do the best that we can and tell the best story. It was really interesting to see them not do it for a pay-cheque; they're doing it because they love what they do and they want to represent the piece.
tV: How was it when you first walked on set with them? That's a potentially intimidating situation.
AP: Honestly, it wasn't intimidating at all because I knew what I had to do and I knew my job. The only thing you hope doesn't happen is whole prima donna thing, but they were great. Mina was great. We had a fight scene that was very, “James Gandolfini, Patricia Arquette”from True Romance where it was very cat and mouse. It was a really intense scene and we made sure we cleared it with each other what was safe and what was not safe so there was no intimidation factor at all. It was more admiration than anything.
tV: What were you working on before you landed this role in Badge of Honor?
AP: I did a Vancouver Indy with Random Bench called Feed the Gods. Producer Liz Levine asked me to do this role as another bad guy, but it was a great bad guy. It was so fun doing this movie. It's one of the first authentic shock-horror movies that I've done so it was a great challenge. It was also a big switch because just before that I did a Disney film with director Peter Deluise, where I'm a clean-shaven Disney dad of three boys. That was super fun because I never get to do any of that. It was a comedy, which I feel like I'm more geared towards.
It's been a really great year. I'm finishing it up with Badge of Honor and I'm also doing a video game which will be a two-year adventure. I can't say anything more about that project.
tV: You mean when they stick those little tracking nodes on you?
AP: Yah. A character in a video game, which is great because it's going to be next-level stuff that hasn't been seen before.