Friday, May 4, 2012

Interview: Domiziano Arcangeli Talks Waiting for Dracula and Career

Not many contemporary actors have the privilege of saying they were screen tested by Academy Award-winning director Federico Fellini in Rome’s Cinecitta Studios. But Italian actor-producer-writer-director Domiziano Arcangeli, whose career was launched in the 1980s, was not only screen tested by the famed filmmaker, but also appeared in his Oscar-winning movie ‘Intervisa.’ Since his experiences with Fellini, Arcangeli has appeared in countless Italian and American films, television series and plays. Recently, he’s become noted for working in cult and genre horror films, particularly after founding his own production company in 2008, Empire Films. Arcangeli’s upcoming projects include Lionsgate’s upcoming film ‘The Ghostmaker,’ which was directed by Mauro Borelli and is set to be released theatrically in the fall. Arcangeli will also appear in a movie he’s producing, ‘Frankenstein Rising,’ which was directed by Eric Swelstad. Arcangeli recently took the time to discus with us, among other things, why he enjoys acting in horror films. He also spoke about what it’s like producing and directing movies he appears in, including the upcoming ‘Waiting for Dracula.’ Written by: Karen Benardello ShockYa (SY): You have made a name for yourself acting in the horror genre, in such films as ‘Daughter of Fear’ and ‘Frankenstein Rising.’ What it is about the genre that you enjoy so much? Domiziano Arcangeli (DA): I have always really loved cult films and art films; I’m not sure why, I guess it’s just personal taste. I love to be truly surprised or challenged, and when you see things that you could only ‘experience’ in a nightmare. I’m very fond of psychological twists. As a viewer, my favorite experience is when a very celebrated director, like Roman Polanski, Stanley Kubrick or Lars von Trier makes a horror film-then I’m really ecstatic. In fact, I love ‘Rosemary’s baby’ and ‘The Tenant,’ for example. When I started acting in Europe in 1980, at about 11, the genre was strong. I had started making more of that type of art film, or more personal motion pictures. (Federico Fellini called me when he saw me on the cover of a magazine, in a portrait by Helmut Newton in Berlin, and directed my first screen test at the legendary Cinecitta studios! I eventually even got to work with him as well, in the film ‘Intervista,’ with people like Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg and Nastassja Kinski.) Back then, the giallos the horrors, the zombies, and all other clones, were huge. They’d make so many of them, one could not survive without making horror! Even against my agents’ opinion, who were fearing type casting, I did start accepting offer after offer. I just wanted to work, wanted to be independent. Back then, the industry was golden: great pay checks, and five or six weeks all paid up in first class, in places like Rio de Janeiro, the Philippines, Thailand, Morocco, you name it. I travelled the world with some of those movies back then, and loved most of those crazy shoots. Once you start making them, then you keep on making them over and over. Even when I decided to settle in L.A. (I have a U.S. and an Italian passport, and traveled all my life until then), back in 2000, I was immediately hired for a couple of years, for a TV drama series, the edgy ‘Zalman King’s Chromium Blue’ for Showtime networks (between 2001 and 2003), and then for some more TV, at first. But, at some point, obviously, people knew I had been in horror and had actually worked with quite a few of those euro masters of B exploitation flicks that had just became so hot, being rediscovered by Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth and many others. All of a sudden, so many films, I thought I would never see anymore, were getting instead a new life, re-mastered and re-presented uncut and in glorious widescreen on DVD. So many horror directors here in L.A. noticed, and they started calling me again. Before I even knew it, I had done over a dozen already. SY: You have served as a producer on several of the films that you have starred in, including ‘The Brides of Sodom’ and ‘The Ghostmaker.’ Why do you regularly produce films that you also act in? DA: Producing gives you a lot of stress, especially these days, with the markets being so iffy. However, producing gives also great freedom. I think it’s almost a natural process. Someone who’s been raised making pictures, after so many years, cannot just keep waiting on your agents calling for a job. Sometimes, even when you book a good role as an actor, you feel so marginal in a way. I know, it may sound strange to people, but, it is true. We go in for a read with the director/producers, if we book the job, we get a script, we do fittings, before we even know it, we are on set working over a few 14 hours a day, and then, they tell you you’re done. Everything has got to happen all over again. At some point, I just wanted more control, especially over the type of material, and even over the role i was going to play. I wanted to be involved in the creation of a movie from the get go, since, at this point, after so many years, i consider myself a filmmaker of sort, and not just an actor. I believe that there’s so much time you can put up with only acting in films. At one point, especially if you are so fond, and passionate of the job, as i have always been, you want more. I’ve executive produced 12 films with my company empire Films, Inc. in about four years. At times, I couldn’t even sleep at night. But now, I am very happy to know that, for example, ‘The Ghostmaker’ will come out in September through Lionsgate and theatrically all over Europe. ‘The Brides of Sodom’ should open in July, and be distributed by Media-Blasters. Despite all the efforts, and hyperventilations, I must say that these are personal achievement that I am really proud of. To continue reading this interview, please visit Shockya.

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