TAKE ONE speaks to Marc Senter
Marc Senter featured in the CFF2011 programme as Franki in RED, WHITE AND BLUE. His performance in this Texas drama, along with recent films such as BRAWLER and THE LOST proved that there is more to Senter than his 2003 debut as Stoned Guy #2 in TIMECOP: THE BERLIN DECISION – he’s a committed and versatile method actor, as well as a regular contributor to funnyordie.com. Mark Bullock caught up with Marc, who spent last year promoting BRAWLER and has now joined Bill Moseley on Darren Bousman’s THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL project.
Mark Bullock: Your upcoming projects, THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL and GINGER, must have kept you very busy over the past year.
Marc Senter: It was a great way to end 2011 and begin 2012. GINGER shot in December and THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL kicked off in January. I had spent pretty much all of 2011 wearing my producer’s hat promoting my film BRAWLER at film festivals around the world and securing distribution (out this summer folks – dig on the trailer – http://www.gfyfilms.com/) so it was really nice to just get back to acting, especially with such cool people/projects, which I am grateful to be a part of.
GINGER is a cool little Lynchian thriller with nods to ROSEMARY’S BABY, helmed by my new friend Buddy Giovinazzo. Buddy G is a great man and a great artist. I really can’t say enough nice things about him… Our mutual friend, Mitch Davis (another great man) introduced us as he thought we’d work well together and he was absolutely correct. I have a lot of respect for Mitch so when he told me about Buddy and the project I took it seriously. I knew I wanted to work with Buddy after watching his drama, NO WAY HOME. I loved this film and thought the story, direction, and acting were excellent. We had a nice amount of rehearsal leading up to the shoot and a then, aside from the mental and physical challenges shooting a feature in such a short amount of time, had a successful shoot. I’ll play “Jazz” any day with Buddy G.
… I sing and dance and throw friggin’ knives, people! Come on!!
THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL is an insanely cool rock musical born from the tremendously creative minds of Terrance Zdunich and Darren Lynn Bousman. Darren is a very cool dude and I cannot say enough nice things about him also. We had been wanting to work together for awhile and I can’t think of a better first project. He is one of the most passionate and busy guys I know. He’s always shooting something! He stepped off a plane and right onto the set day one filming and then got back on a plane on the second to last day and then returned ON the last day. I love that about him… The guy loves to make movies. I have never done anything quite like THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL. It was an absolute blast. The music, the characters, the costumes, the sets were created with such imagination and care that you couldn’t help but be inspired. Oh, and I sing and dance and throw friggin’ knives, people! Come on!! Check out our new trailer and come join us at one of our numerous road tour stops!
MB: You have some amazing co-stars across both THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL and GINGER. Alexa Vega, Sean Patrick Flanery, Bill Moseley, Elissa Dowling and even Emilie Autumn (in what I believe is her first acting role)… I could go on. Is there anything you would like to tell readers about working with these acting talents?
MS: Yeah, I have had some really terrific co-stars, which I am grateful for. Emilie Autumn is amazing…This is her first acting role, but I hope not her last because she brings an energy unlike many. She is passionate, positive, playful, etc… I’m glad our final scene together in THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL didn’t work out last second… You’ll see why. Fate!
I am a comedy guy at heart who somehow ended up doing dark indies.
MB: As a method actor, can you talk a bit about your techniques? Anything particularly outlandish we should know about..?
MS: Every role is different and thus calls for different techniques or preparations to cater to what’s needed. Sometimes I’ll discover the best approach to the character is through working to inhabit another person (like Caleb in WICKED LAKE) or sometimes I’ll find I just need to focus on one specific part of me and work to bring it to the surface.
For THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL my character is a knife thrower, so I practiced throwing a kabob fork (less frightening than my steak knives) and eventually started doing some pretty sweet moves. It took me a minute to figure it out, but once I got it I was having a blast and looking like I might have actually known what I was doing. It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube… I also practiced singing, a lot. This is a musical and I wanted to sound as good as possible, especially since I’d never done one before. If you see GINGER and then ever have the pleasure of meeting Buddy G, or see photos of him, see if you can pick up on something…
MB: So are you eventually going to sell out on us and audition for TWILIGHT, or continue to work on excellent indie films?
MS: Haha!! Well, that is a pretty tough job to land and I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be interested in playing a dude who flies around looking cool with fabulous hair in a big budget Hollywood film. Let’s see! I have been lucky to work with some fantastic directors and I’d like to continue working with more while producing more of my own projects etc…
MB: Now, I also need to talk to you about your hilarious YouTube videos such as ACTING COACH – bigger than Al Pacino! These are very funny and Take One likes a lot… anything you want to add on these?
MS: I am a comedy guy at heart who somehow ended up doing dark indies. True. I’ve shot a few of these little sketches just for fun, but am actually getting more into it right now… Check out my latest, Doug Cherub.
…around the 5th take or so I started feeling like I was about to explode and, well, I did. I threw up all over the place.
MB: I understand that you are very passionate about the work of Chris Sivertson (THE LOST, BRAWLER) and Simon Rumley (RED, WHITE AND BLUE) – which is totally understandable. Could you tell us a bit more about their directing style?
MS: I am. They are both very passionate and talented dudes! Directing takes a strong vision with a lot of confidence and courage to execute (aside from the other stuff!) and both these men have that. They also both encourage and inspire trust and freedom in their actors, which to me is very important.
MB: THE LOST and RED, WHITE AND BLUE are controversial movies, and RED, WHITE AND BLUE in particular has been highly praised by critics and fans alike. Can you share your on set experiences of both movies? Any challenges you faced acting in these two very different, yet both extremely hardcore roles?
MS: Day one of THE LOST we were shooting a really intense scene towards the end of the movie where my character has about an 8-ball up his nose and is on a rampage… Well this was the first friggin’ day so naturally I was already totally freaked out and hoping I wouldn’t blow it… I start slamming red bulls and coffee, while chain smoking to make sure I looked out of my mind (jackass) and around the 5th take or so I started feeling like I was about to explode and, well, I did. I threw up all over the place. I later learned that my director, Mr Sivertson threw up behind the trailer that exact same day. Ha!
About 2 weeks into the shoot on RED, WHITE AND BLUE I started getting this terrible stomach pain… I took some Pepto-Bismol and, nothing… (Pardon the graphic detail here) I go into the bathroom and notice my urine is RED! WTF?! So now I am freaking out… After a few days I couldn’t take the pain anymore and knew something serious was wrong, so prod Paul Knaus took me to the hospital (thanks Paul) and I was told… I had kidney stones. NOOOO!!!!!! There was a scene during the shoot where I am literally cringing through a take (prob best work). My lovely co-star Noah Taylor gave me some homeopathic drops to try (thanks Noah).
Oh and we all stayed in our ep, Tim League’s (great dude) sweet house and during one of my first nights there, I woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded like the Taliban coming down the street with RPG’s… It was Tim firing off some of his new fireworks. That was pretty hilarious… Austin was a blast…
One of my friends told me I needed to get a “Butt Shot” to go with my “Head Shot”.
MB: Moving onto a project a bit further back, CABIN FEVER 2 is one of my favourite guilty pleasures. Have you seen the final cut of the film, and what are your thoughts on it? The editing clearly suffers in the final act due to the issues related to Ti West’s disownment of the project – but I still love the film. Did the issues relating to the direction of the film affect you during the movies filming?
MS: The filming was an absolute blast. Ti has said it was one of the most fun shoots he has ever experienced and I would totally agree in a lot of ways. The problems occurred after the film was already in the can. I think that Ti is an incredible filmmaker with a very gifted and strong vision. I am proud to have worked with him and I am glad he is one of my friends. It would be cool if someday he was able to finish what he started. I like a lot of it too, but Ti is not a “gun for hire”, he’s a filmmaker and he needs to see it 100% through.
MB: You probably get asked this a lot… or maybe not… but how comfortable are you with having to act in your birthday suit? Several scenes in your films have not required the need for a costume department and I wondered how you prepare yourself to ‘bare all’ for your art?
MS: Haha!! Yeah, right!? One of my friends told me I needed to get a “Butt Shot” to go with my “Head Shot”. How did I always end up in my birthday suit?! Man, these directors will talk me into anything… Ya get nervous and then you just do it! That’s it, gotta just commit. Oh, who am I kidding, I just like being naked!
Visit Mark Bullock’s website Hacked In The Head, a film journal for horror connoisseurs, to read more of his work.
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