12th Apr2018

Interview: Chris Pardal talks ‘Corbin Nash’

by Philip Rogers

Searching a world of darkness for a truth he was never ready for, a rogue detective (Dean S. Jagger) is murdered only to be reborn the ultimate killer. Embracing his destiny, vowing vengeance on all that destroyed his family; he is Corbin Nash, Demon Hunter. With the film dure for release on April 20th, I got a chance to sit down with actor Chris Pardal to talk all things Corbin Nash…

chris-pardal

How did you first get into acting?

I started acting officially in 1995 in college. That was the first play that I did, the fist big production. It was David Mamet’s The Water Engine. I got a really big part, it was one of the leads. We travelled with the play and did a South East Theatre Conference, it was such a great experience. I won a couple of awards and I thought, this is acting. That was where it began, and I have been going ever since. I have had a few stops and a few side rails along the way, but for the most part 1995 was where I said this is what I want to do.

Corbin Nash will be your next big film coming out this year, what can we expect from the film?

Blood, guts, a really great story and fantastic performances. One of the things that really stood out to me, was every performance. The movie is really about Corbin Nash, Dean S Jagger plays Corbin Nash. But all of the other characters, even the very small game players where it’s just a couple of lines, it’s just so good. I found myself loving every small part. Bruce Davidson is in one scene and he is just phenomenal. Malcolm McDowell, Rutger Hauer, Courtney Gains, Fernanda Romero, Lovake Heyer, every performance is great. That takes a movie to another level when you have great performances all around. And Corey Feldman, he is great, that goes without saying. His performance is fantastic!

What did you think when you first saw Corey Feldman in his costume? Did you know what he was going to look like before you saw him?

I had no idea, I was super excited! I had read the script, I knew that Queeny was a cross dressing vampire and Corey Feldman was playing Queeny. I knew Corey Feldman from movies growing up and I thought, I wonder what this is going to look like. I had worked already with hair and makeup a day or two before I worked with Corey, so I knew the hair and makeup was fantastic, they were really good at what they did. So, I thought, whatever it is, its going to be cool. Corey comes the night that we have our scene together, he is in makeup for a little while… then we’re gonna get ready for the scene, Corey comes out and it was wow! It was as though we were seeing a vampire, this cross-dressing vampire for the first time. Scary, creepy, freaky, funny… From the time Corey gets on set and I see him we are shooting less than an hour later, so we are right in the scene. Queeny looks pretty stunning and when you see in the movie the action happening it’s very scary. Corey was in character the whole time, not in character like Daniel Day Lewis, Corey still interacted and talked to us, would make jokes, but it fits with the character. When you see the movie and you see Queeny, it’s very scary, but if you heard the jokes that Corey would make or some of the things he would say between takes, it still completely in sits with the character. It was pretty cool

In the film you play Frank Sullivan, can you tell me a little bit about your character?

Frank Sullivan; LA Detectives, somewhat seasoned but not too old. Sometimes in the detective-cop movies you have the aging detective days away from retirement. This is a guy who is literally a few years older than Corbin Nash, but who has been on the street of LA for a while and is somewhat jaded as you would expect a detective to be. We are in a world where there is a lot of murder, missing children, sex trafficking, all these things that go on in the streets. Basically, the world we are living in right now. Frank Sullivan is a guy who hasn’t taken it to the next level and become the bad cop who has taken the law into his own hands. He sees that Corbin Nash is the type of cop who could possibly do it and has enough seniority and wants to protect him a little bit. The thing I like about Frank Sullivan is you really get a sense that Corbin Nash really trusts and listens to him. When you see that in the movie, you see who do you trust? Who do you not trust? Because you don’t know who to trust in the movie from the beginning. I think Frank is a guy you think you can trust… Hopefully!
Hopefully throughout the sequels, you will wonder whether or not you can trust anybody you see in this movie.

You mentioned sequels there, how many planned sequels are there?

Oh gosh did I slip up there… Yeah there are sequels! The first script that was written, is the second one in the series. They went back and wrote this one to take place before the one that was already written, So, this is the first in the series.

What sort of preparation did you do for the film?

I talked to L.A. police detectives, homicide detectives and street cops about things that they have seen. I have spoken to police officers before, but I wanted to get a sense of what it is like to see the worst of the worst and become desensitised to it, because you have too. The answer is you get used to it and I think psychologically from my own research and philosophy is that there is a part of the brain that just shuts down. Some of the things that you see because you realise that the brain has to protect itself from going crazy. To see stuff like that, to know that there are things that you do, arrests that you make, criminals that you know get off on a technicality. One detective I talked to, when you’re a detective for 20 years you know some of these horrible criminals are now back on the street, and what’s really bad a lot of them go back to what they are doing and that’s really tough. Knowing that they are back on the street and its all you can do to not take the law in your own hands. That was one of the things I wanted to do, really understand and not just play the cop who has seen this stuff. What is the mindset? What keeps you from doing it? For me I could not be a cop because what would it take to not think; this could my daughter, my son, my wife, my niece, my friends kid, what would it take for me not to take the law into my own hands?

It’s a hard job when you think about it like that?

It’s an extremely difficult job. We have a lot of police officers in the united states and now with video and camera video, we sometimes see the worst situation with their behaviour. But one, we will always need law enforcement and two it’s a very difficult job. Not to negate the misbehaviour, but law enforcement is a very difficult job as a whole. We see and hear about one situation, maybe two. There dealing with hundreds all the time, thousands in a career. I don’t think I could do it and have completely unblemished record.

Coming back to the film, what was one of your favourite moment whilst filming Corbin Nash? You must have several…

I told you about doing a series with Corey. I am a fan, I grew up with him, we are the same age, so he has been in acting since he was a child. I have watched al of the movies Gremlins (1984), Stand by Me (1986), Meatballs (1979), Friday 13th [The Final Chapter (1984) / A New Beginning (1985)], the Goonies (1985). He has been a part of my life growing up and even in my adolescent years, Dream a Little Dream (1989), Licence to Drive (1988). So, seeing and working with him was surreal, but when they call action its go time and we are in the scene. I am a cop and we are dealing with the situation with the cross-dressing vampire in front of me. From the time I knew he was in the movie, to the scene was pretty great. Then watching the movie with him, he is such a great guy.

Carmen Aiello the casting director and also the co-producer on the movie, he had cast me in something years ago and he remembered me. He brought me in and I met the director Ben Jagger who I really liked, we talked about our dads a lot and growing up. I had gone in for a different part, it was a really good part that they wanted to talk to me about. I got a call that night and my agent said they want to bring you in for another character Frank Sullivan, which is a big character. I said I know who this guy is I read the script. I wondered who was going to play this guy, I loved this character Frank Sullivan. So, he said clean yourself because the detective was a complete opposite to the part I had gone for. When I talked to him the first time I was a little scruffy, I wore different cloths, showed off the tattoos. So, the next day I went in; suit jacket, clean shaven, carried myself a little differently and we just talked again. It was Ben Jagger, Carmen Aiello and Dean Jagger who came to the meeting. He asked me what I thought about Frank, Corbin and their relationship and in less then 10 minutes he reached out his hand and said welcome on board. Carmen Aiello was like sweet, what… you got cast, that’s it? This is awesome! From there on out it was one of the most pleasurable moments I have had on a movie set. I really bonded with Dean, with Ben Jagger, he has so much passion.

Richard Wagner the executive producer and also an actor in the movie. Every single person involved in this movie, in front of the camera, behind the camera is wanting to make this a good movie. There was no complaining, just a lot of love and a lot of passion, I just enjoyed being there all the time. When its four in the morning and we have been there all night and the sun is coming up, they whack a bunch of blood on my face, so they can get the perfect shot. I wanted to be there, so they could get the perfect shot, I was all in and it felt like everybody was all in. That is such a great experience for that to happen. I think Ed Norton said once, just because you have a cheery set, doesn’t mean it’s a great movie and I get what he is saying. If you read about what happened on Titanic (1997), it’s a brilliant movie, Apocalypse Now (1979) some of the things on set that you hear and some smaller movies too. They end up making a fantastic movie, but the stuff that happens is a little more stressful. This wasn’t like that at all, it wasn’t stressful, it was wonderful to be there and around everyone. It didn’t feel detrimental to the work at all and that was what I loved about it. I loved every minute that I was there, with everybody that was on set.

You have an upcoming film project called ‘Rave’ which you are writing and directing. The film is about a cop going undercover as a dancer in the 90’s, so was the film influenced by some of your own experiences as a dancer 90’s?

I was a professional hip hop dancer in the early 90’s and around the mid 90’s ecstasy became very popular as it was a new thing, or there was a resurgence as I guess it was used in the 70’s. It became a pretty big thing in the Tamper Bay area of the united states, it was a new type of drug that a lot of the cops didn’t even know it was happening in the rave scene, what it look like. I am being in the dance and club scene knew a lot of the big drug suppliers who were coming up at the time, people who wanted to try it and use it. I sold ecstasy for several years, that became my job and that was one of the things that took me off the path of acting. By the late 90’s, early 2000 that was my life. Although it was disappointing, it is a life experience that I wouldn’t change because it’s an experience. I want to help people by telling stories and somehow providing catharsis by showing people which way their lives can go if they get off the path. In 1999 I came up with the idea, I had been partying for a few days, thought of telling a story similar to some of the things that I had seen. Experiences that I saw people had gone through, people dying. I thought this story has to be told especially about here. I don’t ever want to preach to people, but I want people to ask questions. Are drugs bad, yes or no. I don’t think there is a definitive answer to that for some people. Are drugs bad for you? Which drugs are bad? do they take over your life? I think there are a lot of things that people do and I don’t think they ask this question about whether it is going to affect them in a positive or negative way. I certainly know when I looked in the mirror at some point there is these moment of clarity that I am not doing what I was put on this earth for and things have to change.

When are you looking for this to come out?

I am directing a few scenes I am putting together, I am either going to do a short film based on it or a super extended trailer. I’ve been talking to Richard Wagner and getting a lot of advice from him. He was living in his van when he first moved to LA about 12-13 years ago and now has just become successful in what he did. Corbin Nash took two-three years for them to do. I have been learning some of the secrets from him, plus he is a great actor so we are going to shoot a few scenes from Rave so we get to act together like we did in the movie. Holly Lynch who is also in Corbin Nash she is helping me out with the project. Like I said it was a great project, I met so many great people I have filed my artist Posey up with some really awesome people. Ben Jagger took a look at the script and was giving me some pointer and on shooting. So, my plan for Rave, in November I am shooting a marketing package for an investor and to raise money and late 2018 early 2019 for shooting the feature.

Do you have any other projects which you are working on?

There is a feature film which I have just finished shooting. I can’t talk much about it, but it deals with the mafia post The Sopranos (1999 – 2007) world. The Sopranos ended in 2007 I think and took place in the current day. Post 2007 real life mafia had changed due to communication technology, the government are able to know what people are saying and what they are talking about. It is obvious now that Facebook knows what you are saying in your messages and the government probably has access to that. I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but I think we all are a little bit. There has not been anything when you look at the movies and TV shows dealing with the mafia, the most current day was Sopranos and smart phones came after that. Smart phones have changes everything! Communication and spy technology completely changes the mafias relationship with law enforcement, they do have a relationship and this project deals with that.

One last question, if someone is looking to get into acting what advice would you give them?

Just do it! It took me a little bit longer, I got side tracked in life, but don’t let anything negative in life side track you. Sometimes life experience is second to none when it comes to reference material in your life as an actor, writer, director or as an artist, so live your life. That being said, if you are going to come out to LA or New York or just going to do community theatre in Florida or Minneapolis then do it, because that’s acting too. You’re always going to be uncomfortable and you’re never going to be ready. My acting teacher Howard Fine, he says all the time; you are never ready, you just need to know when you are not ready. It’s like that in life, you are always going to be a little bit uncomfortable. We are programmed to be as comfortable as possible because it protects us.

Get into a good class, learn a technique and go to a teacher who is going to pass on what Stella Adler, Meisner, Strasberg, David Stanislavski taught. Your gonna want to go to teachers that are passing on that information and learn a technique. It’s a technique, it’s a craft, nobody just freestyles, it’s absolutely not true. If they say they are doing that, they have been taught acting and they’re keeping it a secret. You need to have a craft to have longevity in your career. Dean Jagger is a trained actor, his brother and him were digging dishes, eating rama noodles to afford to pay for acting classes. People don’t hear these stories, they think Dean S Jagger is good looking and he just comes out and he does it. No, he paid a lot for acting classes emotionally and money wise, a lot of people gloss over that he made that sacrifice. Hopefully you are born with something, but you have to have technique behind it. Floyd Maywether was born to box, but he has technique. He trained just as hard for Connor McGregor as he did 20 years before in his career, it’s the same thing it’s a very physical activity.

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