GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview with actor/writer Nick Damici :) | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview with actor/writer Nick Damici :)

Actor Nick Damici co-wrote and starred in the IFC Film Stake Land, a vampire horror flick opening this weekend in San Francisco and spreading out to key cities over the next week or so. With some previous film credits including Mulberry Street and World Trade Center, I was very eager to talk with Nick. :)

He chatted with me a bit about how Stake Land came to life through the creative process. Originally he wrote about 40 mini 8-minute segments of a guy teaching how to kill vampires. The segments had nothing to do with the apocalypse or the world of Stake Land, but it allowed Nick to create the characters and all the different kinds of vampires. From that he sat down and fleshed out a story and thus birthed the epic movie Stake Land. I wanted to learn more about the film as a whole and the possibility of this story becoming a comic or series of comics, here's what I found out....and lots more!

Nick: As far as I know, it [a Stake Land Comic] was talked about. I have a few promo covers at home. It would be a prequel to Stake Land. Essentially "Mister" in Mexico. I wrote his history prior to this so you get to see his history and why he hates vampires and all that good stuff.
Katie: That's great because in the movie you don't really get anything about his past.
Nick: We didn't mention the back-story, I hate when people talk about themselves in movies. I would rather see it. But I did through the whole shoot I wear my actual mothers wedding ring on my pinky. I borrowed it off her and that was my idea of giving "Mister" back-story. The fact ya know that he's a guy wearing a woman's ring on his pinky says something. Where he came from. Why he hates vampires.
Katie: Wow I totally missed that when I watched the movie.
Nick: Yeah you may notice it if you watch it again. But even then it's not something that we show off.

Katie: What got you into movies in the first place? Was this a childhood passion, or something that came later in life?
Nick: I think I stared off pretty young liking movies. My father was a bartender on the West Side of New York, we used to spend summer and on the weekends especially. We would be there late at night, he would lock up. Ya know it was a pretty rough neighborhood. He would lock the door and we would sit in the bar with all the lights out. Have the TV up on the telephone booths and we would watch the late late show. It was from Humphrey Bogart, all the old movies that my father schooled us. Old horror movies that you would have to have AMC to get those movies. And at some point I just decided I wanted to be an actor. So I did a lot of theater in high-school from there. Then I got married and worked from there. Then I got divorced 10 years later and said, "Ok I'm an actor again". So I started a little bit late. I was about 28-29 when I really started acting seriously. It took me a while to get here, but I got here.

Katie: So touching back on the theater thing have you done anything outside of high-school?
Nick: Yeah, I've done a lot of off Broadway stuff. Two summers ago I was in a play of Sherlock Holmes, a comedy. I have read just about every Sherlock Holmes book I can get my hands on, almost. He's one of the most prolific living characters, other people write him all the time. It was like an hour film, one act. Was up here in the city for two weeks, was a lot of fun. Especially to play Sherlock Holmes, but I'm a New Yorker and nobody here thinks I can do a British accent. I get gangsters and other stuff....
Katie: Okay now that YOU brought it up I want to hear your British accent! lol
Nick:*in British accent* "Elementary my dear Watson. Elementary."
Katie: Love it! Very good.

Katie: I know that you made all your weapons and wardrobe for the film. So I wanted to ask how long did that take you and how fun was that for you to do?
Nick: Oh, it was too much fun for me to do. I whittle and I work in clay sometimes. I'm not fantastic but I'm not bad. It was most just wanting to do the movie and it was going to take us like 10 months to get done. So I just went crazy. Probably about 5 months work altogether to do everything. That big long bow in the film, I carved that from a piece of Oak in my kitchen.
Katie: Yes, and I heard it actually worked too.
Nick: Yeah, it doesn't have a great strong pull on it. Probably about a 45 lbs pull, but it works. I looked it up on the Internet, how do you build a bow.

Katie: As you are a NY city boy, how great was that to camp out in the woods for the film?
Nick: I loved camping since I was a kid. It's one of the things my father did when I was a kid, he got us out of NY once in a while. I love the outdoors. If I didn't have my brothers and had to be here for work I would be upstate sitting on the porch in a rocking chair. I much like, the less people around the better. I really enjoyed that aspect of it. That was one of my favorite things about the shoot. I had my own little campsite. Connor stayed with me for about the first week and half, two weeks or whatever. But then his allergies were getting to him he had to go into the trailer. Swollen eyes. But it was just a great experience, the nights that we weren't working everybody would hang out at the campsite and have a fire.
Katie: Did people bring any instruments, like guitars?
Nick: Jim and I both play guitar. Jim plays the banjo in the movie, he's terrific.

Katie: So what scene was your favorite to shoot?
Nick: The scene I liked the most, I don't know if it was my favorite to shoot...I think I had the most fun driving that god-danm old car actually. The scene when we go over the railroad tracks in that town, and I'm kinda pissed off because of the way that guy treats me. Connor and I are in the car and it was our first week, I mean we had known each other for a while but I mean we had just started driving the car 2-3 days before that. And I floored it once and I just looked over and Connor was just wide eyed with fear. That was kinda fun. lol
Katie: But I did hear that car broke down a lot?
Nick: Yeah, it was the first thing they gave us money to buy. And we were just like little kids in a candy store, we just saw and said "we're buying it!" Yeah the seats were broke I had to wire them all the time.
Katie: Sounds like it was fun though.
Nick: Actually the hood of the car, the convertible hood white leather was nonexistent. I spent a whole week up at Jim's place and I did the whole canvas roof and we aged it to look like it was old. That's how much I liked that car.

Katie: There is a good amount of fighting in the film, did you do any fight training or was that just stock Nick moves?
Nick: I spent a lot of time with Connor, I worked at a gym at the time. I actually just retired from there, but for 30 years I worked at gyms. Kickboxing, I do a lot of yoga so I stay in shape. I have been doing martial arts since I was about 8 so for me it wasn't a big stretch. But when we signed Connor and knew he was going to be "Martin" he was totally into training. He would come for about 2 month with me for 3-4 days a week and we'd train like 2-3 hours and kinda came up with our own system of fighting with stakes. We called it "Stake Fu". We wanted to keep the fights as real as possible. Ruff, like if you ever see a real fight. They're not pretty to look at. Not choreographed.

Katie: The next question comes from Ben, a writer on my blog. He would like to know if you had to become a supernatural creature which would you pick?
Nick: I gotta be honest. I would probably want to be a vampire. But I would want to be one of the Twilight kinda ones. The more upbeat ones. Not that I like to watch them, but I would want to be one.
Katie:*busting up laughing* Right I understand what you're saying. You don't want to be a flesh eating crazy zombieish type of vampire.
Nick: Yeah those kind don't turn me on. I don't want to wake up naked dirty with blood all over me, just no. I mean it's those guys are classic vampire. They drink blood, if you can get over that....
Katie: {Shakes head and agrees, while planning how to bite Nick's neck. Kidding. Not really. lol}

Katie: What other creatures, aside from vampires, would you like to write about OR act in a movie as?
Nick: I think a good mummy story would be fun and historical… also have an interest in Golems and a she-demon based on Adam's first wife, Lilith, who interestingly could be one of the first vampires. She refused to lie beneath Adam and was banished from Eden. She mated with demons and became a Succcubus… they don't teach you that in Sunday School...
*Ben shouts from other room "I did!"*
*Katie shouts at Ben to get back into his dungeon!*

Katie: What book are you reading right now?
Nick: I've been working my way through the Henning Mankell, Kurt Wallander series. It's a Swedish detective series and terrific stuff. The one I'm reading now is titled, Before the Frost.

Katie: Since Zombie Awareness Month starts in May Ben would like me to ask you one more question: Which type of Zombie would you rather face? Romero Shamblers or 28 Days Runners?
Nick: Give me a shambler any day. I saw Night of the Living Dead when I was 10 at a drive-in in Upstate NY… scared the pants off me… my brother and I spent the whole night planning how we would survive when the zombies came. We'd get hammers and climb up on the roof and take them out one at a time as they tried to climb up after us.

Katie: We do a fun Rapid Fire Round of questions on I Smell Sheep so if you would like to play along I will ask a few. Clear your mind and answer with the first thing that pops up...ready?

Katie: Apple Jacks or Frosted Flakes
Nick: Bacon

Katie: Motorcycle or ATV
Nick: Motorcycle

Katie: Knife or Crossbow
Nick: Crossbow

Katie: Captain America or Superman
Nick: Batman

Katie: Coffee or Tea
Nick: Coffee

Katie: Eyepatch or Peg-leg
Nick: Peg me baby...
Katie: *laughing really hard*

Katie: Stephen Hawking or Carl Sagan
Nick: Michio Kaku

Katie: Yogi Bear or Scooby Doo
Nick: Quick Draw McGraw

Katie: Coke or Pepsi
Nick: Coke
Katie: YES!!! I love you Nick.

Katie: Dark Choc or Milk
Nick: Darker the better
Katie: Mmhmm, could not agree more.

Katie: MMA or Boxing
Nick: Boxing

While I plot my wedding with Nick, I hope all of you go out and see this film! If you happen to live in an area NOT showing it, which really sucks, you can find this movie OnDemand. A big thank you to Leo at Larsen Associates for all around awesomeness, and my un-dead heart to Nick for being an amazing guy and badass actor! I look forward to much much more from this man. :)



  1. You keep surprising me with all the goodies I find here. Just when I think it can't get any better...IT DOES! You sold me on this film. I'm watching it.

    What a fun interview. Thank you for sharing

  2. i had no idea about this movie until i found this interview. i will be watching it now

  3. lol, Katie! You are shameless...

  4. @Sharon Hey I resemble that remark! lol What can I say....he won me over with the Twilight comment. Add to that Coke and dark choc and I am SOLD sista. Woot woot!

    Aside from that he is a brilliant actor and I hope you check Stake Land out with your daughter. She will love it too. xoxox

    Let me know what you thought after you watch

  5. Okay, so maybe I didn't learn about Lilith in Sunday School per se, but I am aware of the legend. Them and golems. Golems are cool.

  6. @Ben I don't really see Sunday School teaching about Lilith either. lol But I was her for Halloween so I thought that was a cool coincidence. Yet more evidence that Nick and I are just..well..meant to be. *evil laugh* Kidding. Not really. ;)

    What is a golem?

  7. Thoroughly enjoyable interview. I agree with your friend Sharon, though, you're shameless. Don't you have a husband already? What does he think of all this journalistic lust?

  8. @Maya Thanks for being such a great supporter of me and the site Michael. You rock my socks off!

    As for a I don't have one. I do happen to have a few "in my head" that I am married to. All blissfuly unaware we are an item in matrimonial bliss. lol What can I likes the mens :) xoxoxox

  9. Not only that, but you like the goodlooking men. Heh. I'll be sure to forward on to you any men I suspect you might lust after.

  10. @Maya you're a King among men Michael. ;) I eagerly await... lol