Interviews - Movies
Alan C Peterson – A Heart Filled History
Q) What are some of your most recent projects that you are working on?
A) I just got back from Hungary and did a guest star on a series called “The Collector,” and it plays in Canada. It’s about Satan and about a fellow who becomes one of Satan’s minions that goes and collects the souls of people who have made deals with the devil. I play sort of a necrophiliac weirdo in the Medieval Times and the episode I was in was called “Beginning.”
Q) What has been the highlight of your long lasting career?
A) I did a film for the Sci-Fi network called Deathlands and that was a science fiction story about an apocalyptic world. I played the lord baron of an oasis in the land.
Q) How has your Estonian culture shaped you as a person?
A) Those are my roots, my foundation as an actor. I had the luck and good fortune to work with some of the great people of Estonian theater. When the Communists came in to Estonia, anybody who had any sort of high profile would be killed. A lot of those people, actors and directors from Estonian, came to Canada and I had the luck and good fortune at a young age to work with these geniuses. In Canada, there is something called multiculturalism where they give money to various ethnic groups to do theater in their own native tongue. I think it is good in one way, but I think problematic because it creates a sort of a cultural apartide. It made it very difficult for people from other countries to get a foot hole in the mainstream here in Canada. It’s a determinant to the culture up here. I had a direct link to Stanislavksy and that aspect of acting just happened here so my luck and good fortune to work with people from Estonia gave me a direct link to the tradition of naturalism and realism.
Q) What made you want to get into acting?
A) I was born wanting to be on stage and play music and act. So, it really seemed like something I was born with at such a young age.
Q) What has been your favorite project to work on?
A) I did a series called “Traffic” for the USA network. That was really neat. I played sort of a cleaner upper named Yuri, who was a Russian hitman. That was a really neat experience. I also did a movie in 1999 with Sylvester Stallone called Eye See You and that was an amazing experience, as well. There are a few that I am thinking of and Narc, starring Ray Liotta, that got such a huge profile for being such a small film. This three million dollar movie got vast exposure worldwide.
Q) What was your transition like from Canada to New York?
A) It was great! New York is the place. It’s a Mecca. It’s another place where I had the chance to work with Marlon Brando’s teacher Stella Adler. She is another individual who had the chance to study Stanislavksy. I also had the luck and good fortune to study with a woman named Kim Stanley who in her day and still is considered one of America’s greatest actresses. I was studying with Stella and a friend of mine said come see these Kim Stanley movies. I had to drop my popcorn and go to the lobby and have a cigarette because I was so blown away by this women’s acting. A few weeks after that, a girl from the Stella Adler’s class comes up to me and says to me, “You stick out like a sore thumb, do you want to come study with Kim Stanley?” So, my time in New York was really amazing to be to study with these brilliant geniuses. It was another big step in my development as an artist.
Q) Why did you decide to change your name when you entered the entertainment field?
A) I am thinking of going back because those sort of exotic names are in. Ten years ago I found it was sort of limiting the way people saw me in the business. It was just a little too foreign sounding so I decided to homogenize my name. There was a time when it seemed to make sense to homogenize it to expand my range, which it did. I changed my name to something sort of user friendly for the English speaking people. It worked as far as accessing more roles.
Q) You had a role on “Dark Angel,” what was it like working with Jessica Alba?
A) She’s great! She’s a real pro. We had fun. I got to get beat up by her. I played a character that was the warden of a prison there. I ended up getting run over by a truck!
Q) You worked with Kiefer Sutherland, Sylvester Stallone, Richard Gere and Sharon Stone. Who would you most like to work with in the future?
A) I would say Kiefer because he’s doing some really interesting work on “24.” They actually wanted me to do an episode, but the scheduling couldn’t be worked out. Kiefer seems to be really happening and he’s just a very interesting acting. I would like to work with Ray Liotta again, as well.
Q) You taught acting classes for many years. What was your favorite part of teaching?
A) I think just teaching people how to be fearless emotionally and to get outside of judging themselves for it. I think the process is very method based and I think there are a lot exercises. It can seem pretty extreme when I do them and I think that threatens a lot of people if they do not know what is going on.
Q) How is your writing for film and television going?
A) It is good! I’m collaborating with a few people to develop a series. There are number of scripts that I am working on. There is one in particular that I want to shoot in Estonia and it’s actually my mother’s story. It was a country that was overrun by the Russians and then the Germans chased them out and then the Russians came back. I always loved movies from the point of view of a child, especially when there is the insanity of war going on and it is a very interesting perspective. These are all stories that I have heard since I was a kid that my mother would tell me at bedtime of her life in this seaside sort of vacation town on an island off the coast of Estonia called Saaremaa (which means island land).
Q) What was it about music that sparked your interest at such a young age?
A) Rock and roll; the wildness of rock and roll. There is nothing like plugging in an electric guitar and an amp and letting it rip. I played in a lot of rock bands in my teens and twenties.
Q) Since music has always been a passion for you. Who are some of your favorite musicians?
A) Some of my favorites are Lou Reed and Mary Ann Faithful who is a really wonderful vulnerable raw artist and Iggy Pop.
Q) What would you like to say to your fans and supporters?
A) Seek truth in your life and follow your heart without fear. If there is fear, go ahead anyway in spite of the fear you might feel.