Interviews

Enrico Colantoni – Carmilla

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By: Lisa Steinberg

 

Q) What was it like for you filming “Carmilla?”

A) It was a fun bunch of people. It was really like walking on a high wire and doing a play. It was a lot of words and a lot of playing. Fortunately, sitcom training and theater provided a lot of the experience in knowing where the energy needed to be and where the jokes are. You just have to keep the ball going! We can’t just stop and ask for a line or another take, which was what I have gotten used to since 2004. It was lovely actors and warm, warm bodies all the way through. It was a nice two days. An intense two days – but the spirit was so intense and so alive. It is stuff like that which makes you forget that you are working.

Q) What made you want to be a part of the series?

A) I always appreciate fans of “Veronica Mars” that came from that angle because I loved the project so much. If I can do anything to keep Keith Mars’ mystique alive and well then I’ll do it. And if there are parallels between Papa Mars and Papa Hollis then so be it. When I read it, I’d go, “This is Keith Mars on steroids. This is a guy who is so paranoid and so aware that Veronica is danger that he is willing to do anything to protect her from that.” Keith would sort of turn a blind eye. He knew what was going on, but would rather not know. Papa Hollis is like, “No, I’m getting her out of there.” It was something Keith would never do. So, I was relieved I got to exercise that part of Keith Mars. Plus, how they were doing it was really intriguing to me. It scared me. That notion was enough to say, “Okay, it’s only three days. So, let’s do it.”

Q) What was the original breakdown of Sherman Hollis?

A) I knew that he hadn’t been introduced yet and he was set up as this overprotective dad. He was less overprotective and more proactively concerned. He’s inventive, too. No one said he wasn’t a genius! I just love how descriptive the language is. They can’t show what is happening outside of that room, but the language is so descriptive and so rich. What a world is waiting for them outside…it’s hard not to buy it! Usually, you have to do a play to be speaking words with that kind of imagery. You have to be that descriptive with a play, usually not film or television. It was really cool.

Q) He also has this unconditional acceptance of who Laura is and her sexuality. That’s such a rarity. How did you feel about that scene?

A) That always surprises me and saddens me how many young adults and teenagers still live in an environment that is repressive that way. I don’t understand it. Maybe I give everybody too much benefit of the doubt, but coming from an artistic background you work with a diverse group of people every day. So, it’s hard to judge anybody. Of course, as parents you don’t want your kids to make mistakes, but at some point you have to give up the fight and realize they are going to have to figure it out on their own. Some parents just want to keep fighting and pushing people away. Sherman wants what every parent wants. It doesn’t matter what you do, just respect yourself. That only manifests in who you have in your life. The state of your life can only determine how much respect you have for yourself.

Q) What was it like working with Elise Bauman? It felt very much like the Veronica and Keith dynamic from “Veronica Mars.”

A) It did and that’s pretty straight forward for an older guy sort of seeing a young actress bright eyed and bushy tailed. Elise, when we first met each other her eyes started welling up. I knew it wasn’t from just meeting me, but she had already viewed this history with her father. We weren’t even working. It was just our first meeting and she had already gone to that emotional place. I think we embraced for like a full five minutes. But when you know you have that willingness from a young actor (or any actor) you know it is a safe place and you can’t wait to get to work. Her, specifically, just because of the relationship was very dear and very warm. I look back at some of those “Veronica Mars” scenes and if not for my love of Kristen Bell and who she is that we never would have captured those moments. We would have because we are professionals and would have risen above it, but my God it makes it so much more enjoyable when you really have affection for who you are working with.

Q) How did you breakdown the scene with the hug and Sherman’s journey out of the library?

A) It all stemmed from the first meeting and here is a beautiful, young actress who leads with her heart. When you work with people like that it is just contagious. So, scenes like that are the easiest! [laughs] Scenes like that are the easiest. They had to pull us back. We had to do a couple of those takes because we were weeping in some of them. We couldn’t do that so we had to keep going. Those are the easy ones. There is no preparation for that. You are just open, available, receive, give and move on. That’s what beautiful about shows like that and what they demand of their performers. There is really no time to think or no time to overthink. It is about being present, available and feeding off each other and taking it wherever it goes. The whole environment was nonjudgmental because you couldn’t! [laughs] If we got it all once without flubbing a line we were good and moving on. There wasn’t time to say, “You know what, I think what the writing is saying is we need to go here and hit this moment.” It was like, “No. Just say the lines, connect and move on.”

Q) Sherman never seems to be scared. Where do you think his strength stems from?

A) Parenthood. It is remarkable what parents are willing to do when their child is at risk. They find their inner warrior. Believe me. It’s not about them anymore. Anybody in that position, intentional or otherwise, for once they forget about themselves as they are doing heroic things. They would quit, but they can’t. It is always who you are fighting for. So, in a fictional world that’s what he did, but it certainly reflects all the things parents do every day for their children. I’m always reminded of something someone said years ago before I even had children, they were passing this information on to a friend of mine, they said if they thought about the fact that we couldn’t afford to have children we would never have had them. I always remember that because one they are expensive even when they are on their own. They continue to be very expensive, but it doesn’t matter because it is not about you. George Segal said before my son was born that they come with their own loaf of bread. I believe that, but you have to invest that love into them first to take it off of yourself. It can’t be about you anymore. So, I try to communicate to young artists without children the minute that you have kids all bets are off. Before you have kids, you can sleep on a park bench, write or act because you are not responsible to anybody. So, go enjoy it. Take risks. Jump off buildings. Spend all your money on a class and don’t worry about it. But the minute you have children all that ends because you have those to take care of.

Q) What kind of feedback have you received through social media from fans that have embraced you as part of the series?

A) I’m on Twitter every other week or something. Then, when I check in I go, “Oh! A lot of people do watch the show.” I have yet to run into someone on the street who has seen “Carmilla” despite the millions of people around the world who watch this web series. With “Veronica Mars” it happens all the time. So, unless I’m walking the streets of the world I won’t know. It’s not a comment against the show itself, but it is remarkable how any show these days is found. How do you find it on television let alone on the internet?

Q) What do you hope viewers take away from watching this final season of “Carmilla?”

A) I hope that fans take from this series as much as what I hope fans take from any series – that somehow any television show gives the audience permission to reflect. It gives an audience an identity that shows last because we are constantly reflecting the show against the audience and vice versa. You need to laugh, cry, feel and feel alive. TV is a very, very special medium because it doesn’t cost a lot of people a lot. So, this show isn’t any different because it is a place where someone for some reason may not be afraid to identify their own sexuality and tunes into this show to realize, “Wow! They don’t even have a label for it on this show.” Then, the wheels start turning and the evolution happens. Acceptance. That’s my hope! It’s not, “Oh I have love for this person.” Love is too great and the understanding of it and its full spectrum is nonjudgement. Can we honestly say during the election or watching television that we look at people with acceptance of where they are coming from with their backstory? And can we accept them based on that instead of the polarization that happens again and again? So, good television shows bond us. They give us something in common. They remind us that we’re not so different.

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