Kevin Interdonato – Bad Frank
By: Kelly Kearney
Q) You play the Frank Pierce in the critically acclaimed thriller Bad Frank. Can you tell the fans a little bit about your character and what the film is about?
Kevin: It’s about a man who seems to have a sorted past. He’s living a normal life even though he’s a bit off. For some unfortunate reason, someone from his past comes back into his life and unearths some old behavioral patterns from this guy Frank Pierce. He sees something that he shouldn’t see and is involved with something he shouldn’t be involved with and it just goes into a downward spiral from there. He’s a guy that is looked at very differently through the eyes of different people. I have my own view of Frank because I played him. He’s a man with a severe mental illness or intermittent explosive disorder, which is an impulse control disorder. He’s a highly medicated man and for me to play that character. I really had to dig in and find exactly what the reasons were to why he was the way he was. You know, you hear stories about guys who are bad to the bone and just no good and that’s very surface, but to dig in and find the reasons behind it just really opened up a whole can of worms and made it enjoyable for me to play him.
Q) How were you approached for the role in Bad Frank and what was your audition process like?
Kevin: I was lucky, I didn’t have an audition. I had worked with the director before, several years back, in a small part for a film he did and we kept in touch. My career kept moving forward and Tony Germinario directed it and Brandon Heitkamp produced it and they approached me with this story and character. So, we sat down and by the end of our conversation over dinner, I was pretty much in. The script wasn’t complete yet, but I just had an innate feeling for this guy and something just clicked. I also knew I could trust them that they would make a good film. They’re good guys so I was in. I was flattered that I got the offer and that’s pretty much how it all came to be.
Q) You mentioned director Tony Germinario, what was it like working with him on this film?
Kevin: Tony is easy, easy peasy. A great director and good guy, he has a very calm and controlled set and one of his major talents is hiring the right people and letting them do their thing. I gotta say, he did and let me run with the character. We spoke extensively before the movie to make sure we were in the same page and he knew where I was coming from. There were things about Frank that I had a deeper level of understanding than most everyone else and we spoke here and there in between takes and he gave me a lot of freedom. With a role like this, I was very appreciative of the freedom he gave me.
Q) I know you’re a veteran, having served in the Iraq war. Was acting something you always wanted to do or did that passion come after your service?
Kevin: It did come after. I joined the Army National Guard when I was a senior in high school and I was a wild kid and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I always knew I wanted to be a soldier, but I wanted to be everything [laughing] a soldier, a cop, a fireman. So, I was searching for anything and everything. I was in the National Guard two years before I took my first acting class and it was the first thing that really hit home for me. I said, “This is it – that urge that voice that I have had for so long and I can finally fulfill it.” I just went forward with it full steam ahead and haven’t looked back since.
Q) Are there any skills you learned from your time as a soldier that you use now in your acting career?
Kevin: Well, I guess certain disciplines in staying focused and not so much in the creative aspects of it. But staying disciplined in my work, finding work and my lifestyle – that all derived from the military. I’ve got to give credit to my old man too, in that I was raised in a construction family business and he was a pretty tough dude. He kept on me and my brother pretty good and instilled a lot of values in us at a young age, being disciplined and what not. As far as creative concerns go, I’m not going to lie, there are certain issues and experiences that I have had being in the war that other soldiers may not have had if they didn’t see combat and there’s things that conflict. It’s hard to break away from that in my mind sometimes when I go out for roles, you know what I mean? Like I’m this guy, this soldier, that’s been to war but I’m still human at the same time. To let yourself be vulnerable and free enough to have emotions and sympathize and empathize when maybe the soldier in me is not use to that. It’s an aspect of my psyche that I have to block out sometimes in order to focus on my work… if that makes sense? Living life in all aspects definitely enriches your work without a doubt.
Q) Besides being a busy actor, you also co-wrote Bad Frank, as well as another film Dirty Dead Con Men. Is screenwriting something you would like to do more of in the future?
Kevin: I don’t know. I do enjoy it and I think my getting involved with the writing is part of my creative process. I’ve always written, but never in screenplay form until these two. I do enjoy it, but granted if I had more work in front of me to focus on I wouldn’t have had time to write and probably wouldn’t have made time to write because acting is my passion. The lifestyle of the actor is a lot of downtime and some people like to go get a tan, some go for a hike, some go on vacations. But I like to work. If its productive and not only benefits my career,but I’m able to give jobs to other people…that’s one thing I loved about Dirty Dead Con Men. I produced the film and while it’s not the first time I’ve produced, it was the first time I was able to give other people jobs and it was a fulfillment I never had before. It was really rewarding and I really enjoyed that aspect.
Q) This film can’t be tied down to one genre. Some would say it’s a psychological thriller and others would say it fits more into the horror genre. If you had to classify it, which genre would you say Bad Frank falls into and are you happy the horror fans have claimed this one as their own?
Kevin: As for the genre, your guess is as good as mine. So, I don’t know. I really don’t. When we finished the film we sat back and looked at it like, “What is this? I mean, where does it go?” It just kind of happened that different fans like it. I’m kind of surprised in the different demographics that like it. Women like it just as much as men, even with all the violence in it sometimes there’s just a different taste people have, but it hit on a lot of levels I didn’t expect. As far as horror fans liking it man, I just love that! I’m a horror fan myself and the fact that the horror community has been taking it under their wing and really embracing it, it just speaks volumes and I’m really appreciative of it. It’s just great. I think a horror fan is the truest form of a movie fan. They go out and actively search out films and it’s not about the big one released by the studio or the big blockbuster. They search out the films they love. I love that because I’m a movie fan. I appreciate that loyalty to their genre, it’s outstanding. For Bad Frank, I don’t know if you know about the budget but the movie was shot for $80,000. That’s it. And we had the option to go theatrical, a few big budget studios were chomping at the bit for Bad Frank, but we wound up going with Gravitas Ventures and they’ve been wonderful. As far as taking the risk and not going theatrical, could we have hit more people? Maybe? Maybe the press on it would have been different, but I think it’s kind of ironic that word of mouth is taking it along. They say more money more problems and that’s true, but we have this little gem that we made with next to nothing, selling out on Redbox next to movies like, Logan and its mind bowing to see, it’s really cool.
Q) Frank is a loose cannon that I imagine was at times mentally straining to play. How did you prepare for this role and at the end of the day, how did you decompress from it?
Kevin: [laughing] Yeah, it was a tough one. When we wrapped I was depressed. I didn’t realize it until a couple weeks later, but I was really bummed. It was such an interesting character to play regardless of the external aspects of it and finding out little details about him and going through his emotions and being able to explore, I just had a field day with Frank. It was tough to decompress, but it was a quick shoot. We didn’t have too much downtime to get out and come back into it, which was probably better because it was easier to stay focused.
Q) Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini also stars in this film. What was it like working with the legendary fighter?
Kevin: That was a trip! I’ve known Ray for fifteen years and you don’t get a sweeter guy than Ray. He’s just a wonderful human being. For whatever reason, we just have an uncanny likeness to each other. He looks more like my Dad than my actual Dad – body type, height and everything. So, when the time came to cast the father I said to Tony (Germinaro), “Let me call Boom!” I gave Ray a call and he was in. He didn’t even need to see the script he said, “OK, Kevin, let’s do it.”
Q) Was there anyone in your life or maybe on screen who inspired you for this performance?
Kevin: Great question, Kelly…You know, I didn’t have anyone in my life that I knew to the point I could go talk to them. I think everyone always knows that one person in their life that was born with a bad bone, who’s just a bad guy and it always just stayed there and not what was actually wrong with them. Like what is the reasons he acts the way he does. I remember growing up when I was a kid, if another kid was hyper or bouncing all over the place they just called it hyper. Now, in recent years, they’ve classified kids with certain types of ADHD. I think a character like Frank and growing up the way he did, in the backstory he had, that maybe the film didn’t touch in much was that this was a man who was a victim. He was just undiagnosed at a young age and not on the right medication to balance his life out. There’s also clues in the movie about the type of upbringing he had with his father and it gave clues to why he was the way he was so I didn’t judge him. I couldn’t look at the man as a bad guy. I saw him as a victim of circumstance and predicament and I tried to lay him as honest as possible. I’ve been fortunate that people have related to the character in certain ways that I didn’t expect. It’s been really cool.
Q) Being that you are the lead and co-writer, is it stressful knowing the success of the film largely falls on you?
Kevin: As an actor, you have to have thick skin and you really do. But the skin thickens when you get beat down a lot and you have no other choice but to have thick skin. I’m just as vulnerable as the next guy. You know, the reviews come out or I read people’s opinions when they tag me in something and of course it does affect me. I want people to like my work. That’s kind of the point. I mean I’m not doing it for people to say, “Oh, this guy sucks.” [laughing] But I want to do justice for the film because at the end of the day it’s not about me, I’m just glad to be a part of it.
Q) You’ve acted in a variety of roles, is there anyone in the business that you haven’t worked with but dream to one day? A so called “bucket list” co-star or director?
Kevin: Oh gosh, that’s a long list that will go on and on, Kelly. You know what’s funny, I actually have a list of people that inspire me to be better and most are women. Most actors I want to work with are actresses because I tend to lay heavier roles and I don’t get the chance to work with women too much. In Bad Frank my wife in real life, Amanda Clayton, played my wife in the movie (Gina) and that was fun but also tough. She’s a pro and we just got through it, but I have to tell you it’s not easy living with someone who has to play a role like that. [laughs] She gave me my time and space and let me do what I needed to do. But as far as my list of actors and actresses, it goes on forever. It really does. As for directors, I think my favorite director I would want to work with is Michael Mann. I’m a big fan of his films, his style and everyone has their own essence and just like how certain characters might click with you. I feel that same way about certain filmmakers. There’s just this certain vibe about Michael Mann that I really feel… I don’t know how to verbalize it, but I just see myself creating in his world. I would love to be considered for one of his films sometime.
Q) Besides Bad Frank are there any other projects you are working on that the fans can look out for?
Kevin: Oh, thanks for asking. Yes, the film Dirty Dead Con Men is coming out and it’s an interesting one. It’s kind of a mix between early “Miami Vice” and “L.A. Confidential.” It’s a noir film about a corrupt vice cop and conman that work together to go after these high-end criminals that beat the law. They are two very highly disturbed individuals and the film depicts the beginning of their downward spiral while working together, it’s a fun film and it will be out later this winter. I also am excited that I got cast in a film that’s buzzing around Hollywood right now called Asbury Park. There’s some big guys that just signed on to that. Joe Pesci just signed on and Peter Dobson is the director. I’m really fortunate to be involved with that.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
Kevin: I am very grateful and I just want to say that I appreciate all the fans and their love and support. I just want to give back and move people the same way I’m moved as a movie fan. If that happens, then I’m doing my job and It makes me feel great. So, thank you.