I recently got the chance to talk to Kirk Bovill about his role in Mark Wahlberg’s new film, ‘Contraband’. Here, Kirk talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Kirk. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Contraband’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
A former master thief is forced back into a criminal life to save his family from a violent threat due to his own brother-in-law screwing up a drug deal.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I had a small role as one of the crew members on freighter ship that Mark Wahlberg’s character is using to smuggle counterfeit money from Panama back to New Orleans. You see me with Mark Wahlberg and Lukas Haas when the ship is about to collide into the docks in Panama.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Through the audition process. The casting director that was doing the hires for New Orleans-based actors, Tracy Kilpatrick had cast me in a number of films and she brought me in to read for a number of parts.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
‘Contraband’ has a really strong cast, script and has the very cool back drop of New Orleans for most of the action.
The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Wahlberg and Ben Foster – with Baltasar Kormakur onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
I thought that Baltasar did a great job. We only worked together on the set for a couple of days, but he was easy to work with. The same goes for Mark and Lukas. Wahlberg is pretty focused on the set. He’s wearing multiple hats as the lead and as a producer. I was filming in New Orleans during Mardis Gras, so that was pretty crazy. They had us in a hotel right down the street from the main parades. A lot of drunk and crazy people running around. I kept a low profile, since I had early call times to the set.
Let’s talk a bit about you Kirk. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’m unique in that I walked away from a high paying marketing job in my mid-40s to really give the entertainment biz a real shot. Some folks thought that I was nuts to do it, but within a couple of months, I had booked two films. One of them, the UK Film Council financed – it was called ‘White Lightnin’ and it was directed by Dominic Murphy and produced by Film and Music Entertainment. It was filmed in Europe and premiered at Sundance in 2009. I’ve been steady working ever since as a paid actor and writer. I just didn’t want to settle for a normal nine to five job and always wonder what if I had given it a shot. I’m glad that I did.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
You need to be tenacious in your pursuit. Nobody is going to hand anything to you. You have to believe in yourself and you have to prepare to be as good as you can possibly be. Not everybody is going to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, so you better develop great acting chops. It’s a tough business that is layered with tons of rejection, so you need to celebrate the small victories and make sure to enjoy the ride. It’s not for everyone.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV series – who have been your favourite actors/actresses to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with a bunch of really talented folks over the past four years but there are two people who really jump out. Recently, I worked on the television show ‘Southland’. I played a crazy man who thought he was invisible, I get in a fight with two cops, one played by Lucy Liu. We shot right in the middle of Hollywood and tourists were stopping, thinking that is was a real cop fight. It was such a fun scene to shoot. The other one that comes to mind was getting to play a Northern Irish cop on ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ a few seasons ago. I was the only non-Irish actor playing an Irishman and I pulled it off. It was the first time that I realized that Charlie Hunnam was British! He plays an American motorcycle gang member on the show.
As far as film roles go, playing the killer Long in ‘White Lightnin’ was wild. We shot in Croatia and my character gets killed by Ed Hogg by getting sliced up, tied up in chicken wire and then rolled into a water pit filled with maggots and then drowned. The crazy part was that the maggots were real and they threw them on me between takes. Plus I really was getting dunked under water, wrapped in chicken wire. Very nuts. A very crazy night of shooting.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
My three dinner guests would be Jesus, Shakespeare and Alexander The Great. Seems like a really interesting group. But Jesus would be the ultimate.
What is your favourite word?
Booked. In my biz, you love hearing that word. Means you got the job.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Several film projects. Next up is the feature ’Tucht’ which is scheduled to start shooting in May. A really gritty story that takes place in New York City. I’m also in two comedies that will release this year. First up is Bobcat Goldthwait’s dark comedy ‘God Bless America’ and then Kevin Kent’s whacky romantic yoga-inspired ‘Life’s An Itch’. Also, I’ve been working on a major video game that is set to release in 2013, but can’t share and details about it, yet. Very exciting project. On the writing side, I’m working on a couple of scripts and developing a couple of television shows.
Thanks for the interview!