I recently got the chance to talk to Marc Senter about his role as Franki in ‘Red, White & Blue’. Here, Marc talks about the film, how he got into acting and what a Marc Senter day consists of…
Hey Marc, thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. You have a new film coming out this week in the UK called ’Red White & Blue’ – what’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
My Pleasure! As my rock n’ roll director would say, ‘Red White & Blue’ is a “slacker revenge movie” set in contemporary Austin, TX. The lives of three young people – Erica, Franki and Nate – intertwine in a fateful, tragic way and head down a rocky and violent road to heart-rending oblivion. Erica (Amanda Fuller) lives rent-free in the local co-op, but spends her nights trawling the bars and beds of Austin. Damaged, emotionally withdrawn, never really connecting with anyone, and sleeping with multiple men is just what she does… until she meets the older and mysterious Nate (Noah Taylor), working in a hardware store after an “honorable discharge” from Iraq. Despite his quiet air of danger, Nate’s the only guy who doesn’t seem to want to get her into bed at the first opportunity, and the two form a hesitant bond. But one of Erica’s casual sexual encounters bites back. Franki (my character) is a young, hot-headed wannabe rock star trying to make it big. Looking after a sick mother and estranged from his long-term girlfriend, he “shares” Erica with his buddies one drunken evening. It takes a sudden shocking twist of fate to throw his already crazy world into a spin, and in Franki’s eyes there is only one person to blame…
I’ve just seen the trailer…completely not what I was expecting! What made you want to become part of the project in the first place?
When I read the script, I just got really excited. I was not familiar with Simon’s work, but it was obvious to me that he was an excellent writer/artist; his characters were really interesting and layered. Later, when I saw ‘The Living And The Dead’ I was pretty blown away. Simon Rumley crafts these amazing characters, and in my opinion is one of the best filmmakers working today, so that alone was reason enough for me.
Tell us a bit about your character in the movie…
I play Franki, a passionate Austin musician who has dreams of making it big. The only thing he loves more than his music is his mother, who he’s caring for because she’s sick with cancer. One of the things I liked most about the character was the love and complete devotion he had for his mother. There was also a real humanity in him that I immediately identified with. His actions, although extreme and ultimately pretty horrific, were purely a result of him falling victim to his overpowering and extremely unfortunate circumstances. And, in the context of the story, his desperation and loss of control become almost understandable, something that could happen to any one of us if put in that situation.
Given the violent nature of the movie – do you find those kinds of scenes hard to be a part of?
For me, they are physically and emotionally draining when we’re filming them, but not necessarily “hard” to be a part of in the way that I think you’re probably referring to. My job is to help tell the story through the character, so I am kind of looking at it through the “eyes” of the character, rather than the “actor” doing it and acting the scenes out, if that makes sense. It all depends on how the character is feeling in that moment – as I am essentially experiencing the moment as him and if I am looking at it through the “actors” eyes than I am probably not doing a very good job. Now, if I was an audience member watching the film, I’d probably have a much different experience. I would probably find it very difficult to watch. I myself actually don’t have a strong stomach for really violent material.
The film stars Noah Taylor and Amanda Fuller – what was it like working on set with them?
I was familiar with Noah’s work, having seen a few of his films and always thought he was a great actor who was extremely interesting to watch. So naturally, I was pretty excited to meet and work with him. He turned out to be equally cool and interesting in person – a super talented musician with a great, quirky sense of humor. I hadn’t met Amanda before we started filming, but she is a sweetheart who has great energy. I thought she did an excellent job in the role and it was cool that she maintained her sunny personality on the set while in the throes of such an intense role. We all really got along and had a nice time working together. It was a peaceful and creative environment, which was really great. I miss them!
I noticed an IMDB review the other day which had some words about you – “Marc Senter’s disturbing and mesmerizing performance in ‘The Lost’ made a fairly long-lasting impression on me. At least long enough for me to recognize him in this film. Franki is a similar character and Senter’s performance is just as captivating despite how deranged his character really is.” – what are you feelings on this statement, do you agree with the idea that those two characters are similar?
Wow, that’s pretty cool. Thanks to whoever said that! Actually, I may be split right down the middle here, because in some ways I can see a similarity between them, but overall I think they are very different. I think they hit some similar colors emotionally and they are both kind of degenerate-type characters. However, Ray Pye was a full-blown sociopath and Franki is not. Ray Pye’s actions were premeditated and he did not feel an ounce of remorse. Franki, on the other hand, is more a victim to his circumstances and his actions were fueled by passion. If I had to walk down a dark alley with one of them, it would be Franki, because if I had to talk a knife out of his hand, I’d have a better shot at it than I would with Mr. Pye!
Let’s talk a little about you Marc – what made you want to become an actor in the first place?
Well, I was always involved in the arts growing up and remember at a young age always entertaining my family and making them laugh. That being said, when I was a Freshman in college at the University of Colorado in Boulder, I had no idea what I was going to major in, because everything I was interested in (dance, music, skiing) didn’t fit into your typical academic major. Most of my friends were studying political science or business and I just remember feeling like a total outsider. When it came time to choose a major, I chose theatre, not really knowing what it was all about – just thinking it could be a good fit for me. I was pretty terrible in all of the classes and very intimidated. I remember going to the movies one night to see ‘Fight Club’ and that’s when it hit me, I wanted to be Tyler Durden! No, really. I mean, come on, who doesn’t? I think I had been “acting” all along, just hadn’t really realized it. I realized if I wanted to do this, I’d better go where it all happens. Sounds nuts, but that’s the story.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
The creative side of acting is a total blast and can be very fulfilling, but the business itself can be so tough and at times very demoralizing. You truly need to have a thick skin and a lot of patience and determination. All of that being said, do not get caught up in the “Hollywood BS”. For one, there are a lot of worthless teachers out here, but there are also a few really good ones. I would recommend Eric and Susana Morris (mine) Susan Batson (she’s in NY) and Greg Braun (LA). They are excellent teachers who will also teach you a lot about yourself, which will only make you a better and more authentic actor. Also, I would encourage young actors to take risks. Don’t just rely on an agent or manager to get you work – produce your own stuff. And anytime there is an opportunity to get in front of the camera, do it. We actors are a dime a dozen and the only way you are going to stick out from the pack is to stay true to what makes us unique and have the courage to put it out there! Be humble, be focused, and just do your work.
What does a Marc Senter day usually consist of?
Ha! Well, I usually wake up around 8am and if I wake up later, I usually get kind of depressed and feel like I missed something. I have some coffee and sit in front of my computer to check my emails and read the news. Then, in between all of my work stuff, I like to hike. I have a canyon right behind my place and love to get up there and exercise and clear my head. At night, I love to have dinner parties with a big group of friends. We’re Italian and my sister is an amazing cook (aside from being a brilliant writer), so she cooks for all of us. What is at the core of all of my days though is this inner need to get the next film going or book the next job. There is so much more that I want to do! For instance, I’d love to do a comedy! This may be surprising, but I consider myself a comedy guy at heart.
We should probably mention that you’ve been in loads of horror films beside ‘The Lost’, such as ‘I Know Who Killed Me’, ‘Cabin Fever 2’ – do you have a personal fascination with the horror genre, or have these roles just cropped up naturally for you?
In all honesty, I have no idea how I ended up in these films! I was never a big horror guy growing up, not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t really watch much of it. I watched a lot of comedies. The truth is though, that it is not the genre that’s important, it’s the script, the character and the director. I want to do different things, but if something is good, than it is good, regardless of the genre. I have been lucky enough to work with some pretty talented directors, genre aside.
We should mention you have just finished work on a film called ‘Brawler’ – what can you tell us about this project?
It is pretty bad ass and I am very excited about it! It is the first film I have ever produced and the first film of many with my partner Nathan Grubbs under our GFY Films banner. It is a special film as well, because it teamed me up again with my friend and ‘The Lost’ writer/director, Chris Sivertson. In creating the film, we were inspired by some of my favorites, like ‘Mean Streets’ and ‘Hard Times’. It is loosely based on a true story about two brothers who grew up competing in an underground fight world – one who is on the straight and narrow trying to follow in his father’s footsteps, and the other who is hot head driven by a dangerous amount of ego.
What else is coming up for you in 2011?
‘Brawler’ will begin playing festivals and my partner and I are in development on three other projects that we’re really excited about. Stay tuned!
Thanks for the interview!