I recently got the opportunity to talk to Christopher Michael Holley about his role in Robert Picardo’s new film ‘Sensored’. Here, Christopher talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on the project, and recalls a moment when he and Vinnie Jones met a bunch of fans…
Hey Christopher. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Sensored’ – I must admit, I’m quite shocked that this film has taken so long to make it to the UK….
What’s the general plotline of the film?
It’s a little complicated…LOL! Wade Mixon (who is played by Robert Picardo) is a children’s book author who actually is this cold-blooded killer for the CIA…or so he thinks. It’s a mind f*&k of a psychological thriller bro.
Tell us a bit about your character in the movie…
My character is Officer Miles – whom is actually a figment of Wade’s imagination…sort of. Officer Miles or Miles is actual a representation of two things to Wade. One is a situational condition of security. In his mind I’m manifested in the form of a police officer that can save him from Agent Jefferies (CIA). The second is who the character really is…an orderly in a mental institution that checks on Wade every day.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I had worked with the director Ryan Todd and the writers Kevin and Jo Haskin before on other projects. They approached me about being a part of this project. I thought the script put a clever twist on the “psychological thriller/horror” genre and I was looking forward to getting involved.
How would you say this film is different to other horror thrillers? It’s sort of a bit ‘Donnie Darko’ esque, wouldn’t you say?
Donnie who? LOL! Our film is different because its layers go a little deeper than most horror thrillers. It’s one of those thrillers that you have to pay close attention to detail. There might be something in background, in the kitchen or on the counter…that tells the viewer something about how sick and twisted things are about to get.
The film stars Robert Picardo – (who I’m a big fan of, I won’t lie), Sarah Knowlton, Brian Rife and Michelle Page, with Ryan Todd onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew?
I’m a big fan of Robert’s as well. It was great to be able to work with him and see him do his thing on another level. I consider myself lucky to have been able to work with him and learn from such a talent. His leadership, knowledge and ability to connect with the rest of the cast – whether he was in the scene or not, showed his commitment to the quality and integrity of this film. It made everyone want to give their best performance. The cast and crew were great.
Let’s talk a bit about you Christopher. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Honestly, I was sitting on my couch at home watching TV and saw this kid give a horrible performance…in my opinion. I said “I can do a better job than that dude.” I was in high school when that happened, but that’s what started the itch. I was already in a jazz band playing the tenor saxophone so the artistic juices were already marinating. I was a pretty outgoing kid. I then got a scholarship to a 4 year college. It wasn’t until college that I really started to go after it by taking classes and performing. In my sophomore year I landed a 3 year modeling contract with Nike…BAM! It was a wrap after bro…I was hooked. After that, I landed a “featured extra” role in a Universal Studios film called ‘Panther’ with director Mario Van Peebles back in 1994. Me and another little kid you might know – by the name of Nick Cannon – (Maria Carey’s hubby) were both uncredited for the film, but it didn’t stop me from telling every living person that would listen that I was in a movie! LOL!
You’ve had some great opportunities in your career – who has been your favourite actor to work alongside with so far and who has given you the best advice?
I have had some incredible opportunities in my career. I have had the opportunity to work with 5 Academy Award winning or nominated actors! I mean Ed Norton, Jon Voight, Tom Berenger, Taraji Henson and Andy Garcia! Come on man, there is not a class you can take that drops the knowledge those amazing actors shared with me. BUT I would have to say my favorite actor to work alongside with was Vinnie Jones. Vinnie taught me how an actor should be amongst other actors if that makes sense. He also taught me how to deal with fans. I’m a huge basketball fan. I like soccer and I knew Vinnie played pro soccer before he became a Hollywood actor, but I had no idea how big a deal he was until I worked with him on ‘Smokin Aces 2’. We had just finished a long day on set and we were back at the hotel in the lounge having a drink…just chillin. These three cats from England walk up to us and just stare at him for about 30 seconds without saying a word. (felt like 5 minutes). Vinnie and I continue to hold our conversation and finally one them says “Vinnie, I can’t believe it’s you.” Vinnie responds with “Yeah mate, it’s me. Let me buy you guys a drink.” They had their drink and talked about the days when he played – then off they went. After they walked off, I asked him: “What was that about?” He asked me “What would you do if Magic Johnson walked into this lounge?” – “See Chrissy, (that’s what Vinnie calls me) if David Beckham is the Michael Jordan of soccer, then I’m what you would consider a Magic Johnson”. From that point forward every time I watched him in public dealing with the masses of fans…he did it with grace and a sense of humbleness. He plugged in and connected…everywhere we went – everyone loved Vinnie Jones. Well maybe not in South Dakota…LMAO…inside joke.
We should mention that you’ve been in both ‘Smokin’ Aces’, playing the role of Malcolm Little – what’s it being like for you being part of such a great series?
I can’t say enough good things about the ‘Smokin Aces’ franchise! It put me on the map man! Joe Carnahan is probably one the most extraordinary artistic energies that I have ever met. He is a blue-collar kind of cat that will go through the trenches with his actors. He has a way of getting your best performance on film. So when I got the call for the prequel it was a no brainer. P.J. Pesce was a lot of fun to work with and he did an incredible job of respecting what Carnahan had created while putting his own fingerprints on the project.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Make sure you want to get into this industry because it is a vicious beast designed to chew your ass up and spit you out! LOL!
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
That woman Casey Anthony who got a “not guilty” verdict for killing her daughter. WTF??? Karma is going to sock that girl in the throat!
What does a Christopher Michael Holley day usually consist of?
Working out at the gym, harassing my manager, and going on auditions…not necessarily in that order…LOL! I might do some occasional IT consulting for the California State Legislature here and there, but that is a whole different interview brada!
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
I just produced my first feature film called ‘The Lot’, which premiered on August 5, 2011. I will be acting in a film called ‘Liberty City’ too which starts production in October of this year.
Thanks for the interview!