Mark Doherty – (The Smurfs – 2011).

I recently got the chance to talk to Mark Doherty about his role in ‘The Smurfs’. Here, Mark talks about what it was like working with Hank Azaria, and which three historical people he would invite to dinner…

Hey Mark. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Smurfs‘.

Thank you, Matt. It is a pleasure to be here. Yes, ‘The Smurfs’ was released worldwide on July 29th. And it has been very well received, I believe, grossing about $36 million in its first weekend.

What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?

I am sure you are familiar with the cartoon from years ago. The evil wizard Gargamel has chased the Smurfs out of their village. They are forced through a portal, out of their world and into ours, landing in the middle of New York’s Central Park. Stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down.

Tell us a bit about your character in the movie…

I play a businessman on a Bluetooth. The scene was shot on the periphery of Bryant Park. The evil Gargamel (played by Hank Azaria) feverishly asks NY commuters where he can find these “little blue creatures.” In typical NY businessman fashion, I completely ignore his question as I am engrossed in closing a large financial deal.

How did you get involved in the project in the first place?

My agent submitted me for the project. After several call backs, I booked the gig.

The film stars the likes of Katy Perry, Hank Azaria and Neil Patrick Harris – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?

I only had the pleasure of working with Hank for my scene. He was wonderful, kind, generous and unassuming. Just a real class act! It was thrilling for me because I have been a fan of his for years. The crew on-set were great. The director of the film, Raja Gosnell is very talented and just so actor-friendly, which is every actor’s dream.

If you could go around as a Smurf for a day, what would you do?

You want this to be a G-rated answer, right? (laughs) I guess, just chill out in a mushroom field with the other Smurfs. Maybe take Smurfette out for a drink…

Who is your favourite Smurf?

I think Handy Smurf because, well, he is handy. Two of my brothers are in construction and both very talented. I never really possessed that gift of being creative with my hands, but I always wished that I did. My creativity comes out in my craft.

Let’s talk a bit about you Mark. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?

How much time do you have? (laughs) I always wanted to be an actor as a young man. Maybe it was because I grew up in such a large family. I have five sisters and three brothers. You always want the attention, you know? But I have come to realize that I wanted to be an actor because it inspired me and gave me the power to inspire others. I did about three plays in college and one play the summer after I graduated from college. After that, I dove into corporate America to do what every recent college grad wants to do…make money. I was in corporate medical sales for 10 years. And I must say, being a salesman is a lot like being an actor. Each and every day, you wear a million different hats and interact with a whole host of different characters. I guess that was part of my training. In 2006, I started doing some black-box theatre in The City with The 4th Wall Actors Group and caught the bug again. I guess the rest is history.

What advice would you give to actors wanting to get into the industry?

I would give the same great advice I got from a well-accomplished casting director / producer in NYC. “If you work hard; if you’re a good actor; if your personal life is in order; if you love your survival job; and if you stick around long enough…you will make it.” It is about passion, perseverance, and courage.

You’ve had a number of roles in various TV series and films – who has been your favourite actor / director to work with and which has been your favourite TV series to guest star on?

I don’t ever really like to choose one over the other. I have been very blessed to work with some great actors like Hank Azaria, Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Dennis Leary, Jeff Goldblum and directors like Mario Van Peebles, Raja Gosnell, Max Mayer and David Greer. And I have learned a little something from all of them. I would have to say that my favorite TV series to work on was ’30 Rock’. I am a huge fan of the show, so it was surreal to be a part of an episode.

If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, alive or dead – who would they be and why?

First, I guess I would choose Jesus Christ. It would be fascinating to sit down with a man of such historical importance and impact, who so affected the Judeo-Christian world. Plus, he and I both love wine. Second, I would choose Charles Darwin. I have always believed that Darwin should go down as one of the greatest geniuses of all time. His theory of evolution questioned a myriad of years of religious thought and belief. Third, I would choose Lao Tzu, the mystic philosopher of ancient China, author of Tao Te Ching, contemporary of Confucius and Buddha, and godfather of Taoism. I took a lot of philosophy and religion classes in college and studied much of Lao Tzu’s work. He was one of the most prolific thinkers of all time.

What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?

Probably the most interesting news I’ve heard is the U.S. dropping a tier in its credit rating and the waning threat of a possible double-dip recession. It is really scary to see our country in such financial hardship. Most of us alive today have only known America as THE world super power. All of that could change if we don’t remedy our financial problems.

What’s coming up for you in 2011?

I have an episode of ‘Rescue Me’ that will air this fall. I am really excited and honored to be a part of their final season. I also have a web-series called ‘River Ridge’ that I shot last October in Delaware, premiering its pilot episode in NYC shortly and the subsequent episodes rolled out accordingly. The series is truthful and gritty and is supported by a very talented cast of actors. I will also be starting rehearsals on September 13th for a play that I am doing at The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre in The Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex in NYC. The play is called ‘Blame It On Beckett’ and it will run from October 7th – 30th. Please be on the lookout for a film of mine called ‘Burning Blue’ that will premiere at The Sundance Film Festival in January of 2012. All of my updates can be seen on my website at www.markjdoherty.com.

Thanks for the interview!

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