I recently got the opportunity to talk to Ernie O’Donnell about his role in Kevin Smith’s new film, ‘Red State’. Here, Ernie talks about his ongoing working relationship with Kevin and his involvement in the movie…
Hey Ernie. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Red State‘.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Basically three teens get kidnapped by religious fundamentalists for soliciting sex online and are violently punished in the name of God. The law finds out and all hell breaks loose.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play an ATF agent who gets to shoot a lot of guns and gets shot in the mayhem. My first official stunt…pretty cool.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Kevin told me about the project early on at one of our poker games. I told him I had some interest so he had me audition months later for a part I wanted. Didn’t get the part but he still wanted me to be a part of the movie.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s outside Kevin’s comfort zone but he hit a home run. The story can be funny at times but so disturbing. Kev has a way of telling a story that most people would not address but he does it in a way that gets people thinking and questioning their own faith. It’s different, in a good way.
The film is directed by legendary comedy director Kevin Smith – what do you think it is about him that makes him such a good director?
Kev believes in his written word and he loves the English language. He has a great laid back style when he directs and he lets the actors and crew feel part of the process. He makes it a fun place to work and the catering is always slamming.
The film stars Michael Angarano, Deborah Aquila, Nicholas Braun, Ronnie Connell, Kaylee DeFer and Kyle Gallner – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
The cast and crew were awesome, not a bad one in the bunch. But I think that most would agree that Michael Parks stole the show. Parks live and in person is better than any acting class you could ever go to.
Let’s talk a bit about you Ernie. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I got the lead in ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the fifth grade and got the itch. I always loved the movies and SNL. Belushi, DeNiro, Ford…how could you not want to be in their shoes.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Start young, network yourself and don’t be intimidated by Hollywood. Get to know people; it’s usually about who you know.
You’ve been in a number of different Kevin Smith projects – out of all of them, which actor/actress stands out as the most memorable to have worked with?
I’ll always remember the killer performance of Park but Sean William Scott in ‘Cop Out’ was a lot of fun. I never laughed so much on set.
Which Kevin Smith project has been your favourite to be a part of and why?
It’s probably the skits Kevin and I did a long time ago in high school just because it was the beginning of what was to come. But if I had to pick a movie, it’s gotta be ‘Cop Out’.
What’s the most interesting / funniest piece of news you’ve heard in the last month or so?
Heard a women close to her seventies is pregnant…. just think about THAT for a second.
If you could have dinner with three people, (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Elvis, John Belushi and Jesus. Why? They’re all kings of their castle.
Thanks for the interview!