I recently got the chance to talk to Paul Hickert about his role in ‘Tower Heist’. Here, Paul talks about what it was like working with Alan Alda and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Paul. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Tower Heist‘.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s a comedy about a group of workers and residents of a high-rise luxury condo in NYC, where one of the residents, a rich money manager Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is asked by the tower manager Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) to manage the employee’s pension fund, but he swindles them out of their money. The workers set out to steal their money back from Shaw while he under house arrest and guarded by the FBI.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play one of the FBI agents who initially bring Arthur Shaw into custody and then eventually begin to arrest tower employees involved in the heist.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It happened pretty fast. I was one of the people submitted for a FBI Agent role and several of us were brought in to meet Brett Ratner. Brett made his choices and before you know it, we were filming.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
‘Tower Heist’ is a comedy. Since most heist films try to be very sophisticated and serious, it can be hard to compete with well done films like ‘Ocean’s Eleven’. But this film is about giving the audience a laugh. And Brett Ratner does a great job of blending action with comedy so while you are entertained with great Hollywood effects, it is also light and fun to watch.
The film stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick and Stephen Henderson – with Brett Ratner onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Well, a picture is worth a thousand words …http://www.whosay.com/brettratner/photos/73213. In this picture, I’m standing to Tea’s right and notice Alan Alda catching a few z’s, between ‘takes’, while laying down in the back of the flipped van. That’s how laid back and relaxed Mr. Alda was the whole time I was on set with him. During filming, he had to be dragged out of that van about 30 times and handcuffed and he never complained.
Let’s talk a bit about you Paul. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Before moving to NYC, I lived in Florida and I was asked to do some print modeling for resorts and golf courses. Eventually I was represented by an agent who started submitting me for commercials. I started studying acting frequently and the more I did the more I enjoyed it. Also, previously I had made it to the professional level as a football placekicker. Kicking in pressure situations is very similar to the feeling you get while performing on camera. I loved it from the start.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
You have to enjoy acting even when it is tough. In this business it’s 99% work and 1% glamour (and maybe less for most actors). It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. Much harder than anything I did with my physics degree.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Mostly 80’s and 90’s Rock.
If you were stranded on a desert island – what three things could you not live without?
Engaging conversation with an attractive woman, good books and chocolate.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I will be working on two indie projects in Florida in January and February 2012 and I’m on hold for two NYC feature films which begin filming in the summer and fall of 2012.
Thanks for the interview!