I recently got the chance to talk to Christian Serritiello about his role in ‘A Dangerous Method’. Here, Christian talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Christian. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘A Dangerous Method’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
David Cronenberg has described the film as an “intellectual menage a trois” and I feel that’s the perfect description. The film resurrects two historical characters (Freud and Jung) who were instrumental in the development of psychoanalysis and a young women that comes between them (Sabina Spielrein) who eventually became one of the first female psychoanalysts.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play the Ship’s Officer who is basically responsible for inspecting the papers of passengers, (including Freud and Jung), bound for the USA on the S.S George Washington.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
My agent submitted me for a part in the film. I originally went in to read for another character but got cast as the Ship’s Officer. I was so thrilled when I knew I was going to be working on this picture…I’ve always found David Cronenberg’s work fascinating and knew this would be a chance to learn so much on-set. I intended to soak it all up because chances like this are rare.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Its one of those films that really makes you think and challenges you. I found myself pondering over it for days, unravelling all the layers and ideas. I feel that the lead actors all did extraordinary work and really immersed themselves into the characters and resurrected these incredible historical figures for us to spend some time with.
The film stars Kiera Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon, Andre Hennicke and Arndt Schwering-Sohnrey – with David Cronenberg onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The ‘Dangerous Method’ set was a fun and relaxed set to work on. You’re working with a cast and crew at the top of their game and you feel it. There was this wonderful sense of play and a spirit that encourages experiment and this is very comforting for actors, it really brings out the best in them because it gives them a great foundation to take risks. David Cronenberg has a great sense of humour and is so relaxed. This no doubt comes from many years experience and having the confidence that brings. It’s a joy to be around. Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender are both very playful and funny. I was really struck by Viggo’s focus in between takes. He was Freud. It was a beautifully nuanced performance. He captured the spirit of Freud and you could feel it on the set…. Physically and moreover mentally he transformed.
Let’s talk a bit about you Christian. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
When I was about seven or eight years old I played Frosty The Snowman in a school play. I remember running and dancing around the stage to music… It was an amazing, liberating feeling that stays with me to this day. I felt good on the stage and found it was a great platform to express things that needed to find a way out. I continued with more theatre in my local community and eventually went to drama school in London (Central School of Speech and Drama) to study theatre. Being in London I got a job front of house in several West End theatres and would get free or discount tickets to see everything I could. Coward, Ibsen, Williams etc… I also got to see some fantastic actors during this time including: Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Simon Russell Beale to name just a few. This was truly an education in itself, inspirational and so valuable. It confirmed my desire to see this thing though to the end. No safety nets or backup plans…
You’ve been in a number of different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
About seven years ago I did a play in Canada. It was a bedroom farce called ‘Bedside Manners’ with an older actor called Alec Burden then in his early seventies… He had the audience in the palm of his hand. His timing was spot on. He was quirky too… You never knew what to expect in any given scene which kept you on your toes. I also got to hang out with David Carradine on a project. He gave me one of his famous Kung Fu kicks (gently) and reminded me of the importance of researching my character after I failed to answer one of his questions about my characters history. He was an amazing guy. Very amusing and insightful.
What is your favourite word?
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Roberto Baggio (Footballer). He was a genius on the pitch. Magical.
- Burgess Meredith (Actor). Legend. One of the best actors of all time. He’s so gifted it is incomprehensible.
- My Grandmother Stephanie (Family). Would be great to hear that laugh of hers or one of her dirty jokes or rhymes.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three personal things could you not live without?
- I have this piece of paper that my Italian Nonna gave me for good luck. I keep it with me at all times…
- I would bring my suitcase….sounds strange but I have spent so much time on the road with this thing that I would feel uncomfortable without it.
- Lastly I would bring my DVD player with some of my favourite films…
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Doing the voice-over for the new Nikon commercials , Playing the lead on stage in an adaptation of the ‘Tortilla Curtain’ by T.C Boyle and writing a screenplay set in England and the Caribbean. I just hope it’s a fun and challenging year.
Thanks for the interview!