I recently got the chance to talk to Victor Ptak about his role in ‘Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming’. Here, Victor talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into the industry in the first place…
Hey Victor. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The film is a remake of a cult classic from the 1970’s which was considered a forerunner for “slasher” films. “People trying to sell an isolated mansion with a dark history are being stalked and killed by an escaped maniac. But who is this deranged murderer and why do the local townspeople act so strange?”
In the remake director James Plumb wanted to retain the character driven plot and not make “just another slasher movie” and he succeeded admirably with this film which was shot on a DSLR 2k camera . “The abandoned home of Wilfred Butler, a wealthy but troubled man who committed suicide, has been willed to his grandson, Jeffrey. But an axe wielding maniac has set up residence in the house – and he doesn’t take kindly to strangers”.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character in this production is Mayor Adams, who along with the local Police Chief (Gary Knowles) and a writer Tess Howard played by Rosemary Smith, are harbouring some dark secrets. So, when an agent of the owners estate call a meeting to sell the dilapidated “Old Mansion” they are met with some enthusiasm by these three.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
My involvement in this project came through a response to a casting call on CCP and a subsequent audition which went very well. I had the opportunity to talk through the production with James and he had a very clear vision for the film which is important to me.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
The film is different in many ways to many slasher movies in that James kept true to his desire to make a plot driven movie with good characterization from his actors, and I think he achieved this very well.
The film stars Adrienne King, Sabrina Dickens, Richard Goss, Sule Rimi, your good self, Rosemary Smith and Philip Harvey – with James Plumb onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The cast and crew were very easy to work with and very committed to their craft, I can say that without exception everyone involved with this production were so supportive of each other’s work it just made the process a dream. We had a few technical hitches trying to get my good self covered in blood, mainly because the jumper I was wearing just shrugged it off. As you would expect on any film production problems crop up, and they were so inventive overcoming these obstacles I learned a lot on this shoot.
Let’s talk a bit about you Victor. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
I came to acting very late in life if you consider most actors are starting in their childhood, I was in my mid fifties. The reason I started out was driven by my wife’s death from cancer in 2009, the experience of nursing her for a year and watching her die in my arms after twenty plus years together left me traumatized and led to a search for something, meaning, and to fill this huge void that she left behind.
I began my search in some odd places, but I was lucky enough to stumble over an acting boot camp run by Brian Timoney. It ran over three days and at the end of the process I knew that I had to do this if I was going to survive. I auditioned for the one year course, was accepted and the rest is history as they say.
I never intended to become an actor, it wasn’t my motivation for this course, but at the end of the year we showcased our work in front of the industry at the Groucho club in London, and I realized that for me being on stage was a safe place to be.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
My advice to anyone coming into the industry is to be honest, trust yourself and in your ability, don’t take no for an answer and never give up. Remember though, this is a business and you must develop a business like mentality if you want to be a success. And for this you must seek out good training and a mentor, build a support group for yourself. You must also bring things to this craft.
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?
I was incredibly fortunate to work very early in my career with two excellent directors, Rupesh Paul and Joe Eshwar. They were inspirational in their approach to filmmaking and their enthusiasm was infectious. On the set of ‘Kunthupura’ I remarked to Joe Eshwar that I may have left it late to build a film career. He said that he approached a very famous Indian actor Charu Hasan and with some trepidation asked him to play a role in his film. Charu accepted, one of his scenes involved being tied up in a sack and dumped on a forty acre rubbish dump. Afterwards he thanked Joe for the experience. Charu is 86. Prior to filming I tore my Achilles tendon and was hobbling around the set, fortunately most of the scenes were filmed with me seated, but the pained expressions of anger, they are for real.
On the production of ‘Kid Gloves’ which premieres next month, I was fortunate to land the lead role and worked with some astonishing actors, Heather Nimmo, a fantastic talent, Edmund Dehn amazed me with his ability to capture his lines in minutes, he delivered a 13 minute monologue with ease. On this production I worked opposite Julian Shaw, a great character actor and Nigel Williams another marvelous character actor who has just finished a run at the Network playing Dr. Faustus. I spent a few days in the gym with Lee Steggles learning to box for this role, great fun and another skill to add to the portfolio. Adam Simcox directed the film and he was a dream to work for, open to ideas and creative just wonderful.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
On my I-Pod at the moment I’m listening to Abbey Road, and a lot of early 70’s music as research for a screenplay I’m writing which is set in the period.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
If I could choose three dinner guests, I would love to have met Einstein, because I’m still struggling with quantum theory and I need answers, Shakespeare I would love to meet the man who transformed our culture, and Marilyn Monroe, I would love to have met the person behind the public image.
If you could choose a literary character to will into existence, who would you choose and why?
If I could will a literary character into existence it would be Christopher Marlowe who wrote ‘Faustus’, I would like to understand the political intrigues that he was involved in with Walsingham and others in the 16th century, he died at the age of 29, so I would want to meet him a few months before his death and follow his incarceration for espionage.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
This coming year is full of promise, I have been cast in a West End play called ‘Bankers’, a satire on the banking industry, which if all goes well will open at the Ambassador in June, I am also playing Einstein in a new play written by Tony Hobbs for the Write-on Festival in Hereford in July. I have written a screenplay which is in pre-production its in the process of being cast and writing, writing and more writing I have so much stuff to unload.
Thanks for the interview!