I recently got the chance to talk to Paul Natonek about his role in ‘V/H/S’. Here, Paul talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
Thank you for reaching out to me, and wanting to talk about ‘V/H/S’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The general plotline of the film is that a group of guys are hired to get a videotape out of a house – when they arrive at the house, there’s a whole bunch of tapes and a dead body. In an effort to find the tape they want, they begin to watch the videos and that’s where the five short films are showcased.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
The character I play in the movie is a guy named Paul – (I know, right? It’s like it was written for me). Paul – (the character) got invited to a co-workers Halloween party, but since it takes place back in ’98 or ’99, he misreads his pager, and ends up taking his friends to the wrong house. And hilarity and horror ensue.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
How I got involved is kind of funny. I was friends with two of the four guys in Radio Silence, and actually was playing on a rec league softball team with Chad Villella. After one of our games we were sitting in the bleachers and Chad told me one of the actors dropped out of the project, and he asked me if I’d like to be a part of it. When he said they could pay me, I said I would clear my schedule.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
I would say this film is different and unique in that it takes the found-footage horror technique and turns it into an anthology film. While we were shooting we had no idea what the other four stories were even about or what everyone else was doing. Yet, when they were all put together in the movie, they kind of just fit thematically.
The film stars Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Adam Wingard, Hannah Fierman, Mike Donlan, Joe Sykes, Drew Sawyer, Jas Sams and Joe Swanberg – with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and a variety of directors onboard – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
We worked with a pretty small cast and crew. We rented a big scary house and then basically spent two nights shooting there. It was basically hanging out with friends from 6pm-6am in a big scary house. There was one room in the house that was creepy as shit. The wallpaper was made to look like bookshelves and the drapes over the windows had the same pattern, so when you closed them it almost looked like a windowless cell with nothing but fake bookshelves. There was a point at about 3am the second night when we had just finished shooting a scene in that room, and we were setting up for the next shot in another – everyone had left the room and I found myself alone, and although I could hear everyone, and they were only two or three rooms down the hall, I had a terrible feeling that I wasn’t alone in that room, and that I was going to die. So I sat there for a second, telling myself to quit being a little bitch, then when I convinced myself I was no longer scared, I walked out of that room at a very fast clip.
One other funny story. I had no idea Joe Swanberg was part of this project until I saw him at the premiere. We actually went to high school and played football together back in the suburbs of Chicago. So that was kind of weird.
Let’s talk a bit about you Paul. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
A buddy of mine graduated college, and moved to LA to pursue a career in acting. I came out to visit him my senior year of college, and after realizing I didn’t want to go to grad school or become a psychologist trying to come up with studies and get published, I took my BA degree and got a job waiting tables out in Los Angeles.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
The advice I would give to anyone trying to pursue a career in acting is get thick skin. Don’t be afraid of rejection, and get ready to work your ass off.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV series – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why? Any good stories?
I shot a sketch with Brandon Routh once, that was a lot of fun. He’s really funny, and kind of a big dork, but he’s so damn handsome!
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
I don’t like to admit this, but on my I-Pod right now is Limp Bizkit. I went to see them in concert last week, and had to get myself caught up on their library before heading to the mosh pit.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
If I could have dinner with three people, they would be:
- 1) Mike Ditka – I’m a Chicago Bears fan, through and through. I’d just want to watch him eat polish sausage and yell at me.
- 2) Ken Marino – I’ve found him funny since when he was on The State, he just seems like a fun dude to hang out with.
- 3) Cindy Crawford – I had her calendar back in 1996. That was a great year.
You’re stuck on a desert island, you’re only allowed three personal things with you – what would you choose and why?
If I was stuck on a desert island, I would take:
- 1) A volleyball, because I love playing beach volleyball. I guess it would be tough to play without anyone else there, and no net. That was a terrible idea, I guess I’ll be Tom Hanks to my stupid volleyball.
- 2) A speaker and my I-Pod – (I’m only counting this as one). I love listening to music all the time. When I’m cooking, showering, cleaning, running, working out, driving. If there can be music, there will be music. Unfortunately, my batteries wouldn’t last very long. I suck at this game.
- 3) A surfboard. I’ve only surfed once, but I think I could get pretty good if I was stuck on a desert island.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
As far as what’s in store for 2013. I shot a zombie/plague movie called ‘The Shower’ that’s in post-production right now. Hopefully will be released by the end of the year. My improv/sketch group Rigor Tortoise applied to the Detroit Improv festival and one of our sketches, ‘Randy’s Talking Furniture’ was bought by Bite Size Entertainment and we are supposed to be shooting 24 episodes for them. I’m also looking forward to seeing ‘Catching Fire’.
Thanks for the interview!