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Interview: Kevin Interdonato (Bad Frank)

Actor Kevin Interdonato (“The Sopranos,” TV’s “Rush Hour,”) stars in the critically acclaimed film “Bad Frank,” directed by Tony Germinario

“Bad Frank” is winning awards and Kevin is getting praise for his role. The film is incredibly intense and Kevin Interdonato kills this movie. His character is intense and he plays it with such passion. You feel so much for Frank. You want to hug him, lock him up and you actually wind up rooting for him. The film stars Kevin, Amanda Clayton, Tom Sizemore, Brandon Heirkamp, Russ Russo, Brian O’Halloran, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Lynn Mancinelli, Paola Grande, Nino Bless, Kirk Ponton and Mu-Shaka Benson. It is winning awards by the dozens and Kevin Interdonato created a character that will be remembered in the movie world forever. He took time to speak with me while I was at Italiano Delite in Emmaus, Pa. for a Horrornews.net exclusive interview.

Hi Kevin, How are you? I am here with family at Italiano Delite in Emmaus, PA.

Kevin- Oh wow

Kevin, First off, I have to say you did an amazing job.  I loved the film.

Kevin- Aww, Thanks. That is nice of you.

How did you prepare to play Frank in “Bad Frank?”

Kevin- How did I prepare for it? Well the character had a bad moment and it is one thing to say that about somebody but another thing to really dig in and understand what that is and what that entails. You know a severe mental illness and I had to do a lot of research on what that exactly was and what type of medication he was on, the dosages and especially the effects of what happens when you go off of the dosages. In the literal sense, I’ve prepared for that aspect of it and then mentally I think certain elements of your life that put you in a certain mind-set. The script was well written and it was a hell of a character to jump in to and I had a good feeling for it and I just kind of went for it.

I did not want to call Frank a villain because people in general can be good and bad. How did you view Frank as a person?

Kevin- That is a great question Janel, you really have a good insight on it. The way you just worded it, is pretty much the same way I approached it. When I look at the outcome I look at the man’s self. I guess my research went to….. Janel, do you remember the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Yes, I do I remember and know about Jeffrey Dahmer.

Kevin- Okay, I remember seeing a video long ago after that whole thing went down on the news of his parents, the first time his parents spoke publicly.

Yes, yes, I remember that. His father spoke and his mom I believe.

Kevin- You do, yeah, It was pretty crazy because everyone was waiting to hear the parents talk and I remember hearing them and they didn’t justify anything and they were just in a state of disbelief like everyone else. I remember at the very end of the interview, the father said but he is still my son and I love him and that really rang true to me and I’m like, wow even monsters have love in their life. So that is what really drove home the character of Frank Pierce because I knew who he was and I knew what was going to happen but I had to justify the sensitivity, the vulnerability and, the family aspect. That is why we incorporated the whole aspect with Frank’s father because if we didn’t have a sympathy for him, he would just be a monster. So, I didn’t see him as a bad person. I couldn’t, I can’t judge who I’m playing as a bad person because then I won’t like them and I won’t want to play them so I dug into a certain aspect, where it was just looking at him as a victim of mental illness. That’s pretty much the approach I had. I have a deeply rooted care for the character. That’s where it came from.

That is probably the best description and I do remember what Jeffrey Dahmer’s parents said. They were all human beings but something was just a monster or something in Dahmer. (We do not condone serial killers)

Kevin- You know these days, all these young kids, everyone is diagnosed with ADHD and they are taking Ritalin. When I was growing up, it was just called your hyper. So for someone like Frank when he grew he may have just been a mean kid with a bad bone and he is just crazy like this or that. No one really thought that hey maybe this kid needs to be diagnosed, maybe he does have a severe mental illness. I didn’t grow up with that, that wasn’t at that time. I feel he was somewhat of a victim because he was not properly diagnosed and he was essentially born with a couple screws loose and he was never taken care of. But when you’re medicated and you’re in a good spot and then you go off the medication, those withdrawals are similar to a low dosage of heroin withdrawal. So not only was Frank going through that but then at the same time his wife gets kidnapped and forget it, that’s not the kind of guy you want to kidnap his wife. You know what I mean and that’s just what happened.

You had a great dynamic with the cast. What was it like working with everyone?

Kevin- It was wonderful. You know everyone knew everyone on the project and the crew as well. Several of the actors I’ve worked with before. The character that played my best friend Travis, I had done a couple of films with him. Russ Russo played Niko, the bald headed guy. I think that was our fifth or sixth time we’ve worked together and the actress that played Gina is my wife in real life, Amanda Clayton.

That explains why you guys were so good together on-screen.

Kevin- It was easy at times and other times it was pretty difficult too you know. I wasn’t crazy about doing certain scenes with her but it had to be done. She is a super hero, she is a pro so we were good with everything. So it was wonderful. I think the supporting cast is what made the movie, you’re only as good as the people around you and that’s why I can’t ever take credit for anything.

Now, Tony did an amazing job and we talked about various locations where you guys filmed. Did you have any crazy experiences on-set?

Kevin- You know I kind of just detached from everyone for that shoot as much as I possibly could. You know like I said we are all friendly and such good people. I had a pretty focused shoot. Everything went really smooth, there was nothing unexpected that threw any wrenches in the works other than the rain in the last scene. That was unexpected. We decided to shoot in chronological order and it just so happened that the night started out with a drizzle and it got progressively worse. So it didn’t mess up continuity so when you watch the movie, the rain gets harder and harder and where Frank pulls up in the truck and there’s that big stand-off. That is because we shot in order and it was one of those amazing things and magic just happened and we caught it.

If Tony were to do a sequel will you come back?

Kevin- I mean I would definitely play Frank but as far as the production is concerned it was a lot of work on my part. I was involved in the script and involved in producing as well. But I would be involved in that project off the ground, yes.

Now, you have played a lot of different characters on television and film as well. Do you have a favorite character so far?

Kevin- You know its funny Janel, I’ve done a lot of independent film and I mean obviously “Bad Frank,” has a soft spot in my heart, you know we all put so much work, time and, effort into that and it is definitely up there as one of my favorites. But a lot of my work in movies that never got finished and never got made and that’s the nature of the beast in independent film. So, some of my best work is in an unfinished film in someone’s basement or just on the floor somewhere.  So I am kind of fortunate that “Bad Frank” even got finished considering the low budget. My next project is pretty interesting too called, “Dirty Dead Con Men.” That was a lot of fun to play and that comes out in November.

That was going to be my next questions! What are you working on next?

Kevin- So “Dirty Dean Con Man,” is a really cool, it’s kind of a cross between early “Miami Vice” and “L.A. Confidential.” It takes place in Los Angeles and it’s about an undercover vice cop, myself and a con artist that work together to go after criminals who beat the law for their own personal gain. So it’s pretty interesting. Then I just got cast in a big film, knock on wood called, “Asbury Park.” Joe Pesci just signed on, some other big names and I have a nice role in that is shooting in September.

One thing I wanted to ask you about is “The Sopranos.” Till this day, it is one of the greatest shows ever made and you were on the show. Do you remember your experiences on the show and what would you say to the fans because they still have a loyal fan base?

Kevin- Yes they are. Myself too, I was a fan too because I was on the fourth season before I ever got on it. It was a great experience. I was really young and green, I was just starting out and I got that part and it was kind of like a family being on that set. Everyone was just so friendly, inviting and open arms. They brought you right in. I had a wonderful time. I was supposed to go back for the fifth season as a reoccurring role unfortunately I was in the military at the time and I had to go overseas and I couldn’t do it but you know the short time I spent there was really memorable.

I was going to ask you in “Bad Frank” you have the anchor tattoo?

Frank- Yeah that is an anchor on my side and that is for my grandpa who was in World War II as well. He was in the Navy.

Did anyone inspire you professionally?

Kevin- No, not really. I just think I always had it in me and I tried a bunch of different stuff in my younger years and I got a lot out of my system and when I took my first acting class I knew that was what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be. I really wasn’t led to the profession by an inspiration from another actor that I looked up to or anything. I only looked up to one person in my life and that was my father and my grandfather. But it really wasn’t anyone in the business that I aspired to be like or to live up to. I think I just jumped into it because it felt right and it still does.

Very cool, it makes you original. You make every single character different.

Kevin- Thanks Janel.

You do have a writing credit. Is there any possibility you will direct or write your own film?

Kevin- Directing is a whole different animal. I enjoy writing. I’m not going to say I enjoy producing but I’m getting better at it. Directing is its own thing.

What do you want the audiences to know that will be watching “Bad Frank”?

Kevin- I just want to thank you! It is such a treat and a pleasure hearing how much “Bad Frank” is kind of really blowing up. No one was really expecting that. I am getting hit up on social media from my friends and my family and it’s just a real treat. I am just really appreciative of anyone just taking the time to watch the film. The bottom line is I’m in this to move people and just to give people a break from their day to day, you know and I’m a movie fan at heart and that’s why I watch films so if I can give that back to people my job is done, I feel like I’ve done my duty. I am just really appreciative.

Do you have a favorite film of all-time that you could watch over and over again?

Kevin- Yes, I do. It’s “Heat” with Pacino and DeNiro.

I love that film. “Heat” is definitely a classic!

Kevin- Yeah and ironically enough Sizemore (Tom Sizemore) is in it and I am working with him.

Did you ever talk to Tony about taking Frank in any other direction or did Tony kind of say go ahead and do your thing?

Kevin- That is pretty much what he did but we talked extensively when we filmed. So I was working on the script with Tony and we were back and forth for a couple months so we were both pretty much on the same wave length. I just kind of did my thing and then we would speak after a couple takes here and there. Its fun to play around and do different takes obviously but then again you can’t go too far away because you do have a storyline to follow. It is one thing being interesting and trying different stuff which I like to do but it’s also making sure that when you play the lead role Janel, you have got to tell the tell the story so that it makes sense within the linear fashion and you always have to have that in the back of your mind like okay, I am starting the scene here and the scene has to end around here so the next scene makes sense. Tony and I were very much on the same page with an unspoken ethic sometimes so it worked out really well.

Thank you so much Kevin! You are such a talent and it was an honor to speak with you! I loved, loved “Bad Frank” and I am so excited for the future work you do! Thank you! You killed that movies literally! You rocked it out!

Kevin- I am really happy that you enjoyed it. Thank you.

And if you and your wife are ever in Allentown or Emmaus, come and visit Italiano Delite and meet everybody and have the best food in town!

Kevin- I would love to take a trip out there sometime. I am sure it is the best food. I just came back from Sicily.

Well, thank you so much Kevin!

Kevin- Thank you Janel.

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