Some of the hardest working actors out there are not the ones that are the big budget A-list stars, but rather the ones working the independent film world. Bret Roberts is one of those actors who has been in the industry for years with more than 60 films under his belt as an actor, but has also produced numerous films and is an accomplished musician, singer and painter. I had the chance to sit down with this multi-talented actor to discuss his latest bloody sex filled fueled love story Appetites.
Bobby: How did you get involved with Appetites?
Bret: I moved to Paris France, but I lived in Hollywood for years making movies and I was taking a little bit of time off painting over in France and I got a call from director Brian Gottlieb. He was making a film called The Last Girl and he asked if I would play a part in it and I have known him for a while and wanted to work with him. So I said yeah I will come back to LA for that and he leaked it to Michael Weiss who is a producer on Appetites that I was coming back to work on his film. When I landed in New York they called me and they had watched a movie I made in Italy called The Perfect Husband and that was enough they wanted me to play John Doe in this movie.
Bobby: You have a pretty big resume are you to that point in your career where that happens often and they just call you for parts as opposed to having to audition?
Bret: I have done just about every little Indy film you can imagine with a lot of really great filmmakers that were on their way up and worked with a lot of really great people over the years. Now I am making my own films and have produced nine feature films and acted in all of them. That is kind of how I like to approach it, to find a script a story or a character I really want to do and basically put the whole thing together. I try to find the money and great actors to be in it and put the whole thing together so I can make something quality instead of just sitting around waiting for auditions. I think all actors should do that and more and more are doing that now.
Bobby: This is a bit of an insane film. How to you prepare for a role like this?
Bret: The first you have to do with any film is figure out the tone of the film. You could be doing Silence of the Lambs and you have a cannibal, but that is a very seriously toned film, but then you look at a script like this and there is this guy who comes into town and falls in love with a girl who eats people. Is this a comedy? You spend a little while wondering what is this thing. I read the thing and had just recorded a bunch of original music in France so I told the director and the producer that I had all this new music. They listened to it and really responded to it so I asked if we could make this guy a singer because then it would be a lot more fun for me to take on the whole thing. So they went back in a few days and rewrote it and tailor made it with all of these songs that I had written and recorded so it fit me a little better. Then of course I was thinking do I want to play a serial killer, it is kind of the last thing the world needs right now. Then you have to figure out if the whole thing is worth doing and what I figured out is that this film is really a love story. It’s really about people that don’t fit in, people that have their own way of living life and don’t fit in the mainstream. It’s like Jack finding Jill in that environment. If this serial killer guy falls in love with this girl is anyone going to care? Then it became my job to make you like this guy even though he is doing terrible things.
Bobby: Even though the film isn’t an action movie and you didn’t have to do a whole lot of those kinds of things, did you have to go through any training on the proper way to hold a knife or how to stab someone?
Bret: Yeah, I did more musical training for this film than anything and most of my kills were kind of campy, but supposed to be that way. But it depends on the budget of the film. If it the film has no budget then you are probably going to have to figure that stuff out on your own, but with any kind of budget they have stunt men on the set all the time making sure no one gets hurt. It’s funny they pull you aside and really coach you. When I played a boxer in a movie in one of my first films ever, I had to do the whole Jake Gyllenhaal thing and really learn it so it looks real as a boxer. When you are playing a role that has a specific talent, violent or not you want those that really do that to think you are really good at that skill.
Bobby: You mentioned you were working on some of your own films as well. Can you tell us anything about some of your upcoming projects?
Bret: Yes definitely. I worked with a director in Italy named Lucas Pavetto who is a really great director. When I made this film with him called The Perfect Husband in Sicily co-starring a great actress named Gabriella Wright. The director told me about this film that he wrote called The Alcoholist about the tough life of a really sad alcoholic who has a unique relationship with and Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor. I thought it was a pretty important opportunity to make this film so I spent months helping to translate this film and then we shot it with an Italian crew in Buffalo New York last year. It’s a really gripping piece about addiction, but it’s about a lot more than that. I think it is a poignant piece and could actually do some good in the world for those that have issues with alcohol abuse or any kind of drug abuse. Look out for The Alcoholist coming and check out Appetites. It’s just a whole lot of fun. It’s kind of a musical horror comedy with a really fun little cast. You can see my paintings on my Instagram at BretRoberts_Paint_Music. I am starting to put information there on where my band is playing in New York.
Bobby: I appreciate you taking the time to do this and wish you luck in the future.
Bret: Thank you for doing this man.
You can check out Appetites available now on DVD.