Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Interview with Actor Paul J. Alessi

FS: You have a great story that brought you to Los Angeles, can you share with us how you got started in this industry?

PA: I started out as a model, and that led me to being cast in TLC’s video, “Waterfalls”, which won music video of the year. Working on a set with a movie camera really piqued my interest, and it was directed by F. Gary Gray, so that was a great experience. Acting felt like the next natural progression, so I began to study several acting techniques, and here I am.

FS: Do you feel that your life and your career are heading in the direction you like or would you rather be playing hockey for the New York Rangers?

PA: In many ways acting and hockey are very similar. They both require a competitive and aggressive edge. Practicing, or in acting “studying”, is a given, and while individuality is just as important, being able to work as a team is a must. I definitely see having a hockey background as part of a good foundation for a successful acting career. If you would have asked me this question 10 years ago I would have said, "Hands down, hockey all the way." But now, I'd have to say that I love every minute of the career I did choose.

FS: You have a full acting career and now have begun producing and directing. How do you manage? What is a typical day like for you? Take us through your routine.

PA: My routine is different from day to day, depending on if I'm acting or producing. I hate to admit it but I am one of those people with a cell phone attached to my ear, trying to make the magic happen. I'm an early riser, usually about 5am, I eat breakfast and am on the computer returning emails and usually making “east coast” phone calls first because of the time difference. My afternoons are typically filled with lunch meetings and castings, more meetings and more phone calls. Between all of this organized chaos I try to manage eating healthy meals every three hours and get to the gym. Hopefully by the end of the day I've either booked an acting job or found a new project to produce. In either case, I can usually say I met some cool people that I look forward to working with and I keep my fingers crossed for the best!

FS: Tell us about your two films "Morphin(e)" and "Central Booking." They are now making their way around the festival circuit. What are they about and what roles did you play with these two projects?

PA: In Morphin(e) I play the lead, Jack Norris. I'm a hospital-bound accident victim who's the only witness to another patient's murder, and when no one believes me, I realize I'm the only one who can stop the killer. A journalist described the movie as 'Die Hard' meets 'Rear Window' with just a dash of 'The Hitcher', and that seems to sum it up pretty well.

Central Booking is based on the lives of the deputies and inmates of the Central Detention Facility in San Diego. My character, Deputy Tompkins, is a committed, by-the-books corrections officer. The movie takes a realistic look at what happens when you get booked into and are housed in jail.

FS: You were on the first season of "The Amazing Race." How was that experience? And has that opened any doors or helped your acting career in any way?

PA: The Amazing Race was awesome. I got to travel the world and see things that I would otherwise probably never experience. It’s not like I would wake up and say, “hey, let’s go bungee jump off this gorge in Africa!" As for the show opening up doors for my acting career…I would have to say that I met a lot of awesome people, but chose NOT to use this “reality show” as a stepping stone for acting.

FS: We have also interviewed the filmmakers behind the movie "TEN ‘TIL NOON," a movie that you have a key role in. What can you tell us about this independent feature film and the role you played in it?

PA: I play Nickel, a loyal, committed hit man. He's very well-tailored, sleek, and he chooses to embrace the risk his career brings him. Unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to talk about the story. Because of it's narrative structure, the movie reinvents itself every ten minutes, and so I'm sure to spoil something good. Let's just say it's a great ensemble piece, a crime thriller a with little comedy relief to boot.

FS: What is on the horizon for you? Where will see you next?

PA: I'm very excited to say that we're currently in development on two feature films: Morphin(e), obviously a spin off of the short, which "Ten 'til Noon" screenwriter Paul Osborne is working on, and Desolate City, by James D. Owens. The latter script is filled with great characters, a stylish neo-noir in the flavor of The Limey, The Usual Suspects, and the Lee Marvin version of Point Blank. It's filled with witty and insolent dialogue that would make Humphrey Bogart proud.

For the very latest on Paul you may browse his website,


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