ted and talented actor who possesses angelic good looks and roguish charm, he can play a wide variety of roles and is equally believable in all. We caught up recently and discussed a little thing I call The 13 Question Marks of Horror!
Photo by Pablo Hernandez
1. You play Billy Barker, who really comes off as kind of a sleazy tough guy when you first meet him. But as we spend time with him, he really reveals himself to be a lost soul. What was your first reaction when reading the script?
I really just wanted to build a character that was real.
Nobody has just one de to them and characters that do aren’t as much fun to play.
I tried to infuse a character arc that I thought would be natural for a guy like Billy.
Even thugs can change when it comes to love, with Billy it was more about measure and control so that he is steadily growing in human qualities until the end of the movie.
2. Billy is constantly surrounded by beautiful naked women. What is it about Mary that draws him in?
Billy is constantly surrounded by beautiful women but Mary is beautiful, smart and a partner in crime.
Right from the beginning he is impressed with her level of education and she comes through for him immediately when she saves Rat from imminent death.
3. Was there a back story written for Billy or did you create your own as you were going through the process?
Sometimes backstories are used to help create the character, give the characters life.
I already knew Billy Barker, there was only need to roll.
4. A great film tends to leave its mark on the actors in it. What mark did this film leave on you?
This film was a clasc case and confirmation of "follow your instincts."
I knew it had a magic quality when I met with the directors Jen and Sylvia Soska.
Their pason was strong, I was just a piece of a very large puzzle that many helped put together.
5. Some actors have trouble with the violence, others with the emotional content of a script. Which was most difficult for you in American Mary?
I have no trouble with violence or emotional content.
When you "live" you have lots to be angry about and emotion comes naturally if you are alive and honest.
Violence is just pushing some of that emotion to extremes.
6. Billy is part street hustler, part pimp, and part artist trying to make his way in the big city. What kind of research did you do for the role?
Research starts happening when you decide to be interested in life.
I knew plenty of interesting and strange people in equally strange and interesting potions.
Every person I meet becomes a study if I feel they have something to offer.
Billy is a combination of characters just as each one of us is.
Often times you make discoveries about characters when you are shooting. A lot of Billy's "emotion" was discovered on-set.
7. What scene did you have to read during the casting process?
The scene I read during the casting was the final scene between Billy and Mary when he is seated at the bar and they discuss going to LA.
One of my directors, Sylvia read the scene with me.
I asked if I could do the scene standing (I hadn't read the script so I pulled the emotion from observing the directors phycal attributes).
It was the wrong choice but the idea was that it was real.
It doesn't matter if the choice was right for the script, that happens later. The idea was to "feel" something ... I think we both felt something.
8. American Mary has many themes woven through it. What do think the film is about at its core?
The film is a comment on modern society.
Figure it out.
9. You started off doing some of the most hailed shows in cable history. Was acting always your first career choice?
I knew I wanted to act but wasn't exactly sure how.. somehow acting kept on finding a place for me and eventually became a steady employer.
I wouldn't know what I would be doing otherwise.
10. You’ve worked with some of the greatest actors of all time including F. Murray Abraham, Ben Kingsley and Dennis Hopper. What did you take away from those experiences?
Every time I work with someone, I learn something new.
I've learned things from kids on set and learned things from the greats.
One thing remains constent when working with amazing actors such as the aforementioned, getting to a place of greatness requires great humility.
I've never seen a great actor go "Hollywood" even under the greatest pressures.
11. You experienced many different fandoms over the years due to your diverse career. Is there a difference between horror fans and the fan base you are used to?
Every fan experience is different but I'd have to say that my experience with horror fans is that they truly care about even the slightest nuances of the film/character.
They don't want to know the gosp.
They like dirt… but dirt on film.
12. You are also an accomplished mucian, do you use your muc to help you stay in character or is that a separate persona all together?
There is never a separate persona, it is all me.
I play/write muc and I act in film and TV.
It’s all part of the journey, experiences that make up a life.
I just do whatever I want to do and if someone wants to be a part of it, they can.
I know I will be doing what I do unless it is no longer enjoyable or interesting.
13. Would you conder returning to the horror genre in the future?
Of course, I look for great projects not necessarily genre.
My horror experience has been great so far as an actor, and I've always enjoyed horror movies as a viewer so I guess I will be "returning" very soon.. Bring on the blood.
You can currently catch Antonio as Marco Moretti on Bomb Girls and keep an eye out for American Mary which is on its way soon and available for UK pre-order here: