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Ben Fine: Actor, DETONATOR

February 22, 2013

8021392281Q: Tell us how you became involved with DETONATOR, and how you prepared for your role.

How I came to Detonator is one of those stories that reminds you that you shouldn’t burn too many bridges in your life because you never know who’s going to help you or when. The quick story is that my best friend from Interlochen’s freshmen year roommate at Brandeis opened a cafe cum video store in New York (that I briefly worked at) ten years later which creates its own softball team that Damon Maulucci later joined. So when I posted a rough cut of my reel, it was passed on by my high school roommate and the cafe owner. And with two recommendations, Damon took a serious look at the reel instead of just adding it to the pile. Damon then approached me with the script and offered me a part in the movie. I’ll admit I was quite surprised when a year later we shot a teaser and 6 months after that we were gathering for principal photography on Detonator…all thanks to having auditioned right after someone in 1994.

2Q: Cinequest is proud to host the World Premiere of DETONATOR. Explain to the audience how you feel about bringing this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

I’m super excited to share this film with audiences at Cinequest because, in many ways, a film like Detonator is a rare gem. Rare in the sense that it is not often that audiences get to see a film with so much love and energy put into it, made for such a modest budget, that looks as good as our movie does in both performance and style. I think Keir and Damon set out to write a love letter to Philadelphia and an explication of what ends up being a very personal journey. All too often filmmakers sacrifice honesty for story and intimacy for celebrity. And I feel that they made a concerted effort to not let the burdens of finance, ego, time-frame, and vanity obscure the truth of the story we’re trying to tell. I think audiences will be charmed by the depth they find in this simple story and find the deliberate rawness of some of its moments very compelling. I hope that audiences will find themselves laughing even while their hearts hurt.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making DETONATOR?

I know that Lawrence talked about the dangerous moments we had shooting in West Philly, made even more dangerous by our late night filming in remote locations. We were hassled by everything from Police to local block Mayors (with guns!). For me, the most difficult aspect of making Detonator was the weather. If you’ve watched our teaser you can see that it’s the middle of winter. The final shot was taken at like 4 am in below zero temperatures. I couldn’t even feel my tongue in our final argument and I almost refused to to the last take (which is the one they used) because I was so cold. Principal photography of the feature, not to be outdone by the teaser, occurred in the middle of the summer. Some days were over a hundred degrees and holding was just a tent on the asphalt. We were constantly drenched in sweat and fatigued, especially in Mini-van scenes. Ultimately, it’s lucky we had so many night shoots or the crew and I might have melted with our movie half made. When we returned to the cast house every night (or morning) I would set the AC to some suitably low kelvin number and finally relax.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

Detonator is a movie about friendship, failure and family. As we get older, our relationship to these ideas change as well as our definitions of these terms. I think we also realize that our positioning within the triangle of these concepts is one of the most affecting and important determinants in how we govern our lives. So audiences of any age will see aspects of their struggle mirrored back to them. They may also see shades of their past mistakes and triumphs or visions of their future. So while Detonator doesn’t hope to provide all the answers to these questions, I think audiences will find themselves seeing their own journeys in a different light as Sully and Mick dance into the night.

5Q: Tell us your Academy Award acceptance speech:

I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise if i ever did win an Oscar, but here are some possible beginnings that (depending on my mood) I might use:

“I’ve never watched the Academy Awards in their entirety. I thought I might be forced to tonight, but I managed to sneak out to the bathroom several times this evening and I’ve been trying to blink a lot….”
“I’d like to thank all the people who didn’t believe in me throughout the years. Those who passed me over and those who passed me by, but especially those who deliberately and negatively impacted my life and career. For without you I wouldn’t have had the fortitude and cussedness to struggle through an actor’s life. Here are their names alphabetically…”
“I once said I never cared about awards and award ceremonies, but now that I’m up here with this glorious lady in my hand, before this astounding audience of my peers, my fans, and my heroes I am ashamed by my youthful contempt. I am deeply honored to be on this stage where so many great actors have walked, at this podium were so many great people have cried and laughed…”

Buy tickets to see DETONATOR at Cinequest!

Watch the Trailer!

From → Interviews

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