April 12, 2013 | posted in Filmmakers
Marcus DeAnda plays Ernesto in Director Yen Tan’s latest film, “Pit Stop.” He talks a bit about getting the part, preparing for it and working with Yen Tan in this interview with CIFF.
Cleveland International Film Festival: How did you come to audition for the role of Ernesto in “Pit Stop”?
Marcus DeAnda: My manager in Los Angeles came across [the role]. I was actually talking to her partner at the office at the time. I remember that she seemed excited about the part because somewhere in the role description was a request for a tall Latin actor. For some odd reason I've had luck booking roles where the character description mentioned tall and Latin in the same sentence. I auditioned twice for the role via video submission then the third time was supposed to be a Skype interview with the Director Yen Ten. By that time I was very excited about the project because I had read the entire script and was familiar with Yen Tan's past work. I was nervous about Skype interview,so my manager and I decided I should meet Yen face-to-face to make sure he knew I was confident enough to take on the role. So I flew to Houston Texas to spend some time with my family then drove to Austin to meet with Yen. We hit it off immediately. We drank beers and talked about “Pit Stop,” our passion for writing, his past work and our backgrounds. I think we spoke for about 5 hours that evening. I had read about actors flying all over the world to make sure a director knew they were passionate about the material. I was passionate about “Pit Stop” and I wanted to make sure I took every step possible to be a part of it.
CIFF: How did you prepare for your role in the film?
MD: The preparation I took for the role of Ernesto was the most I've ever done for any role. I went back to my early training and just sat down and wrote this detailed life for Ernesto. I took what I read from the script and wrote pages and pages more for Ernesto about his current intimate relationship, past relationships and his family. I even created a playlist of music he would hear and I constantly played it. Most importantly, I brought my personal experience growing up in small border town in Texas, which really helped in figuring out how the character would speak and carry himself.
CIFF: What did you find most rewarding about working with Yen Tan?
MD: He really understands actors and the process that some actors take to prepare for a role or a scene one is about to shoot. I loved the moments before we shot a scene where he would sit down and want to talk about what was going on in my mind with the character. There is so much going on for a director before a scene is shot, but he would always take whatever time was necessary with me to talk about our personal experiences in a way that would help bring more to the scene. Later on, he told me that he took an acting class before shooting “Pit Stop,” which helped him better understand the acting process. I think that really brought a lot to my incredible experience working with him.
Photo by Janet Macoska.
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FILM UPDATE: #CIFF40 alum Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens will screen at Gateway Film Center on Friday, March 3rd! http://gatewayfilmcenter.org/kings-queens-and-in-betweens/ If you can't make the screening on March, 3rd, the film will also be available on VOD beginning Tuesday, March 7th. Check it out!
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