Right Entertainment’s Patricia Didelot recently had an opportunity to interview actor/director Derek Magyar. He was gracious enough to allow some time to talk to us and answer all of our questions. Here’s how it went.
Hi Derek, how are you?
I’m good, how are you?
Good! Thanks for doing this, I really appreciate it.
You are an actor/ director, do you have a preferred way of expressing yourself?
No, I don’t have a preferred way. I have a lot more experience with working as an actor than I do as a filmmaker, but I really enjoy the process and it’s definitely something I want to do again, but, you know, I love just being able to create some type of art.
So you don’t mind being in front of the camera as opposed to being behind the camera?
No, I have been in front of the camera more so than behind. I would say there were more nerves from me being behind the camera for the first time than anything else. But no, I’m pretty used to it at this point.
One of your better known movies is Boy Culture (in which he plays the character X, a gay male escort). Is it scary to tackle a taboo topic like that? There are not too many ‘straight’ gay movies done. And I believe you are not gay, right?
No I’m not. For me it’s all about the work and Boy Culture was an amazing opportunity for me because I thought the character was layered and rich and I accepted everything that came with the character. For me the movie was, he preferred being with men or he was gay. I tried to inhabit the character and bring justice to it. And that’s it.
Are there any similarities between you and your character X.
(Pause) No. I mean, there’s a piece of me in X, because that’s the foundation of finding a character for me. So there are little things that I can connect to, but in terms of X’s overall character I don’t know how to relate personally to who he is, you know, a male escort/hustler who lives with men and is in love with one of them, that is not something I can relate to. I can relate to, sort of being a hustler in terms of career choices and things you have to do and sacrifices you have to make and so on and so forth.
A little bit on the same topic of Boy Culture. I have seen you tweet about a spin off from Boy Culture. Can you share anything about this with the public at large?
We’re working on something, we’re trying to put together a television show that would be a spin-off of the film. And right now we’re working on putting together a pilot pitch and taking it to the networks and seeing where it goes.
And you would be part of it as far as acting?
Yes, I would play the role and I would also produce it.
Where do your influences come from, as an artist?
They come from my father, my grandfather, my mother, from my family in general, they come from life experiences, good and bad. I think they just come from everything that I am and everything that I’ve seen and done, things that have happened in my life and experience. I’m still evolving.
You direct Flying Lessons, which you are currently promoting, can you give me a synopsis of the film and how you became involved with it?
Well, my best friend wrote the script and he showed it to me initially for one of the characters in it which is played by Jonathan Tucker and I just fell in love with the story and the more I worked on it with the writer the more I realized that I had to tell the story through my own eyes and wanted to give this a shot and that’s kind of how it evolved. The synopsis of the film is the story of a girl, played my Maggie Grace that has to move back home to live with her estranged mother and has to deal with the suicide of her father and his interference in her life. (Flying Lessons is currently being shown On Demand and will be released in theaters on December 7th. For more info visit the website)
You have worked with some household names such as Hal Holbrook, Ed Harris and David Duchovney. Is it intimidating to work with them or you use it to learn from their experience in the industry?
It’s both. It’s intimidating at first and then you do your best to rise to the challenge and to learn from the actors. Holbrook’s one of the best there is, I’ve become a dear friend so I admire him as sort of a father figure. He’s a great man, you should read his book if you have the chance, it’s called ‘Harold”, it’s amazing.
You also play a psychopathic murderer in the upcoming horror movie ‘No One Lives’. Was that a new type of role for you at the time and do you enjoy playing the bad guy?
I do! It was a great character that I got to play and it was a great cast and great director for that genre Ryuhei Kitamura. I also worked opposite Luke Evans and we had a lot of fun together, so can’t wait to see what people think.
Yes, it seems like we’ve been waiting forever!
Yes, I know! It’s coming soon though. Early 2013.
You touched on this, in ‘No One Lives’ you worked closely with Luke Evans who is fast becoming a household name in his own right. Can you share your impressions of him as an actor and a person?
He’s a really good guy, he’s soaking it all in, riding the wave. He’s an actor that’s very giving and he’s very unselfish and a real talent. I only have positive things to say about him.
Can you share anything about upcoming projects and when to expect them? You tweeted that you would be directing a stage production if I remember correctly?
Yes, I’m working on an adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that I did as a project last year and I did a study of the play with student actors and professional actors and would like to direct the full play sometime in 2013, but I have ‘Air Disturbance‘ which is about the crazy things that happen on a plane, so it should be fun. It’s a thriller
You have done both, television and big screen, what is the difference between them and do you prefer one over the other?
They’re different and I don’t really prefer one over the other. Horror films are challenging in terms of all of the blood and the gore that you see in those films. It takes a long time to get made up like that and a lot of time to get out of being made up like that. It’s something a lot of people don’t think of. It takes hours and hours, so it’s actually very challenging work. But they’re both enjoyable in their own ways and I would say that certainly for me No One Lives was the character that I got to play the most with, the director gave me a lot of freedom to play a character that has no morals, no compass, it was actually amazing and quite strange. That’s the role that I’ve gotten myself to express the most in.
If you could work with any director or actor, who would it be?
I would love to work with Paul Thomas Anderson as a director and Philip Seymour Hoffman as an actor. I’ve admired their work since the beginning of their career. Both great, great artists.
What is your favorite genre? We discussed your horror movie roles.
I don’t have a favorite genre. I’m looking forward to doing period pieces (Romeo and Juliet), getting a chance to work on something that’s more classical.
And you haven’t done period pieces in the past correct?
I have done it on stage, not on the big screen.
What were your favorite TV shows and movies growing up?
Yea, you know, I’m a huge movie buff in general so it’s hard to say my favorites but movies like, boy let’s see, Chinatown, One Flew Over The Cuckoo‘s Nest, A Clockwork Orange, Boogie Nights was an inspirational film for me. What else, there are so many. A recent one is Flight. Silence of The Lambs.
You are an avid Twitter user. What is so attractive about this mode of engaging people?
You know, I was actually motivated by my girlfriend to be more involved in social media and I think that connecting with people that enjoy your work and support you, it’s a way to give back, it’s something that I’m very humbled by and thankful for, so the least I can do is to connect with people out there in the world.
As fans we love to hear from our favorite actors and this is a very cool way to connect with you all.
Absolutely, I agree.
I think that’s it!
Great! Thank you very much, it was very nice to finally get to speak to you.
You can find more information about this very talented American artist on his website
I would like to thank Derek for allowing me to talk to him and his publicist Page Sacks from Pinnacle PR for arranging the interview so smoothly. Much appreciated!