Instead of manning-up and actually going the emotionally hard route of being outrightly rejected by publishers, I’m rejecting them first and allowing you to give my entire book a preview, let you read the whole thing or, if you like, download the whole damn thing at no cost. Download and read my first book “Thank You, Goodnight” for FREE.
Zachary Levi of “Chuck.” Missy Peregrym of “Heroes” and “Reaper.”
It’s always a delight to interview an actor or actress “on the verge,” as it were, and get an opinion on their career and work while they’re still in that stage of being unguarded and still possess a good sense of humor about their place in the food chain of entertainment.
When I was asked whether I’d want to interview David Paetkau for ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (Opening today, Christmas Day) there wasn’t a moment of hesitation. Apart from thinking I was going to interview a Hawaiian (I mean, come on, look at the name. I should have tossed in a question about Poi…now I’m depressed I didn’t.) I believe that this is exactly the kind of person I really enjoy talking to for a variety of reasons; one of the biggest ones, though, is that for those of you who have ever had the kind of career where you’ve had some success and are making your way up the ladder it is that drive, that hunger to go farther from where you are today, to be better than the other guy, is what’s most interesting. Once you make it, it’s all about reflection and experience and who here hasn’t read an interview with some A-lister that seems less to be about the work and more about how great it is to work with X or how funny X is off the set?
Doesn’t interest me.
What I immediately saw in the prospect of interviewing David by e-mail is that I could not only give the man a little time to think about the answers but that I could stretch the bounds of what I would have normally asked him had we been able to have a proper sit-down conversation. What you see below is the accumulation of less than a days’ worth of familiarizing myself with his work and me thinking of a few things that I might have never asked if I was sitting right in front of him for fear of the response.
I don’t usually do e-mail interviews but as I read his answers I have to believe that this could be my favorite means of getting to know someone. David was a champ for handling my questions with aplomb and I have to be honest by saying when and if I see ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM I’ll be seeing it just to find out if he’s one of those who gets eviscerated.
Much thanks and praise must be given to David for playing along…
1. I researched and found that you were recently nominated for the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy for your work on “Whistler.” Now, I recently heard about some football, the pigskin type and not the footsie femme ball that is somehow loved everywhere else but in America, players who love all the records they break but somehow feel hollow if they have no ring or championship to show for it. What is your take on your profession, that people love to have awards shows and talk about who might win what and the studios that push hard for some films to “win big” or the pundits that somehow feel like an award is validation of someone’s goodness? Or, to put it another way, do you enjoy the thrill of possibly winning something to put on the mantle?
DAVID PAETKAU: Sure I do, but it certainly wouldn’t be for career ‘validation’. I think it would be a rush and a helluva party, that’s why I’d be happy just to get nominated as the saying goes. If acting were a team sport where there was a set goal at the beginning of the season, that goal being the sole purpose of the team, like the stanley cup in hockey then yeah I could see how one might feel hollow if they have no ring or championship to show for it. Luckily acting in itself is not a team sport and the reward I enjoy most is making a living doing something I love (most of the time anyways).
2. Aside from the really sweet chance to be up and close with some of the most recognizable movie creatures ever created, and the sweet payday, were there any reservations about getting involved with the ALIENS VS. PREDATOR sequel to a movie that originally did OK and that some fans thought lacked the kind of bite they were hoping to get?
DAVID PAETKAU: Yeah, there were some definite reservations because they wouldn’t let us read the script. it was ‘locked’ and ’secret’ … so i had no idea what i was getting into! I still decided to jump onboard, because I figured it’s better to regret something you did do then something you didn’t do. It also helped that Aliens is one of my favorite movies.
3. How difficult is it to sustain genuine fear for multiple takes on a film of this scale? Does your character get killed off early after someone tells you to “Walk down that way real far and keep alert”?
DAVID PAETKAU: It can be difficult to sustain genuine fear. Especially on a long night shoot when it’s pissing rain, you’re soaking wet, you’re cold and you’ve got a million things to think about just to get hit your mark correctly and not mess up the shot. When my character does die it’s not as a result of taking bad advice. Dale’s just trying to get the hell outta dodge, which is quite a sensible plan if you ask me.
4. Canada is best known for its hockey and back bacon. You’ve made a successful name for yourself up north but what’s been the difference between the work you’ve done in Canada versus the work you do here in the U.S. of A?
DAVID PAETKAU: Is there a difference?
Now that the dollars are on par, not much, especially when you shoot in the states outside of L.A., but there is a big difference when you work in Hollywood, in that it’s fricken’ HOLLYWOOD! Nothing beat the first day I drove to work at a Hollywood studio. It was a dream come true.
By the way, Canadians call back bacon, ham. : )
5. On your IMDB page there are a few people who make mention of your “hawtness” or that you’re “gorgeous.” Does seeing this kind of superficial attention validate your decision to make a living by being in front of the camera and, if so, how great is it to be you on Saturday night at a club?
DAVID PAETKAU: I’d be a fool not to be a little flattered. Hasn’t helped me at the clubs though.
6. Talk to me, because I think we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well here, what did you take away from the experience of working on ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM?
DAVID PAETKAU: A year’s worth of anticipation… (and a couple of props, but don’t tell anyone)
7. If you’re a fellow geek then you’ll know where this question is coming from but what was the mood on set as the Strause brothers navigated their way through the takes on this film? Were the Predators and/or Aliens allowed to improvise song and dance routines or did some chug their Starbucks through a straw or did any of them put their arms out saying, “Look at me! I’m a scary alien!”? I’m just saying, sometimes there are directors who take this thing seriously and there are some who have fun with the process of a flick like this.
DAVID PAETKAU: There were some funny moments, and maybe they’ll be a few outtakes in the dvd, but like I said before, we worked mostly nights, cold, impossibly wet nights and if you’re going to slow production with a joke at 4:30 in the morning, it’d better be damn funny, because otherwise you’d have to face the wrath of a soggy crew. I did have a rather surreal moment though when I first saw the seven foot tall Predator. It was at the craft service table and the poor guy was looking for sugar for his coffee, so you were right on with that; Predators drink coffee with a straw, long straws mind you. I, of course, held the sugar at arm’s length and demanded he do a dance number for it. I believe he did an Irish jig.
7. Have you ever, and it’s OK to be honest because it’s just you and I talking, bought a copy of your work on DVD to give either a mate or family member? Buying your run on LAX or a copy of FINAL DESTINATION 2 would be something, I think, you should be doing for your loved ones to prove you’re not slacking but I am always curious to know if there’s any thrill to having your work on sale for the world to see.
DAVID PAETKAU: Nope, but I guess it is kind of nice to know that I could. Those movies are out there forever whether you like it or not.
8. On ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM were you subject to working with green screens, tennis balls or having to react to things that weren’t there and, even if you didn’t, did you at least get a glimpse into how modern day special effects are being done on blockbusters this size?
DAVID PAETKAU: No tennis balls, but I did have to pretend that cold slimy goop was alien blood melting my face off. The toughest thing was the man in suit aspect. A guy dressed in an alien costume with rubber claws isn’t intimidating up close. The cool thing about the Stause brothers was that they edited each scene as we filmed it. They’d have the sequence cut together on the spot, send it to the second unit with notes on exactly what other shots they needed. It was amazingly efficient. It was way beyond just playback.
9. ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM is being opened on Christmas. A little odd, nes’t pas, for a movie like this to be associated with the holiday season but I’d like to know what your thoughts are on release dates with regard to the hubbub about how important they are to some studios’ decisions to release or not release films on certain dates. Obviously, something is afoot in the decision to do this but, in your opinion, does it really matter when a film’s released if it’s good enough?
DAVID PAETKAU: I guess the theory on a Christmas release is that it’s good counter programming to all those damn oscar movies. I’m a little nervous about the release date because i think it’s incredibly important to a film’s success no matter how good it is. Look at the Assassination of Jesse James, a great movie which had a terrible release date (amongst other things) and it flopped miserably. I think they should have released AVP-R it in October before Halloween, but hey, i’m not a studio executive… yet.
10. How do you see your progression as an actor? Is everything a stepping stone to something else you want to accomplish or are you comfortable with how projects come your way or is there something else you hope happens as you take steps forward in your career?
DAVID PAETKAU: Acting is merely a stepping stone to bigger and better things; writing, directing, running a studio, going into politics, and then ruling the world.
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