In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, actor Massimo Dobrovic talks about his upcoming projects and his work in the acclaimed horror series, Age of the Living Dead. Dobrovic breaks down the acting process as he discusses playing in the realm of the supernatural with Feel the Dead and Age of the Living Dead.
Massimo Dobrovic is academically trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Not only does he speak 5 languages fluently, he also acts in all these languages (English, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Serbian). He began acting at an extremely young age in theaters before moving onto television and film. He has an extensive acting-career in Europe and United States for making uncommon and incredible strong choices.
In our in-depth interview, Dobrovic and I dive into the creative process behind acting for the cameras, whether they are on set for movies and television. Learn more about casting and the audition process from Dobrovic’s prespective.
Villain Media: Thank you so much for speaking with me!
Massimo Dobrovic: Thank you for this beautiful opportunity to chat with you! I love the name, Villain Media. Villains are my most favorite characters to play because they are always enormously fun to create.
VM: We do love to celebrate the bad guys here!
VM: Tell me about Behind the Curtain of Night, which stars Brendan Fraser and Marcia Cross. What drew you to the role of Thomas?
MD: The movie, Behind the Curtain of Night, or also called, Secrets of Karma,– this movie has two titles in English, which nowadays it’s becoming more common in the film industry. I’ve starred before in a movie that had two titles, like Navy Seals VS. Zombies, which is on Netflix, is also called Navy Seals: The Battle for New Orleans.
Secrets of Karma or Behind the Curtain of Night is a life after death movie, a movie about reincarnation. It is based on the best-selling novel in the Czech Republic. It was amazing and enchanting shooting in all the historical locations around the Czech Republic and around Prague, one of my darling cities of the entire world. I would love to live there for a longer period of time and work in the local theaters. They have an outstanding theater scene in the city.
The reason why I really wanted to play Thomas is because, this character lives in the past, present and in the future. I find that fascinating when I’m playing a character in 3 completely different time periods inside the same movie. I was extremely fortunate to have had the possibility to work along with my movie idols, phenomenal stars, from whom I’ve learnt a great deal; like Marcia Cross, Brendan Fraser, and Dawn Olivieri. I’ve also made incredible friendships with the wonderful Czech cast and crew.
VM: Tell me about the differences between working on a movie set and television set, such as Feel the Dead, where you played Vincent.
MD: On a TV set, everything is very fast, the shooting pace is quick, you have to memorize many pages of dialogue in a few days. So you don’t have as much preparation as you would like with the character before you go shoot a scene.
On a movie set, if you play a co-starring role, you will most likely have at least a month to prepare before the shoot, for the character, for the dialect of that character, physicality, etc. Sometimes you could find a production that could give you more than a month to prepare. That is more common when shooting a period piece or where a huge physical transformation is required.
I was extremely connected to Vince in Feel the Dead, because I was going back to work in Italy after many years of not working in my home country. I had the chance to honor the Italian soldiers by playing one in the series and hang out with my dear lovely friend Estella Warren. John Real is one of the best horror directors in the country and creating so many friends in Sicily was really thrilling and heart-warming.
VM: Tell me about playing Marcus in the Age of the Living Dead.
MD: Age of the Living Dead is a supernatural horror TV-series. In it, I had the chance to play the villain and like I’ve mentioned before, villains are super-fun for me to play. Because you can put a lot of imagination into working together with a variety of techniques and delivery. I’m also a firm believer that in order for an actor to excel in a project, the material that he delivers, the writing has to be brilliant or very good.
I love Simon Phillips and Paul Tanter’s writing! I think they are wonderful creators and I hope we go back for another season, or to work on a different project with them. I loved working with the fellow actors too! They all did a superb job and the very encouraging crew that was tremendously hard-working, nonstop day and night.
VM: I’m glad you mentioned Estella Warren, who I just loved in Driven! Age of the Living Dead is also your third project working with Estella Warren. Tell me about working with her.
MD: Hanging out around the island with Estella was super fun. We love working together because we honor each other as acting partners and built an amazing friendship. During our days off, we would go to an amusement park, to the beach or to have a marvelous dinner. This was our third project together. We love working together and can’t wait go back to the set together. We have a special chemistry, a true friendship that is super hard to find in Hollywood.
VM: I read that you are working on releasing a cookbook full of Italian dishes with your husband that will be titled “Italian for Any Occasion.” Tell me more about your cookbook.
MD: The cookbook has been in the works for almost 3 years. I’ve started out writing the cook-book during the summer months, when I would have to stay in SoCal by myself, and my husband would have to be in Italy, because he had his work obligations in Italy, and I had mine here in the USA. In order to feel less lonely, I’ve started writing food recipes that we would usually cook at our house in Rome, Italy or during a specific holiday in Italy and the USA. It was hard writing down those recipes with American measurements, cooking them, and finding Italian organic, sometimes gluten-free or vegan ingredients, while taking pictures at the same time. My husband co-wrote it with me, because most of the recipes are from the traditional Roman cuisine, and he loves cooking many of them. At first, it started out with a couple of recipes for Italian or American holidays. Then we’ve expanded it to entire menus, and now three years later, we have a book that has over one hundred recipes. Stay tuned for the release date!
VM: How have these projects changed you as an artist?
MD: Every project that you do changes you as an artist. I would say even every audition changes you as an artist, even though I believe that auditioning is an entire different world compare to stage, film or TV acting. I call it, “The Art of Auditioning” and not the art of acting. I feel that auditioning is a separate art form from acting. Mostly because there are many examples where a brilliant audition could be delivered, and once somebody needs to deliver that brilliant performance on screen, it isn’t there.
While it could also happen that somebody delivers a so-so audition, but then, when that person comes on a set, they deliver a performance that blows you away, and is able to raise the level of acting of the costars with that artist. Every audition changes me as an artist in how I approach the next one.
I realize things that probably don’t work in rooms with casting directors, so I try to do a different approach or shape material in a different way in the art of auditioning. Regarding changing purely as an actor; for example going back to the theater stage, after so many years will feel different, and I’m going back to it as a different artist than I was before taking the huge break from the stage.
I also feel that my first movie comedy in the USA has changed me as an actor because I think I could explore more of the lighter/funnier side of acting, as an artist. All in all, an actor is an artist that is always evolving, developing, expanding, studying, improving, maturing, analyzing himself in all the aspects of the Performing Arts. And you have to be a big observer of life, human beings, surroundings, being a sponge, always listening and willing to learn more.
VM: What are you working on now?
MB: I feel so blessed to work as an actor. I’m preparing a new theater comedy, I’m so happy to be returning to the theater stage after many years, because I always feel at home in a theater and that is the place where everything started for me as an actor. I’ve done many plays in my life and having the opportunity to go back to the American theater is another dream come true. I’ve also started producing and shooting my own content, and I’m developing a new movie comedy. My goal is to do more movies and TV in the Spanish language as well because until this point in my life, that is one of my five speaking languages that I’ve developed less as an actor. I have a huge passion for acting in Spanish and I adore the language, I really would love to return to it!
Readers can find out more about Massimo Dobrovic from these official links:
[This interview has been edited for clarity. Links are highlighted in bold]