Soon to be seen as Marcus in the TV series Age of the Living Dead, Massimo Dobrovic will be playing one of many vampires who are co-existing with humans. Spending most of his life in Italy, Massimo moved over to the US where he now lives and works and where he starred in American reality show Euros of Hollywood in 2014. Sitting down to answer our questions, Massimo speaks to us about upcoming show Age of the Living Dead, his current projects and filming for the TV series Feel the Dead.
Can you tell us about the series Age of the Living Dead?
Age of the Living Dead is a six episode mini-series, an exciting new concept of a TV series where different species and creatures are present. The mini-series revolves around a war between vampires, humans and fascinating diverse creatures. It is extremely interesting and entertaining. A series that differs from other ones because it is innovative in its genre and conquers a new demographic age. In other words, it is a show that is suitable from the teenager all the way to the elderly population. It’s basically a show for all ages, sure to keep you on the edge of your seats, craving for more week after week.
What can you say about your character Marcus?
My character is the king of all vampires, the one that derives from the original bloodline of the vampires’ family. He is the leader of his species and makes all executive decisions that will generate consequences on our planet. After Marcus’ decisions our world will not be the same anymore. Creating Marcus was so much fun. I love vampires and vampirism in general and this role gives me the opportunity to dive into the subject even more. I love when I get to study a subject and a role that is extremely complex, because as an actor it gives you endless possibilities to interpret it through many different routes.
Where was the series filmed?
The series was shot for the most part at the DC stages in Los Angeles but some of the filming also happened on location; like in New Mexico and on the East Coast. If the series continues it would be great to shoot in many different locations throughout the world and showcase the fantastic scenarios that various continents offer for such a mystifying show.
How long were you filming for?
The six episodes were shot over a couple of months. My character shot at the DC stages through a couple of weeks. We didn’t have much time to rehearse and when you’re shooting a TV show that doesn’t have a huge budget or where you don’t have weeks to prepare, you have to be ready at all times and be willing to work sixteen hours a day if needed; memorising many pages of dialogue in a day or two, remaining very directable. A fast pace show has a very different approach and way of working.
What do you enjoy most about starring in the series?
Shooting a TV series is always a fun adventure. You get to interact with many new friends and you get to know a variety of people every day. This aspect of working on a TV series is very exciting for me because I’m a people kind of guy, where to me nurturing and developing a deep human relationship, establishing human values, mutual respect is fundamental for a creative collaboration. That is what keeps me motivated and going in life and makes me passionate about starring in a TV series like Age of the Living Dead. I really must thank for the atmosphere that was created on set by creators Simon Phillips, Paul Tanter, the inspiring crew, and our outstanding cast.
What was it like filming the series Feel the Dead?
Feel the Dead was a unique and different experience from all the other ones. I loved the experience for the following reasons: I had the opportunity to go back to my home-country, Italy, after five years of not working in Italy. I got to spend time with our biggest and most active Volcano, on Mount Etna. I’ve realised what it means to be completely disconnected from the world; without today’s technology, where the entire crew and cast live together in a refuge on top of a Volcano, completely isolated and the only thing you have to focus on is creating a great work of television art. I loved it and I hope I’ll be able to go back soon and shoot many more projects with the amazing director John Real and the wonderful crew.
Will it be returning for a second season?
Once our first season airs, people will discover everything. The show is so much fun to watch for everybody. So be sure to tune in and stay tuned for the air dates.
What was it like appearing in Euros of Hollywood?
For me it was like creating a character I would create for any other TV show. I took it as a fun, comedic experience where I got to practice a heightened version of a physical comedy character.
Do you feel it benefitted your acting career in America?
The show was one of the very first projects I did when I returned to LA. It was an experience that, in my opinion, didn’t help or hurt my acting career. It was a completely different thing from a scripted TV show. I think my previous experience with the reality show is very similar and I can identify a lot with what Jeremy Renner and Mark Wahlberg said about theirs.
How did you get into acting?
I first got into acting in theatre when I was super young – twelve years old. I’ve done world tours of theatre shows, starting from the classics all the way to post-modern physical theatre techniques until the age of eighteen, that’s when I’ve moved to Hollywood to enroll at the academy and transition my acting from theatre onto film and TV. I’ve been pursuing the film and TV acting career in the US for almost fifteen years now and still every day I wake up with passion, love, drive, rage, thankfulness, gratefulness, humbleness, willing to sacrifice… and many other qualities that you need to keep you going.
What was your first acting job since moving to America?
I’ve always submitted myself to projects and network with industry professionals for my acting career. I’ve never just stayed around and waited for my reps to call me. I do believe you have to be proactive and create your own opportunities, your own luck, your own success. That’s why when I’ve started out in Hollywood, I’ve done a ton of student movies with deferred or minimum pay, to build a reel. I’ve auditioned for hundreds and hundreds of projects for film schools and I’ve filmed many of them. I’ve learnt a lot from working on those projects and they prepared me for the paid professional sets, that came later.
What can you remember from your very first acting job?
My first acting job in Hollywood was on a film that was a short movie for a film school where I got paid $100 to be a violent criminal with women. I was very happy because my acting scene turned out really well and I was using that reel for years in USA and Europe. It even got me representation in both continents. It really paid off.
Is there a genre of movie you would like to star in, but haven’t as yet?
There are many genres of movies I would love to star in, but I haven’t had a chance to, yet. I would love to work on: animated, adventure, docudrama, teen movies, westerns, romantic comedies, tragedies, etc. Regarding television, there are also a lot of TV genres that I would die to work in and haven’t had a chance to yet, like: three cameras sit-com, single camera sit-com, soap, anthology, variety, medical, political or police drama, etc.
When you’re not filming for a role, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
When I’m not working I still love to be creative and develop my skills in a variety of fields. I love dedicating my time to the Italian cuisine, developing new ideas, concepts and products to bring to the USA. Spending time with the family is truly important and precious to me as well and practicing a lot of sports for an overall well-being like: tennis, yoga, dancing, beach-volley, gym, etc. I have so many interests in life that it would be hard to concise them all in one short answer, because I’m a curious person by nature and that’s why I find a fascinating multitude of activities.
Where’s been your favourite place to film?
I wouldn’t be able to extract out one single place of all the places I had the opportunity to film in because they are all so unique and special, in their own beauty. I find beauty, fascination, radiance and charm in every place I film. Although I have to say that Prague is definitely on the top of my list together with Italy and Louisiana.
Are you filming any roles at the moment that you are able to tell us about, or have coming up in the future?
I have a couple of top-secret projects that I’m working on. They are amazing projects which I’m super excited about and can’t wait to go into production. It’s important also to say that nowadays with the Hollywood industry constantly changing, we all have to create our own opportunities because the challenges and difficulties that we encounter every day are always more and more, new ones and old ones. We all face rejection and reasons why we’re turned down for a role or not being called in during Pilot Season. Every casting office and every project will have their own reasons. You can’t take it personally especially because it’s all out of your control. I see there is some progress being made in how you get to the top level but there is still a lot to be done and discover, for sure Hollywood has changed tremendously since fifteen years ago when I got here or ten or even five years ago, but it still struggles to value talented artists, see or develop real talent that possess a huge education and background because evaluation parameters at times are off track. Foreign or domestic actors, go through different sorts of discrimination, misjudgment, and harassment, but what counts in the end is how you’re able to recover from it and understanding the reason why life put you through it all that makes you richer, fuller and interesting as an actor.
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