In an exclusive interview for 1212 Magazine, well-known actor and producer Dave Morrissey Jr. talks about his two latest projects: “Charlie Boy” and “Now Again”, which he produced and plays one of the lead roles. In “Now Again” he portrays a darker character who is struggling to come to terms with the family’s chaotic life. In Charlie Boy, he plays Joey “Shakes” Trikonis, Charlie’s best friend. Timothy Hines’ Charlie Boy is about a former mobster who left the business who is looking for redemption for his wrongdoings.
What do you love about the role that you are currently playing?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: I love playing Cole in “Now Again” because he reminds me of my brother. Person who was born maybe in the wrong time, wrong place, someone with struggles going on in their head that other people just don’t understand. I like playing darker edgier characters, because my childhood sure as hell wasn’t perfect.
What is the storyline about in “Now Again”?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: It’s about a young guy trying to fix his relationship with his parents after the suicide of his older brother. I play the older brother. The film goes back-and-forth to different time periods as a way to explore certain motivations to different situations that happen when family life goes through a struggle.
Who else is involved in this production, director, producer, actors?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: Miles Budde is on it, one of his movies was just screened at Cannes film Festival last year. He’s super talented. Louie Cox, the director, is a close friend of mine, and the story is actually based on his life. He’s been just so good to work together with. Collaborations with these people is always fun. Aside from them, we have actors from many different cool shows, like the Sopranos, Miami Vice, Jake Swain just booked his first Broadway gig in Mean Girls … Nikki Silva, she’s the lead singer of this Band Big Happy that’s playing at huge festivals this summer, she’s a producer and actor in it too.
What are your favorite projects you have been part of?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: Timothy Hines’ Charlie Boy was an amazing experience. Obviously Mr. Robot. One Life To Give and Traitor. I was in a sketch in Late Night with Steven Colbert called “The Disaster Artist Artist”. That was an incredible day.
Are there any other projects you would like to highlight?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: Ronnie Champaign’s The Most Dangerous Man. That was an awesome project to be a part of.
What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: Fight for the bigger picture, because the right people will notice. It’s exciting to make movies, but so many different personalities come to work in this field, and sometimes people don’t do the right things for the right reasons. It’s sad. People who can’t (or just won’t) get a full grasp on the situation as a whole. But on the bright side, as long as you do the right thing in the bigger picture, the people who make that picture are going to definitely take notice. Timothy Hines (Charlie Boy, 10 Days in a Madhouse – The Nellie Bly Story, War of the Worlds The True Story) always fought for the bigger picture. If something needed to happen, he made it happen and fought for it. I think it’s because he’s seen the industry in a “bigger picture” kinda way, and knows it extremely well. When you see your work and how it fits in the puzzle, you can spot things that need work a lot easier, and you can prioritize way better. Yeah. That’s a lesson I learned real well from Timothy. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever worked with.
What do you consider your biggest achievement in the field of acting?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: It’s hard to say. I don’t know. I honestly have liked 99% of the projects that I’ve done. I can’t just pick one. I think it’s falling out of a tree. One time I have to fall out of a twelve foot tree. Obviously onto some crash mats, but it was still a trip. So yeah. That’s my biggest accomplishment. Thanks for that, Mike.
What types of movies are you interested in filming?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: I love historical dramas. I love studying history, so to re-create it and to just live there for a day or a month, or three months, is so cool.
How do you see your role as an actor?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: I see acting as studying perspectives. Everything is based on someone’s perspective, or at least that’s what we’re taught to think. So it’s important. You have to understand what people want, why they want it, every possible thing that could’ve affected that want, and really no one is that simple to not have 1 million things that made them who they are today. I think I understand people more because of my role as an actor, so I’m grateful.
What was your most memorable role? Why?
DaveMorrissey Jr.: There’s a part in Charlie Boy that was probably one of the most memorable things I’ll ever have to do, emotionally, but I obviously can’t say anything because it hasn’t come out yet. You’ll see what I mean when you it comes out though. Boy, that was a challenging scene. Aside from that, Benjamin Tallmadge in One Life To Give and Traitor, running through trenches, in a huge war scene— that was pretty memorable. There was this one really cool part where I get up from a cannonball landing next to me, and I just noticed the chaos around me, and actually having that image there right in front of you… you don’t forget those types of images. It’s just so convincing, seeing these people just murdering each other in front of you, that it makes my job as an actor so fucking easy. It was such a cool day to be on set.
Besides acting, what other things do you enjoy?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: Besides acting, I love my cat, I love my girlfriend, I like festivals, I don’t know, normal stuff. I play piano in a band called Miles From Home. I’m pretty basic! Actually one time someone from a restaurant I used to work at called me “basil” because they thought basil was basic. Basil is delicious.
Do you have any mentor who has supported you throughout your career?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: I met Jeff Passero around eight years ago, he’s a casting director, a teacher, Producer, actor, he’s a great person. He’s really helped me in his weekly classes in Manhattan, it’s such a good environment, because everyone in the classes are usually super professional, and it could be really inspiring. But yeah, he’s mentored me a lot and I consider him a good friend. Also a few others my parents obviously, Deborah and Michael Livering.
What valuable lessons have you learned that helped you become the person you are today?
Dave Morrissey Jr.: Try not to let people see you sweat. It’s a high-stakes environment. The competition, the demands of making this sort of stuff, there really is no time for bullshit. I’m not saying I’ve never gotten overwhelmed at something in a production, because I definitely have, but my advice just try to just digest things as soon as possible and try to have as thick skin as you can. My friend and Executive Producer of Charlie Boy Dominick Martini has been an example of this. Dominick makes things happen with finesse. He’s a master at picking the right people for the job, he’s a creative visionary. He’s also a talented actor- he’s one of the best slash funniest parts of Charlie Boy, and I can’t wait to see his performance as a whole in the finished product. But yeah, you’ll never see him lose his cool. He’ll save a scene in a heartbeat, and he’ll make it look easy. Side note- he’ll kick your ass in Chess.
I also mentioned before how this industry has no time for excuses. Only those with dedication, talent and a high threshold for responsibility can survive in this industry. Producer Susan Goforth (Charlie Boy, 10 Days in a Madhouse – The Nellie Bly Story, War of the Worlds The True Story) knows the moves to make that need to happen. I was lucky enough to see her, Dom, Greg Kritikos (Writer, Producer and Star of Charlie Boy), and Tim make decisions like chess pieces during production.
I’ve just learned so much, and thanks to Susan, I have an incredible role in an incredible movie. I couldn’t thank her and the School of Old team enough. But yeah, the best part is that even when our production office was literally broken into by Sean Young, even when our very specifically uniquely Russian laptops were stolen and people lied to the media, people like Dominick Martini, Susan Goforth, Timothy Hines, Greg Kritikos, they knew exactly what to do. Seriously. Google it. Read how they handled it. It doesn’t get more professional than that. Moral of the story- don’t let people see you sweat, and know when something is bullshit and when the production doesn’t have time for it.
*Cover Photo credit: Dave Morrissey Jr. and Jake Swain in Louis Cox’s Now Again