ED- The Eerie Digest recently attended the world premier of Damian Chapa’s film, ‘Brando Unauthorized’ in Hollywood. While reviewing the movie we caught the performance of actor Phil Sky, who played Marlon Brando, Sr. in the film. Phil you made a remarkable performance in this role. What led you to your career in acting?
PS-When I was a young teen, I looked at myself and said, “I am an all around athlete and ambidextrous, I can sing, dance, ride horses and pick up dialects well, and not afraid to show my emotions in front of others. Maybe I should be an actor.”
ED- What actor inspired you the most in making this career decision, and what was the most memorable role for you that they played?
PS-Hands down, it was “Spartacus” played by Kirk Douglas. That character molded my personality for life. The story had love, compassion and a rags to riches story line, although the riches attained, where the richness of spirit and character.
ED- When did your acting debut take place?
PS-When I was 16 working for United Artist Theaters as an usher when I played the Hunchback of Notre Dame in a Saturday pre matinee performance for Halloween.
ED- You were firs seen on film in 1988 in ‘Torch Song Trilogy’ and then in 1992 played the character ‘Big Ox’ in the feature ‘Dark Vengeance’. Please tell our readers about your roles in these and how they strengthened your commitment to your acting career.
PS-In TST I had about a three minute comedic scene with Harvey Firestien which was cut to about 15 seconds because of it’s controversial nature. I did what I was told to do, without giving any input as to how I thought it might be played. Later I thought I should have taken another approach, rather than keeping it like the stage play. At the time, I did not feel it was my place to suggest a different approach. Harvey was a blast to work with. He is riot all the time, making everyone laugh. Part of it is the essence of his raspy voice. After that I realized I should always take dramatic license to suggest another approach. After all, they did choose me. In “DV” I played a drug crazed killer in the future who wheels a shotgun around a lot, has sex with his wife and kills her by accident because of the drug induced frenzy and then gets blown up by the hero. That one taught me how much fun you can have while being on a shoot for a week in the desert.
ED- Please tell us about the films themselves and the themes behind them.
PS-TST was a msg about how a child is gay from birth, and the trials and tribulations a gay person has to deal with in their life. It was a great msg, although everyone isn’t always ready for that one. It was the screen adaptation from the Tony award winning play of the same name which was written by, and stared Harvey Firestien who also won the Tony for best actor on Broadway.
ED- In 2009 you played the part of Sheridan Pike in the Short ‘Beachcomber’. What was the story about and tell us about the character that you played?
ED- The following year saw you perform in the Video Short, ‘Poker Night’ as the character, ‘Damien’. Please explain your role in this to our readers.
PS-Damien is the Devil’s advocate who plays a group of friends against each other in a time limit poker game to save their lives, (if they beat me) while their friend tries to see if he can find the money he owes me. I am the central character in the short, which is also a concept for a full length feature. It has been entered in about 9 festivals and has done very well in the first two getting some awards. I believe Santa Barbara festival is next.
ED- You were superb in your role as Marlon Brando, Sr. in the film ‘Brando-Unauthorized’ and lent great credence to the film and the history behind it. What information did you study to play this part so well?
PS-As soon as I got the part I went home and started reading Marlon Brandos’ Biography and try to find what I could on his mother and father. There wasn’t a lot of info on them, but enough to dictate what their behavior may have been like knowing how alcoholism effects one’s emotions. Most of us have had someone (aunt, uncle or friend), or parents that we have seen in our lives that are afflicted with this condition. Lucky for me my mom did not drink or smoke.
ED- What are your expectations for this project and tell us how you interacted with the other cast members in it?
PS-I’m hoping this film does as well as the reviews I have gotten from those who have seen it. It’s a sad story about a man who affected many of us in the acting field, and how sometime you can’t get away from the way your life impacts you as a child. Working with the cast was wonderful, especially working with Damian Chapa. He allows you to bring “you” to the table. Also, working with Patricia Healy (Brando’s mother) helped give a lot to my character.
ED- What other genre films are you looking to appear in and where do you see yourself five years from now?
PS- Westerns seem to be coming back, I have a look for that. I enjoy playing the heavies. Something you learn to do growing up in the streets of Detroit and Saigon. One learns those characters in the streets of the world, not an acting school. In 5 years I would like to see me having some juicy roles in some major films that have something to say about life, and land a solid role on a TV program. Maybe make the A list? Five years might be too long though.
ED- Phil, I particularly loved your performance in ‘Brando-Unauthorized’ and being able to meet with you after the show. Please promise to keep in touch with us as I can foresee a remarkable career ahead for you. Thank you for spending your time with us and we look to hear again from you soon.
PS- Thank you for having me here and acknowledging my work.