SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Danny Houk: Sure, my name is Danny Houk and I’m an actor and comedian in Chicago who’s originally from the DC area.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Danny Houk: Before moving to Chicago (which was 6 years ago) I had no performance experience. Then my first week in the city I saw the improv set at Second City and I remember going “Ohhh, I want to do that.” So I started with improv and then it snowballed in a fun way into more acting and standup.
SKSM: How did you become involved in A very tight place Dollar Baby film?
Danny Houk: I’d auditioned for Stephen and the Angry Mule team for a different project they did called Eyelash (which is a great film if you haven’t checked it out). They decided to go with someone else for that role unfortunately but then I was lucky and had Stephen reach out about A Very Tight Place and ask if I’d like to audition.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Danny Houk: That’s a great question. I mean it’s a story that has it all. Revenge, warring neighbors, porta potty entrapment, what more do you need? I think a lot of folks have used a porta potty (if not you’re not missing out) and I know I’ve always had a moment of fear inside where I think “what if I couldn’t get out of here?” I think this story lets people see that at a safe distance.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Danny Houk: I did have to audition. I filmed a video audition and then came in to do a callback with Joette Waters who plays Ginny in the film.
SKSM: You worked with Stephen Tramontana on this film, how was that?
Danny Houk: Amazing and not just because I got to hang out with his dog on set J. He was great to work with though, Stephen does a really good job of communicating what he’s looking for in the shot which makes my job easy. Plus all the people they had work on this movie were incrediblely kind and funny people. It made for a very fun set. I didn’t think I’d have that much fun being trapped in a porta potty and covered in fake turds, but life surprises you.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Danny Houk: One of my favorite ones was when we were shooting the exteriors which was done in one of the oldest housing projects in Chicago. And Catherine Woods (who is incredibly talented and did all the makeup and effects) was covering me in gunk to prepare for when the audience sees me coming out of the porta potty. I just remember all these people opening their doors and having this “what the hell is going on” look on their faces. Because there I am, standing on a tarp having wet dirt put all over me. That was fun a moment.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Danny Houk: I do! I actually live not far from Stephen and his wife Sara so I’m lucky and get to see them around the neighborhood.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Danny Houk: I just did a guest spot on a political thriller webseries called City in a Jar which I think will come out later this year and we just started filming on a different webseries called Movie Night. Besides that I’m just bouncing around doing standup at different spots around Chicago.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Danny Houk: I am. I tend to read more sci-fi books but I’ve read a few of his short story collections and then others like The Shining and Cujo. I’m in awe of how his brain works in such a delightfully scary way.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Danny Houk: I am terrified of scary movies. I won’t watch them. Ernest Scared Stupid was too much for me. Fun fact though, when you’re in a scary movie it’s not nearly as scary.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Danny Houk: Thank you for interviewing me! I hope that they enjoy the movie and that they think we did right by the book. We tried our best.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Danny Houk: If you want to follow the film I’d say follow @AngryMule on Facebook and updates will be posted there.