SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Chris Gonzalez: My name is Chris Gonzalez, I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I work as a Manager for a beer wholesaler in Philadelphia. Aside from that, I do commercial and film acting, along with many other hobbies such as writing, playing instruments and whatever sport you put in front of me.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Chris Gonzalez: The month I graduated college, the local college bookstore asked me to model for their clothing line which I never modeled in my life, but they offered me money so I did it). During the shoot the photographer urged me to audition for a pilot that his friend was casting for at a local community college. Albeit, I had no training or knowledge whatsoever of acting I got the role. Then, the first day of shooting and the entire filming process coupled with the creativity, I was immediately hooked.
SKSM: How did you become involved in The things they left behind Dollar Baby film?
Chris Gonzalez: I saw a post online from a site that I used to use for castings, so I sent my dismal headshots to Pablo and he asked me to audition. Before that I was not familiar with the story at all considering King has done so many great stories over his career.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Chris Gonzalez: I think the fact that it directly deals with September 11, 2001 is a major factor. Also, even though it’s a short story it touches all the emotions from love to anger and sadness to happiness. I also believe that almost anyone can pick from the wide array of characters and connect to them in a way, whether it is the troubled recluse Scott, or the kind hearted, inquisitive Paula or even the comedic relief of Bruce. Nevertheless, it definitely deals with the greatest loss that America witnessed domestically, which happened so recently and unfortunately.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Chris Gonzalez: I met them in New Jersey and prepared a very emotional classical theatre monologue (which to this day I haven’t done a lick of theater) and immediately Pablo and I hit it off. Creatively I think we definitely believed in each other for the film.
SKSM: You worked with Pablo Maysonet on this film, how was that?
Chris Gonzalez: Pablo was amazing and I say that wholeheartedly. He not only shares the compassion and knowledge of film and the particular niche that he does, but he also has the creative awareness that many directors I’ve worked with just don’t possess. Pablo was not only able to balance filming and regulating the crew while shooting, but he also knew when to dial in with the cast and really portray what he wanted in the scene. I’ve rarely worked with directors that have conversations with actors as far as what should be done in the scene and how it’s accomplished. A lot of the time it’s just the director saying what they want and that’s it. However, with Pablo it was more of a conversation which in turn let the actor creatively spread their wings and made for a much more genuine performance.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Chris Gonzalez: We had quite a few laughs on set, but when it came time to dial in especially because it was such an emotional and serious film, it was a pretty serious set. We shot on location in Manhattan which was an adventure. We filmed guerilla style and bare bones because it was mainly establishing shots. It was a great bonding experience though.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Chris Gonzalez: I keep in contact with a few people via social media, but everyone has seemingly moved on to other locations and other projects.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Chris Gonzalez: I am a big fan of Stephen Kings work, even though I’m somewhat of a scaredy-cat who rarely watches scary movies, thrillers on the other hand I very much enjoy. The Jaunt is a short story about time travel which I very much enjoy. My favorite of his work however would have to be The Mist. Even though the film adaptation didn’t get the credit it deserved I thought it portrayed the story well. Regardless, the ending of that story is so original and dark that it’s no wonder Stephen King is the greatest horror and science fiction author of all time.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Chris Gonzalez: I’m the two time back to back 1997-1998 Blockbuster video game champion.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Chris Gonzalez: Thank you for your continual interest in lesser known stories such as this. Without fans like us, these stories would never have breath and we’d have a box office full of super hero movies and no real art.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Chris Gonzalez: I appreciate you reaching out to hear what I thought of this great story and the readers for their interest in a small but moving project like The Things They Left Behind.