SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Erik Anthony Russo: Hello there! I’m Erik Russo and I’m an actor, writer, director, cinematographer, producer and the sole reason why most of my ex girlfriends drink themselves to sleep at night.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Erik Anthony Russo: At the age of 41, I was a divorced, single dad, with a mediocre job that hit a glass ceiling with my extrovertive humor, energy and motivation in my home state of Rhode Island. I knew the only way to grow, learn and progress was to move out to Los Angeles.
SKSM: How did you become involved in The Woman in the Room Dollar Baby film? Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Erik Anthony Russo: I remember Dustin Ferguson announcing that he was directing an adaptation of the Stephen King short story, The Woman In The Room. I privately messaged him and was wondering how I could be involved in the project as I was very fond of King’s work myself. Surprisingly, Dustin revealed that he already planned on casting me as the lead character, Johnny, in the film and swore me to secrecy. I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity and especially thankful to working alongside Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Erik Anthony Russo: I think it’s the overwhelming decision of doing something immoral for justifiable reasons. Many of us have had to choose wrong for right on several occasions in our lives. God knows I have.
SKSM: You worked with Dustin Ferguson on this film, how was that?
Erik Anthony Russo: I have worked with director Dustin Ferguson over the last few years on such hit cult horror movies including Axed to Pieces, 5G Zombies, Angry Asian Murder Hornets and Ebola Rex. It has always been a fun experience working with him on these films. Carefree moments mixed with truly campy, well-written stories. But with this Stephen King adaptation, I was able to see Dustin in a different light as he was very passionate and respectful to the source material and was a lifelong fan of King’s works.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Erik Anthony Russo: I remember going over to Sally Kirkland’s apartment at least once a week to rehearse and run lines with her. Sally is a gifted method actress and she wanted to build that connection between her and I to make it believable onscreen that we were mother and son. She instilled some of her incredible knowledge to help me go through my character’s emotions, understand his thought process and reasoning behind the deadly ending of the film.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Erik Anthony Russo: They’re up in my DMs every damn day…heh heh. Seriously though, I’m very much in contact with all involved. Dustin has since cast me in such films as Zombi VIII: Urban Decay and Rattlers 2 and even had me do some occasional cinematography on his projects. He likes to think of everyone that’s involved with his films as a “fun little film family” and I couldn’t agree more.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Erik Anthony Russo: A lot of writing at the moment. I’m putting together a comedy pilot that I plan on shopping around for a streaming service and most likely involving a lot of familiar faces in Dustin Ferguson’s films. I’m also working with an author from my home state of Rhode Island, bringing his first novel, The Dog Bowl, to the screen as a feature film or potential series . Also some cinematography with a planned documentary set in Western Massachusetts shooting late summer 2021. And I can’t forget acting. I’m wrapping up director Sophiah Koikas’ vampire-themed feature film Count Vlad of Fagaras in a supporting role at the end of May 2021.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Erik Anthony Russo: Huge fan. His film adaptations can be hit or miss, respectively. For every Misery or Shawshank Redemption, you’re always going to have a Langoliers or Thinner…but such is life, isn’t it?
You only can appreciate the good after experiencing the…not so good.
But nobody needs to experience that 1997 TV version of The Shining ever again though.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Erik Anthony Russo: The accent is real. It’s not fake.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Erik Anthony Russo: Please check out my IMDb page for my latest projects and news. And as always…thank you for all your support and giving this guy a chance. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5035040/
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Erik Anthony Russo: I hate cranberry ANYTHING. Cranberry juice. Cranberry sauce. Keep it away from me in any form. It’s the garlic to my Dracula.