SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Ross Alzina: I am a person that loves life and the experiences that life offer. I relish the fact that I had the opportunity to pick and choose my own path in life.
As far as jobs, I’ve had many different kinds. I would choose with the philosophy of,… that job looks interesting, I’d like to do that.
I’m retired now, but there is nothing in life that I can look back on and say… I wish I would have tried that.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Ross Alzina: I never wanted to become an actor. I wanted to be a stuntman. Of course looking back there is a little acting required in that, but I didn’t think about that.
I had just finished doing a live Wild West stunt show in Las Vegas when a fellow came up to me and said,… hey, would you like to be in a movie. I thought about it a minute and said,… sure, why not. So I got a non speaking extra part… but while on the set I studied the actors an I was impressed by their talent and I thought,… that job looks interesting, I’d like to do that.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Mute Dollar Baby film?
Ross Alzina: My good friend Rob Darren introduced me to the project.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Ross Alzina: I think people relate to it because any part of the story can happen in real life… maybe to you, someone you know, a story in the news, etc
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Ross Alzina: Neither, Rob asked me if I liked any of the parts, and I said I’d like to play the priest if it’s ok with you. The script was already written but I asked Rob if I could make some changes if I thought it needed it. He said alright.
SKSM: You worked with Rob Darren on this film, how was that?
Ross Alzina: Working with Rob as a director is a dream come true for an actor. First he is a wonderful human being with an endearing personality… no alpha here. Second, he has a vision and he knows what direction he wants the project to go. Third, he lets you know what he wants in a character, but is very open to suggestions because in his mind the commitment to excellence of the project is the utmost importance.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Ross Alzina: We were in the parking lot of a Catholic Church waiting to film, I was dressed as the priest and as the congregation exited the church, they thought I was a real priest and treated me as such.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Ross Alzina: I’m probably the worst at keeping in touch with people, but I still communicate with Rob from time to time.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Ross Alzina: I’m in Mexico working on my tan.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Ross Alzina: I do like Steven King’s work. Mostly I love the plot twists and the fact that the characters behavior can change just when you thought you had them figured out.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Ross Alzina: In spite of me being a terrible person for keeping in touch,… know that everyone I’ve worked with in the industry holds a special memory for me and will always be remembered in my heart.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Ross Alzina: I sincerely hoped that you enjoyed Mute. We as cast and crew gave our very best to make sure the quality of our work was something special and that you the audience would be able to enjoy it to the fullest.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Ross Alzina: I would like to add one thing… I researched the accent for my character ( Father Callahan the Priest). I went on YouTube and found that an “A” list vocal and dialect coach had tutored Leanardo DiCaprio in “Gangs of New York” his rating of 1.4 out of 5 was one of the worst ever for an Irish accent. I looked at two more websites of vocal coaches and read their reviews… both scored very low for their interpretation of the Irish accent.
So I thought if “A” list vocal coaches and profesional language coaches got these kinds of reviews… I was in a no win situation.
So I decided to give my character his own dialogue and accent, one that I thought fit him, not copying Barry Fitzgerald or any particular Irish providence or dialect… I just improvised.
Of course I got some negative comments on the final product. One I particularly liked was… “that was the worst Irish accent I’ve ever heard”.
Since the film never said where the priest was from, and from the thousands of accents and dialects in the world, this critic offered up his own opinion that the priests accent was Irish… my goodness, I’m happy, that’s all I could ask for,… a win in a no win situation.