One of my favorite characters in the new horror thriller, A Dark Place (read our review – here), is Cameron played by Christopher Donnellon. There’s just a special charm about him that really stood out and I can’t wait to see upcoming projects from him. Until then check out my interview with him where we talk about who’d he like to work within this business, how he got the role for Cameron, favorite scenes, and more! A Dark Place is now available on Digital and Blu-Ray.
Alex, is a twenty-something struggling to put his life back together after past, reckless mistakes render his job search hopeless. While pressure at home mounts from his pregnant girlfriend, he runs into an old friend who changes his fortunes. Just when things are looking up, Alex discovers a secret that sends him into a self-destructive, downward spiral and brings his two best friends along with him.
PopHorror – Hey Christopher, thanks for talking with me! How did you get involved in acting?
Christopher Donnellon – I actually didn’t get into acting until after high school when I was working at Blockbuster Video, back when they existed. I fell even more in love with film, especially performance, and decided to try out some community theater to test the waters. I absolutely loved it, so I auditioned for a school in New York and moved out there.
PopHorror – Oh man, I miss Blockbuster Video. If you could work with any actor in the business who would it be?
Christopher Donnellon – I don’t care if you hate me, you have to know that I can’t give you just one! BUT if it had to be just one, I would say Robert Downey Jr. I am a huge believer that honesty is a priority for performance, and I can say that every moment of his that I have seen has come from such an honest place, and I would love to observe his process on set. However, I could also say that I admire the hell out of Shia LaBeouf’s intensity and artistic integrity, so that would be something that I pray would be contagious and would love to be on set with. And lastly, I swear, I would say a young Dustin Hoffman. I’m talking 70s through the 80s Dustin Hoffman. I heard he was difficult to work with because he was so committed to the projects and wanted things his way, but that it brought out such great performances, not only for him but anyone he was in a scene with. That disregard for concerning oneself with the worry of inconveniencing others because of your dedication to the project is something that fascinates me. Okay, I’ll stop there!
PopHorror – Haha, those are fantastic choices and I completely agree with them all. Your newest film A Dark Place is a thriller drama. Do you enjoy that genre? If so, what is your favorite thriller or horror film?
Christopher Donnellon – I do enjoy the genre, although thriller-drama is a difficult one for me to define. I would say, in terms of a crime thriller, I really enjoyed Gone Baby Gone, as it not only takes you through the mystery of the crime, but its ending creates the atmosphere for a conversation on whether what was done was right. I enjoy the moral dilemma of the conclusion if that makes sense (laughs).
PopHorror – Totally. That’s a great one. How did your role for Cameron in A Dark Place come about?
Christopher Donnellon – I was actually friends with Chris Pinero (the director), but had never worked with him. However, I had seen some of his work and was thoroughly impressed. He works so hard and with such passion, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw that he was going to be working on a feature. I didn’t want to look like the guy who only called him when I saw that he was doing well, so I figured I would give him the necessary praise the next time we spoke. He ended up calling me a few days after I read about the project and I actually thought it was a pocket-dial and didn’t answer! (laughs) But when he called me right back, I knew it was intentional.
Shortly into us talking, and my congratulating him on the film, he admitted that that was the reason for the call. He told me about the Cameron role, sent me the script, I accepted and we got the ball rolling. Funny thing is, this happened after another actor didn’t work out, so I found out about the role eight days before shooting was scheduled to start!
PopHorror – It was destiny! I loved your character. Not only is he one of the best friends you can have, but he is also just a good person in general. He shows loyalty even when all odds are against him. Have you ever been put in a situation like that? One that you’re not sure how to handle?
Christopher Donnellon – I would say that I consider myself to be a pretty good friend, but Cameron definitely has me beat. A consistent problem of mine that I have is that I constantly overwhelm myself with things to do, so I am often times in situations that I don’t know how to handle. So I try and let go as often as I can and only do what I can. Finding out about my first feature eight days before shooting began, and knowing that the whole thing was to be shot in 12 days, was a huge task. But it’s on these occasions that I realize that I can’t possibly do everything, so I do what I can, let go of what I can’t, and trust those around me.
I was fortunate that my manager at my “day” job was a friend of mine and a good guy, so I was actually able to tell him a week before that I needed the time off. And I was lucky that Pinero was such a great and understanding director, so he was patient with me when it was needed, and created a safe enough space to be comfortable enough to take risks. That’s not me blowing smoke or anything. In fact, I feel bad because I don’t know if I’ve articulated that to him as much as I should have. So to answer your question, I have definitely been in situations where I’ve had no idea how to handle, although not to the same scale as Cameron! (laughs)
PopHorror – Haha, I totally know what you’re saying. I’m pretty much the same way. There are some great moments throughout the film. I love the part where your character beats up Keith, something that was long due. Do you have any favorite moments or scenes?
Christopher Donnellon – (laughs) Yes, he for sure had it coming and I’m glad it got to be Cam! I like the lighter scenes with Shawn and Alex a lot. I know they don’t seem as impactful, but it’s Cameron’s devotion to the two of them that results in his involvement of their matters. And (spoiler) kissing Jasmine of course. Not just because Veronica is actually incredibly gorgeous, but also because it was such a big win for Cam.
PopHorror – This is true, I was rooting for him (you) the whole time! Your character’s relationship with Jay and Luke’s characters is pretty strong in this film. It felt like you guys were friends for a long time. Did you guys have that same bond offset?
Christopher Donnellon – I love those guys. Even though they are vastly different from their characters, a credit to both of their performances, I can say that they made it easy to love their characters because of their actual character in real life.
PopHorror – That’s great to hear. Any upcoming projects?
Christopher Donnellon – I have a couple of things in the works, all in the preliminary stages of development though. Due to start filming Fourth Wall, an independent feature comedy by Omar Dzlieri about this hole in the wall comedy club, that’s going to be hilarious. And I did work with David Rodriguez, one of the producers on A Dark Place, on a comedy series called Trying and hopefully, we’ll be doing a second season of that soon so my family and friends can stop bugging me about it!
PopHorror – Fingers crossed. I can’t wait to see more of your work!