Interview With Paul Ben-Victor For ‘Collide’

Collide, the latest flick by Mukunda Michael Dewil, really surprised me.

With a vague synopsis:

A gripping thriller chronicling three couples over the course of one fateful night in an LA restaurant…

I really had no idea what to think and went into it totally blind. I’m so glad I did. Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Kat Graham, Ryan Phillipe, Drea de Matteo, Jim Gaffigan, and Aisha Dee (Sissy 2022 – our review), Collide blends sensitive topics like drugs and racism, with deceit and depression, into a thriller that pulls you in and takes you on a roller coaster ride. To celebrate the release of the film, I chatted with actor Paul Ben-Victor via Zoom, and we talked about the film, what keeps him passionate, what’s up next, and more!

PopHorror: Thank you so much for your time. I really loved Collide, and I’m a huge fan, so I’m excited to speak with you. What intrigued you about the film and made you want to be a part of it?

Paul Ben-Victor: My agent said, “You should do this.” 

PopHorror: I guess that makes it easy.

Paul Ben-Victor: It was December, the end of the year, and this director, Mukunda Dewil – I was interested in him, primarily. Nice cast. We’re fans of Jim Gaffigan. We watch him and he makes us laugh in his specials. We just watched one last night. Some good comedy. He’s great. So that, Jim, David James Elliott I know from the old days, and Ryan Phillippe, obviously. So it was a nice cast, nice group, and she said, “Go do this fun little role,” and there I was.

PopHorror: The cast was phenomenal. That definitely was a big draw for me as well so I can see why it sparked your interest.

Paul Ben-Victor: It was terrific and great on the day on set as well. They were really bringing it.

PopHorror: Was there anything that you were adamant about bringing to your character?

Paul Ben-Victor: I had a wonderful rapport with the director. I generally just come in with whatever I bring. We had a great rapport; we tried a bunch of things. He left me to my own devices, if you will. But we had a good time in there. We just tried a bunch of different things, some improv, some wonderful little moments, and he let me go. So that’s what I always enjoy, for the director, to say, “Do it. Do your thing. What’ve you got?” and we tweak it from there. It was a fun few scenes. One big sequence with the big shoot out with the drugs and guns flying all over. A big standoff. It was a fun scene.

PopHorror: That was a lot of fun. You’ve had a really long and illustrious career. I have to say that Feast of the Seven Fishes is now one of my favorite Christmas movies, and I watch it every year. What has helped you stay passionate?

Paul Ben-Victor: That’s sort of layered, that question. It’s a good question. What helps me stay passionate? I love it. In a nutshell, I love getting a job. I love it, especially if I’m called and they say, “Will you come do this?” as an offer. It’s Christmas. It’s ice cream. It’s a lot of fun. A friend of mine used to say, “Who you pulling off your shelf? Are you going to be a Russian guy? Are you going to be Greek? A Mexican bandito?” I’m not getting those roles anymore. I love that. I love just being able to take little pieces of old characters. It’s kind of like being a chef in a kitchen. You’ve used a lot of these ingredients and maybe you’re going to try something new. It’s not conscious, it just comes out. It just… keep painting. Stay in the studio and keep throwing stuff up on the canvas. It’s a joy.

Paul Ben-Victor in Feast of the Seven Fishes

PopHorror: It makes going to work fun when you enjoy it, and it’s something that you look forward to. It brings out the best in you.

Paul Ben-Victor: Yes, it’s not work for us. The work is, oftentimes, just getting seen. That’s the work. I’ve seen it at every level. I think we all suffer through it a little bit sometimes. And then sometimes you need a break, and it’s like, “Woah!” and you can’t say no. You’ve got to be somewhere. We have a trip to Italy in September, and I hope that whatever I might get will carve around that little window, so I don’t have to mess with that.

PopHorror: What is up next for you?

Paul Ben-Victor: Good question. I’ve got a few things coming out. There’s Emancipation with Will Smith and directed by Antoine Fuqua. That’s coming out. It’s a big, epic Civil War slave movie. Did that. Excited about that. Just did a series that Seth Rogen is producing. We just did Pam and Tommy together, so I think that links that together. And then a Gerard Butler movie. It’s called The Plane. And we’ll see. A couple things on the burner at the moment, so I’ll let you know when one of them solidifies. Not sure at the moment which one is coming next, so we’ll see. Those are some of the things coming out.

PopHorror: I’m excited for Collide to come out because I really enjoyed it. It’s one of those movies where you think you know what’s going on, but you really have no idea. It has so many surprises.

Paul Ben-Victor: And you stay gripped the whole time because from the moment it starts, or early on anyway. The stakes are high. Literally plugged into explosives and some other things. Crazy relationships. Gaffigan’s character. I like movies that have this woven aspect to it and separate stories, and they all weave in and out. You’re lucky you’ve seen it. I haven’t seen it. I saw the trailer and that’s it, so I’m trying to imagine the rest. So you got to see it, good for you. I’m looking forward to it.

PopHorror: It was really nice to see Jim Gaffigan, because you mentioned his comedy. It was nice to see him in something that is completely different than what he’s known for. It was such a serious role. I don’t think he said one funny thing in the whole movie. It’s cool to see someone who is known for comedy or have a specialty, and then you see them do something completely different and outside of the box for them. That was super cool.

Paul Ben-Victor Yeah, he’s terrific. I had no doubt he was going to be very strong as a dramatic actor. Not all comedians are actors, but even when he’s doing his comedy, it’s very grounded. He’s not an over-the-top, flamboyant comedian. He’s a good actor. 

PopHorror: Just one last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie?

Paul Ben-Victor: How do you know that I have one? 

PopHorror: Everyone has something that they come back to.

Paul Ben-Victor: Rear Window. Hitchcock. That would be my favorite scary movie.

Thank you so much, Paul, for taking the time to speak with us. Check out the trailer for Collide below, and you can watch the film on VOD now!

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, dog mommy, book worm, EIC of PopHorror.

Check Also

Greg Pritikin Talks on Masterful Subversion and How He Wants to Present Horror in ‘The Mistress’ – Interview

Note:  This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor …