“Fast and Fierce: Death Race” is an exciting new car-filled thriller movie. A few years after getting his big break opposite Sam Neill in the NBC telemovie “Submerged”, actor Michael DeVorzon is headlining movies. The actor, who stars in the adrenaline-pumping new action-thriller “Fast and Fierce: Death Race,” talks about his journey.
Meagan Meehan (MM): Tell us about your beginnings, Michael. How did you get into ‘the biz’?
Michael DeVorzon (MD): Well it all started when my Mom was pregnant with me and her baby shower was thrown at the Playboy Mansion by Hugh Hefner’s long-time girlfriend, Barbie Benton. My Dad was a songwriter, composer and my Mom was a model. I grew up around the biz and there were a lot of people in the entertainment industry around. I started acting in plays as a young kid and later on got my first job in production for the television show “Melrose Place.” After three years in production, I started working in front of the camera.
MM: And was there one role in particular that really opened doors for you? Or is “Fast and Fierce: Death Race” that film?
MD: One of my early breaks was an NBC movie of the week called “Submerged” directed by James Keach with a great cast that, included Sam Neil, filmed in Rome and Malta. It was a great experience and I really thought I had arrived. I thought the doors were going to be flying open after that but it didn’t quite work that way! Now I see all the roles I’ve had the opportunity to do as stepping stones to where I’m at today, right here, right now.
MM: Is there pressure, and some slight anxiety, knowing you’re anchoring a film?
MD: I never really thought about it. I had so much work to do, I was just focused on the day’s work, the next scene in front of me while trying to be mindful of the story and the arch of the character. I was one piece of the puzzle and I hope I did it justice.
MM: What kind of advice did director Jared Cohn give you in terms of how to play this character?
MD: This is my second movie with Jared and we developed a great rapport on the first one. He trusted that I had this character in me and he’s good at letting his actors go. If the scene wasn’t quite working, he would give us direction to steer it back on course. He worked with us on pacing a lot as that was important, being an action film. Jared would really put his surgeon gloves on when it came to blocking complex action scenes. There were some scenes where I was thinking to myself “how the hell are we going to do this and how the hell are we going to do it as quickly as we needed to.” The shoot moved at a blistering pace and in those moments, Jared would fly out of his director’s chair and transform into some sort of wizard and would start directing all these moving parts. I would be like “holy crap, we’re going to do this!”
MM: Is there anything that wasn’t on the page that you added?
MD: I riffed a bit but stayed pretty true to the written words. Jared wrote an added monologue for my character and I did a little rework on it to make it my own. I felt it was a cool moment because it exposed the inner world of my character.
MM: Would you compare the film to any other car-film?
MD: Both “The Fast and Furious” and “Death Race” franchises.
MM: Do you think now, with most people stuck at home, is an ideal time for a film like yours to be released?
MD: Maybe, I would think so but you never know. Some people are busier than ever! That being said, my heart goes out to everyone who is struggling right now during this pandemic, some people are apart from their loved ones and especially to those who have lost loved ones. May we all come out of this stronger and wiser.
MM: What’s coming up for you? Anything set?
MD: I have another movie that’s supposed to come out this year, a thriller and the first film I did with director Jared Cohn. I’m also developing several feature scripts I co-wrote as well as a 30-minute dark comedy for television.
MM: Are they talking about a sequel to this one yet?
MD: Haven’t heard anything yet, that would be fun.
MM: Where do you hope to be in ten years?
MD: Ideally, I would like to be more involved in the writing and production side and continue with my acting career and if I could combine all three, it would be a dream.
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Check out the movie’s trailer here: https://youtu.be/lkdtOYoayu8