If you’ve seen any of Actor David Banks movies, notably the recently praised horror/thriller Cut!, you are very much aware of the talent I was privileged to be sharing an afternoon with. Not sure if you’ve ever seen David Banks? Oh trust me, you have. He’s been everywhere on your television, as he’s appeared in over 100 commercials. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect interviewing someone whose comedic nature is so intoxicating, and yet can play an unhinged character with an eerily amount of ease. Meeting with David was a pleasure, so much so the interview almost didn’t happen, simply because he’s so easy to talk with, beyond acting and the film world. And surely, there was no shortage of laughter either. There’s just one major drawback to interviewing David…the moment the interview is over.
Of course we have to talk a bit about Cut!. You not only acted, but also co-wrote Cut! with Director David Rountree. Tell me a little bit about how co-writing the film came about.
We were in talks with one of the major studios about writing a comedy that we’d been green lighted for. In the meantime we decided to dive into another project. We decided to tap into something we are both fans of, which is horror. We wanted to write something we both know and love and appreciate and grew up admiring. So we decided to write a horror film, but not just your typical horror, I’d say horror more along the lines of horror/thriller. And we thought about writing something that would be not only twisted and shocking, but also out of the norm for what we would normally do on the acting side.
During the film making process what were some of the more interesting things that came about?
You meet these people along the way that also want to be a part of it, which was just magical for us. David (Rountree) is great at everything he does, he’s a genius. But one thing missing for us was a strong trailer. So we were thinking how do we find someone to put together a trailer for us? So I said why don’t we look and find like 5 of our top horror trailers. There was one for me that really stood out and it was just labeled “College Horror Trailer”. I watched it and was blown away by it. Turned out the kid who put it together lived out in the UK and it was for a school project. He did it all himself. I was thinking we have to get a hold of this guy. So I reached out and asked if he would be willing to do a trailer for our film, told him I’d pay him, and that I love his work. He wrote back within an hour, which I didn’t expect him to do. He said “I’d absolutely love to do a trailer for you guys, but two conditions. Can I do two of them, and can I do it for free?” I was like “no no no, we will pay you, I love your work.” Turns out he was only 19, and did this for a school project. What he brought back to us for our trailer was incredible. I couldn’t have found any better if I tried. It was just meant to be. We ended up then hiring him on for all of the VFX. He did such a beautiful job.
At that point we were able to bring this to our distributor and also to our sound lady, which I have to mention, Solange Schwalbe, who has done Pirate of the Caribbean, Empire Strikes Back, Gremlins, Goonies, all these movies I grew up just loving. She was responsible for doing the sound. She saw the trailer and some of the stuff we’d done and said “I haven’t done horror yet, but I’d love for this to be the first.” I was like wow, this is so great! So, she came on board and brought her magic to it, and her team as well. It took our movie to an entirely different level.
Tell me a little bit about after the film, and the response you guys received. Were you surprised at all about the response to Cut!?
Yes, I definitely was. No matter what you do, the critics can be a little harsh, especially in the horror world. If there’s not enough blood, not enough gore, if there’s too many twists and turns, someone will find something. But for the most part the reviews have been incredibly positive. People have wrote it’s not what they expected, which is really nice to hear. That’s something we wanted to do too, we wanted to take this to another level as far as not just your typical horror film. What we wanted to do was pull that Hitchcock vibe, where you have to watch it a few times to get the full effect. We have had people write in and comment and say “Yeah and I’m going to watch it again tonight,” and that’s the kind of stuff that really makes my day.
Are you and David (Rountree) going to work on more projects together?
Yes! We are actually talking about Re Cut! right now which will be in the works. We are going to make it just as dark and just as demented, and even more twists.
What else have you been working on?
Ah yes, I just finished a film I am really proud of called Goetia. The whole summoning of the demons kind of thing. It’s a really great project. Everyone involved was amazing, really phenomenal actors. It was a fun project to be working with so many talented people, it was a real gift. As an actor it doesn’t get any better than this. It brings out the best in you. The director was like “take it and run and make it your own.” Which was amazing. So excited about it because we could be free and improv and be creative. You can even surprise yourself as to what you can bring to the table. I’ll never forget driving home after the shoot and thinking this is going to be something really special.
Any particular character or personality you’d like to play?
Anything out of the norm or unsettling, or disturbed is the best way to put it. Anytime someone can say, and I know this is going to sound weird, but can say they see someone and don’t like them because how they played their role was so convincing and so dark and disturbing it’s like “I don’t think I like you.” I’ve done that before myself. I didn’t like them because it was so good, what they did. When you rub someone the wrong way, its a good thing.
How do you get out of a let’s say dark character and ease back into being David?
I call mom. That’s when you know you’ve gone down that edgy path when its hard for yourself, to pull yourself out of it. I call mom, and just tell her why I’m calling and that I just want to hear her voice. I ask how her day is and when I’m going to see her next. It’s great. I’m just living to make her proud and happy.
What are some of your favorite and maybe least favorite aspects to acting?
Well, I can tell you the least favorite part is the waiting game for sure…waiting to be able to top what you’ve done before. The best is when you shock yourself. There is a point in time where I think a lot of us say “I don’t really feel comfortable doing this or that, it isn’t really in my character to do this. I don’t think I want to do this.” But, those are the roles I like to take on because it’s not what I would normally do. So that’s the fun part for me. Also seeing what kind of magic is created in the editing room and how they make you look better.
What music do you put on to get inspired to get into a certain character or role? (a David inspired question)
I think more of the melodic rock. Anything that is more guitar based and that has a lot of feeling to it…Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and players that have a lot of feeling, I love to put on. For me it touches me more than any song that has lyrics. Maybe it’s because I can’t play guitar very well, so I’ve always admired players that play from the heart. So if I need to get into a deep dramatic character, I’ll usually pop on Joe or Yngwie.
In general what/who inspires you both professionally, and just in life generally?
My brother inspires me BIG TIME! He is the man I will never be. An amazing father and absolutely great at everything he does. He is one of those guys you hang around and he just makes you want to be a better person. I feel
selfish sometimes wanting to hog a lot of his time and hoping some of him rubs off on me.
Can you share with us what a week typically looks like for a hard working actor like yourself?
Most of it is spent making lists and goals. I’m extra hard on myself and spend most of my time thinking about what I need to be doing more of, as well as wishing there were more hours in the day. Michael Kane once said “This
isn’t a full time job, it’s a full time obsession.”
What do you do for fun, outside of acting?
If it’s not behind my drums, it’s smothering my family. I try and see them as often as I can. They keep me grounded.
Words of wisdom for newbies?
Find your niche, and what you are best at and run with it, fight for it to be seen! If it’s comedy take it seriously, and if its drama, bring your pain into the room with you.
What are you most grateful for?
All the experiences and memories that make me who I am today. Good and bad, and GOD giving me the patience and passion for the drive to keep going each day.