David Dastmalchian is playing Nelson in the upcoming film “Sushi Girl”. David appeared in “The Dark Knight” opposite Heath Ledger as part of his team. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about his role in “Sushi Girl” and also what he has planned next.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got involved with “Sushi Girl” and the role of Nelson?
David Dastmalchian: Well I came across the breakdown for the film when I first got to LA and was really intrigued. I ended up tracing it back to Destin Pfaff on Facebook of all places. I reached out to him about meeting up and talking about the film on a professional level. It turned out that he’d recently seen me in something and the next day we were having lunch. I met with him and Kern Saxton and the other producers and we just sat around and chatted for hours about the film. I was really excited. So from there I got the role of Nelson. He is the driver of the group. He is trying to fit in with the gang and be a part of the team, not just the driver. No one really gives Nelson the respect that he deserves, so he’s going to find a way to get it. It is a really cool part.
MG: How was it working with such an amazing variety of talent?
DD: It was amazing. Everyone involved is so legendary and well known. You are going to get to see a whole other side of Mark Hamill, he is really fantastic in this film. I have just been blessed to work with so many great people. I came down to LA over a year ago after coming from Chicago and New York and I really have had some wonderful opportunities.
MG: Have you had a chance to see the film yet and if so what was your reaction?
DD: Yes, I saw a rough cut and I was blown away. The ensemble is a blast, the look of the film is gorgeous. It is just like nothing I have ever seen before. It does everything that I want to see in a movie like this. It’s fun, scary, disturbing and I can’t wait to see it again.
MG: Compare working on a film like “The Dark Knight” to “Sushi Girl”?
DD: That is a good question. Believe it or not they are not too much different. “The Dark Knight” had a very large budget and mammoth crew but when I was doing my couple of scenes, it felt like an indie that just happened to have a great deal of support. The atmosphere that they created was very conducive to making discoveries and being able to play. Same with ‘Sushi Girl’. And even though “Sushi Girl” didn’t have that kind of money, it’s so well planned and thought through that it feels like it does. When films like these have a strong idea behind them and a team of people who really care, who think outside the standard box in creating it, it shows on the screen. When you go on set and the people making the film are so ready to go then it doesn’t really feel much more different to me. I am working on a film with friends called “Say When”, it’s a micro budget but there are incredible things happening because the director can use the obstacles of budget restraint as a way to come up with some imaginative solutions. The creative process, if approached the right way, can really thrive under restrictions. So I guess I keep learning that some amazing work can get done when the creative team has strong ideas and talent and vision to execute those ideas – whether it’s five thousand, a million or a hundred million dollars behind a film.
MG: What do you have in the works next?
DD: Oh man, trying to keep busy. I just finished a film called “Brutal” in New York with Kamal Ahmed (a former “Jerky Boy” who now makes indie films). That was really great and challenging. I also did a film called “Death Method” with Malcolm McDowell, written and directed by Frank Merle. Getting to throw down with Malcolm was definitely one of the highlights of my life as an actor thus far. Richard Day’s hilarious, insane sequel to his cult hit, ‘Girls Will be Girls’. The last year and a half, I’ve been working with my friend, Greg Fitzsimmons (‘Miss Ohio’) on his next feature, ‘Say When’. I can’t even describe this film right now. It costars several close friends, including Grace Rex (Contagion, The Dilemma) and we had to go to some pretty dark places. I am so fortunate to work with close friends who happen to be brilliant, as well. Grace and I are getting ready to launch our new comedy series for the web, “Premature”, which shoots in NYC. I’ve got an upcoming collaboration with Hugh Schulze in Detroit in which I play a painter who is really struggling and forms a strange bond with an unlikely friend. I can’t say much about it yet, but my long-time collaborator and friend, Jimmy McDermott and I have something pretty insane in the works. It’s been very cool getting to do the film festival circuit with Jimmy with our short film, KEEN.