Interview with Damien Puckler, Lt-Captain Will Hunter of STARFALL

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DamienPuckler_signedHeadshot_forASMDamien Puckler is one of the up and coming actors you are sure to see in some of your favorite television shows now and in the future, including the exciting new TV series Starfall that is currently in production. Starfall is a new series about a ragtag crew of humans who are struggling to find their place in a universe that views humans as backward and barbaric. However, if you’re a fan of the television show Grimm, you’re probably already familiar with him.

Damien has just finished filming the pilot episode for Starfall, which is being funded in part through a Kickstarter campaign. We are thrilled to bring this special interview with Damien Puckler to Amazing Stories‘ readers. He was delightful to talk interview. Enjoy!

Erin Underwood for Amazing Stories Magazine (ASM): You’re a former Muay Thai KickBoxing World Champion, and you hold black belts in Karate and Tae Kwon Do, not to mention you have also won titles in western-style boxing. These are not credentials that most actors can add to their resume. Given your gift for martial arts, what is it about acting that caught your attention? What influenced you to choose acting as a career path?

Damien Puckler (DP): Honestly, I kind of fell into it! After an accident brought my Martial Arts career to an end, I was forced to reevaluate my life, trying to figure out what to do next. Fight choreography and stunts seemed a logical step. People kept asking me if I could also deliver a few lines, so that they wouldn’t have to hire a stunt guy AND an actor. That’s when I decided to apply at an acting school. While there I completely fell in love with it…all of it…film, theater, classical, modern! It’s a beautiful way to experience yourself in many different worlds!

(ASM): Looking at your resume, it seems like much of your work is in the science fiction and fantasy field from films like 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea and television shows like Grimm and the new series Starfall. Is there something about these genres that draws you to them?

(DP): Ha! Not really! I mean…I like that genre very much, but it’s not that I am purposely looking for it. I don’t really have a preference. I just like variety and different “adventures” and the sci-fi and fantasy genre is definitely able to create different worlds and dimensions within the one world. Nothing is ever impossible.

(ASM): Speaking of Starfall, which is due out in 2015, how would you describe this new series to people who are unfamiliar with it?

(DP): Starfall is the ultimate space opera. It contains elements of all amazing sci-fi adventures…Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactia, Stargate…the characters and story lines of Starfall are very intriguing, thought provoking, philosophical and yet also highly entertaining at the same time.

(ASM): What is it that drew you to Starfall? More specifically, what drew you to the role of Lt-Captain Will Hunter?

(DP): Hunter is every male actor’s dream role. He’s a tough, tormented, searching soul with a painful past. If it was up to him, he’d probably live in solitude never encountering another soul and yet his path always throws him back into the leader seat, forcing him to make decisions for others. Hunter has a huge compassionate heart, surrounded by a thick layer of ice! He’s a true anti-hero!

(ASM): You’ve recently finished filming the pilot episode of Starfall. Were there any challenges that you faced as an actor when playing Lt-Captain Will Hunter? If so, how did you overcome them?

(DP): I was amazed at the incredible detail of the set. It’s not easy creating a spaceship that looks exciting and real. I love the fact that in Starfall, the Ardri Jennet (our ship) looks like it could have literally been built by man. It’s not clean, not perfect…it’s like an old NASA shuttle…functional, rough, real! Usually it’s hard as an actor to sit in front of all these switches and buttons and try to decide how to use them. In Starfall, it seemed as though all buttons, all switches, anything technical had its assigned function already. It became real to us actors within an instant and we felt like the real crew. As a matter of fact when we wrapped the pilot, I felt so attached to “my” ship, I did not want to leave my desk! True story! 🙂

Starfall-Play(ASM): The Starfall TV series has a current Kickstarter campaign running to generate $10,000 in funds to pay post production costs. Has being an independent series that is actively using Kickstarter to fund a portion of the project had any effect on the development of the production? Has it affected your contribution to the project as an actor?

(DP): Crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular and has enabled great projects to get made that otherwise would not get made. It’s a resurgence of great independent movies in reflection of the ’70s New Wave. For an actor this is great news, because it means more intriguing, well developed layered characters to portray. So yes, I’m definitely a fan of crowdfunding to get films made!

(ASM): Starfall is due out in 2015. When it is available, where will viewers be able to watch the show?

(DP): I’m not exactly sure. Production is working on all the details as we speak. Best person to ask is John Ellis, the amazing creator of Starfall!

(ASM): Before your work on Starfall, you have played characters in a number of other science fiction and fantasy films and television shows. Do you have a favorite role that you have played in the past? What was it about that character that you really enjoyed?

(DP): My favorite and most challenging role to date was playing the real life hero Jeremy Glick in a drama documentary for the British ITV channel. Glick was one of the passengers of flight 93 that was hijacked and ultimately crashed on September 11. It’s the true story of those passengers who found out during the ordeal that other planes had been crashed into the World Trade Center and that their chance of survival was slim to none. Still, though facing death, they came together and decided to defy the outcome and retake the plane. Incredible unbelievable courage. I felt a huge responsibility portraying Jeremy Glick. It wasn’t just another acting job. It was portraying an actual heroic human being and doing him as much justice as was possible.

Photo by NBC - © 2014 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Photo by NBC – © 2014 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

(ASM): I’m an avid fan of the TV show Grimm. In fact, I remember specifically thinking that I hoped they would keep Meisner as a continuing character because you were doing a great job with him…and then things got “grim.” Do you have a favorite moment from your time working on Grimm?

(DP): Well…I LOVED doing the fight scene, of course!!! But the more challenging and fun scene was the birth of Adalind’s baby. Making a rubber dummy look like a real baby that is moving, crying, breathing while covered in some kind of jam for looks…and then also to remember your lines, your moves, be in the moment and connect to the other actor…well….let me tell you…I didn’t need to “act” nervous…I simply was!
I’m looking forward for Meisner to come out of hiding and to revive the character!

(ASM): You’re also a fan of the Marx Brothers, but most of your roles have featured fairly serious characters. Are you interested in taking on roles that are a little more light-hearted or comedic?

(DP): I would absolutely love to do more comedy! I think there is nothing more challenging and admirable than comedians and their job. It’s a deeper understanding of linguistic rhythm and timing and to be able to access that talent at any particular moment. It’s an incredible art.

(ASM): Thank you so much for your time, Damien. It has been a pleasure interviewing you, and I wish you the best of luck with Starfall and your future roles!

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