Born on Halloween night (in the US, although it was already November 1st in Istria), actor Massimo Dobrovic has shared a link with the horror genre since his birth, and he's strengthened that connection over the years with memorable roles in a wide range of films and TV series. After stepping into the world of vampires in Nocturna, Massimo turns his attention to zombies with key roles in two upcoming TV series, Age of the Living Dead and Feel the Dead. For our latest Q&A feature, we caught up with Massimo to discuss both series, as well as working with Brendan Fraser on Behind the Curtain of Night, his new cookbook, and much more.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Massimo. You’ve acted in a lot of projects in recent years, including several in the horror genre. What do you enjoy the most about playing characters in horror films and TV series?
Massimo Dobrovic: I was born on Halloween night, 2:00 am on November 1st, but still Halloween night in the USA. I think it was a destiny for me to work quite a bit in the horror genre. I love the horror genre. Since I was a teenager, my friends and I used to go to a video store and rent many horror movies that we would watch over the weekend and then scare each other at school. I’ve been fascinated with the horror genre all my life.
In Italy, Dario Argento creates masterpieces of horror and it would be a dream come true to work with him one day. Also, another Italian actress, Alida Valli, that was born in my same town on the Istrian Peninsula, Pola, was internationally acclaimed in the horror genre.
What I enjoy the most is portraying villains like a vampire, a serial killer, a supernatural creature, etc… That’s when I have the most fun, creating those roles. I also love playing the hero in horror movies, because then I get to really be believable, truthful to feel the terror, the scariness, the horror, and be able to really transmit that to the audiences watching the movie or that TV series.
You play Marcus in Age of the Living Dead. What can you tell us about that character and the status of that series? Can we look forward to seeing it soon?
Massimo Dobrovic: Age of the Living Dead is an extraordinary TV series about incredible supernatural creatures fighting other species. I play Marcus, the emperor of all vampires, and he is the descendant from the original bloodline of all vampires. The story involves humans providing vampires on the opposite coast with a compulsory, weekly blood donation. Eventually, the humans manage to re-arm and plan a nuclear strike on the vampires as a final strategy to end the war. It was my second project with Estella Warren after our movie Nocturna, in which be both played vampires as well. We love working together; there is an amazing chemistry, friendship, and feeling on and off screen. It was a pleasure to work with the entire cast and crew, I’m extremely thankful to our amazing creator Simon Phillips, director Paul Tanter, producer Phil Goldfine and many others. The series will premiere soon.
You also play Vincent in Feel the Dead, a new zombie series. What can zombie fans expect to see in that series, and what was it like for you to play a character in that apocalyptic world?
Massimo Dobrovic: We shot this series in the fall of 2016 on Mount Etna in Sicily with Italian director John Real. It was emotional for me to be able to go back home and work in Italy after five years since I’ve worked in my home country, and it was also my very first project in Sicily, ever. I fell in love with the people, the nature, the food, and the fun. I hope to be able and go back to my home country soon and collaborate with all the wonderful people from the cast and crew again.
This was my third project with Estella Warren; this one is about zombies, though. I play an Italian soldier that is trying to save the population from the zombie virus and we fall in love. The zombies and special effects are sensational, production value is terrific, we had zombies coming out from volcanoes and all kinds of scary moments. Can’t say anything more, you’ll have to watch the series that will air soon on American and Italian TV. There are many love twists and moments alike. Estella and I love working in Italy together and all around Europe.
Do you have any favorite actors who have influenced you over the years?
Massimo Dobrovic: I have many favorite actors that have influenced me all my life and that are still idols and models to me. It would be extremely hard for me to narrow it down to a few because each and every one of them influence me in a different way, on a different level, with diverse things, emotions, or thoughts. I could do the top five females actresses that influence me the most and the top five male actors; they are:
Females: Meryl Streep, Sally Field, Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts
Males: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro
You recently worked with Brendan Fraser on Behind the Curtain of Night. What can you tell us about that project and working with Fraser?
Massimo Dobrovic: Behind The Curtain of the Night is a life after death movie and it is based on a best-selling novel in the Czech Republic. It is a true story, and together with director Dalibor Stach, producers Milan Friedrich and Phil Goldfine, we were able to bring such a meaningful, important, and powerful story onto the big screen. Working alongside my brilliant cast (Marcia Cross, Brendan Fraser and Dawn Olivieri) has been a dream come true. We were so blessed that we got to shoot in the best historical locations throughout the entire Czech Republic from Prague to Karlovy Vary and many other important locations.
My character lives in the past, present, and future times. It is a recurring character that our leading role keeps bumping into every time he is at a crossroads and doesn’t know which path he should get on and where his life journey will take him after death. Working with Fraser was a huge honor, I’ve learnt so much from him, from his acting and life experience; what an enormous blessing for me to play opposite him.
I understand that you can do many accents and are familiar with multiple languages. Has that ability helped you to immerse yourself in a wide range of characters thus far in your career?
Massimo Dobrovic: Yes, this part of myself has definitely played an important role in who I am today as an actor. I feel that speaking five languages has given me the opportunity to work in many different countries across our globe and it makes me understand better the value of each project when it is written in its original language. For example, my latest TV series, Feel the Dead, was originally written in Italian. When I got all the episodes, I got them translated into English and only when I got to the set did I understand there was an Italian version of the TV series prior to the English one.
When I read it, I understood the character, the plot, and everything on a deeper level, because that was the original language in which the show was written. I was able to act it out in Italian and in English and I’m always willing to dub myself in all the five languages that I speak for the international market, because I think it’s better when our audience hears the real voice of the actor that is acting. I enjoy myself the most when I get to travel through the entire world speaking different languages and working in various projects.
In addition to acting, you have a new cookbook coming out. How did that project come about and what can you tell us about it?
Massimo Dobrovic: The cookbook has been in development for the last three years; it took me three years to write this cookbook. I had to measure and re-measure all the quantities and ingredients many times, especially since in Italy we use different metrics. It contains over a hundred recipes and it is called Italian for Any Occasion, which literally means that you can have easy to prepare, organic and gluten-free Italian food for any American or Italian holiday, and it gives you a variety of ideas of what to cook when you don’t have a lot of time for your beloved ones during a holiday like Memorial Day, Halloween, or Independence Day.
Do you have any other projects coming up that you can tease? Where can our readers find you online?
Massimo Dobrovic: I have a new movie that I just wrapped in Los Angeles called Nation’s Fire, with brilliant director Thomas J Churchill. I play a powerful serial killer. I’m so thankful and grateful I got to work with actors like Bruce Dern and Gil Bellows among many others; such a phenomenal cast and a superb crew. For all other info, especially about my charities, my contributions, filmography, cook book, or classes I teach; please don’t hesitate to go on my website: http://www.massimodobrovic.com
[Photo credit: Above photo by Jorge Bautista photography.]