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– by Stephon White

It’s a rare occasion when I get to speak to someone who’s acted in a couple of my favorite movies. Way back in 2001 he acted as Mani in Brotherhood of The Wolf. That film is to this day simply entertaining. He also played an amazing part in John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum as Zero. I am talking today with Mark Dacascos. His new film The Driver directed by Wych Kaosayananda will be released November 26, 2019. Read on for the interview about this new zombie film with a warm heart at the center of its narrative.

LRM: Can you tell me about your role in The Driver?

Mark Dacascos: Yes, I play a former hit man. It’s a few years after the zombie apocalypse. I’m trying to raise a family in a human community, of course, battling other bands of humans and surviving the flesh-eating entities that are surrounding us. Basically, we don’t know which country it is, but it’s in this very jungle-type terrain.

LRM: Awesome. Okay, thanks for clarifying that for me. Who’s the costar of The Driver?

Mark Dacascos: Well, this is very special film for me because it was the first time after, oh my gosh, over 20 years that my wife and I got to work together, and the first time that we were able to work with our daughter, Noelani, who is actually the star of the film.

LRM: Awesome. Wow, so you got the whole family there. That’s fantastic.

Mark Dacascos: Yeah, all three of us. We flew to Thailand and we shot this movie with a good friend of mine who’s the director, Wych Kaosayananda, but we call him Wych. W-Y-C-H.

LRM: W-Y-C-H. Okay. Awesome. What was it like being able to have a chance to work with your family in a film?

Mark Dacascos: To tell you the truth, it kind of felt like I was cheating because the great thing is in the movie, we’re a family, and of course in real life we are. So, all of the scenes, everything that was written, I was able to just really, once I focused, I just open up the heart and use a lot of our own real-life backstory and interject that into our scenes.

For a split second I was a little nervous because it was my idea. When I got the script, I was shooting a Hallmark movie up in Vancouver, and this is prior to knowing that I was going to play the lead villain in John Wick. It was sometime in February. We started John Wick. We started production on John Wick in May, so this was in February. I got the script, and the director, a good friend of mine, he always sends me these great scripts. I thought, “I’m going to wait until after production before I read it,” but knowing that it probably was going to be great. I ended up reading the whole script during my lunch break. I called the director back, and I said, “This is fantastic. Yes, I’d love to do it, and would you please consider my daughter as the daughter in the movie?” He said, “I would consider that except I actually wrote it for someone else.”

That someone else was his daughter, so he understood my logic because having his lead actor, have the lead girl played by my own daughter, it would make sense. So, I think that there were some personal conflicts in there. In any case, he thought about it, spoke with his daughter, and they were both in agreement that it would make sense for my actual daughter to play my daughter. Since it was my actual daughter playing my daughter, it made even more sense to bring over my wife, who’s her mother so we actually had the family unit. We’re all professional actors, so it was totally logical.

So, one thing is that although my daughter, our daughter. She takes acting classes and she had done stage performances. She’s never had a lead role before. So, the only question was, can she handle the pressure for the duration of the shoot? I was 99% sure, and my wife was as well, and we did make it clear to Wych, our director, that although she had experience, she’s never had a full-on lead role like this. He was okay with that. He thought that together if she was having any issues, we’d be able to help her out. Of course, we didn’t have to help her out at all. We just kind of showed her the way, and boy, she took it and ran. She really topped any of our expectations, and if you see the film you get to see her really just open up. All those tears are real there was no water added.

LRM: It seems like there is a lot of emotional depth there, having the actual family.

Mark Dacascos: Yes, it was really fun. Like I said, it felt like cheating because once we focused in, we were in those moments, and what I love about this film. I really appreciate you interviewing me because I get a chance to say this is not a hardcore zombie action flick. It’s not at all. There are a lot of fantastic action zombie films out there. What I think ours is, is it’s a different take on a zombie film. It’s a family connecting, and you really get the intimate and personal journey of these people under extreme duress and a life and death situation. You get all of the zombie sensibility that we as fans enjoy, but you get that real intimacy of the relationships.

LRM: Okay great, thanks for taking time out to talk to me today, Mark. Have a good one.

Mark Dacascos: Thanks. Take care.

Be sure to check out The Driver arriving on Digital, On Demand and DVD November 26th!

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