Where are you from? Age? Religious affiliation? Who are you signed with?
I was born in Philadelphia spent my early childhood there then moved to Massachusetts (I choose not to reveal my age publicly) I am a Universalists (I believe all faiths are valid and you must choose the path to the creator that works for you… even if that is No path at all). I am represented by IDEAL Talent, Ryan Hayden
When and where, did your love affair with film, television and stunts begin? What were some of your early gigs, that lit the fire?
I was four when I saw a man that looked Just like my Grandfather on television and I asked my mother what he was doing. She explained that he was an Actor and I caught the bug immediately. I have Loved fantastical stories in all mediums as long as I can remember. Being able to see them enacted Live and realizing I could be a part of that was a Huge motivational force in my life. I began performing one man shows as early as second grade, but my first professional gig (I believe) was performing as a scare actor at Spooky World. My First on film gig was as a Stunt Performer on the Short lived television series Sheena Queen of the Jungle.
Whose been the biggest influence on your life creatively?
There have been so many Influences on my life creatively it would be hard to pinpoint just one. Certainly Sidney Poitier, George Lucas, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Ralph Bakshi, R.A.Salvatore, Larry Elmore… This could go on for a while lol
You’ve played a lot of roles, are there some you enjoy better than others and why?
There are so many ways and parts to delivering a story Just being a part of the process is always thrilling. When it comes to roles I definitely enjoy playing Superlative Characters be they Protagonists or Antagonists. Heavy costuming (Prosthesis etc.) allows for a Physical difference in Viewpoint that I feel adds to finding a character. I do not favor Stereotypical characters (That I qualify for) as I believe it is too often the only portrayals I (and actors similar to myself) am (are) considered for and not reflective of my life experience or that of many of my peers.
You worked on the indie science fiction thriller Hunter Prey directed by Sandy Collora of “Batman:Dead End” fame. Could you tell us a little about that and how hard or easy, it was being in full latex in the desert?
Hunter Prey is one of those amazing experiences I am immensely happy I participated but really feel no need to be involved in the like again. It was a tough shoot (shoestring budget, Small crew, ambitious schedule and production goals). Learned many of the Trials and Tribulations of independent genre film making (lessons that have both helped and hindered my current efforts). I formed a few lifelong friendships and also learned more about some friends than I need to know lol. Fortunately we shot early in the morning and or late afternoon so I was rarely attempting to perform in the heat of the day. On the days I was in the Prosthesis it was easily a 12-16 hour day and the makeup was designed with no nose holes so it was… not easy. Add a full suit of fiberglass armor to it and you have a Hell of an easy time finding the motivation to play a battered solider seeking to end a conflict as succinctly as possible.
Has being a double threat benefited you in Hollywood?
Yes and No, There is a large benefit to fitting in a pre-established category in this business. We have all heard the phrase “Give me the same but different.” and it is not difficult to see the influence it has on the majority of the entertainment options we are offered these days (though I dare say there are more diverse options happening more frequently as the amount of available content continues to increase). When you buck those classifications it becomes a little more tricky to establish yourself, especially if you have a specific manner in which you wish to be seen.
Things are changing in Hollywood with regards to putting more people of color in lead roles on television. Shows like Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow and Scandal, all see people of color in lead roles and playing people of importance. Do you feel as though a shift is occurring?
Most definitely and a welcome one it is. I feel we can only benefit from having our entertainment better reflect the diversity of the world we see outside our doors.
Zoe Bell is an example of a stunt actor whose done really well for herself. But she seems different than regular actors. More humble? More grounded? Is it because she’s had to do the dirty work for so long?
I think there is an aspect of devoted Martial Arts Study that can have a very grounding effect upon a performer. There is something about having a solid grasp of your capabilities and a willingness to push your limits, that can give you a different perspective on being in this business.
You had the awesome opportunity to play Thanos through mo-capture, who appears at the end of The Avengers. Could you tell us about that process? I mean how does one go about becoming the face of one of Marvels most infamous villains and are you returning?
It was actually Prosthesis and a costume with the Armor and Make up. Designed and constructed by Jose Fernandez and Ironhead Studios then Masterfully applied by Thom Floutz, with some digital augmentation. There were a few Make Up and Costuming sessions (Including the first one where I found out what role I was actually playing MIND=BLOWN) and a single shoot day for the sequence at the end of Avengers. I have been a Comic reader since I can remember ( I began hard core collecting when I was 9) and was Very familiar with the character. That being said it wasn’t too difficult to place my hand down, stand up, turn around and Smile “in Character”. Marvel would be the place to ask any and all questions about any future I may have in Purple…
Can you tell us about any close calls you’ve had while on set?
I have been extremely fortunate in my career. Aside from a few minor instances (and resultant injuries) I haven’t really had any “close calls” of note.
Could you give us a run down of the type of training you’ve received?
As a child I actively pursued Theater all throughout grade school and during the summers I attended the Charles River Creative Arts Program then the associated International Arts Program in Massachusetts. I am currently developing and refining at PlayHouse West in North Hollywood. My physical training includes primarily Tae Kwon Do, a smattering of other Martial Arts styles. Some gymnastics and a passing familiarity with other acrobatic movements. I was taught ground pounding and introduced to the amazing world of Stunt work in Florida by Glenn Wilder, Phi-Long Nguyen, Dave Kramer, Tyrone Wiggins, Micheal Li, James Sang Lee, and Jeff Pruitt (and that was Before I moved to Los Angeles).
Are there projects you are working on that you can talk about?
I am Currently working on PayDay The Web Series, and PayDay 2 the video game. I did several voices on The Lost Planet 3 Game. I play Mr. Bennett in Agent 88 which was the highest earning Web pilot to be funded on Kickstarter I can be seen on Real Husbands of Hollywood season 2 (I believe I have at least one episode that has yet to air)as David Ty’Various Perrious the third. I show up in The upcoming Sitcom Surviving Jack (Starring Chris Meloni). That’s all I can think of that I can talk about…
You frequent the San Diego Comic Con can fans expect to see you there next year?
Why yes… I’m sure they can
Sidney Poitier…any relation?
We are still trying to figure out the specifics but our Ancestors definitely hail from the same Island…
What do you enjoy doing when your not working?
Spending time with the Family. Physical training. Researching the background for one of the Many various projects I am working at. Working at said projects. Consuming as much Genre as I can find time for.
What’s the best bit of advice an actor has given you on a set?
Take your time until directed otherwise. Be in the moment. Do the Work. Walk away.
Can I borrow ten bucks?
Not much into “lending” these days but if you are in that much of a spot I could probably spare it
It’s always a pleasure catching up with old friends. MITNG would like to take this time out to thank Damion for chatting with us. As always if you’d like to know more about Damion and his many endeavors feel free to click the links below. Thanks and have a wonderful weekend!
Links to Damion Poitier