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MITNG speaks with actor Damion Poitier about life and becoming Thanos

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jLamarWhere are you from? Age? Religious affiliation? Who are you signed with?

DamionPoitier_tag_altI 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

jLamarWhen and where, did your love affair with film, television and stunts begin? What were some of your early gigs, that lit the fire?

DamionPoitier_tag_altI 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.

jLamarWhose been the biggest influence on your life creatively?

DamionPoitier_tag_altThere 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

jLamarYou’ve played a lot of roles, are there some you enjoy better than others and why?

DamionPoitier_tag_altThere 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.

jLamarYou 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?

DamionPoitier_tag_altHunter 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 407817_10151301988439455_1202469952_nshoot (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.

jLamarHas being a double threat benefited you in Hollywood?

DamionPoitier_tag_altYes 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.

jLamarThings 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?

DamionPoitier_tag_altMost 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.

jLamarZoe 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?
DamionPoitier_tag_altI 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.

jLamarYou 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?

DamionPoitier_tag_altIt 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…

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jLamarCan you tell us about any close calls you’ve had while on set?

DamionPoitier_tag_altI 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.

jLamarCould you give us a run down of the type of training you’ve received?

DamionPoitier_tag_altAs 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).

jLamarAre there projects you are working on that you can talk about?

DamionPoitier_tag_alt 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…

jLamarYou frequent the San Diego Comic Con can fans expect to see you there next year?

DamionPoitier_tag_altWhy yes… I’m sure they can ;)

jLamarSidney Poitier…any relation?

DamionPoitier_tag_altWe are still trying to figure out the specifics but our Ancestors definitely hail from the same Island…

jLamarWhat do you enjoy doing when your not working?

DamionPoitier_tag_altSpending 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.

jLamarWhat’s the best bit of advice an actor has given you on a set?

DamionPoitier_tag_altTake your time until directed otherwise. Be in the moment. Do the Work. Walk away.

jLamarCan I borrow ten bucks?

DamionPoitier_tag_altNot 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!

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Links to Damion Poitier

Is Iron Man 3 the end of the road?

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Picking up where The Avengers left off, Iron Man 3 finds Tony Stark in the clutches of post-traumatic stress from which he is often physically, emotionally debilitated.  Pepper Potts has moved into Tony’s Malibu mansion and it’s clear Tony is struggling in the aftermath of the events that took place in New York.  But, when a new threat arises in the shape of The Mandarin, everything Tony holds dear will be put in the balance.  Will he be up to the Mandarin’s challenge or is this the end for Iron Man?

Iron-Man-3-Mandarin1Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black and stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Pots, Don Cheadle as War Machine/Rhodes, Guy Pearce as Killian, Jon Favreau as Happy, and Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.

After the first two installments of the Iron Man franchise, it’s clear that everyone attached is going to bring a high caliber energy and polish to future projects.  So, when the Iron Man 3 begins to roll, everyone in the audience has a set of standards and expectations.

I’m no different.

After Iron Man was released, I saw it several times in the theater.  I was so intoxicated by the origin story and just completely blown away by the look and spectacle of it.

This was a super hero film unlike any other up to that time.  The protagonist was a real man, flawed by his arrogance, laziness, and privilege.  Forced to fight for his life, Stark faces some serious demons and comes out the other side of it a changed man.

As Tony struggles with PTSD in Iron Man 3, there is a sense of returning to some of the original themes of internal struggle and the examination of personal responsibility.ironMan_tonyStark

I doubt anyone will argue that Robert Downey Jr. hasn’t come a million miles from his Less Than Zero days.  But, as Tony Stark it’s clear that Downey Jr. has found a home.  Everything the man does exudes a sort of eccentricity and softness that is well-suited to the man behind the iron mask.

With the introduction of Killian (Pearce) and the Mandarin (Kingsley), the terrorism vein of the Iron Man milieu is renewed or solidified.  My gripe here is that Guy Pearce, whose overacting has marred several of his more recent projects including PrometheusLockout, and The King’s Speech, is immediately recognizable.  There are actors that disappear into their roles and completely embody the character they’re playing.  Then, there’s Guy Pearce.  He doesn’t really shine until the last ten minutes of the film when he’s getting a beat down.  Until then, if you’re like me, you’ll just have to grit your teeth and bare it when he’s onscreen.

ironMan_killianBen Kingsley, on the other hand, proves again that he is a consummate performer.  As the Mandarin, he is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious.  As the plot’s central threat, you’d think he’d have more screen time but his absence is equally as important in an effort to create fear and dread, the imminent sense of danger from which Tony Stark cannot escape.

It’s true that Iron Man 3 meanders a bit, but I don’t think fans of the franchise are going to mind being in a theater with Stark, Pepper Pots, and the rest of their favorite characters for 130 minutes.  I didn’t, and I have a low tolerance for films that run long without good cause.  There are, in my opinion, several scenes that could have been excised with little to no need to rework the remainder of the film for clarity or continuity’s sake.  I digress.  Consider it getting your money’s worth – after all, it’s not as if you’re going to be bored.  Iron Man 3 is jam packed with the Marvel-requisite amount of action.

The real surprise of Iron Man 3 is Pepper Pots.  What the filmmakers have done this time around in developing her role really gives the film, and the franchise as a result, a place to go.  Pepper-Potts-Suiting-UpWithout running the risk of giving away too many spoilers, it’s true that Pepper’s role is to save Tony – metaphorically and literally.  For the first time, you will get to see a woman wear the suit of Iron Man – repeatedly – and it’s freaking awesome.

As Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow (this year’s ‘most beautiful‘) turns in a performance that is brutally strong and fiercely willed without sacrificing her femininity.  The filmmaker’s have helped create a character that is intelligent, beautiful, resourceful, and willing to fight for what she loves.  I think it’s true that Pots emerges as the true heroine of Iron Man 3, which is a delight.

Iron Man 3 feels like an ending, despite the words “Tony Stark will return” being displayed in grand James Bond fashion at the very end of the title credits.  Be sure to stick around for it, and for the short scene between Stark and Bruce Banner that will roll after the credits.

Official site: Iron Man 3

Check out the Iron Man mash-up by Mike Relm

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