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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

Brutally violent trailer for Raze starring Zoe Bell and Rachel Nichols arrives

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Well finally Zoe is getting her flick. Zoe Bell, as you all know, is the famous stunt woman who worked on such films as Kill Bill, Inglorious Bastards, Iron Man and many many more. She’s 35, cute, all bad in this awesome trailer! Raze is directed by Josh C. Waller ,from a screenplay written by Robert Beaucage, and a story by Beaucage, Kenny Gage & Josh C. Waller. The story, as explained by Zoe, is about…

” 50 women that are kidnapped and held captive and forced to fight to the death. They all have a loved one that’s being held ransom so if we don’t fight, our loved one dies. If we lose, our loved one dies, so basically literally forced to fight to the death.”

Working with director Quentin Tarantino, most of her career, will come in handy in this Graindhouse style flick. It’s got any and everything,fans of exploitation films, could want. Minus the gratuitous breasts. That’s Zoe..all class.

Raze stars Zoe Bell, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thoms, Sherilyn Fenn, Doug Jones, Bailey Anne Borders, Rebecca Marshall, Adrienne Wilkinson and Allene Quincy.

The film premiered at this years NYCC 2013 and at the Tribeca Film Festival. IFC Midnight will release Raze in theaters and on VOD starting January 10th early next year.

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Enter the world of Oblivion

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The year is 2077.  The Earth has been invaded, the moon destroyed.  What remains is a wasteland, nearly unfit for habitation, and a two-person clean up crew responsible for drone maintenance and security.  The human race has moved to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.  The TET, a large high atmosphere structure, acts as a command module to assist the clean up crew and act as a gateway between Earth and Titan.

Tom-Cruises-Oblivion-Latest-stills-1Enter Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), tech 49, nearing the end of a 5-year mission on Earth which he has served with communications officer, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough).  His mind has been erased.  A mandatory measure to ensure the safety of their mission.  But fragments remain.

Every day for Jack and Victoria is pretty much the same: rise, eat, and embark to protect the operations currently underway to extract what remains of Earth’s resources.  With the aid of weaponized drones, which Jack is responsible for maintaining and keeping online, his team is aided by a commander onboard TET, Sally (Melissa Leo).  Their efforts are constantly being hindered by a group of people referred to as Scavs.

When the Scavs manage to bring down a U.S. spaceship, the introduction of a strangely familiar woman named Julia (Olga Kurylenko) threatens everything Jack knows to be true, forever changing the course of his life.

Oblivion is directed by Joseph Kosinski and features a hauntingly hopeful and futuristic score by M83.  It is based on Kosinki’s unpublished graphic novel of the same name.  Oblivion also stars Morgan FreemanZoë Bell, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

I sprung to see Oblivion in IMAX and choose to see it with my brother, a lifelong Tom Cruise fan, and my girlfriend who is quite the opposite.  I felt my Tom Cruiseexpectations for the film needed some external biasing.  You can say what you will about Cruise, but the man’s dedication and energy is always there, seaming just below the surface.  His tastes in science fiction works has also been relatively solid with films like Minority Report and War of the Worlds.

Oblivion, with its epic grandeur and high-gloss sci-fi production values is a solid film with gorgeous, sweeping views of filming locations like Iceland and Mammoth Lakes.  With a lush, futuristic score by M83, the film has a strangely 70′s sci-fi vibe that manages still to be fresh.

Visually stunning and aurally impressive, Oblivion is worth seeing in IMAX – or, at the very least, in a theater with DLP capabilities.

There are some minor issues with the structure of Oblivion‘s plot, things that will be knit-picked to death by die hard science fiction fans.  I also wonder about the length of the film – which comes in at 129 minutes.  For a film of its length, I feel like there is something missing there.

We begin with a long voice-over narration and are then inundated with the same information throughout the film.  Voice-over narration is always a bit dicey and its presence in a film should be questioned.  Overlooking the narration, there’s the issue of fluff.  The director serves up a whole lot of action, almost to the point of being excessive, but you are strangely left feeling like there’s not a whole lot going on.

 

Those things aside, there are other, larger elements within Oblivion that make the film worthwhile beyond it’s sci-fi offerings.  Themes like duty, sacrifice, love are threaded through the body of Oblivion, but are they enough to make you care about what happens?

If anything, Oblivion seems to be stuck between genres, struggling to construct a world where humanity and romance coexists with heavy duty science fiction.

Official Site: Oblivion

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