Exclusive Interview with Brandon Stumpf: Good Guy, Bad-Ass, and Spinach Eater!
Brandon Stumpf may not be a household name to horror fans, but versatility has been the key to Stumpf's success in mainstream and independent films, and once filmmakers see him in his upcoming role as Steve Ryan in Kevin MacDonald's Beg, it's likely we'll start seeing him in other genre projects. This writer recently had the pleasure of interviewing the actor, who is also a full-time art teacher.
Fred Grandinetti: Where were you were born and raised?
Brandon Stumpf: I was born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, with my father, mother, sister, and brother.
FG: Did you perform in any theatrical productions while attending school?
BS: The only theatre I participated in was my high school's Senior Class play. We did South Pacific, and I was an ensemble player. I had two singing lines, which shocks me to this day because I hardly consider myself a singer.
FG: Did you want to pursue acting at an early age?
BS: I never really pursued acting because I didn't have the confidence due to skin problems.
FG: What motivated you to become an actor?
BS: People told me for a long time I should try modeling, but I never had the confidence. As I got older, I watched my kid brother go off to Manhattan. He attended the School of Visual Arts. My brother was having so much fun working on student films, his success inspired me to take a chance. I took medication for the skin and did some shoots with a local photographer. Before I knew it, I was given a lot of modeling work.
FG: What mainstream films have you appeared in?
BS: I've been seen in the films 27 Dresses and Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past. I auditioned for movies which were shooting in my town.
FG: How did you get your start in independent horror and thriller films?
BS: I got in touch with director Kevin MacDonald, who was shooting a short thriller called "Spilt Milk". I played Max, who was a real jerk and womanizer. His actions return to haunt him. The film won second place in the Nightmare to Remember Film Festival.
FG: In MacDonald's new film Beg you're featured with horror film veterans Tony Moran, Tony Todd, and Michael Berryman. What's your role in this chiller?
BS: You know, I usually portray the good guy or jerk, but in Beg I play Detective Steve Ryan. He bumbles along and can't seem to get the job done. This was hard for me to accept at first, but I actually enjoyed not trying to be bad-ass or anything. Ryan has become my personal favorite role. The film is currently in post-production, and we're hoping for a 2010 release.
FG: What do you think of today's horror films?
BS: Horror films are a tough genre these days. Wit, subtlety, and satire have given way to gore and excess, sacrificing plot. I enjoy the old horror films which didn't have huge budgets but still managed to terrify the audience.
FG: You played a police chief in the thriller D.I.D.
BS: Yes. I played Chief Greg Buxton. He's attempting to solve the mysterious death of a high school guidance counselor and the disappearance of her former client. Greg is very direct and blunt in his pursuit of the killer. The film is currently available on DVD (click here for details).
FG: You're currently featured in the web based series "High Heel Samurai".
BS: For the series I play Officer Jack Murphy, who has a romantic involvement with one of the Samurai Girls.
FG: In the film Mission Park you portrayed a totally different character.
BS: I played Eliot Bickley, who is a graphic novel historian.
FG: Chip Perro, who is one of the film's directors, said, "It was a riot to see Brandon, a heartthrob in real life, turn in an awkward comic performance with hesitant speech and eyeglasses." What was that like for you?
BS: It was certainly different and fun.
FG: So basically you hunt killers by night and teach art by day?
BS: Yes. My full-time job is the 7th grade visual arts teacher at the Londonderry Middle School in New Hampshire.
FG: I recently had the pleasure of working with you in a water safety segment for my cable access children's series Drawing with Fred. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that for the segment you perform television magic similar to Barbara Eden's "Jeannie" and Bernard Fox's "Dr. Bombay" from Bewitched. You also consume a can of spinach, gaining Popeye's strength, and sing to the sailor's theme song.
BS: Well, if anyone could make me sing again, it would have to be Popeye the Sailor Man!
FG: Thanks for your time, Brandon.
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