Grant Patrizio is an aspiring actor who appears in Josh Mitchell’s new film Frankie Flutie; here is a link to his Backstage page:
Q: What made you want to become an actor?
A: Not only did I grow up watching a ton of cartoons and playing a ton of video games (falling in love with a huge variety of the characters,) I grew up with a mother and father who both wanted me to do VERY different things with my time when not in school. My father was always one to get me into sports. He tried EVERYTHING – basketball, soccer, and baseball, to name the notable ones. He even coached a team I was on in little league one season! My mom, on the other hand, LOVED the fact that I enjoyed my time at Shakespeare camp and continued to push me in that direction. Ultimately, once high school rolled around, I had made my decision and took the path of the actor. Even though I was built like a football player back in the day and could have easily held my own on the field.
Q: What kind of training have you had?
A: It started with summer Shakespeare camps when I was five years old. From there I was involved with school plays during middle school, high school and college, taking classes in high school and college respectively. I’ve had some improv training, I’ve taken a few voice over classes, and am currently studying acting for Film and TV while taking a few more voice over classes on the side. An actor should never stop training. Being a life long student is one of the things I love about being an Actor. There’s always more to skills to learn and more tricks to add to your tool belt, so why not add those skills and tricks to your performance arsenal? It can only make you better.
Q: What is Frankie Flutie about?
A: Frank Flutie is about a man (Frank) who wants to live out his dream of being a lexicographer and flex his creative muscle amidst the hustle and bustle of corporate America. The film takes him through major highs and lows, having Frank face the reality of a situation he unintentionally put himself in due to his self-driven rejection of the corporate world and, ultimately, his pride. While striving for his creativity, he ends up pushing away the people who support him the most, forcing him to come to grips with what he’s become.
Q: What role do you play?
A: I play Frank’s brother, Jaxson.
Q: How did you prepare for the role?
A: Honestly, the way I Jaxson’s character was inspired by similar reactions my father and brother had when they knew that I was serious about becoming an actor and moved to Los Angeles. Like Frank, I know they care a lot about me and want to see me succeed and stand proudly on my own two feet. Also like Frank, I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to letting my creativity be stifled, even by the most well-meaning of people. Using this knowledge of myself, my relationships with my family and Frank’s character and motives, I was able to get to that place of concerned compassion that Jaxson has for Frank throughout the film.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to pursue an acting career?
A: I don’t have just one day job. I’m an on-call teller at a bank, I occasionally drive for Lyft and I pick up work through a temp agency. The “actor’s struggle,” as it were. That’s really what it’s all about – struggling to find a way to support your ability to do the things you love.
Q: Frankie Flutie deals with a man who rejects corporate America for the life of an impoverished lexicographer. You are an artist who works in corporate America; do you feel the two things fundamentally conflict with one another?
A: On some level, sadly, the two are at fundamental odds with each other. Most jobs in corporate America adhere to a certain rigidness in their hours, payment structures, attendance and job requirements. While that’s a good thing in the way of job security, a decent living wage with the opportunity for advancement, and a predictable schedule, it fundamentally impedes on somebody’s chances of pursuing their creative passions. When I worked at the Bank full-time, for example, I couldn’t go on more than one audition every two weeks. There would be some months where I couldn’t audition at all. I was grateful for the chances I had to audition, but I couldn’t take a last-second audition that I’d be a perfect fit for because I’d already gone on an audition on a different day that month. The lack of flexibility and work-life balance that these larger institutions impose will eventually back its artistically-inclined employees into a corner, forcing them to make a sacrifice that they, quite literally, can’t afford to make. If you sacrifice the art for the stability to support your art, what art are you supporting? If you sacrifice the stability to hone your craft, you won’t be able to afford the ability to hone your craft not to mention more important things, like food.)
Q: Who are some of your acting influences?
A: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Mel Blanc, Robert Downey Jr., Rob Paulsen, Maurice Lamarche, Charles Martinet and Robin Williams, to name a few. All of them for the sheer variety of roles they’ve played across stage, film and voice-over.
Q: You played Dr. Lyman Sanderson in Harvey, how do you take a role that well known and make it your own?
A: At that point in my career, I had worked with the director on several other shows and he knew my ability to play characters with distinct, quirky, animated personalities that didn’t change throughout. He wanted me to take that skill I already had and use it to give Dr. Sanderson two distinct personalities. One of which was more realistic, relatable and vulnerable (especially around his assistant/crush, Nurse Kelly.) The other being a professional, cold, emotionless boss who seems to not even possess the aforementioned vulnerability, almost like a caricature of the “head honcho” character archetype. Effectively, I made two versions of Dr. Sanderson that shared one body, and each Sanderson went through his own changes as the show progressed. It was quite an undertaking, and I loved every second of it.
Q: You just got a phone call from your agent, you have two offers, but you can’t take them both. You can either take the role of a minister who is secretly an intellectual atheist or one of an alcoholic frat boy forced to do community service; which role do you take and why?
A: For the sake of challenging myself, I’d take the role of a minister who’s secretly an intellectual atheist. It just sounds like a deeper, more compelling, more complex role, and it’d be something I’d genuinely want to try. I’d have to get into the mindset of a religious person who actively defies the religion he preaches about, and the chance to delve that deep into a character’s psyche excites me as an actor.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)