Episode Seventy-Seven: Director-Actor Relationship
The relationship between the director and actor in any medium is a very special one. Trust is of the utmost importance and when established early on can give the actor a freedom to explore and create in such a way that can help serve the story and the film. Chasing Eagle Rock is veteran TV and film actor Erick Avari’s directing debut. He also stars in the indie film opposite Michael Welch of Twilight fame. Producer Larry Laboe also joins us to talk about the film.
Erick Avari- Director-Producer
During his 30 years as an actor, Erick Avari has consistently turned in finely crafted performances, from grand opera to soap opera, with stops on and Off Broadway, in regional theaters, in some of the highest grossing films in the past two decades, on hit television series and in award-winning independent films.
Avari is instantly recognizable from his roles in blockbuster films ranging from the comedic Mr. Deeds, opposite Adam Sandler; to sci fi epics such as The Mummy, with Rachel Weisz and Brandon Fraser; Stargate, with Kurt Russell and James Spader; Independence Day, starring Will Smith, and Daredevil, as Jennifer Garner’s father. He has also lent his talents to critically acclaimed dramatic roles in film festival favorites American East, with Tony Shalhoub; Dark Matter, starring Meryl Streep; Three Days of Rain, with Peter Falk and Blythe Danner; and Choose Conner, with Steven Weber.
Since his Hollywood debut in Kevin Reynold’s The Beast of War, he has been fortunate to work with some of the most honored film directors of the time, including Mike Nichols, Tim Burton, Lasse Hallström and Satyajit Ray.
Born in Darjeeling, India, Avari attended European boarding schools before attending university in the US. He launched a distinguished career on the New York stage that included leading roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” (directed by Tony winner A.J. Antoon), “Tis Pity She’s a Whore” (directed by Mabou Mines founder Joanne Akalaitis) and “A Map of the World” (written and directed by David Hare) at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, as well as the classic musical “The King and I” on Broadway.
He has appeared at some of the country’s most prestigious regional theaters, including the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Goodman Theater in Chicago and Shakespeare and Company in the Berkshiers, and played leading roles in Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio” at the Portland Grand Opera, and in “Rasputin” at New York City Opera.
Among his scores of television roles are Chandra Suresh on NBC’s breakout hit series “Heroes,” as well as recurring roles on LA Dragnet, Stargate SG-1 and Felicity. Avari’s recent television appearances also include Dirty Sexy Money, opposite Peter Krause and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Versatile, dedicated and dynamic, Avari has been a trailblazer for a generation of South Asian actors in Hollywood. In his fight against stereotypical casting, he has played more than two dozen different ethnicities with authority and believability.
Chasing Eagle Rock marks Avari’s Directorial debut.
Michael Welch- Actor
At 23, Michael Welch has worked in every aspect of the entertainment business including film, television, voice-over, and stage. Michael is the recipient of two Young Artist Awards. First for his performance in Star Trek – Insurrection at age 10, and the second for his work as Luke Girardi on the hit television series Joan of Arcadia, which ran for two seasons on CBS. Welch won best actor at the 2011 First Glance Film Festival in Hollywood for his portrayal of a troubled young man in Unrequited.
Michael completed filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn recently, the fourth in the series of best-selling novels by Stephenie Meyer. He has enjoyed wide exposure for his role as the popular Mike Newton in the Twilight series and much acclaim from within the industry and his many fans.
In the last few years, Welch demonstrates his intense depth and commitment to his craft by assuming challenging roles as the leading man. Independent films such as Born Bad, Unrequited and Lost Dream are just some examples. In Chasing Eagle Rock, Michael plays the role of J.R opposite Erick Avari. Welch can be seen in award-winning festival favorites such as My Suicide, An American Crime, United States of Leland, American Son, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, and The Cover-up.
Welch is familiar to television audiences for his many starring roles on Emmy Award-winning shows, most recently Criminal Minds and Bones. During the past few years he appeared on CSI, an arch on The Riches, CSI: Miami, Numb3rs, Law & Order: SVU, Crossing Jordan, NCIS, Cold Case, and Without a Trace. His earlier years included performances on Stargate SG-1, Judging Amy, The District, Touched by an Angel, Malcolm in the Middle, The X-Files, The Pretender, 7th Heaven, Chicago Hope, and Frasier.
In spite of his busy schedule, it is essential to Michael to give back. He received the 2005 Star Innovative Award for environmental causes and has been active with the charity Kids With a Cause since 1999. During 2010, Welch was invited to Germany by the USO for their first educational tour for young people. Recently, Welch was Co-Chair for Walk on The Horizon, an event to raise awareness and resources for adults with disabilities. Just last year, Michael created the $5.00 Buck Club for The Thirst Project. His goal was to prove to young people that $5.00 can make a difference. He raised $20,000 and is looking forward to going to South Africa, Kruger National Park and Swaziland with The Thirst Project in December, 2011.
Larry Laboe- Producer
Larry Laboe began producing film, television, commercials and new media projects with international production and distribution company SXM. His first network series was NBC’s ‘Ctrl’ starring Tony Hale and Steve Howey. Mr. Laboe more recently began work as a producer on Comedy Central’s series Matumbo Goldberg starring Anthony Anderson, Jenna Elfman and Oscar Nominee Michael Lerner, Directed by Oscar nominated Rob Pearlstein and NBC’s FCU: Fact Checkers Unit starring Pauley Perrette, Luke Perry, Jon Heder, Donald Faison, Alex Trebeck and more. Mr. Laboe also produced two series, Disney Kitchen Jam and Diagnosis Stories for Disney Interactive and the feature film Chasing Eagle Rock starring Erick Avari, Michael Welch and Mary-Margaret Humes.
In 2007 Mr. Laboe co-founded the non-profit 501(c) 3 organization NewFilmmakers Los Angeles with partner and Program Director Susie Kim. In an effort to bring opportunity to independent filmmakers, film goers and entertainment industry professionals in Los Angeles, Mr. Laboe works as Executive Director of the group and coordinates NFMLA film screenings on a monthly basis, along with an on-camera filmmaker interview series distributed by MovieMaker Magazine.
Jenna Edwards- Producer, Film Method Co-Host
For more information about Jenna Edwards please visit the About page.