Actor Dan Payne looks at each role as a challenge to take on and surpass. Star Trek Beyond, Legends of Tomorrow, and Warcraft: The Beginning, were just a few of his big successes in 2016 alone. Along with his latest film Residue Payne can be seen in Aliens Ate My Homework and Devil in the Dark. Residue is available on VOD and digital platforms across the US and Canada.
Colleen Bement: Your new film Residue looks creative and definitely entertaining. What was it like being a part of this project?
Dan Payne: This was a fantastic and unique project to be a part of! I got to work with friends which always makes the experience that much better. From the outset, it was collaborative. Rusty, Blaine, and James were very welcoming of actors bringing ideas and really let you “play” within the content. Rusty’s style of direction is very inclusive. He has a distinct vision that he allows you to put your imprint on it for your character and your scenes. It was a great time spent with really intelligent and passionate peers. I think they created a unique take on this genre and it’s a great ride I hope everyone gets to see.
CB: What can you share about your other projects in the works like Aliens Ate My Homework and Devil in the Dark?
DP: Aliens Ate My Homework is a screenplay adaptation of a great book by Bruce Coville. Roger Lay and Eric Carnagey took on the task of making it a movie, and I think they crushed it! It was anything but easy. Roger and Eric were there every day and very hands on; making sure the project would be the success it is. Todd Masters is a make-up FX genius, and he (and his team) created all the aliens and their looks for the film while honoring the ideas from the book. They are breathtaking and brilliant and even kid friendly. It was a fairly intense shoot and some days were grueling and long but worth every minute. The crew was fantastic at making sure all of us aliens were hydrated and hangin’ in. I got to work with my long time and very talented friend, Alex Zahara. It was nice to be able to lean on each other some days. The director, Sean McNamara, was hilarious and made the set a fun place to be at any and all hours of each day. And that was a feat as he had his hands full with big sets, aliens, kids, puppets and green screens galore.
Devil in the Dark was one of those roles I’ve “dreamed of.” A lead character with lots of depth, history, and obstacles (both emotionally and physically). Carey Dickson wrote this script and gave us, the actors, an incredible world to explore. The dialogue was witty and sharp and such a pleasure to perform. That shoot was also a tough one. It was a location shoot in the outback woods/mountains near Kelowna. We got to enjoy the elements including ticks, mosquitoes and the odd unseen creature trudging through the bush. Regardless, the crew was phenomenal! They had to lug gear all over crazy terrain and everyone pitched in. They would build last minute sets, help reset props…just anything that was needed. They were beyond brilliant. It really became a family type effort with everyone helping out and watching each other’s backs. I would do that type of film again in a heartbeat. So much so that I’ve teamed up with Carey and Ben to make more films together. And in the great turn of events, Roger and Eric are considering joining us on our next adventure. As I get older that seems to matter more and more – integrity. I want to work on projects that mean something to me with people who share the same passion and mindset. Nothing beats working at a job you absolutely love with people you can share the experience with at a deeper level because of a friendship!
CB: You have played almost every character under the sun. Do you prefer to play the “good guy” or the “bad guy?”
DP: I love playing any character I can bring something to. I love this craft and I never want to stop learning how to get better at it. Each role is a challenge and often in many different ways and I want to always strive to meet and surpass that challenge. It’s like always learning to play the instrument better and I’m the instrument. I hope this makes sense but my favorite roles are the ones that people respond to. Whether it’s through laughter or tears, I hope that I’ve done my job well enough to tap into something, some universal truth, that allows people to come on the ‘ride’ with me.
Having said that, I would love to play Archer in a live action version of the animated series Archer or maybe a series similar to Californication, or an epic like Game of Thrones. And I’ve mentioned this before because it’s an honor, but some people/fans have said I would do well in a reboot of either Rockford Files or Magnum PI – either way – I’m in!