Jimmy Duval has been in the film industry since the early 90’s, but is most notable for his turn as Frank in the cult hit Donnie Darko. With plenty of films in the wings awaiting release and surely more in the future it comes as no surprise that this talented actor is a part of the ensemble cast of the upcoming film Sushi Girl featuring Noah Hathaway, Tony Todd, Andy Mackenzie and Luke Hamill. I had the chance to sit down and talk about Sushi Girl and a bit about his career.
Jimmy: Hey Bobby, how are you doing?
Bobby: Doing good, yourself?
Jimmy: I’m good man.
Bobby: You’ve done a lot throughout your career, how did you get involved with Sushi Girl?
Jimmy: I did a movie a few years back with producer Elektra Avellan called The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond and through here and Nicholes Cole and they got involved with Kern and Destin and when they read the script they just called me up and asked if I would be interested and thought it would be a perfect movie for me. Kern and Destin seemed pretty excited to have me be a part of the film and once I read the script it was hook line and sinker. I was in as long as they would have me after that point.
Bobby: The film is a bit all over the place, but has a Reservoir Dogs type mentality to it. How did you prepare for this kind of role and the direction of your character?
Jimmy: It’s kind of interesting. We had the first read through and everyone got together, so we kind of established everything with Tony Todd and myself and just started creating back stories for our characters. Before we ever started shooting, we had all these back stories written for our characters, you know where we came from and how we ended up there, so even though the audience doesn’t see any that establishing character foundations that was something that was very important to us.
Bobby: With the way this film is kind of all over, was there any improve or did you stick pretty close to the script?
Jimmy: There was defiantly a little bit of improve, but what you see is pretty much straight from the structure of the script. I mean he gave us free reign to add a few things here and there, certainly. One of the bigger things is Mark gets a tool box and starts torching Noah Hathaway’s character Fish and finds sports shoes in there. That was something we all kind of threw in while we were filming, because the shoes he was wearing weren’t very comfortable and it worked out, so that would be one example. Another one, in the bathroom there was no dialogue for my character when I go in, so all that dialogue and actions are improved. Interesting enough, that was also the first scene I shot of the movie before doing anything with the other actors.
Bobby: It always makes you wonder with these kinds of films where each character is headed in the story. Did you guys know everything up front where it was headed?
Jimmy: Yeah we knew everything the whole time. It was more for us to connect the dots. Like I said before, for all of it to really come into play for us, we had to have those backstories for where our characters are coming from and then that would tie everything together even if it was something the audience didn’t see.
Bobby: This might sound silly, but as an actor how hard is it to have this fully naked lady covered in sushi who has to stay perfectly still right there while you are trying to focus on dialogue and neither you or her being distracted?
Jimmy: I mean it wasn’t really all that hard. We were all so excited to be there working with who we were working with. So it was like jumping into a fantasy world. Courtney was absolutely fantastic. She didn’t really react or move ever, so that kind of helped. Of course she wasn’t on the table the entire time. There were times when we were shooting where she isn’t even there.
Bobby: With working with all these genre style actors from Candy Man, Star Wars, and you Donnie Darko, were there any more memorable moments on set?
Jimmy: To be honest we were all pretty excited to be sitting down with each other and working day by day. Some of those scenes were pretty intense, but going to work every day was like going to a party. We would be sitting between takes and sharing stories, but everyone was excited to be working with Mark, he was excited to be working with Tony who he knew and after a few days everyone was just excited to be there. Noah hadn’t acted in years, so we were pretty excited to be working with Noah again as well.
Bobby: While I know you are promoting this film and a lot of actors don’t like having to pick, but do you have a particular film in your career that you’re most fond of?
Jimmy: There are a few and Sushi Girl is defiantly one of them. Donnie Darko was another one, that film was just an incredible experience. From the audition process, filming and then there was a cult response to it after it. We came out a month after 911 and that movie was an absolute box office failure, but the experience itself I will always hold very close to me. I do have a few other movies I had good experiences with that I am pretty excited about. For instance I did SLC Punk, which has been interesting to see how that film has grown cult wise, but I just got the sequel for that and it’s one of the best scripts I have read, it’s absolutely amazing.
Bobby: Are they planning to try and bring the original cast back?
Jimmy: Yeah they are planning to so we will see.
Bobby: Awesome, so is there anything else you would like to promote beyond Sushi Girl?
Jimmy: I’m actually finishing up a movie with John Savage and Eric Roberts on a film called Spreading Darkness, which is almost done we wrap this next week. I also just finished a film with Martin Landau and Mark Gladis from Mad Men called Without Ward which I am really excited about, sort of a futuristic sci-fi, kind of out there and really cool.
Bobby: As an actor do you have a particular genre that you want to get into or just looking for anything that challenges you?
Jimmy: I like to change genres. I like to do dramas, but I love sci-fi and thrillers and comedies. I just like to do it all.
Bobby: You were great in this film and I really appreciate you taking the time to this.
Jimmy: Thanks Bobby, I really appreciate it.
Be sure to get out and pick up your copy of Sushi Girl on Blu-ray and DVD today.