They say actors can always just sit and wait around for the right roles and auditions to come along. But David Banks was never about the status quo. Instead the actor, musician and metal head chooses to shine by doing things his own way. Together with longtime friend and director David Rountree the duo wrote, developed and star in what will likely become one of the most talked about indie horror films of 2014 — CUT!
In CUT! nothing is as it seems as an ex-con and aspirant filmmaker set out to manufacture a horror film. But when things go horribly wrong and someone actually dies, the pair decides that killing for real on film is the only way to make a truly terrifying movie.
The premise for CUT! is a unique approach to the horror genre and Banks and Rountree create a “suspense thriller within a horror film” scenario and along the way (with the casting of Suze Lanier-Bramlett and Gabrielle Stone - daughter of legendary actress Dee Wallace) they also indirectly pay homage to one of the classic horror films of a generation - "The Hills Have Eyes". CUT! also stars Sam Scarber, Dahlia Salem, William McNamara and Chris Moir.
In addition to his film work, Banks has racked up an impressive resume of commercial work as well. His list of credits include being the original Tru Moo Milk guy for years and is currently commercial spokesman for Allegiant Air. I caught up with him to get an update on CUT!, his commercial work as well as his musical background!
How did the CUT! project come about?
David Rountree and I had this amazing idea for a film and decided to bring it to life. I saved a big chunk of my money from commercials to help fund the project. It’s been a fun-filled race…. well more like marathon! We recently found a nice home for the film which was super exciting! It will be everywhere very shortly.
Tell me about you character, Lane Hayes and the CUT! story.
My character is an ex con with an addiction to drugs and violent tendencies towards women. Rountree plays Travis Simon, a guy who’s spent years in film school trying to become a director but has only managed to find work renting out equipment to other filmmakers. With access to everything we need to make a movie, the idea is born to just scare people and capture the footage. However, something goes horribly wrong and the first person in this attempt is killed for real. After reviewing the video to help cover our tracks, it is decided that we have such shock value in the real kill, that maybe that is what we need to do. The story takes off from that point as every gut wrenching authentic death “scene” is captured on film and I do all the "dirty work"! [laughs].
What are some of the challenges you discovered during the filming process?
When you do so much with a small crew, everything is on your shoulders. Paying for actors, sound, locations and crafts service can quickly add up! I remember shooting until the sun came up on many occasions. There’s something about driving home after shooting all day and night with your eyes half-open and watching other pass by who are just starting their day. In fact, I don’t know how Rountree does it. We would finish shooting and instead of sleeping, he would immediately start editing. He’s always been an inspiration and it was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with him on this project.
Tell me about your musical background.
I was raised with music around me at all times. My mother and father both played the piano and were rocking me on their knees to Fleetwood Mac as a baby. For some reason, I didn't have the patience for the piano and thought it would be much more fun to hit the keys with wooden mixing spoons. Guess it was my way of telling my parents I wanted a drum set..... NOW! [laughs]. As a child, I’d often lock myself in my bedroom and play the drums to my Ozzy, Rush, Whitesnake and Iron Maiden albums. I was also the kid who wore all black and would usually leave school at lunch to go play with my band - who were all much older than me and had no idea I was still in school.
When did you know that acting was going to be your calling?
I was around the business from an early age and even remember my father staying up late every night bouncing ideas back and forth with my mother. He worked for an advertising agency that was responsible for commercials for companies like Levi’s, Bank Of America, Dole, and California Raisins. After losing my father to a heart attack at just 53, I remember having this strong urge to want to be like him. He was everything a father was supposed to be and I really wanted to make him proud.
What were those early years like?
The first few years of auditions were brutal. Getting excited about a callback only to discover even more people there than the actual first audition. Then there are the auditions you go on where you’re required to take off your shirt. You get there and find yourself surrounded by 25 other shirtless guys – half of them look like Mr. Olympia and the other half are showing their ZED cards [a portfolio card with several pictures] with four different looks of them with their shirts off [laughs]. It’s an amazing roller coaster ride filled with ups, downs and occasional stops. But when you land a big campaign it’s a great feeling! I was the original Tru Moo Milk guy for years and am now the commercial spokesman for Allegiant Air. I feel extremely blessed for things like that.
Do you have any advice you can give to up and coming actors?
They say man becomes what he thinks about. Write it down and look at it every day! Eat, breathe, sleep and live for what you believe in!
For more on David Banks be sure to check out his Official Website
For more on CUT! Click here!