You may or may not know his name, but you will no doubt know his face and attitude from hit shows like True Blood and Burn Notice as well as films like MacGruber and Shoot ‘Em Up. Now Andy Mackenzie is stepping into the forefront for the upcoming ensemble film Sushi Girl alongside Noah Hathaway, Jimmy Duval, Tony Todd and Mark Hamill to deliver yet another powerful performance. I had the chance to sit down with Andy and discuss Sushi Girl and a bit of his career.
Bobby: How are you today sir?
Andy: I’m excellent and really excited about this release. It’s been a wild, wild ride, so I am glad that it’s finally dropped.
Bobby: How did you get involved with Sushi Girl?
Andy: Actually I worked with Kern Saxton the director and Neil Fischer one of the producers, man this has been a long, long ride. We met I think in 2009, might have been earlier, but we did a little zombie web series, that hasn’t really gone anywhere because Sushi Girl took the place of everything. We did an episode and they like me so much that they slapped the script in my lap and said to please do this. I think we were going to do it on weekends with friends, with a very, very low budget, like no budget and I read it and I was so in. It was so perfect for what I would love to do. After that it just started picking up speed, with Tony joining and Jimmy, then everyone else and it just went on and on. Then all of a sudden there was Mark Hamill and Noah Hathaway. It just got so ridiculous that I became this wet dream where I was surrounded by icons, it was just phenomenal. It was a dream come true for someone like me whose working hard and been at this for a long time and you are just waiting for something like this project. It was a golden opportunity for me.
Bobby: You take on a lot of the big tough guy roles. With Hollywood a lot of it is look and what not, most actors fear getting typecast. I know you have done a lot more than these types of roles, but is this something you have embraced taking on these kinds of roles?
Andy: It’s interesting, but we are going to have to go super deep. About 10 years ago I had a stroke. I lost my speech, communication, I lost everything. I couldn’t speak, read, or write. I could not understand people. So during that 2 years of trying to rehabilitize myself, I lost everything. I was in a band and thought I can finally get all my tattoos, let my hair grow, let my facial hair grow and I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t think I would be able to put sentences back together and would never be able to act again. So I just went with the musician side of me. Within 2 years I became a different person visually and just started going out for different roles and it just became me. I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you anymore other than that’s the way it is.
Bobby: That’s refreshing to hear that you were able to take something like this and come back and it’s take your career in a different direction.
Andy: Yeah, I’ve found some great roles and nothing is as great as this one. You hope for something like this that will be something that will catapult you.
Bobby: I know you’ve done a lot of action type stuff before, but in this film you have a lot of physical aspects torturing someone in this film. How hard is it to keep focused on this stuff and make it work?
Andy: You know, it’s built on trust with the other actors and the director. Knowing these guys and spending 19 days with all of them they just became my instant friends and family. Once you are able to become that, we were able to trust each other and especially get as close as we possibly can, knowing that we are going deep into character, especially in those nasty anxious parts. It’s built on trust and that’s it.
Bobby: I know you guys stayed pretty close to the script, but improved a bit here and there. Do you have any favorite or memorable moments in the film?
Andy: There were a couple of parts that were unscripted, which is always fun. When you get to a scene you always hope something is going to take over and make it real. My favorite part was right after the sock scene. When Duke pulls me off and at that point all I want to do is win this bet and I do not want to lose, especially to Mark’s character when he pushes every button. So when he pulls me off that sock, I had turned to Destin right before and said mind if I try something unscripted. We do it, stop and yell’s Password and I hate this game. That was really the only thing I really wanted to do to make it the game where I didn’t really care about Noah and hurting him. I just wanted to win the game and that was it.
Bobby: While this is a pretty dark film, the banter between you and Mark is pretty funny and I think what makes this movie stand out even more than it already would have.
Andy: It was pretty funny, Mark was the last cast member that they added right before we started shooting and he came to the very last table read and I didn’t know what the hell to expect from Luke Skywalker. He came and had this really weird, afeminate kind of British accent and I couldn’t even concentrate. It worked so well and I got so angry and pissed off at this guy because I was like who is this guy, which really helped. Through those nineteen days, we shot mostly chronologically, by the time we get to the standoff, we had so much time to build our backstory about where we came from. We were all just sitting around and talking about what heists we had done before, what happened to my nose and Mark’s shoes. So it became about my father and Mark and Tony all together knowing my dad, bailing me out and rescuing me. Things where we just built this whole cool story, which was a lot of fun, but you never get to see on screen.
Bobby: Besides this film, do you have anything else you would like to promote?
Andy: Just this one right now. I want to promote the hell out of this DVD release, Sushi Girl is the one.
Bobby: You and Mark’s banter is some of the best moments of the film and think everyone should check it out.
Andy: Thanks man, maybe one day we will do a stage play of it.
Bobby: That would be awesome. Thanks for taking the time to do this and good luck on the film.
Andy: Thank you very much.
Be sure to get out and pick up your copy of Sushi Girl on Blu-ray and DVD today.