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Frank J. Avella Talks to
Austin Peck of
The Blue Tooth Virgin


Opposite Photo: Austin Peck

Click here to read Frank J. Avella's review of The Blue Tooth Virgin

Austin Peck is a boyishly handsome soap star with actual medium crossover potential. Witness his terrific turn as a frustrated writer in the indie gem, The Blue Tooth Virgin.

I met up with Austin at the Playwright’s Tavern in Manhattan and was impressed with his giddy and intoxicating enthusiasm for the new film as well as the craft of acting.

The Blue Tooth Virgin

Frank J. Avella: What was the shoot like?

Austin Peck: We shot in eight days. It was gorilla filmmaking to say the least. The budget was small. The crew was really small. The cast was small. It was one of the funnest experiences I’ve ever had. And I’ve only worked on one job that I hated as far as acting is concerned. Cause anytime I get to act I’m just so excited, but this is at the top of the list.

Frank J. Avella: You’re very lucky that you’ve had only one bad experience.

Austin Peck: I am. I think it has to do with my perspective. I just love acting. It’s fun. Usually anytime I’m on the set I have a great time.

Frank J. Avella: What drew you to Sam (in Blue Tooth)?

Austin Peck: The humanity. The reality of his insecurities. The funny thing is it was a ten-page audition and the first time I read it I just laughed because I was like ‘holy cow’ I really get this. I get the insecurities, the neuroses. I love that honesty. I think it’s very human.

Frank J. Avella: Do you think it has mainstream potential?

Austin Peck: I think it does. It’s a satire. It’s an art film…It’s tongue in cheek. It has an innocence and light quality to it. There are some real deep, thought-provoking human concepts about relationships and people’s desire to look outside themselves--fixing the void within by outside means--the pretentiousness of the artistic process. Trying to be something that you’re not instead of just being who you are. And I honestly think someone on Wall Street or even in sports can relate to that. I like to write, I’m an artist at heart but I’m also an athlete.

So people look at me and say how can he relate to Sam…I’m 6 foot 3 and 200 lbs. I like to box. I played sports all through high school. I also like to write, I draw all the time. I consider myself artistic; I’m an actor. And I read it and I just got it. So I think it doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re trying to be successful at anything and you’re looking outside yourself to fulfill the inside you can relate to it. And I think everyone does that.

Frank J. Avella: Did you ever have the experience Sam had: handing something to someone and waiting for their response?

Austin Peck: I feel exactly the way Sam feels about my acting that he does about his writing…Yesterday I did some scenes on As the World Turns and I’m really struggling with the storyline…there are a lot of parts to it that are so emotionally close to what is going on with me in my life that it’s kind of difficult for me to prepare…and at the end of the day I look at my co-star and say, ‘Do I just suck eggs or what?’ And she’s kind and always positive...And I already know the answer. I sucked. I sucked. And when I suck my self-worth goes down. When I'm good my self-worth goes up…I know when I’m good.

Frank J. Avella: The scene with Karen Black is a highlight.

Austin Peck: That turned out very different than I thought it was going to turn out. The whole morphing part I thought would be really funny because onset we kept cracking up but when I watched it--it was actually very embarrassing (cracks up) but it worked because the desperation of the character came out and I did not expect that at all.

Because Karen kept closing her eyes because she kept laughing and they were laughing off-screen so I kept cracking up but it translated completely different.

Frank J. Avella: I disagree. I found it very funny.

Austin Peck: I’m glad you did.

Frank J. Avella: How was it working with Karen?

Austin Peck: She was great. She showed up the day before from some plane trip hours away and she just got right to it. She’s very laid back and very nice Very nice. We talked about the tiki doll movie (Trilogy of Terror), which I’m sure she’s talked about ad nauseum. She was a trip--easy to watch.

Frank J. Avella: Can you speak to the difference between acting in an indie film and a daytime drama?

Austin Peck: Time…and writing. No matter how well a soap is written, it’s overwritten. It has to be. I think As the World Turns is the best written and best acted daytime show, by far. The proof is in the pudding because numerous actors from As the World Turns have gone on to do prime-time and films. …You do the same type of acting on ATWT that you can do on stage, in film, prime time…but it’s time…it can be frustrating. If you do a play you have at least six weeks of rehearsal…you don’t have that luxury with daytime. It’s an assembly line.

Frank J. Avella: Did you start out in theatre?

Austin Peck: No, I’m a stereotypical story. And it’s kinda embarrassing but it’s reality. When I was sixteen years old I got approached by an agency on the street and they had commercial, theatrical and a print division. So the first commercial I went on was a Kellogg’s Pop Tarts commercial and all of a sudden I’m getting checks and thinking: “I love this!” And then I started modeling…that just became my career. So I went to Europe and came to New York. Modeling’s great, you get to travel the world and meet beautiful women and all you have to do is try on clothes. It’s a no brainer. But it’s a vapid business beyond measure. Full of great people, though…The modeling took me out of Hollywood and I landed back in NY and I got Days of Our Lives. And I took classes and started doing theatre and learning my own craft of acting…I’m still learning it. Like Spencer Tracy said: ‘it takes 20 years to become an actor and 20 years to forget everything you learned.’ I don’t even know what level I’m at. I still cannot cry on cue. (laughs) That’s a pet peeve of mine.

Frank J. Avella: Would you if given the opportunity do ATWT during the day and theatre at night?

Austin Peck: I would love that. It would be challenging. It’s one of the reasons I was excited about coming to New York. I think theatre is the actor’s medium and where an actor belongs in a lot of ways. Once the curtain goes up there’s no cut and anything can happen. It’s just you, the writing, the other actors and the audience and their energy…I’ve done about 8 plays. The only people who go to plays in L.A. are your representation—if you’re lucky to have representation—and your family and friends.







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