Finding Character: A Few Minutes with Actor David Zayas talking about ‘Body Cam’

Posted in Interviews, Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - June 25, 2020
Finding Character: A Few Minutes with Actor David Zayas talking about ‘Body Cam’

Sometimes it takes a minute for the material to really sink in and jump out at you…

Out now on VOD and coming to DVD next month; Body Cam takes what is currently happening in the public discussion and wraps into a genre movie that feels very relevant.

When a routine traffic stop results in the unexplained, grisly death of her colleague, a cop (Mary J. Blige) realizes footage of the incident will play for her eyes only. As the attacks mount, she races to understand the supernatural force behind them.

It’s only the second feature for director Malik Vitthal and without a doubt you can easily tell that this is a storyteller with something to say.  Unafraid to have a movie exist in the shadows this film thrives on its genre elements and social commentary as the themes of police excess and how the disenfranchised are put down are spread throughout the film.

I got the unique chance to talk with actor David Zayas who you’d best know from Dexter who plays Sergeant Kesper in the film.  Things are rarely a slam dunk in this business and while he was intrigued by the script he wasn’t initially sure if he was going to do the role, or if they wanted him to do the role.  When I asked him about he had this to say…

I got a copy of the script which I read and really enjoyed but I had some questions as I wasn’t 100% on it…and quite frankly neither were they, until we had a Skype meeting with Malik; the director.  He was so articulate with his vision and I told him what I saw for the character and then I knew I was in.

There’s always a certain amount of personal respect that feels necessary when an actor is playing a police officer and David Zayas has actually played a lot of them throughout his career but he also is a former police officer.  I’ve always been curious to know if it can get into an actor’s head a little bit and make the job harder if he’s playing a role in which he’s actually got real life experience as being a police officer and an actor certainly take some unique mindsets.  I asked David about it to see if that experience ends up getting into his a little too much when crafting a character…

Yeah you know what, I have played a lot of cops but I’ll tell you something I’ve learned as an actor.  When I read a script I can’t let my past experiences as a cop inform me, I have to look at the character on the page first and foremost and to see what his journey is.  If he’s a cop, a doctor, a priest or whatever my primary interest is always on the story and find the best ways that I can contribute to tell the story that this film wants to get across.

I don’t know if it makes my job harder because to be honest, any acting job that I get is hard.  I love this business but it never comes easy, I guess just having the attitude and the psyche of a cop really helps me to get some of these characters to have a life that is genuine to the law enforcement part of the story.

David has been a steady working actor for years now and there’s always a degree of fascination in how actors will ultimately pick and go after their parts.  I asked David to try and boil down his process for the job he takes.

I do focus on the script as much as I can, but that being said if I run into a great script but they want me to play a character that really doesn’t have a great deal of importance to the overall story then to be honest it’s something that I might pass on.  I don’t judge the characters that I play, but if they are fleshed out and can make a genuine contribution to the overall narrative of the film, and then I’m in.

No one ever really knows how a project will shape up as actors can be remembered and defined by certain roles that they never expected to really change their lives.  I asked David if there’s anything he’s ever worked or a part that he has played that he never would have anticipated being remembered for…

Oh for sure!  It’s happened a few times.  The big one is obviously ‘Dexter’ because I mean I never expected a show where the hero is a serial killer to actually become as popular as it did and it was amazing how this great story really reached out to people.  In this business you really can’t look TOO far ahead at any given moment.

Body Cam is on all major EST/VOD platforms now and is available on DVD on July 14th.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
Comments are closed.
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-61364310-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');