The Movie Waffler Interview - PAINTBALL MASSACRE Star Ian Virgo | The Movie Waffler

Interview - PAINTBALL MASSACRE Star Ian Virgo

paintball massacre
Virgo discusses his role in the new British horror.

In Paintball Massacre, old school friends go on a paintball trip, miles away from civilisation. Things go horribly wrong when they discover a cold-blooded masked killer is among them. Now they must fight to survive their school reunion.

We spoke to actor Ian Virgo about his role as the masked killer in the film, his life as an actor and his opinion on the horror genre.

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Where do you call home?

I currently live in West Sussex with my wife and kids. So at present this is my home. Caldicot in South Wales is the place I was brought up so that is my home away from home, and I was born and lived in Los Angeles so I like to think of one day being able to have another home there too. I like to dream big.


Did you always want to be involved in the performing arts?

No, not always. I wanted more than anything to play rugby for Wales. I was a good little player at a young age and played for my county and had trials for Wales. Sadly my ankles proved my nemesis and I soon realised I was not gonna get there. The only other thing I was good at was singing and acting. My first role on the stage was at the age of 12 and that was it, I was hooked. Never looked back since.


What was your childhood go-to film?

This one is easy for me. Willow is and will always be my favourite movie. I wanted to act in films because of Val Kilmer’s part of Mad Martagen. It’s such a fantastic film for every reason. Great story, great characters, great score and beautiful locations. If the lovely casting director Lauren Evans of the new TV series is reading this, please please please cast me in this upcoming series. I’d do it for free.


You trained at National Youth Music Theatre and at the age of 17 the Royal Academy of Music. What was this experience like at such a young age?

Invaluable. I had some of the best training by some of the best teachers and worked with some of the UK’s biggest stars of our current time. The NYMT is the best place for young talent to learn the craft surrounded by like-minded individuals and the people involved in the NYMT are so good. They became my family as a child. Training at the Royal Academy at 17 was tough as I was still very young and immature but I was looked after by my teachers and my fellow class mates, who were all fantastic. RAM speaks for itself. The talent that comes out of that college is incredible. I was blessed to recently be awarded an ARAM of the college. (Associate of the Royal Acadamy).


When you graduated you were thrown into the deep end on blockbusters Band Of Brothers and Black Hawk Down. This must have been surreal?

Very surreal. Band of Brothers was a huge disappointment to me as my character was cut out of the script days before I was to be on set to film. I was paid for my part and credited for it but never got to work with the incredible names that were involved in that show. Luckily for me the casting directors Suzanne Smith and Gary Davy kept me in mind when the next project, Black Hawk Down, came up. I was brought in to audition but was currently in talks to play Jesus in a production of Godspell in the West End having just done the show at Chichester festival theatre. The show never happened and that same week I was offered two films. One I won’t mention as obviously I never did it and the other unbeknownst to me was Black Hawk Down. I was unaware of the enormity of this film until I was greeted at boot camp but the unreal cast line up that was involved. Then I was explained that the great Ridley Scott was directing straight off the bat of Gladiator. I’ve never been so nervous in my life.

You act, sing and dance. Have you ever thought about a role in a musical?

I’ve played quite a few roles in musicals. I love a good musical and am always open to them. Musical theatre is in my bones. My mum was a singer. She beat the great Tom Jones in a talent competition years ago. My dad loved just the acting on stage and my grandfather had strong Welsh singing lungs. With regards to dancing... well that’s very debatable. Ha.


You regularly perform in theatre and live shows on top of your film projects. Which one do you prefer and do you have a favourite?

Oh gosh they are so different. I love them both for very different reasons. I don’t have a favourite. I’m just always happy to be performing. It’s a real tough time out there at the moment. I’m very lucky and feel blessed to be able to do both. As long as the work keeps coming and I can keep performing I will be happy to do either.

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In Paintball Massacre you take on the role of a masked killer. This must have been hard to perform behind a mask. How did you approach the role?

I approached the role like I do every role. I learned all my lines and studied every scene, then I got on set and I acted my socks off. Delivering every line as true and as real as I could... Oh wait... I have no lines. Okay, well I guess those dancing and physical movement classes were coming into play here. Trying to be menacing and have quirky little memorable movements was my go-to here. My scene with Natasha Killip, who played Lauren Bryce, was approached like a dance. Let’s pretend I’m seducing you under the mask then invite you in to dance before the inevitable kill takes place. I just tried to imagine if I had dialogue what would it be and how to incorporate it into movements.


Any standout moments during filming?

Oh yes, standout moment for me was being lucky enough to be the only one who really got to shoot paintballs. Ryan Winsley, who played Matt Wilson, is a very good friend of mine. We have worked together on three films. In one he played my brother, but in another he beheaded me. I love him like a brother but to get to be able to unload the amount of paintballs I did on him was just awesome payback and hilarious at the same time. Ryan, if you read this, I love ya mate.


There are many famous masked killers such as Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees etc. Do you think they would welcome your killer from Paintball Massacre into their ranks?

Two awesome characters. I would love to say they would but I wouldn’t wanna get on the wrong side of either of those killers. I was lucky enough to meet Ken Kirzinger, who played Jason in Freddy vs Jason, as I was sat behind him and Robert Englund at the film's premiere in Los Angeles.


Are you a fan of genre films, and what excited you about Paintball Massacre?

I’m a big fan of fantasy films. I knew I would have fun on Paintball Massacre as every day would be the great unknown. With no lines to learn, there was no pressure on me. I knew I could turn up and no one would know what I was going to do. Once the mask is on and a scene begins you just have free reign to create what you like. No one knows what your thinking. No one can look you in the eyes and no one knows if you're even watching them. It was fun to have the mask on, sit back and just watch people. Creepy but fun.

When searching for your next film project what is on your tick list?

I’ve started to want to push myself harder as I’ve got older. I want characters that I can really get into. I love to dress up and make myself not look like me. I like to be a bit of a chameleon. It’s much more fun than looking the same and sounding the same in every role. I do enjoy playing quite dark parts.


You recently acted alongside Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell. Was this a daunting prospect?

No, not really. As you get older and work with more and more incredibly talented people you realise that these are just your peers. Like yourself, they were once new or young talent and every actor becomes just another person that does what you do and loves it. I respect them immensely and try to learn from them when I can. Every actor has different techniques and different ways of behaving. I love to watch this on sets. Sometimes your next character might be based on these people. I love people-watching and stealing other people's quirky traits.


If you could work with any actor or producer on your next film who would it be and why?

Another easy one for me. It would have been a dream come true to have worked with the late Robin Williams as I am a big fan of that man. How he could make you laugh or cry with his talent. So sad he is gone. Ron Howard would be the director I would love to work with. Having directed Willow he is top of my list. I just worked with writer/producer Jean Pierre Magro on films Blood on the Crown/ Just Noise and I’m hoping to work with him again very soon. He is one to watch out for. Great writer and producer.


Your younger self is standing in front of you - what advice would you give them?

Listen to your mum's advice. She knows what’s best. Don’t be a know it all. You can achieve anything if you put in the work. Dream big.

Paintball Massacre is available now on DVD and Digital in USA and Canada from Uncork’d Entertainment and is due for UK DVD and Digital release on 5th April courtesy of 4Digital Media. You can pre-order now from Amazon here.