Review Fix chats with “Dirty” star Paul Elia, who discusses the film and what makes it a special one. In the vein of “Se7en” and Oldboy,” it’s a gritty mystery noir experience that thinks fans of the genre will love.
For more on the film, click here.
Review Fix: Why did you decide to play this role?
Paul Elia: I had nothing else better to do – kidding.
Detectives live really interesting lives. When I was in Detroit, I was working graveyard shift at a gas station. I remember a detective named “Lee” who came in every night and would go on and on about his experience as a detective. It was really fascinating to me; after we would talk, I would often play his stories in my head and think “What would I do in that situation?” Also, when I first read the script, I really saw a lot of me in the character I played. Jackson (my character in the film) is neurotic, loud, pessimistic, and a push over, a lot of qualities I have already!
Review Fix: How did you prepare for this role?
Elia: When I was in Detroit, I was a working on the show Detroit 1-8-7. The show was about detectives in Detroit. I used everything from that experience while I was on set shooting “Dirty”. I already had an understanding of how detectives operate and view situations which was very helpful. I did some ride alongs with LAPD officers, had a Narco Detective I would meet with once a week and just pick his brain, and hang with Roger Guenveur Smith.
Review Fix:What films did you grow up watching? Did they play a role in your performance here?
Elia: I loved cop movies. My favorite cop was Al Pacino’s “Serpico”. What I liked about Pacino’s portrayal is that Serpico was a character with an opinion. I tried to make sure Det Jackson (my character in Dirty) also had a strong opinion about the way he viewed the world.
Review Fix: How has this film made you a better actor?
Elia: To be the lead in a feature is the best experience. It really taught me to be patient, calm, and just relax. Because I was doing 14 hour days, I tried my best to save my energy so I can give the best performance in every scene. I think that whole experience taught me more about acting then any class I ever took. After the film was over I felt an “ah ha!” moment and said to my self “So this is what acting is” which is something I never felt before. What I learned is to really just keep things simple and don’t over think a scene. Ever since then I really grew as an actor and as a human being.
Review Fix: How do you want this film to be remembered?
Elia: The way this movie came about was really special. I would like this movie to be remembered as “the movie that every said could not be shot”. literally everyone we sent the script to told us “This movie will never be made for under 3M dollars” and we shot it for 90K. I hope this film inspires others to shoot their own projects and tell their own stories.
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy this film the most?
Elia: Single men and girls that think I’m cute.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why should someone watch this film?
Elia: This is a fun film. This is truly one of those movies that will entertain you. The acting in this movie is very impressive. Adrian Gaeta, chaz bono, Tony Denision, and Roger really kill it. Also I’m a nice guy.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Elia: I recently was the lead in a project for Interscope records called “Sremmbreak” with the rap group Rae Sremmurd. Also a feature film titled Dance with Whales with academy award nominated director Sergi Bedrov. I am also doing stand-up all around the country. Follow my IG and Facebook for more updates.