I’m Chris Pardal

 In Chris Pardal, Opinions

I was a professional hip-hop dancer (and i did a little bit of stripping too) in the early to mid-nineties. In 1995, I started acting at St. Pete College and I was still in the club scene.

Because I was in the club scene, I saw the rave scene began to grow in the Tampa Bay area and I saw the use of ecstasy just explode.

Because I knew a lot of the drug dealers who would grow in power and I also knew a lot of people who wanted to get their hands on some beans (that’s what we called Ecstasy pills in the scene), I stated buying pills in mass quantity.

Within a month, I was a full-time ecstasy dealer. I also started using a lot of drugs, drinking heavy and I left college. By 2001, I became the real life version of the horrible characters that I had dreamed of playing on screen. I was a selfish, uncaring, cold-hearted drug dealer.

I did home invasions on my enemies, beat people up, hooked people on ecstasy and treated girls like disposable furniture.

I’ve had my head smashed and back stabbed with a broken beer bottle. My forehead is full of scars and part of my ear was bit off in a fight.

I went from an artist to never drank to becoming a maniac that’s smoked anything and everything and stayed up for days. I went from a writer who hung out in coffee shops to a shady thug who hung out in crack houses and heroin dens.

Sometimes, I would look in the mirror through drug-hazed eyes and catch glimpses of my former self in the reflection.

I went back to my old theater teacher, Dr Sybil Johnson, and asked if I could, not only come back to class, but I wanted to write and direct a play. She let me, and I worked my ass off with my old and new theater friends. I was still selling beans and partying and one weekend I ODd on some bad pills. I ended up in the hospital and had my stomach pumped twice.

I made it back to school and Dr. Johnson said to me, “Of all the students I’ve had, you’re the one that I would bet to make it, because you’re a risk-taker; but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that something terrible happened to you because you’re a risk-taker.”

“Make sure you take the right risks.”

My play, “Typecast” was huge success. We filled the 500+ seat theater and had people also standing up. The place was filled with teachers, family and friends from all walks of my life; drug-dealers, ravers, dancers, actors and writers.

I knew that I had to claw my way back onto the path that I was destined for.
It would be a few years but I finally made it out to LA in 2009.

I would be 38 or 39 before I found really good training. I’ve Had The Good Fortune of having some absolutely wonderful mentors in LA. When I got cast in Corbin Nash the casting director who brought me in was Carmen Aiello. Carmen had cast me a few years before in this fake reality show, Operation Repo.

Carmen brought me to meet the director of Corbin Nash, Ben Jagger about this smaller part who is (I definitely don’t want to give away the movie) a tough, fighter sort of fellow.

Ben is absolutely a great person. I just love talking to him and we talked about him and his dad and his brother and Carmen was there and we just had coffee. So the meeting went well and I had a really scruffy face and looked the part for the character that they were Casting.

Let me rewind to a day before when I’m reading the script before I go to meet Ben Jagger. I read the script and I absolutely loved the story. It’s such a cool and inventive and original and fresh take on not just vampires but the dramatic story of family, friends and police partners.

When I read the script I really loved the character, Frank Sullivan; the detective who is partners with Corbin Nash, the titular character.

Fast Forward to where the meeting goes great. I go home and I get a call that night from my agent and he says, “Hey they want to talk to you about possibly playing Frank Sullivan and just so you know he’s a main character.” I said, “Theo, I know who this guy is I read the whole script. I love this guy!” My agent says to make myself look a little more like a detective, meet them tomorrow and be very familiar with the script.

I meet the next day at Tiago: Ben Jagger, Carmen Aiello, and the star of Corbin Nash, Dean S Jagger. Dean and I started talking and he got right into the story. He asked me a question about a specific situation is the script (Not giving away any spoilers). I gave him the answer and he seemed a little surprised and pleased at what I said.

Now Dean’s a great actor, so he may not have been surprised and expected that any actor should have read the script and understood and had the same point of view as I had, but he was pleased enough that he extended his hand, shook mine, and said, “Welcome aboard”.

Carmen and Ben were having their own conversation off to the side, turned and looked at us and asked, “Is that what I think it is?” I said yeah, and Carmen said, “Holy shit that was fast, it hasn’t even been 10 minutes!”

Needless to say I was super excited. It was just fantastic. Watching Corey Feldman work and being on set with him was surreal. He’s original, fun, and an absolute professional. You’re talking about a guy who doesn’t remember what it’s like to not be on set.

I know you’re going to have a blast watching it. You don’t get guys like Bruce Davison, Malcolm McDowell, Rutger Hauer, Courtney Gains, Corey Feldman, etc etc etc.; and you don’t get a director like Ben Jagger or an actor like Dean Jagger their energy into a project unless it’s something that’s absolutely fantastic.

These brothers used to dig fucking ditches in order to raise money to make their movie. They dug ditches so that Dean could go and take acting lessons. That is dedication. This movie was made with love, blood, tears and soul.

I have to say Richard Wagner who is a producer and also an actor in this movie is just such a fantastic guy and another one of those mentors that’s put into your life. This is a guy who lived in his van when he first moved to LA and learned how to raise money for movies and then started raising money for his own movie. I’m happy for his success and he’s such a great and giving guy, teaching me a lot of things about the movie industry.

Have fun April 20th