Mark Pellegrino: you’re in my dojo now (recap)

Part three picks up the thread of Mark visiting an objectivist philosopher who gave him a way to visualise dissatisfaction. Mark said human nature is insatiable, and that’s why we achieve so much. He doesn’t consider himself successful; he’s still trying to find his artistic expression and his authentic self when he works. It’s an ongoing process, and he thinks it’s important to have the mindset of being a constant student.

Mark doesn’t know about his longevity because he didn’t really care about his career during the first two decades. He didn’t try to find the right projects, or craft his career like others may have done, but he went to class four or five times a week, practised every day, put on scenes and plays. He was reading all the time, writing, and didn’t think about his career — he just assumed it would just come, which isn’t the case. Mark said he didn’t even have much respect for film until his wife introduced him to French New Wave. It’s only in the last ten years that he started watching everything he could and studying story, and paying attention to the business side of things. Mark said if you go into an audition and you’re intense, it’s good for you as an actor, but the producer might be wondering if they want to work with this person for six years. Mark’s the guy who’ll say do what you want to do in an audition, not what they think you should do; tell them what to do, and that’s the way you will get recognised and get work — unabashedly standing up for your conditions. But he said he started to pay attention to the social aspects of filmmaking. Instead of being the isolated, introverted bookish dude that he is, he stepped outside of his comfort zone and made friends with people and let people know he’s easy to work with, a joker, and he likes to have fun. But he’s also focussed.

Travis first met Mark at Playhouse West, not on Supernatural, and was intimidated by him. He was a very serious actor. When he’s teaching, Mark said he brings his dojo face. When Oleg Taktarov wouldn’t listen to any of the teachers, Mark told him that if he wanted to learn sambo or learn to grapple, he’d go to Oleg’s dojo, and Oleg would teach him because he knows more than Mark. When Oleg agreed, Mark said, “you’re in my dojo now,” after which, he was a good student.

Mark was lucky when he picked his acting school. He’d started working as an actor and had an agent before he knew anything about acting. When his agent suggested an acting school because Mark wasn’t getting all the way through the audition process, Mark picked the one that was closest and cheapest — that happened to be Playhouse West. The school was getting started, and taking on characterish people and the teacher was obsessed with the group theatre of the thirties and forties. The teacher wanted to start a group theatre in LA, and the group that came out of the school at that time were communal, weren’t competitive with each other, gave each other parts and rehearsed, and were dead serious about what they were doing — they didn’t fuck around. That’s what Mark grew up with.

After one of the students became very famous, the school attracted a different type of actor; this changed everything, including the teacher’s ethical foundation. Mark was the dissenting voice and teacher when it became a bit Hollywood.

Travis described Mark as honourable in all things, and guiding light for doing the work; studying the craft, the great plays, and the greats; reading; and being a good human being, husband, and friend who stands up for people.

Mark became friends with Titus on Twisted, spent a lot of time together on Lost, but they aren’t really in touch as much as Mark would like.

At this point, all the technology started shutting down because the interview was going on longer than normal! Mark does like to talk — he’s an excellent interviewee.

Mark felt vulnerable talking about his top three bands and artists because he doesn’t think anyone will dig his choices — they’re all emotional connections — but that didn’t stop him from singing. T

  1. Journey — he associates the first Journey album with his first love and Feeling that Way reminds Mark of his mom when she passed away.
  2. The Germs — the first punk band he started to like. It’s associated with his teen years and innocence.
  3. ACDC or Joni Mitchell’s Blue — which reminds him of being in love.

Mark was always into heavy metal. There’s no 80s metal band he didn’t like.

Best of Both Worlds by Van Halen is Mark’s song for getting pumped up.

Mark listens to classic rock and doesn’t know modern music — though he does like Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake — so his wife would like to listen to something more recent.

The song that would be Mark’s life anthem is I’m Turning Japanese because he’s losing all his vices as he gets older.

The one book Mark’s carrying in his back pocket for the rest of his life is either The Fountainhead or The Virtue of Selfishness. The Fountainhead is 700 pages, so he’s probably better with The Virtue of Selfishness if he wants to be able to sit down.

Three things that we might find in Mark’s grocery cart: fish, vegetables and cookies.

What a great podcast! That’s one of the best interviews I’ve heard with Mark — and it’s great that they added a third part rather than edit out some of the great content included in the series.