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Demetri Goritsas Talks about His Career and Role in “X-Men:First Class”

If you do not already know him, keep his name in mind. Demetri Goritsas may be the next big Greek-American star in the film-making industry. He has collaborated with some of the best actors in Hollywood and England, both in film and theater.

Goritsas was born in Eugene, Oregon, USA, grew up in British Columbia and has lived his adult life in London.

He had a starring role in Gallipoli alongside Jeremy Irons in 2005, and recently appeared as the father of Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman) in the British sci-fi series Torchwood. His film credits also include “Saving Private Ryan and “A Mighty Heart” among many others.

Demetri recently finished shooting on X-Men: First Class, Fox’s big superhero film coming to cinemas this June. Demetri plays Levene. Also Recently airing on Showtime & BBC2, the comedy series Episodes created by Jeffery Klarik (Mad About You) and David Crane (Friends)! Demetri plays the Director guiding Matt Leblanc through this hilarious Hollywood remake of a hit British TV show. Watch the trailer.

Also you can catch Demetri on the feature film The Whistleblower set to hit screens in Aug 2011. Demetri plays the ex-husband to Rachel Weisz in the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, the ex-cop who outed the United Nations cover-up of a slavery-prostitution ring in post-war Bosnia. It will be released Aug 2011.

During his recent trip to Los Angeles we had the chance to meet and talk about his Greek heritage and his blossoming career.

Where are you from?
I was born in Eugene, Oregon. A few weeks later my family moved to Canada and I grew up in Prince George, northern British Columbia.

What part of Greece does your family come from?
My Dad’s side are from a village near Mykines on the Argolis Peninsula.

How Greek do you feel?
Being Greek is really important to me. Where I grew up there weren’t that many Greeks and our relatives were far away. As a kid I felt a little on the outside looking into a world that was in my blood but I had little direct experience with. But as I grew up and started spending time in Greece I was surprised how strong the connection was. And it keeps deepening. Being Greek is the best gift my Dad gave me.

You work in England and the US. What are the differences?
Working in British theatre is amazing. It has a vitality and a history that’s unmatchable. Working on films is mostly the same in both countries. In the UK, there’s a kind of gentlemanly, well-mannered side to it. People call you “Sir”. But in the US they know how to lay out the food!

Which one you like more?
I couldn’t choose between them. If there was some place that had the best of both worlds I’d move there. Maybe Canada?

Would you like to move to Los Angeles?
It’s definitely on the horizon. Ironically, I used to live in LA and have worked more there since I moved away.

You have collaborated with some of the biggest stars of Hollywood. Can you name a few? What is your experience with them?
The first day on the set of Saving Private Ryan, suddenly thrown into working with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks I was definitely awe-struck. Six weeks in India working with Angelina Jolie on A Mighty Heart was amazing too. And I’ve been fortunate to do two films with Matt Damon. In all cases I found working with the big names to be really enjoyable. Their graciousness kind of spreads around to everyone else working with them.

What has been an unforgettable experience on set?
Years ago I had a really small scene in Spy Game with Robert Redford. I wasn’t expecting to interact with him much but the time he took to make sure I was all right and to play around with the scene made the whole experience for me. He’s 100% integrity.

Do you have a favorite actor? Who?
There are too many actors to mention. Although, I often watch Daniel Day-Lewis’ work and am inspired at how he does it.

Would you like to produce and/or direct your own movies at some point? Any projects?
I’d love to and am currently writing and directing a comedy documentary of what’s probably the most influential entertainer to come out of Canada. He’s a forgotten genius and I’m kind of keeping him secret but to date I’ve filmed interviews with many renowned Canadian artists who knew him, Leslie Nielsen, Jason Priestley, David Foster, Paul Anka, and some fellow Greek-Canadians, Nia Vardalos and Peter Soumalias who founded Canada’s Walk of Fame. I’ll tell you more about the artist and film soon!

Do you believe that eventually actors reach a point that they have to direct? (is it a natural step?)
It certainly feels so to me. Acting, directing, writing, these are all different skills but the goal is the same, to tell a great story. I believe the benefit coming from an acting background is I know I want to make something good enough that as an actor I’d want to be in.

What can you tell us about X-men and your work in the film?
X-Men: First Class is a prequel about the friendship of Dr Xavier and Magento before they became enemies. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal much more about the film except that I play Levene and he’s not a mutant! It’s been a lot of fun filming in London, LA, and on the Golden Isles in Georgia. Can’t wait for it to get out there.

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