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article imageWhat does actor D.B. Sweeney do for an encore? Writes & directs. Special

By Earl Dittman     Sep 17, 2010 in Entertainment
You've seen the face and you've heard the voice – he was Shoeless Joe in 8 Men Out, an abductee in Fire In The Sky and a guest on 24 and Criminal Minds. If that weren't enough, he has directed, wrote and produced the comedy Two Tickets To Paradise
“People are always asking me why I'm not a bigger star,” 49-year-old D.B. (Daniel Bernard) Sweeney answers when ask whey he isn't scoring Matt Damon or George Clooney size roles. “I don't think it's a crime to have a career where you enjoy the work you do and don't have to sell out your soul just to see your name a little bigger or higher on the poster'”
Integrity is very important to Sweeney. “I owe people the best I can give when they see me on stage, screen on TV,” admits the husband and father of one, who will soon begin his stint on the upcoming, highly-anticipated series The Event. ”People pay good money to see me do what I do.” And possibly one of the reasons his mantle at home isn't packed with Oscars, Emmys, Tonys or even Golden Globes for his sensational acting work is that he makes it looks all so effortless. “I love doing what I do, especially since I get to live out dreams I'll never have the chance to in real life,” admits Sweeney, who wanted to be a pro ball player until a motorcycle accident destroyed those dreams. “”I may not have gotten to in the pros, but I got to play the greatest baseball player of the game when I was cast as Shoeless Joe. Who could wish for anything more?”
Sweeney can. Having aced the world of acting, he decided to give writing and directing a try with Two Tickets To Paradise – a cult hit on the festival circuit since 2008, it is just making its debut on DVD. In the hysterical comedy, Sweeney, John C. McGinley, (Cutting Edge pal) Moira Kelly and Ed Harris portray old friends with dreams of new beginnings – a pro athlete, a rock 'n' roll star and a Bill Gates-like all-around genius. Unfortunately, for the three boyhood buddies – Mark, McGriff and Jason – they are about 20 years too late -- two decades after graduating high school. Twenty year later, they can't even catch a cold. However, there is a major reversal of fortune, when they score two tickets for The College Football Championship Bowl – considered THE biggest game of the year. Seeing it as their second chance to break out of their doldrum lives, the BFFs plan a roadtrip to Florida. One thing they never considered, however, can their seemingly cement-hard friendship survive hungry alligators, barroom losers and the most challenging obstacle of all – one another?
Calling up, earlier this month, to discuss the DVD release of Two Tickets To Paradise and his role on television's latest sci-fi-tinged conspiracy primetime series The Event, Sweeney also talks about why we need more intelligent films for male moviegoers.
D.B. Sweeney and pal in  Two Tickets To Paradise
D.B. Sweeney and pal in 'Two Tickets To Paradise'
One of the first times we spoke, you were being abducted by aliens in Fire In The Sky and you told me you had so many things you wanted to do with your career. Now, 17 years later, you've accomplished almost all of them. Are you sometime surprised with how well you've done in this business?“More that anything I am really grateful. I mean, every day doesn't always go your way. And like everyone else, I have had some disappointments, but the things that have been fun and successful and they far outweigh any of the disappointments. So I really do feel very blessed to have this great, long career, and now I got the chance to direct and co-write a film that I am really proud of with Two Tickets To Paradise.”
What makes Two Tickets To Paradise such a special film for you?“I put so much of myself into it, and to have people see it now is so exciting for me. It's special to me because I know what I was doing the movie for. I began writing the script back in 2002, out of a conversation I had with two buddies of mine who were New York City Firemen. This was in January of 2002, and at this point, these guys had been to 150 funerals or whatever it was at that point – almost like two a day – and then they would go to the neighborhood bar and try to drink their way through it and it was starting to affect them,so I turned to them one night, and said, 'Why do you don't you go bowling or go to the movies?' 'The guy feel out of his chair and said, 'People don't make movies any more and it was the biggest laugh he had had since September. And I realized what he said was true. Movies were being made for 14-year-old girls who went to see Taylor Lautner (Twilight trilogy). And Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince Of Persia), who is he for -- 22-year-old boys? I felt like the movies that I grew up on – with Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen and movies about men, they just don't make them anymore. So, I really wanted to try to make a movie that filled that void. For me, that's where it started and then how do you get it done?”
Moira Kelly in  Two Tickets To Paradise
Moira Kelly in 'Two Tickets To Paradise'
Is there a lack of an audience for the kind of movies you and I grew up enjoying?“No, I don't think that there is a lack of an audience, I think it's Hollywood thinking that there's a lack of an audience. There's always a few movies every year, like last year, there was a movie called Taken that came out, and it was great, and they just buried it. It got terrible reviews, critics were claiming it was not a good movie because the American or Irish-American character, Liam Neeson, goes out and kills an Arab guy at the end of the movie, and that's not the message Hollywood wants to sent out. They'd rather it be something like 'We Are The World' and everybody holding hands and let's change the role of America in the world. These days, that's the predominant storyline they want to put out, and every time you put a movie out like that, it does huge business. But, at the same time, when the release The Expendables, the Stallone movie, it also does tremendous business. People want to see it. To me, if Hollywood would just make movies geared towards American men, they would go, because every time that they do, they show up in hordes. I'm not saying that they should make all one kind of movie, but they don't make that movie at all anymore, and it's disappointing for me, because I think I would be good in those movies. I'd love to see more of them to get made.”
How would you best describe Two Tickets To Paradise?“I would say this is about three guys that you are going to recognize – it might be an ex-boyfriend, it might be your husband or your older brother – but these are three guys that you knew when you were growing up and you are going to be familiar with some of the ways that they see the world. Hopefully, the comedy comes from the fact that they've never left the small town they are from and the world had grown up around them. They are sort of stuck, so hopefully, that's where the comedy is – they still think it's 1989.”
What are you working on right now? “I'm doing this show for NBC called The Event, I didn't do the pilot, but I've done every episode since then, so it's kind of week to week. I'd be glad to be a series regular if they ask me to. It reads real good, but I don't get the whole scripts, because they are being real secretive with the story, which is fine. The scenes they have given me are fantastic. I'm sort of like a smiling assassin. It's a great role. I come in and make things happen.”
D.B. Sweeney on  House
D.B. Sweeney on 'House'
Is it a bit like Lost and The Bourne Identity? “There are elements of Lost and The Bourne Identity for sure. It's a massive conspiracy theory series – more like the original Manchurian Candidate with Frank Sinatra. And, for me, there are echoes of The X-Files in it, the series more than the movies. There are a lot of great actors in this thing and there are spending a whole lot of money on it. There's a scene with a plane crash in it and they actually got a 737, cut it up in five pieces, drove it out to the desert and filmed around this real airplane. They don't even do that in movies anymore, it's all blue- or green- screen. They are really making it, pardon the pun, an event. I'm excited to be a part of it. You always want to be part of something that's captured the zeitgeist and that everyone is watching, and The Event has the chance to be that. I'm glad I got the chance to act in it.”
You have a very natural acting style that is brilliant in every film you've made? Where do you think your love of acting comes from?“I try to come across as natural as I can, I'm glad you can see that. I grew up in a family of four, my dad was a schoolteacher, and we very rarely had any extra money. When we did have a little extra money, we would go to the movies. For our family, it was a huge break for us, one of the big things we looked forward to in life. I remember going to the movies with my family, as a teenager, as being some of the best times I ever had. I put a great value on what is going to be up there on the screen, and I watch a lot of movies where people either haven't learned their trade or they just blow it off. Whether it's actors, directors or writers – Hollywood is a big machine of distribution, so it's not really up to Hollywood to make better movies – so I have always taken this chance, being a kid from Ohio and I get to act in Hollywood, I take it very seriously, With ticket prices the price they are, sometimes it costs you more to see a movie than what you make it an hour at a job, so it better be worth the money. You really made a sacrifice to come into the dark to watch this movie, I feel like I owe you and everybody like you – who is hoping that the movie is good – my very best effort. That's always what I've tried to put into it. Sometimes it works and sometime it doesn't, but I try to hit the ball as hard as I can every time I'm at at the plate.”
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