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Kelly Perine talks about 'Manipulated' film on Amazon Prime Special

Posted Apr 7, 2021 by Markos Papadatos
Actor Kelly Perine chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about starring in the film "Manipulated," which was released on Amazon Prime on Tuesday, April 6.
Kelly Perine
Kelly Perine
Photo Courtesy of Kelly Perine
Manipulated is a taut drama and mystery with an ensemble cast. The film stars Traci Lords, Heather McComb, Chase Masterson Judy Landers, and Michael Pare.
On starring in the movie Manipulated, he said, "It was my first starring role in a feature, and I couldn't be more proud of the film and more honored to have been chosen to play the role of Scott Keating. As it was my first leading role, I thank the director Matt Berman for surrounding me with some of the most talented actors out there."
He continued, "Actors who have been working for decades and whose faces you recognize and love to see. Gail O’Grady, Chase Masterson, Heather McComb, Traci Lords, Michael Pare, Greg Evigan, Judy Landers, John De Lancie, and too many amazing other folks whose names you’ll soon know. It was just a joy for me to perform with these consummate professionals. And there was no way that with the script Matt wrote I wasn't going to succeed."
"And that's always a worry whenever you start a project, that the pieces around you will be strong. But in this case, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't the weakest link. This film was a joy to work on and star in, and I look forward to working with everybody again," he added.
When asked about his favorite part of this experience, he said, "Looking back I think that my favorite part of the experience of shooting ‘Manipulated’ was probably the first day of principal photography. After you've read the script and done the table read, once the Director of Photography and the lights & cameras are there and the director yells 'Action', it's go time. I am sure it's like baseball players feel on opening day."
"You want to make sure you get the first pitch over the plate. And on the first day of shooting ‘Manipulated’ I was doing the scene with the great Chase Masterson. I wanted to make sure that I gave her a pitch to take out of the yard, which she did. I think we did a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the shoot," he said.
Regarding his daily motivations as an actor, he said, "What motivates me each day as an actor is the understanding that what I am doing is something I was in some way called to do. I think it's the same when you talk to a painter, or a writer, or musician."
"Being an actor or being an artist is a very hard row to hoe, paved with all sorts of rejection," he said. "But if it's what you’re supposed to be doing you’ll let the rejection roll off you like water off a duck's back. So what motivates me as an actor is to continue to honor the fact that this is what I chose. This is what I've decided to be good at despite the uphill battle that is a career in the arts. And I have to work to make sure that both my decision to want to take on the challenge and be good at it is a noble endeavor."
For young and aspiring actors, he said, "The advice I have for young aspiring actors is to 'get good' at your craft! It's the same advice I give anybody in any field. If you have chosen a vocation, and acting is a vocation, it’s a job and it's also an art, decide to become good at it. Hell, decide to become great at it and become a great actor. It sounds simple because everyone believes they should be a “star”, but for me being a star is a byproduct of hard work put into your chosen field. So if you are a young actor starting off, you have to take classes, you have to do plays, you have to get over the jitters that come with being new."
"You have to get over the feeling you’re not ready for the craft and are going to be found out," he said. "You have to get rid of the 'would have', 'should have', 'could have' doubts that will destroy any artist's mind with doubt. I went to the University of California – Irvine and got a Masters's Degree in drama because I felt that was my best path to get really good. So my advice to anyone would be to get good at what you want to do. Whatever your individual path, get good."
On his dream acting partners, he said, "I could take the easy route and say the actors that everybody always says; Denzel, De Niro, and Halle Berry. I went to the University of California-Irvine for my Masters, and so I want to work with some folks that have gotten some training in an academic setting like Sigourney Weaver and Riz Ahmed. I would also love to work with Dennis Franz or Bryan Cranston whose work on TV has inspired me."
He acknowledged that he has been very busy during the quarantine. "I've been doing a lot of writing, I’ve safely shot three projects, and I’ve been connecting with other industry professionals that I would like to work with on the other side of this craziness. I’ve been spending time reading and trying to learn more about my industry. The silver lining, if there is one or maybe that's not the right way to phrase it, is that people have been forced to kind of slow down and shelter in place."
"People have had time to do some of the in-home creative things they didn't have time to do when the world was all hustle and bustle. So I think those that have capitalized on that concentrated energy and set themselves up with projects and opportunities for when the world does open back up fully are going to be alright," he said.
On his definition of success, he responded, "I love this question because the word success means different things to every single person. And the beauty of the word success is that even if you look it up in the dictionary you are allowed to go ahead and put your own personal definition on it. So for me, success means finding your passion and going after it every day."
"The unfortunate truth is that not everybody is going to support your dream. And that's okay. They don't have to. The only person that needs to believe in their dream is you. And I promise you that if you continue to work towards that you will inevitably find people who like what you’re doing and believe that you are supposed to be doing what you’re doing. So I guess success for me means following my dreams and not letting anybody stop me. For me it is not a result, it's a process," he explained.
He remarked about Manipulated, "I play Scott Keating, a master interrogator who has put serial killers behind bars, who returns after a personal tragedy to help the police solve a case they can’t crack. And he has to fight past demons and addictions in order to figure out which of 3 women, who all had motive and opportunity, killed a man in cold blood. This is one of those movies where you have to watch 2 or 3 times. If you watch carefully and listen closely the clues are all there and you can figure it out."
"It's what I call a “Run-it-back” type of film. Kinda like in 'The 6th Sense,' there will be some people going, 'yeah I knew it, I got it' and there will be other people that go 'Oh, I get it' during their second viewing. But it’s a fun ride no matter how many times you watch it. You’ll always find a new dot that connects to the ending," he concluded.
Kelly Perine
Kelly Perine
Photo Courtesy of Kelly Perine