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Sala Baker of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy talks about his latest acting endeavors

Actor Sala Baker of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy chatted about his latest acting endeavors, and being a part of the digital age.

Sala Baker
Actor Sala Baker. Photo Courtesy of Sala Baker
Actor Sala Baker. Photo Courtesy of Sala Baker

Actor Sala Baker of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy chatted about his latest acting endeavors, and being a part of the digital age.

From a global standpoint, Baker is known for playing Sauron in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

In this Oscar-winning fantasy film series, directed by Peter Jackson, Sauron is the “Dark Lord or Mordor” and the Ring’s true master, who manifests as an “Eye” after the destruction of his physical form.

Sala Baker on ‘The Last Deal’

The synopsis is: Black market marijuana dealer Vince (Anthony Molinari) is living the high life in Los Angeles, but everything changes when new laws pass making cannabis legal.

With limited dispensary licenses available, Vince may be squeezed out of the business. He’s desperate to make one final score, but borrows money from the wrong people. Baker stars as the nefarious character “The Boss.”

Anthony Molinari in 'The Last Deal'
Anthony Molinari in ‘The Last Deal.’ Photo Courtesy of Scatena & Rosner Films

“It was a great film because, for me, it was during COVID,” Baker said about “The Last Deal.”

“There was no work going on. Everyone was struggling to figure out what was next and how we were going to figure out work and how to stay busy. Anthony [Molinari] reached out to me, and he asked me if I wanted to be a part of this project,” he said.

Working with director Jonathan Salemi

“The director, Jonathan Salemi, had shot a whole lookbook video of what it would look like, and I thought it looked cool. I would play the role of the main bad guy, so when I read the script, I found it very cool and pretty interesting, especially since it’s a depiction of when weed went legal, and it became a very interesting script,” he elaborated.

“That bad guy was awesome and so badass, and I was able to bring my own flair to it. I wanted to bring back that old-school gangster with the turtlenecks, glasses, the hats, and all the different looks. This villain had a different feel to him. That’s where I brought in my extra Sala Baker skills into the villain of these days,” he added.

Jonathan Salemi
Director Jonathan Salemi. Photo Courtesy of L.A.N.E. 38

A native of New Zealand, Baker went on to praise director Jonathan Salemi for his vision and direction. “We shot it in a guerilla style fashion,” he said. “Jonathan had great ideas and he was so cool to work with. We managed to shoot some incredible scenes outside the bank. Even for a low-budget film, we had great production value.”

Baker had great words about being a part of this movie along with Conner Floyd (“The Young and The Restless”). “Conner is an awesome dude,” he exclaimed. “Overall, ‘The Last Deal’ was a great movie to be a part of.”

The digital age

On being an actor in the digital age, Baker said, “It’s crazy because you can connect with people that you couldn’t be connected to before. Previously, you couldn’t get a hold of people’s personal details. I just did a movie in Colombia and the way they got one of the other actors to be a part of the film was that they got another actress to send him a DM.”

“These days, you can send DMs and get a hold of people, and you can have a relationship with them,” he admitted. “It is a lot easier these days, and you can find information faster about where films are, where they are shot, and who is casting them.”

“Also, in this digital age, you can find out how to do anything on Master YouTube. These days, it is much more accessible to do things and to tell your story without having to spend a lot of money on equipment. You can make a movie with your cell phone. With AI now, you can literally do anything,” he added.

Advice for young and aspiring actors

For young and aspiring actors, he said, “All you need is your own belief in yourself. Everything is out there; you can get anything. Find your favorite scene in a movie. If you are an actor, and someone is a cinematographer, get two friends to set up a camera and be in a scene with you.”

“Literally, copy that favorite scene and the same shots, and do the same dialogue. Then, as the next assignment, do everything the same but change the story. Write your own scene, see if that works, and play with that. Then, you can swap roles with your friend,” he elaborated.

“You can keep doing these because everyone has a story, or their parents or their friends. We all have instances in our life that can be a story that can be elaborated on. Use everything around you. If you have an idea, just never give up. Do one scene because in one year, you can do 12 scenes (one per month),” he explained.

“To put that into perspective, in one year, you will have 12 shots, and you will be 12 times better than you were the first time,” he acknowledged. “So, when the time comes to write a full-length script, it becomes an easier task to take on.”

“To sum it up, never give up, don’t let anyone tell you what to do because nobody will ever believe your story. The only people that will believe your story are other creatives doing the same thing because they know what it takes. It is all about getting out there and doing it,” he added.

Stage of his life

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Baker revealed, “Believe in yourself and get to work.”

“When you believe in yourself, dig deep and do the work, that’s when it happens,” he said. “You have to write the perfect script that makes you feel better.”

“I played villains my whole life; that’s not what I wanted to do, but that was the way the industry took me and perceived me. Then, I said to myself ‘wow, they think I’m a great villain,’ now ‘let me become the greatest villain of all time.’  Then, all of these things kept coming along,” he elaborated.

“Finally, when you become the best villain, people realize that not only can you do drama, but you can do other things such as comedy and other things too,” he added.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy

On starring in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, he exclaimed, “That was the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I was 20 or 21 at the time, trying to get into film. I auditioned as an extra, and then I made the stunt team, and I ended up going all the way through, where I made it on the team.”

“Then, I kept on taking every opportunity (big or small), and I gave those opportunities the the best of my abilities. The fan conventions that I do as Sauron are still paying me to this day,” he added.

Superpower of choice

Regarding his superpower of choice, he revealed, “My superpower would be the ability to let people see the truth.”

Success

On his definition of the word success, Baker said, “Success is like having a dream, putting yourself out there with the hard work, which will allow you to then see that something is achievable. It may not come to you the exact way you wanted it to look, but every day we learn something new.”

“Success can mean so many different things but when you are building on all these little pieces that you are learning along the way, then success becomes confidence, and then success becomes never doubting yourself,” he said.

“That’s why it is important to dream big because anything else along the way, is just excess goodness for you. Be someone who can shift and change along with life. You actually never fail; you just learn,” he added.

Message for his fans and supporters

For his fans and supporters, Baker said, “Thank you so much for always believing in me and for always having my back because it’s a tough world. I’ve had such great fans who have followed me around and they have always been there for my characters, and they love the work that I do.”

“Every time I go to a convention, I thank them because I am a student of film too,” he admitted.

“I love old movies, old actors, and the actors that I grew up watching. This just happens to be my career, and I love it. The fans give us a little more life, and it’s just so cool. Like The Rock says, ‘the fans are our bosses’ because they give us feedback and they help pay our bills,” he concluded.

To learn more about Sala Baker, follow him on Instagram, and check out his IMDb page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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