While you may not know the name Frank Grillo just yet, he’s making every effort to see that you eventually do. The veteran character actor has been acting in Hollywood since the early ‘90s, but is only now starting to see his career really start to take off. Earlier this year we saw him play villain Brock Rumlow in the super successful hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this weekend he is front and center in the new horror sequel The Purge: Anarchy, and soon he will be the star of his own series, Kingdom on FX. But this is only the beginning.
In promotion of The Purge: Anarchy, this past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Frank Grillo and talk all about not only his latest film, but also his ambitious goals for his future as an actor. He had a bunch of absolutely fascinating things to say, so start reading now!
Why Sergeant Doesn’t Have A Name And Why A Lot Of His Dialogue Was CutIn The Purge: Anarchy, Frank Grillo’s Sergeant is what you might call a man of mystery (and I don’t mean in the globe-trotting spy sense). While we know that he is using the Purge night to some serious revenge, and that he has some trauma in his background, he is a character of very few words, and never even fully reveals his name. While you’d think this would be an extra hard challenge for an actor to wrap his head around, the reality is that Grillo fought to keep Sergeant in the shadows and as enigmatic as possible.
Talking about being a "pain in the ass" to writer/director James DeMonaco, constantly asking about his character and the larger world he lives in, Grillo explained that it was a mutual decision between him and the filmmaker to cut down on all the talking and leave his identity a secret to both the group of travelers he’s working with in the movie, and the audience.
"I ask ‘why?’ ‘why?’ ‘why?’ and he listened," Grillo told me. "We cut a lot of my dialogue out and I said I didn’t want to have a name. I should never tell them my name. My job is to get rid of [the group] so I can do what I have to do. I don’t want to make friends. I don’t want any more emotion to be released from me. I don’t want any sympathy. I don’t want to be sentimental, so let’s make this guy like one of those guys we love, like the Charles Bronsons of the world."
But while we may not know the big or tiny details of Sergeant’s life, don’t be confused: Frank Grillo knows the man inside out:
"I have a bible of backstory, which is just for me. What that does, my bible, is it creates my behavior, and good acting is behavior. If I know what I’m doing at all times and why I’m doing it, it makes what I’m doing authentic. That’s what every character has to have, all that knowledge."