We recently sat down with actor/director Derek Magyar to talk about his new projects, as well as his acting career in general. He told us about his latest project, a film called “Flying Lessons” which he is directing and producing. Flying Lessons is about a young girl who has to move back home with her mother because she has bottomed out. She confronts her past, which means dealing with the suicide of her father and the fact that she blames her mother for it. We asked Derek what made him decide to become involved with the film:
“A really close friend of mine wrote the screenplay and I read it and initially I was interested in playing the role that Jonathan Tucker ended up playing. I spent a lot of time with the script and just got very close to it and the closer I became to the project the more I realized that I don’t think I can just act in this. I think I have to direct it because I’m probably going to be driving another director nuts because I see it so specifically in terms of the vision. And that’s really how it ended up happening.”
Derek has just begun his foray into directing, although he has an extensive acting background. Given that he has been on both sides of the camera, we asked whether he prefers acting or directing more, to which he replied:
“I think my heart definitely belongs to acting and nothing will inspire me more than being an actor. But I consider myself to be an artist and a filmmaker and I love all aspects of art. So I really do thoroughly love both roles. But I think my heart, in the end, belongs to acting because it’s what I’ve been doing for most of my life may be the answer will change in 10 years, but for now, my heart still belongs to acting.”
Derek also spoke about his opinion of other actors and actresses, the type of movies he enjoys working on and how he got into acting.
Who is your favorite actor or actress you have worked with so far?
“I’ve just been lucky to work with a lot of great actors. I think working with Ed Harris was incredible and Ed and I both went to Cal Arts. I enjoyed working with David Duchovny. He’s a fantastic guy. We became great friends and he’s a wonderful actor. I think Luke Evans is a real talent and going to be a fantastic movie star. Hal Holbrook has become like a father to me.”
Is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you’re dying to work with?
“Yeah, I don’t even know where that list begins. I’d love to work with Daniel Day-Lewis sometime, Seymour Hoffman and the list goes on.”
I have met Ed Harris when he was shooting the movie “Radio”, he seemed very “normal” and down to earth. Is he that way on the set also?
“Ed is an incredible man and he is so brilliant. It is a job to him and he’s real professional. He takes it very seriously, which I respect a lot. It is just a regular guy. I think most of the actors of larger name caliber are at the end of the day. But he is definitely a very physical, rugged kind of a guy. He’s got this uber, kind of cool, macho presence about him that makes him feel really kind of grounded and very earthy at the same time.”
You seem to be doing a lot of thrillers/action films lately, is that something you want to pursue or is it just the projects you have been offered lately?
“I enjoy playing characters that have a lot of freedom and are wild and crazy. Whatever genre that ends up being, it’s the character in the end that excites me, not necessarily the genre per se.”
What was your inspiration for going into the entertainment field? Did you know it was what you wanted or was it more of just going with what hand you were dealt?
“I started acting when I was a kid. There was a little theater up the street from my elementary school. And that’s how I started acting. I just fell in love with it. It just felt right to me. It was the one thing that really made sense in my life. And I’m thankful for it. It’s really the one thing that keeps me going and keeps me inspired all the time is being artistic and creating. I’m able to really let go and really get to say that I love what I do.”
Flying Lessons and Phantom are two projects that you should be sure to check out by visiting the links provided. We look forward to seeing Derek’s vision come to the screen soon and we wish to thank him for taking the time to talk to us.