Acting, // October 21, 2017
Ari Barkan (Update 2017) — ACTOR
Update interview with actor Ari Barkan —
“Having Conquered Gotham and Blacklist, this “Big Dog” Now Has His Sights Set On Even Bigger Goals.”
1. Hello Ari, since your article 3 years ago in Arts Illustrated, you’ve been very busy. What’s been happening?
First of all Charles, I want to thank you so much for sitting down and having this chat with me. It is always awesome to be in your presence and in your publication. With that being said, a lot has progressed in my career since then! I am proud to say I have been in co-star roles in such productions as Fox’s “Gotham”, and NBC’s “The Blacklist.” On Gotham, I played one of the Tweed brothers (which is a playoff on Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum.) On NBC’s The Blacklist, which is my first official co-star role on television, I played a Tow Truck Driver opposite James Spader and Hisham Tawfiq. Ari also has a juicy supporting role in Kamal Ahmed’s new film “The Martyr Maker.” A new film dealing with loyalty, religion, and corruption.
I also shot some pretty cool roles for some indy films – two that I must definitely mention are “Abnormal Attractions” which was made by the wonderful and awesome Fuzz on The Lens Productions; the other is “First, We Take Brooklyn” where I have the absolute honor of having a scene, albeit small, but a very awesome scene with Harvey Keitel. And I would love to just take this moment to thank my good friend Danny A for casting me in this role, which has me playing one of Harvey’s Russian Thugs. Look for both of these projects to be released by the end of the year!
Last fall, my close friend Glenn Ford and I were accepted into Dwayne Johnson’s “Rock The Promo” on YouTube. It was a creative contest that saw us move onto the finals in Las Vegas – while being judged by former and current wrestling stars! Glenn had the idea of us being a tag team called “Sweet Revenge” where he would portray CC MACCHIATO and I would portray Stud Muffin. We were eventually flown into Las Vegas to compete in the finals in front of The Rock. We didn’t win, but the experience itself was a major victory. Huge thank you to Glenn for his brilliance. Glenn is not only an actor and writer but he is a brilliant rapper, lyricist, fitness guru, and a humanitarian.
2. What is on the horizon for future projects?
I am very glad you asked that question! I am currently filming my biggest role yet: a recurring guest star role on the new series “Big Dogs.” It is being produced by the wonderful Summer Crocket Moore and Tony Glazer of Choice Films. The new TV show is based on a series of futuristic crime books by the wonderful author Adam Dunn – who is also producing. Adam is the creator of the series which exists in an alternate reality, here in New York City. I cannot give too much information away but I play Ahmed “Baby” Fata, or “Baby Fata”, and he is a Chechen gangster with a baby face. That is all I can say for now. The series also stars Michael Richardson Neeson, who is the brilliantly talented son of the equally brilliantly talented Liam Neeson (whom I have had the pleasure of working with on numerous occasions). I just have to say, I am extremely grateful to Tony, Summer, and the wonderful casting director Judy Bowman for this opportunity. I am definitely blessed.
On my horizon is “Sarah Q.” A film being directed by one of the most legendary independent filmmakers John Gallagher. He is not only my mentor, but he is a good friend – and it is just such an honor to say that. This film is about a girl who moves to NYC to pursue her acting dreams, only to find obstacles on her way to success. I play Dougie, and he is a silly fool. That is all I can say. The cast includes many actors from The Sopranos. As awesome as that is, nothing is more awesome to get to act alongside on of your best friends George Andreakos. I will have that privilege not only on this film, but I had the opportunity to work alongside him in “First, We Take Brooklyn.” George is one of the most talented actors in this industry.
And finally on my horizon among few projects, is my very own. I am co-writing and co-producing a script with one of my close friends Brian Wolfe. He is also a fantastic actor and is the designer of his own fashion line “Rulez of Rebelz.” He has brilliant ideas and when we sit and write, we come up with gold. We just finished our first draft. The working title is “Spiral’. And unfortunately plot details are being kept quiet at this time.
3. What brought you to acting, and what keeps you there?
My great grandparents and my middle school. My great grandmother was a stage actress in the former USSR and my great grandfather, her husband, was a theatre producer. That is how they met. They were also very close friends with Konstantin Stanislavski.
What keeps me acting is the beauty of creating the character; becoming the character. If done right, it can be a very beautiful or scary thing. And who doesn’t like a little scary from time to time? Challenges – that is what makes us better.
What also keeps me here are the people you meet and build relationships with. I can name so many actors I have met that have become friends, and some even close friends – George Andreakos, Brian Wolfe, Vlad Wilson, Jasson Finney, – there is just too many to name!
4. How do you work and develop your subject/character?
Since February, I have been training with the absolutely brilliant Michael Luggio. The man is a legend. I mean it. He really is. In the past 6 months, my eyes have never been this wide open. He has instilled in me the tools of creativity that I didn’t know were possible to have. He has taught me how to create the character by building the backstory; what moves the person. What makes him act the way he acts. What makes him feel the way he feels. Why does he do what he does? Why does he move the way he does? The creation of the character has zero limits because the actor is the only person in control of that. Yes, directors might gives us direction and changes and suggestions, but your creation of the character will always be one solid foundation. You take what is written, and you fill in the blanks. And you will never be wrong, because it is your character, and not anyone else’s. You embody the role. And I thank Michael Luggio for that. Well I also thank actor Brian Wolfe for introducing me to his class. I cannot wait to get back to training in the fall.
5. So looking to the next 5 to 10 years, where would you like to be as an artist?
I would love to be the lead in feature films. I would also love to land a series regular role on a TV show. Those are my goals and I promise you, they will be reached. Simple as that.