Bill Smitrovich ('The November Man')
'The Fall Guy!'
Veteran stage, film and television actor Bill Smitrovich stars in the spy thriller, 'THE NOVEMBER MAN' as top ranking CIA officer, 'Hanley,' opposite Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko in this ultimate cat and mouse game set in the world of international espionage.
Based on Bill Granger's novel, "There are No Spies" from the bestselling November Man book series and directed by Roger Donaldson ('THE BANK JOB,' 'THIRTEEN DAYS'), the film follows extremely dangerous and highly trained ex-CIA agent, 'Peter Devereaux' (Brosnan) who is lured out of quiet retirement by 'Hanley' (Smitrovich), on a very personal mission to extract a fellow agent holding information on high ranking Russian Officials.
He stumbles upon Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), friend of another informant, who could expose the truth behind a decade-old war conspiracy.
I recently caught up with Bill Smitrovich, and first wondered, being that 'The November Man' is based on Bill Granger's book, There Are No Spies, did he read the book long before the film was even considered? "I did read Mr.Granger's book shortly before we started filming. It's not the same story, but many of the characters that appeared in THE NOVEMBER MAN were in the book. It also contained the environment within the agency and elsewhere where many of the operations went down. It gave me insight into the character of Hanley and the relationships he had with other agents, superiors, and co-workers."
When you were first auditioning for the role did you even know what a 'November Man' was? "No, I was born in May. In fact, both Pierce and I have the same birth date. May 16th. Brothers from other Mothers."
Your character, Hanley recruits Devereaux (Brosnan) out of retirement to aid you on a personal mission to extract a fellow agent in trouble. So, as you have had roles in 'Air Force One,' 'Thirteen Days,' 'Eagle Eye' and so many more of the same ilk, was there anything on set that they had to actually teach you for this film, perhaps? "How to take a good screen punch!"
For the role of Hanley you had to have your head shaved (unless that is how you roll these days?), but was that their choice for the character or yours? "I was playing the role of Donny in David Mamet's AMERICAN BUFFALO. I've always wanted to shave my head at some time. Curiosity, I guess. So I shaved my head for Donny and it worked beautifully for that character. It was a terrific run, of an award winning production, at The Geffen Playhouse. David came to see our production twice and I think he thoroughly enjoyed it. Icing on the cake."
As we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, please tell us a little behind-the-scenes secret about the filming of 'The November Man'! Something that we can then look out for when we watch it, perhaps? "OK here it is: I showed up at the production office in Belgrade thinking I was going to be playing the role of Weinstein. Crazy three days before and after."
You have been acting professionally since 1980's 'The American Clock,' but that was when you were 33 years-old. Why were you so late into the acting game back then? "My father died at 45. I was seventeen. It took a while for me to find my way to, and "summer work" my way through the University of Bridgeport and graduate in 1973 when I was 26. Received a scholarship from Smith College to attend graduate school at Smith College, in Northampton, MA. started a theatre company with some good friends, taught acting at UMass/Amherst for a few years, had a great time(!), and it wasn't until I was 31 that I went to NYC with our company, The No Theatre's original play, THE ELEPHANT MAN."
"Got a job as bartender/waiter, enrolled in classes with Jack Garfein at The Harold Clurman Actors and Directors Lab and after a couple of years of theatre, classes and bartending, Jack Garfein gave me an opportunity to audition for Arthur Miller and the director, Dan Sullivan. They liked my auction and offered me asst. stage manager and understudy for all male roles. There were 7 actors and 22 roles. I went on the lead actor in the second, third and fourth performances of our World Premiere at The Spoleto Festival in Charlestown, S.C. in 1983. And there you have it."
Over the past 34 years you have been in some big name movies and even on big name TV shows re: Life Goes On, Nash Bridges, Californication, Rake, 24, NYPD Blue, etc. But which one, still today is the role that you knew was finally the one that meant you had succeeded in the business? "Life Goes On. Most gratifying role I've ever had. Proud of it's influence as a family show."
Indeed, within the business you are known as Smitty, but have you had any other nicknames along the way?! "Dumb Ass!"
As you are an admirer of the late Wanda Coleman, and especially her poem, Southern Equinox, I wondered why her, and why that poem in particular? "It embodies the feelings I am experiencing at this time of my life. So rich in image and word. It brings strong affirmation to my life and the celebration of it. I thought it was a fine way to introduce my biography on my website":
I see you have a Twitter account, but you seem to RETWEET more than you actually TWEET. But is that really you behind the retweets and tweets? "Yes it's me ... and some of my tweets bring to mind the other nicknames I've had!"
Lastly, and yes, we ask everyone this very same question, we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins. So, we were wondering if you did also, and if you had a story to go with it, perhaps? "Is it true they inspired the cummerbund?!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
'The November Man' - Trailer
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