1. Where are you originally from?
I was born in the Bronx, NY and lived there for a number of years until my family moved to New Jersey. I grew up hitting the gym a lot and working out with a desire to one day play professional football. I’m a big NFL fan. In between I enjoyed reading various types of books (Stephen King being a favorite) as well as comic books. The acting bug was slowly and unknowingly growing inside of me. I would find myself spending hours watching movies and in the process developing a real passion and respect for Hollywood's classics.
2. Who inspired you to become an actor?
I grew up watching a lot films and TV. As with anybody when watching a film, you know and feel what are real, heart-felt performances. That was very interesting to me. Watching performances that stir different emotions in me. I was also a huge comic book fan and would read and watch them on TV. The first time I contemplated the idea that I could actually be an actor was after I saw Christopher Reeve play Superman. Reeve was on a TV interview talking about his Man of Steel role. He spoke of being on set with the other actors, training his body to look more like Superman, using wires to fly... etc. It was all thrilling to hear. I knew right there and then I wanted to become an actor. As a young boy, Christopher Reeve inspired me. As I got older and saw the trauma that he had suffered, and how he endured and continued to achieve and inspire others; Christopher Reeve then became to me a real 'Super - Man.'
3. You have worked with many legendary actors including Burt Reynolds. How was your experience working with him and others of their caliber?
I've been fortunate to have been involved in some very cool projects and work alongside some terrific actors, many of whom I have admired greatly growing up. Burt Reynolds was an extremely giving person. He was the director of the project "Hard Time". He shared many great stories of other projects he worked on in his vast career. One story involved a conversation he had with Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart about some acting techniques he liked to use to bring about more realism to his characters and scenes. It was very cool to hear and I felt as if Jimmy himself was passing his knowledge onto me through Burt.
I enjoyed working with Mel Gibson on Lethal Weapon 4. I was hired by legendary director Richard Donner, who ironically was the director of Superman the Movie. I met Mel the day of the shoot. I remember being a little nervous walking from my trailer to the set knowing that Mel was there ready to shoot our boxing scene. I grew up watching him in the movies, especially in all the other previous Lethal Weapon films. He was nothing but super friendly and cordial upon meeting him. He and I really connected and the shoot was a lot of fun.
4. What were some of your favorite acting jobs?
One of my favorite acting jobs was a Heineken commercial I got to play a Robin / Nightwing type character in a Justice League type environment. I had a superhero suit and mask made specifically for me. There were other actors in full hero costumes and we all were recruiting a new very average looking hero whose power were that he could turn anything he touched into an ice cold Heineken. I had a great time.
Working on the horror film "Death Row" was also a great experience. People were dressed in bloody ghostly attire chasing us around a haunted prison. People were dying left and right. There was lots of fake blood. The cast and crew were always full of jokes in between takes. It was one of the most fun times I’ve had on set.
My most recent project, the Animal Planet original family movie "Hercules Saves Christmas" was a very memorable experience as well. We shot on location near San Francisco. The cast and crew were amazing and very giving. I was surrounded by good and evil North Pole elves. Santa’s very own friendly magical pit bull that was invisible to everyone. I worked hard with my acting coach in trying to properly develop my character who has a huge character arc in the film as he changes from a scrooge type person to one that develops heart and a passion for the holiday by films end. I was excited everyday to go to set and film and hang with the cast and crew.
5. How was your experience working with Shorty Rossi and Hercules on "Hercules Saves Christmas"?
Hercules is a very sweet and friendly pit bull. There is such a huge negative misconception with these animals. He was playful, friendly, and often could be found sleeping. Hercules did a great job on set considering he is not a “film” dog who are trained to perform a few specific things in front of camera. It was his very first film and fans (especially kids) will love him in the project.
Shorty is quite simply a character. Anyone who has watched him in his reality show "Pit Boss" on Animal Planet understands what I mean. He was funny, professional, and often would find him outside smoking one of his cigars. I am grateful to Shorty and producer Derek Zemrak for believing in me and hiring me to play the role of Rick Wilder in this film.
6. You help many charitable organizations. Why did you gravitate to certain charities as opposed to others?
I want to help as many charities as possible. A few years back directors at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation read press about me, my career, and that I was a huge fan of comic books, superheroes, and especially Christopher Reeve. They asked if I would care to join their Foundation as an ambassador to help promote awareness about spinal cord injuries. I was thrilled to be asked and eagerly accepted. The Foundation does incredible work in trying to improve the quality of life for those with paralysis. They deserve as much attention and focus as they can get. It's been my privilege to have met and become friends with many Foundation members at their functions and fundraisers over the years.
I have also participated for the past couple years in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. I've had my grandfather and a few close friends pass away from this disease. Being a part of Relay For Life allowed me to get to know many cancer survivors who have told me some amazing and inspiring stories.
8. What are some of your hobbies?
I've already talked quite a bit about how much of a geek I am. It's funny, because in the past, a statement like "geek" had a negative connotation or stereotype attached to it. Today it is a widely accepted term because we all have a little geek in us. I love comic books. Some favorites include Spider-Man, Batman, Daredevil and Superman. I own a PS3 and enjoy playing such games as the Resident Evil series, Call of Duty, and Madden Football. I am an avid reader and some of my all time favorites are The Mists of Avalon, It, The Long Ships, and all Ian Fleming James Bond books. I work out about 5-6 times a week to include weight training, yoga, and jogging. I like writing. My script “Gamers”, a suspense comedy about people who obsessively play video games, was optioned. I’m a fan of anything Star Wars / Star Trek related. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite. I prefer Jean-Luc Picard to Capt. Kirk. I’m addicted to playing fantasy football. I've been commissioner of my own fantasy league for a number of years now. I frequently attend theatres that show revivals of classic films. There’s nothing like seeing “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Raging Bull”, “The Godfather”, or “2001: A Space Odyssey” the way it was intended to be seen; on the big screen.
9. From the Latin actors before you who do you admire the most?
I was a huge fan of the late Ricardo Montalban, when he played the character of Khan in Star Trek’s “The Wrath of Khan”. He was well spoken, learned, charismatic, macho dude. He carried himself very professionally and was looked upon by others with great respect.
Javier Bardem is brilliant to me. I've seen all his films and there isn't any kind of role he can't do. I had the pleasure of meeting him during a Q&A he did for the film “No Country For Old Men”. He’s very impressive, talented, and funny. Someone I look up to.
Demo Reel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmKRi4KEkZI
Twitter - http://twitter.com/DannyArroyo
Published on Sep 06, 2011