EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KEN DAVITIAN
MAGIC IMAGE HOLLYWOOD MAGAZINE HAD ACCESS TO AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE TALENTED ACTOR, COMEDIAN AND RESTAURATEUR, OUR DEAR FRIEND KEN DAVITIAN!
By Megyn Bell
MIHM: Tell us a little bit about you. Did you always want to act?
KD: I was born in East L.A All through school, I was a theater arts major. I was like a football player, but in the theater. Acting and being funny was my mechanism because I was the short fat guy.
MIHM: Who inspired you to pursue acting?
KD: When I was young, I saw my grandmother on stage. I thought, “She is just saying the words; she didn’t even write the play.” I thought that looked a lot easier than the family business of waste removal. Also, I read a TV Guide article which said Michael Landon of “Bonanza” made $25,000 week — and that was the 70s. I said, “That’s the career for me!” I was doing really well in the family business of waste removal, but I never lost sight of what I wanted to do.
MIHM: How do you achieve success in Hollywood?
KD: Persistence and preparation. You need that kind of acting training so you are ready when the right part comes. You have to try, do the work and you have to keep focused. The truth is, I didn’t make it until I was in my 50s. It’s not that simple. I had done over 120 different movie and television appearances before the (breakout) role in “Borat.”
MIHM: Tell us about the “Borat” experience.
KD: They have an entire movie of the making of “Borat.” Fat guy in boxers is funny enough; (they said) “No no, we need you naked.” Listen, if I get naked people will go like this (covers eyes). Nothing was shot twice. We had to use four different hotels because you cannot run naked in a hotel for too long. We found a broker’s convention, we ran naked into a luncheon for engineers in Dallas and the guy at the podium just stood there. Sixty people just stood there, no reaction. Borat said “Oh, forget it,” and we walked out of there just like we were wearing full tuxedos. We obviously needed a location with women and children present to be able to make a scene.
We had no idea who was inside when the doors opened, and I saw who was there. Borat got “arrested” by one of our security guards, but I got arrested by two hotel security guards. Luckily, one of our crew came up and hustled me into a van. We went to the train depot however, we never thought to put clothes there so the whole time I am in the back seat naked.
MIHM: Do you keep in contact with anyone from “Borat?”
KD: This is one thing I don’t like about this business. Whether you are together for two months or 11 years on a show, once it wraps you only see each other at awards shows. We are not, “Hello, how are you?” on the phone. This job is not a job it’s a pleasure.
MIHM: Who were some of the actors that influenced you most?
KD: What influenced me the most (were actors who were) building up charm and charisma due to…lack of physical attractiveness. I was doing extra work the day before “Borat”. I just think it feels better to be on this side of the camera, and I want that feeling as much as possible.
MIHM: Who was your favorite actor to work with?
KD: Jim Carrey was my favorite because of what he taught me. At a table read for “Man on the Moon” Jim Carrey came in as the alter ego of his character, “Wild Guy.” He was holding a Jack Daniels bottle and started ripping the pages of the script. Danny DeVito was the producer. I was playing an extra. They needed someone to make the audience laugh and I suggested Carrey do his fireman skit (from “In Living Color”). I got a death stare. “Don’t you understand he is in character — he cannot do that,” from DeVito. This is where I learned how to stay in character.
MIHM: What’s Next?
KD: It hasn’t come out yet so I cannot say too much, however, I just finished a “Funny or Die” video. My character was the official spray tanner to the president of the United States, Donald Trump. I just finished a movie with Hal Linden called “The Samuel Project,” and it talks about the Armenian genocide.