Monday, July 14, 2008

My Big Greek Actor Friend.

Saturday night I saw a play starring my friend, John Kapelos.

John has appeared in upwards of 150 TV shows and movies. One of those movies was a featurette in which I wrote and co-starred. That was how we met, and we became fast friends.

John’s most well-known role is Carl the Janitor in The Breakfast Club. He was also Dino, the guy in Weird Science who asks Kelly LeBrock “What’s a beautiful woman like you doing with a malaca like this?”

His career is so prolific, that once, as John and I took five in a house in which we were shooting, he flipped through channels on a TV, and I wondered what the chances were of us stumbling upon something he’d been in. The answer was 100%– there he was in a Hallmark made-for-TV movie.

Though he mostly plays the heavy in films– he was the guy in Internal Affairs who asked Richard Gere to kill his wife– John is actually a sweetheart with an improv comic background. Whenever I see him, he always gives me the finger before giving me a hug.

In one of the scenes in my film, John’s character attacks his wife, grabbing her by the throat and pushing her up against a door frame. John did take after take with so much conviction, that as I stood watching it with my friend Rob, who was visiting the set, we felt compelled to kick his ass. That was until the director yelled cut, and each time John immediately clowned around to remind the crew he wasn’t that bad guy.

The actress who played his wife in that scene later told me that after all the beatings, she didn’t have one bruise. John attributed that to his vast theater background, and its requisite stage-combat training.

The play John is currently starring in is called In Heat, and its run has been extended into August. If you see it, feel free to give him the finger for me.


Anonymous said...

This will tell you about John's ubiquity--that day on the set, Matt and I were outside chatting when a nearby cat let loose a horrendous howl. I immediately threw in the reference from Nothing In Common when a frazzled Tom Hanks busts on his ad director buddy by yelling "Do we have any more cats this man can kill?!" To may astonishment, Matt informed me that the actor playing the director was, in fact, John Kapelos, at that moment inside preparing for the scene in which he beats on his girl. Amazing.

Matt Shevin said...

That is absolutely true-- and I am still amazed by that.

the2ofme said...

Wow, that is freaky. What a weird coinky-dink.

I love John's work as well, and it's a testament, in a way, that it's so hard to peg him in any particular role. The man's a chameleon. isn't that what every character actor strives to be?

I'm glad you have a friend like him Matt. He sounds like a cool dude.

Anonymous said...

I've always liked his work. I heard he got his real break in Tootsie. Is that true?

Matt Shevin said...

This is true, yes. He had only done stage work at that time and had never been in a film, so he was completely perplexed by how he should perform in front of a camera.