Multi-talented actor, director, and producer Stephen Dorff brought his latest film “Wheeler” to screen for Acting and Filmmaking students at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles. Guest Speaker Series Director Tova Laiter and Associate Chair of Acting Christoher Cass hosted the evening. Dorff had visited the New York campus a few years prior with co-star Emile Hirsch and the Polsky Brothers to screen “The Motel Life.”
Dorff has worked on such standout films as “Blade,” “World Trade Center,” “Immortals,” and “Public Enemies” alongside Johnny Depp. As well as such indie darlings as “Somewhere,” “I Shot Andy Warhol,” and “Shadowboxer.” Dorff even had a starring role in the Aerosmith music video “Cryin’.”
Like Sacha Baron Cohen in “Borat,” Dorff’s character infiltrates the Nashville Country Music scene while most of the people involved in the film had no idea they were in the presence of an actor. Dorff performed live as the “Wheeler” character to great success. Everybody believed he was a new talent with a growing buzz that just came into town and was discovered. All he needed was a bang up job of make up transformation, which was uncomfortable but did the job…
One of the students asked, “How did you get the idea to make this an homage to country music?”
Dorff responded, “Well, the way it started was really weird. I had four songs that were more folk rock and melodic. My producer finally said, ‘why don’t we try country?’”
“It made sense. My dad and brother sing country. I’m from Texas. It’s a world I know. I went into the studio to see if I could find a voice. We brought in steel guitar and slide guitar and went to work. One day I found the voice of Wheeler. Now that I’m playing live a lot I feel like my singing voice has gotten a lot better. We’re booking theaters, and then I’m standing in Johnny Cash’s dressing room. It’s weird, but it’s exciting.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Dorff for taking the time to speak with our students. You can find Dorff in “Leatherface,” “Jackals,” and “Music, War and Love” out later this year.