“In today’s Hollywood, you have to create your own opportunities”, with Actor & Producer Gregg Christie
Actor and producer Gregg Christie is a man of many hats - and not just the top hat he wears as “The Trainmaster” in the fantasy thriller, “D-Railed,” starring sci-fi icon Lance Henriksen.
Christie has been in the entertainment business since he was a young child. He was named after Gregg Palmer, an actor and friend of the family who was known for cowboy and gangster roles in Hollywood’s golden years. Because his aunt and mom were restaurant owners and a favorite of the Hollywood elite, Christie grew up surrounded by industry figureheads, including cast members of the Carol Burnett show. In fact, his mother told him that he was saved as an infant by Charles Bronson when infant Gregg began choking, and Bronson, who was sitting nearby with his agent, turned him upside down and smacked him on the back a few times until the food became dislodged from his mouth.
Although he did commercials as a young child, his family encouraged other pursuits as he grew older. He found another talent in sports and spent some time playing professional baseball before getting a business degree and beginning a family. It wasn’t until a friend dragged him to an audition that Christie had the desire to act again.
He began racking up credits including guest spots on shows like “Criminal Minds” and “General Hospital” before being presented the opportunity to work with veteran producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis on her new feature, both as an actor and as a producer.
“I am a believer in today’s Hollywood that you have to create your own opportunities. I like to say, ‘You have to carve out your career,’ otherwise, you are just a thumbnail-sized picture on someone’s computer,” Christie reasons. “My main objective is to invest in my business, and my business is me.”
According to Christie, he feels like acting is the easier of the two jobs, but he manages to juggle both well. “D-Railed” was shot in twelve days in two locations, Los Angeles and Philadelphia and had many challenges including an international cast member and a minor on the set. Some days were cancelled due to weather on an already limited shooting schedule.
“With acting, you create the character… you understand the moment, and you listen and react to what your scene partner is saying,” Christie explains. He continues, “Producing is a little more difficult because you are dealing with multiple personalities and multiple situations. After all, it is called show business for a reason. You have to keep the actors happy and make sure the budget comes in on time.”
“It’s all about the R.O.I., the return on investment,” Christie concludes.
It seems that the investment is paying off: “D-Railed” is currently on the film festival circuit and has won many awards including five Platinum awards from the International Independent Film Awards in the following categories: Concept, Costumes, Sound Design/Editing, Cinematography and Directing. It was recently nominated for Best Practical FX at the PDXtreme film festival in January.
What was your favorite part of the production?
“My favorite part was really the work we did on the train station in Los Angeles. Looking at the historical trains… it was like being a little kid again. They say that as an actor, you can’t lose that part of you. If we were in a car museum, I would probably feel the same way. I’d be taken aback and moved by the history that was present. I loved the fog and the mystery of it all.
As a producer, I could see how the moment would play out on the screen and think about how it was going to affect my audience and the story. Even with the complications in Philadelphia, I grew and learned a lot from it. If you can’t appreciate the difficulties, you aren’t growing in any particular way.”
What do you hope for “D-Railed”?
“I hope that people will like it. From an acting perspective, I hope that people enjoy it. I hope that people feel for our characters and enjoy the storyline and I hope that they are startled by the interview. As a producer, I hope that it is successful.