Co-Ed Confidential actor, Brandon Ruckdashel, is currently filming the horror, thriller movie, The Meat Puppet, which is sure to tantalize your taste buds while simultaneously leaving a rotten taste in your mouth. Directed by Joe Valenti and produced by Keith Collins, The Meat Puppet tells the story of Andrew Shelton whose vanity is only surpassed by his obsession with finding the perfect dish. He kills and cooks beautiful women only to serve them at dinner parties where he finds his newest victims. Ruckdashel plays Det. Dave Benash, the man whose job it is to get to the bottom of the delicious murders.
Brandon spoke to CDL in an exclusive interview about teaming up with Keith for the meaty role. He tells us all about his life in Hollywierd and how he’s taking the next step to get more control over his career.
The Meat Puppet sounds great, though a tad disturbing (a little bit of Silence of the Lambs with American Psycho), what drew you to that role?
“I’m playing Detective Dave Banesh, which is the detective looking for The Meat Puppet. I definitely think you’re right about the Silence of the Lambs elements, but this movie will bring a new twist into the horror genre that you’ll just have to see. Keith Collins, who plays the role of the Meat Puppet and created the story, brought me into this film. The chance to finally work with Keith was a big draw since I’ve known him almost as long as I’ve lived between New York and Los Angeles and we’ve been talking about working together for about as long.”
Do you prefer playing in movies that have a bit of darkness to them? If so, how do you prepare for something like that?
“Darkness is good. I prefer provocative. I like movies that put thoughts into people’s heads, whether they are disturbing or conversational about our current existence. My technique is fairly simple. I read through the script once so I can get the gist of the overall arc and then I go through and throw out every scene my character does not appear in. Granted, writers hate when I do that, but I really believe in the innocence of characters to outside events. If something doesn’t directly happen to my character in a scene I shouldn’t know about it. The indirect part is where you have good writers and they’ll handle that with character interactions in those scenes I now have left. Character-wise, I look at a few things; socio-economic class, psychological and cognitive development stage; and my personal favorite, psychosexual development stage. The general assumption is that most people make it all the way through cognitive and psychosexual development on track with their age group, but that’s not necessarily so.”
It’s a rough profession. Why acting? Your parents couldn’t have been too excited during that first conversation!
“You don’t say. I believe ‘not excited’ would be putting it very lightly, but as I like to remind them, I probably wouldn’t be doing this -with quite the backbone – without them continually trying to get me to do something/anything else. I came to peace with this in our relationship a long time ago. I act, because at this point I really can’t see myself doing anything else with my life. There is something addicting about it, that first time you see yourself on the silver screen or you walk out on stage and perform, and it is extremely challenging. Most of that challenge lies in sticking with it, many of my colleagues I started this journey with are no longer walking the same path they were when we started.”
A lot of actors jump into Hollywood right after high school. What motivated you to study acting in college? Would you recommend the experience to other young actors?
“I think the most important thing about college is not necessarily receiving ‘acting training’ and learning ‘technique,’ but really learning how to interact with the students in all the other departments. I spent more time watching people and learning from their behavior when I was in school than trying to fit in with the actors. As a midwestern kid, there is a certain expectation that you will go to college and get a degree, so it was an expectation with me. I am very glad I had the extra time to grow in maturity before I hit the ground in New York first and then Hollywood. With the cast of characters you’ll meet and situations that will be thrown at you, it helps having a bit more grounding in your personal goals. What I recommend is finding your own path. I know actors who are successful having run away from home at 16. I also know those who have found success leaving their career in their 40s to return to acting. Everyone has their own path they have to follow and no two roads are alike.”
How has it been post-college, rising up the ranks in LA? Are you having a blast? Got to be a little different from Minnesota….
“It has been a blast. Somewhere along the line I started hanging out with Randy Jones (Village People). Now that guy is a true cowboy! I have somehow managed to surround myself with a wild and crazy cast of characters. Unfortunately I only make it back to Minnesota once a year, but when I do, I try to go up to my family’s cabin and do a little ‘return to nature’ with no electricity or running water and just purify myself from city life and stress.”
What’s happening in the future?
“I’ve spent a lot of time this summer putting together a production company so I think that you can expect more films/TV made by me in the future. At a certain point you really have to take control of your career, start creating, and I’ve definitely passed that point this year. I’m currently finishing scripts for two films and a TV series, which I’d love to shoot myself and distribute on the web.”
You do both plays and movies, do you prefer one over the other?
“I was a musical theater boy… I never saw film coming, it just sort of hit me out of the blue with my recurring role on ‘The Lair’. I have come to prefer it as my particular medium of choice, but am always happy to return to the stage when it calls.”
A lot of actors think Broadway is where the real acting is, what are your thoughts? Does it make you better?
“Everyone is entitled to their opinions about ‘real acting,’ so I’ll stay out of that argument. I generally maintain a 5 block radius around Times Square when making any comments about anything involving how people act. The theaters have ears, and the NY theater community is famously protective of their own. All three mediums are difficult in their own unique ways and they take gifts that not everyone was born with. Having a foot in all three doors does make you better and teaches you to respect what others do in their mediums. The one thing that does make you better as an actor is learning how to not take yourself too seriously. This is a job that not everyone ever makes any money at… HAVE FUN!”
Sounds like hit! What do you think of The Meat Puppet? I love scary/psychological thrillers, especially since Halloween is just around the corner! Do you think you’ll check it out?