Bruno Gunn sure has a lot going on in 2016!
Photo by Diana Ragland.
I always wanted to interview Bruno Gunn from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I also wanted to punch him - seriously, I would have so much fun watching him just laugh at me while my hardest punch didn’t even phase him.
Now Big Guy Gunn has new stuff coming out that we can all get excited over! (Ha! “Big Guy Gunn” — I crack myself up!)
Tell us about your upcoming film Officer Downe.
Officer Downe is a graphic-novel film adaptation. Excited for people to see its innovative style and brilliant cast. Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy) is something new as ‘Downe’, an L.A. cop brought back to life to serve intense, vigilante justice that will leave audiences feeling viscerally satisfied. It looks, feels and sounds different than anything I’ve ever seen.
I play ‘Officer Fritch’ - assigned to “look after” ‘Downe’. The brains behind the madness: director Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan (of Grammy-nominated band: Slipknot) and producer Mark Neveldine.
Adrenaline and creativity ooze from Mark (Ghost Rider 2, Crank). Shawn directing gave it such a unique element - infusing his heavy-metal music / rock-n-roll rebellion into the film. Even the colors feel like a song.
After wrapping, Shawn invited me to a concert. Watching him command a crowd of 15,000+ made sense. That guy is a rock star AND an artist!
What can you share about your role in HBO’s Westworld?
Thanks to some intense creative opinions on Downe, I left with a full (and admittedly impressive) mustache. I play ‘Walrus’. He’s unlike any character I’ve played.
Clint Eastwood got his break doing Italian ‘Spaghetti’ westerns by Sergio Leone. Always wanted to do one!
You’ve been in the business a long time, but people know you best as Brutus from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Good or bad thing?
Hunger Games gave me a new appreciation for what I do. I’m lucky to have worked on some amazing films, but I’d never experienced that level of fandom.
Got to know the fans traveling with the film. They’re a unique bunch - loyal, authentically interested - full of intelligent questions. Inspired by their genuine excitement; humbled by their consistent support.
Have a deep gratitude and connection to them and Catching Fire. It’s been a profound reminder of the magic in movies.
Sometimes you’re scary looking, sometimes you’re not. What’s the deal?
Would it be too obvious to say, “It’s all an act”?
Variety has kept my career exciting. My goal is simply: Keep trying on new faces.
I appreciate the intensity of ‘Fritch’, the rebellion in ‘Walrus’. Have a lot of respect for movies that elicit an adrenal reaction - two hours of escapism isn’t easy. Telling insane stories, unveiling fictional worlds requires collaborative cerebral strategy. Even the quiet between each word is considered.
I also thrive on comedy - often even more challenging. Just wrapped on Disney’s Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything. Score for entertaining my young nieces and nephew. Airs March 23rd on Disney’s XD.
I began my film career in Woody Allen’s dramatic-comedy Celebrity. The experience shaped me. You learn, and then you learn to un-learn.
Bruno Gunn selfie! Having fun!
You were a presenter at the Movie Guide Awards recently. How’d you get that gig?
The MGAs honored Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2. They generously asked me to present with Trace Adkins.
Was inspiring and a bit surreal to be on stage as part of something that moved a generation to watch movies in the theater.
What’s your workout routine?
Run fast and often from the pastry shop... I have an incurable sweet tooth.
The body is an important tool in communicating a character. Typically I’m leaner, but Hunger Games and Downe required a “larger-than-life” physique. Had to bulk up.
Tell us about the 24th Annual Celebrity Cuisine?
Returning home, supporting Atlantic Food’s event — raising money to alleviate local hunger. Proceeds go to Community Harvest of Stark County, one of the only programs in NE Ohio to pick-up would-be wasted food from restaurants, hospitals, etc and deliver to soup kitchens, shelters at no cost.
We waste 96 billion pounds of food each year. They’re doing something about that on the ground level.
Cheering for my hometown, Canton - creating real change - understanding we all borrow from the collective human communal space, empathizing with struggle, shifting perspectives from “giving back” to ‘paying back’.
Are you a spiritual person?
To me, being spiritual is: setting highest priority as being loving to oneself and others, caring about people, animals and the planet. I hope I check all of those boxes. Work in progress.
What do you think about when you’re in the shower?
Most of the time I’m running lines in the shower.
What’s your favorite part about acting?
The. Creative. Collective. LOVE collaboration. Done right, it’s an intense and intimate group effort. You focus wholly on one thing, propelling ALL of your energy to produce your BEST work. It’s complete commitment to something that takes on a life of its own... and then it’s gone.
Please give some family history, including the origin of your name.
Bruno is my given name, passed down from my grandfather. I’m a first-generation Italian American. My parents arrived in the U.S. in the mid-60s.
Gunn is my ‘taken’ name. Took it for myself. I was born GIOIELLO - jewel in Italian. Last names were often job descriptors. My guess, our ancestors made or sold jewelry... A lot of mystery in our family history that I’d love to research. A tale for another time.
Anything else going on?
3/20: Hunger Games Fan Marathon: Screening all films back-to-back. Cast Q&A after Catching Fire celebrating 3/22 Blu-ray release of Mockingjay: Part 2.
Egyptian Theater, L.A.
Excited to see some familiar faces in the crowd. Fans surprised me at the Barely Lethal premiere. Stunned when they showed up calling out ‘Brutus’. Can’t say it enough: Loyalty... and Gratitude.