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5 Questions with Adam Pascal of Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival

From the twisted minds of Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich comes Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival, a sequel to the pair’s 2012 short film The Devil’s Carnival, a descent into Hell. This time, the action goes back and forth between Heaven and Hell, and welcomes new actors and singers into Bousman and Zdunich’s world (they previously made Repo! A Genetic Opera, adapted from Zdunich’s earlier work). New on the scene are David Hasselhoff, Barry Bostwick, Ted Neeley, Tech N9ne and Adam Pascal. Pascal is perhaps best known as being the original Roger in the iconic Broadway musical Rent. But Pascal clearly has many more tricks up his sleeve, and puts in an electrifying performance in this film. We spoke to the multi-talented performer by phone from his home in Los Angeles, and he was extremely kind and forthcoming.

Scene Creek: The show is travelling. Will you be travelling with it?

Adam Pascal: I’m going to be coming in on a couple of different spots. I haven’t finalized which ones yet and I’m really excited about it. There’s a really Rocky Horror-esque quality to the way they are presenting this film, in that they’re trying to bring that type of environment, in which people come and they dress up and there are live performances going on for the film. They are trying to create a carnivalesque type atmosphere, so it will be fun to see what that’s like. I grew up a fan of Rocky Horror and movie musicals in general, so getting to be a part of them is so exciting for me. Darren Lynn Bousman, the director of the film, one of the things that he and I connected on at the beginning when we first talked was our love of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and when he told me that Barry (Bostwick) was going to be in the movie, it was a no-brainer, I jumped on board immediately.

Scene Creek: What’s your favourite song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Adam Pascal: Oh God, that’s a really good question! I love the songs that Frank N. Furter sings at the end, I’m Coming Home. I always loved Time Warp, I’ve always loved Sweet Transvestite, I also love Science Fiction / Double Feature. I love them all! They all were so unique actually, and each one evokes a particular emotion in me, because I remember watching as a kid and being so enthralled by it. Science Fiction / Double Feature, just the way that the movie opens with the lips, and that song. It’s iconic for me and it never gets old. Darren is a huge movie musical fan, and we really connected over that. I also grew up also being a huge fan of Hair and Rocky Horror and Tommy and those films had a huge visceral impact on me. I even remember the bad ones. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Heavy Metal, any movie musical, I ate that stuff up.

Scene Creek: Was that your training, watching these movies?

Adam Pascal: You know what? Partially, it was. I was a huge rock fan growing up. So if I want to get specific, my training was…listening to Iron Maiden records growing up and Ronnie James Dio records and those were the guys I wanted to sing like and emulate. But then the soundtrack to Hair, and Treat Williams doesn’t get enough credit for having an amazing voice, and Tim Curry, those guys were great singers, along with these rock records, I sang along to these movies.

Scene Creek: What can you tell us about your work with Paul Sorvino?

Adam Pascal: Paul Sorvino plays God, and I play his right hand man, Terrance Zdunich plays the devil, and they’re basically at war with each other. All the souls that God sent down to Hell, Lucifer starts sending them back to Heaven, and saying “I don’t want them here”, and God kind of sends me down to quell the rebellion, and that’s why I’m there. I’m someone who loves disappearing into costumes and make-up and stuff, so it was sort of a lot of fun for me. As an actor, working with Paul Sorvino was brilliant. I mean, to have the opportunity to work with him and learn from him, his experience as an actor, and the wisdom that he’s more than willing to impart to anyone who’s willing to listen, he’s amazing. I’m someone who’s very open to that stuff, so I really lucked out in that most of my scenes were with him, and I was able to learn from him as an actor. It was like ten years of acting class in a couple of weeks. It was cool.

Scene Creek: You like living in Los Angeles, but New York has Broadway.

Adam Pascal: That’s true. That’s true. I will forever be connected to it certainly in a career aspect. It’s a much nicer lifestyle out here. Because of what I do, not just Broadway, wherever I lived, I’d be travelling.

Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival Road Tour stops into Toronto on September 8th at the Revue Cinema. See www.thedevilscarnival.com for more details about the Toronto stop.