INTERVIEW

Stephen Schnetzer Film Released

A Case of Blue, a feature film starring Stephen Schnetzer (ex-Cass, ANOTHER WORLD et al), is now available for rent and purchase on most streaming platforms, including Amazon, iTunes, Apple TV, Google Play, Xbox, VUDU, iN Deman Movies, Vubiquity and Dish, with more coming. The movie is written and directed by Student Academy Award winner Dana H. Glazer. It is executive produced by Scott. Co-producers are Suzanne Ordas Curry and Dotti Fucito. It is being distributed by 1091 Media. A Case of Blue has won awards at the Chelsea (NYC) Film Festival and Imagine This! Women’s International Film Festival in NYC. The actor spoke to Digest about it in an issue in 2019. Here’s the interview.

Soap Opera Digest: Hi, Stephen! Let’s talk about your new movie, A Case of Blue. How did you get involved?

Stephen Schnetzer: I got the call for an audition one day for an independent film. I went in, the director, Dana Glazer, wasn’t terribly experienced, but I liked him. He had a real passion for film. He knows film. I read the script and I thought there was something there that I could sink my teeth into. There was a story to tell. But the bottom line was, the people that I was auditioning with were very good. There were people I wanted to work with and I thought that would give us a better shot at giving us a good product.

Digest: Who do you play?

Schnetzer: I play a man named Richard. He and his best friend are accountants and he’s taking a slightly early retirement. He wanted to be an artist when he was a young man, but he decided to go the practical route. The movie starts off and he is packing up his office, and then as the movie progresses, you see him having trouble. It’s kind of an interior movie about what’s going on in his mind, what’s real, what isn’t real, what he manifests, what he deludes himself about and what he avoids. The process of the movie becomes a catharsis for him and he can go on with his life by the end of the movie is the intention. I had dinner with Linda [Dano, ex-Felicia, AW et al] last week and she asked about it and I ended up telling her the whole movie. It took 15 minutes and she kept going, “Oh! Oh, you have a nude scene? When can I see this?” I said, “No, no, no. I think you have 40 years ago in your mind, not the present!”

Digest: Did you do nude scenes when you were younger?

Schnetzer: I did a play once where I had to come out on the stage naked.

Digest: Are you cool with doing them?

Schnetzer: I was cool with it now. I really don’t give a s**t now. I don’t feel there’s anything at stake. It’s so in the public consciousness that it’s not as meaningful as it used to be, but it can be meaningful as far as story is concerned. It really was important in the context of this film. And you really don’t see [everything]: You see the back of my butt or something. But I was fully naked!

Digest: Where did it film? How long was it?

Schnetzer: We filmed in Ridgewood, New Jersey. We went to a lot of locations: the train station, the art institute that substitutes for New York City art institutes, we filmed in neighbors’ homes, one friend catered our meals. It was a real community effort. The crew was terrific. We had a really good director of photography [Joshua Echevarria]. It was a nice, professional crew. We knocked it off in three weeks. It was just nice to have a part where I had to carry it again like I used to on a soap. Those major characters carry story and I always enjoyed the challenge of that responsibility. And a lot of what I’m doing now is guest spots on episodic television where I just pop in and try to lend some character to plot advancement. I’m grateful for the work, but I like doing more. It was nice to be in that position again and have to show up every day and try to be an inspiration to everybody because it’s a hard job.

Digest: What intrigued you about the character of Richard?

Schnetzer: Well, he’s confronting a lot of the issues that one does when you hit retirement or that age. You’re feeling that you’re not in power as much as you used to be. It was a real strong, emotional journey. It had a nice arc to it that required depth of emotion that hopefully I was able to explore. It just had a lot of dimension.

Digest: Who are you in touch with from your soap days?

Schnetzer: I saw Linda last Tuesday. I went over to her apartment and she made dinner for me. We had a nice catch-up. I like to see her whenever she comes into town. Amy Carlson [ex-Josie], Linda, Maggie Delgado, our wonderful costume designer, Scott Collishaw, our producer, Janet Iacobuzio, one of our writers, Casey Childs, one of our directors, Alice Barrett Mitchell [ex-Frankie], Anna Holbrook [ex-Sharlene], Anna Stuart [ex-Donna] and I met at lunch recently to raise a glass to Carmen Duncan [ex-Iris], who passed away after multiple battles with cancer. We try to get together a couple of times a year. It’s pretty much that group.

Digest: What do you think of when you look back on your ANOTHER WORD experience?

Schnetzer: I loved it. I just loved it. We had a lot of excellence on our show. The bond that has formed, I treasure it. I look at those people at that luncheon and I’m just full of love. It’s almost like war buddies. We were in the trenches together. There’s no replacement for that kind of profound brotherhood or fraternity, sisterhood, whatever. Daytime provided steady work for me for 22 years. Seventeen on ANOTHER WORLD, and the other five on four other shows. I opted for that rather than not knowing where the next job was going to come from and maybe going in a different direction toward film or nighttime series or whatever. It was a real training ground. You really grow up when the show sits on your shoulders. It’s your storyline. It’s a sense of accomplishment. It was very rewarding for me.

Digest: What do you remember about your first soap role, playing Steve on DAYS?

Schnetzer: Oh, my God, I was so awful! I had been doing eight years of theater. Here I am projecting to the back wall of the film studio and the boom is right above you. It took me longer to get comfortable in front of a camera than anybody I ever saw in the 22 years I was in daytime. They were very patient. Susan and Bill Hayes [Julie and Doug] were lovely. It was recurring. I was there for a year and a half. It was a nice, gentle entry. And then I had [Franco] Zeffirelli hire me to do a Broadway show. Because I was recurring and because they didn’t lock me down to a contract, I was able to say bye-bye and come back East. And then [Casting Director] Mary Jo Slater hired me to do ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and that again was a day-and-a-half a week, but that was contract. When they wanted to renew, I met with [Executive Producer] Joe Stuart and I said, “Thank you for the offer, but I’d like a little more responsibility of a storyline. I just want to be able to work.” And he said, “I’d be a liar if I sat here and promised you that. I don’t know how the story is going to go.” And I said, “Thank you anyway. I think I can do better.” And a month later, [Executive Producer] Paul Rauch tested me for ANOTHER WORLD. That’s how that went.

Digest: Do you think you would’ve stayed in L.A.?

Schnetzer: I very easily could have. I was going up for episodic while I was doing DAYS OF OUR LIVES. But I’ll tell you, I loved California, I was in San Francisco for four years with a theater company and then two years down in L.A. and I loved the state, but I didn’t like being out of work there for some reason. It’s a delusion, but I feel like I can do more for myself in New York than I can in L.A. I don’t play poker because I lose, and I don’t play golf because I quit at the age of 16 because it was such a frustrating, stupid game. There goes your networking in L.A. That’s how you meet casting people. Here, there’s just more life going on and there’s pedestrian life. Now, I’ll go out to the gym and I’ll be walking down the street and encountering other people. There, you get in your cell on four wheels and you drive around for an hour and a half to get to an anonymous place. I felt very isolated. I would’ve probably ended up in New York.

Digest: Are you still doing voice-overs?

Schnetzer: I’m trying. They’re not buying my product, but I still go up for it. I just went up for the voice of Poland Spring. Not just the spokesperson for it, I was the water. “My electrolytes are natural. Born free. Ten thousand-year-old aquifer in Maine. I am Poland Spring.” You gotta love it! Oliver Platt, we had the same voice-over agent for a while. I’m in the office talking with Billy [our agent] and Oliver walks in saying, “Hello. Oliver Platt, voice of Bank of America.” And I turned to him and extended my hand and said, “Hello. Stephen Schnetzer, voice of Tidy Cats.” I had just booked a Tidy Cats commercial.

Digest: I know all four shows are on the West Coast, but if daytime came calling back, would you consider a return?

Schnetzer: Yes, I would. I’m just trying to keep moving, trying to keep busy.

JUST THE FACTS

Birthday: June 11

Hails From: Canton, MA Otherwise Known As: Steve Olson, DAYS, 1978-79; Marcello Salta, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, 1980- 82; Cass Winthrop, ANOTHER WORLD, 1982-99, with appearances on AS THE WORLD TURNS and GUIDING LIGHT

My Boys: The actor has two sons, Ben and Max, with ex-wife Nancy Snyder (ex-Katrina, OLTL). “Ben is currently in Saint Judy with Michelle Monaghan. I saw it over the weekend. I wept throughout the whole thing. He’s very funny in it. He’s wonderful.” As for Max, “Max is doing well. He’s a seafood department manager at Whole Foods. He’s talking about going into business with a friend of his raising farm-ranged fish. He’s got the farm gene from Nancy’s side of the family.”

Film Star: Schnetzer is starring in the independent film A Case of Blue. The film’s description reads, “While attending a life-drawing class, recently retired accountant Richard Flicker’s world is turned upside down when he encounters free-spirited Amelia, the spitting image of a long lost love from decades ago.” For more, go to acaseofblue.com.

Stage And Screen: The actor has appeared in multiple theater productions, as well as ELEMENTARY, BILLIONS, THE BLACKLIST and BLUE BLOODS in recent years.

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