August Maturo discusses his complex role in ‘Slapface’ – Entertainment Focus
It’s no secret that I’ve completely fallen in love with ‘Slapface’ since seeing the movie at Arrow Video FrightFest in August.
Following my talks with writer / director Jeremiah Kipp and producer / actor Mike Manning, all I had to do was talk to the film’s lead actor, August Maturo. In the film, Maturo plays the role of Lucas, a young boy navigating through adolescence with his brother Tom (Manning) acting as his tutor.
Her performance in the movie is just amazing and she shows a different side to the one you know from “Girl Meets World”.
I met August before the screening of ‘Slapface’ at Grimmfest to talk about his role in the film, discuss working with Jeremiah and understand the challenges of playing Lucasâ¦
How did you get involved in ‘Slapface’ and what attracted you to the role of Lucas?
For the role of Lucas, I was very lucky because casting director Caroline Sinclair, director Jeremiah and producer Mike Manning all knew my job and made me an offer. I had previously played a supporting role in the horror movie “The Nun”, and after that experience I became obsessed with the horror genre and really wanted to be the protagonist of a horror movie. When I read the script for ‘Slapface’, I knew I had to be Lucas.
The role required you to go through a lot of complex emotions. What preparation did you do to enter the character?
Before ‘Slapface’ and ‘The Nun’, I was the protagonist of a dramatic film called ‘Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog’ about a little Jewish boy and his dog during the Holocaust, so I was still very fresh from this experience and as you can imagine it was very heavy material. Not only that, I was facing my own very real personal experience of being bullied in school. I was going to a very athletic college at the time, and as an actor, I really didn’t belong. In fact, my mom had just retired me from that school and had started teaching me at home the week before I left to shoot ‘Slapface’. So, I really learned a lot from that experience and built my performance on those emotions.
You share a lot of scenes with Mike Manning, who plays Lucas’ brother Tom. What did he like to work with?
Manning is awesome! We had so much fun on set together. He immediately felt like a real big brother. He really cared for me in every way. He even dressed up in a Halloween jumpsuit and went for a ride or a treat with me! One day it was raining he picked me up and carried me so I didn’t have to walk in the mud! I think our chemistry in the movie is so good because of how close we got away from the set. And he’s such a fantastic actor, he was great to play opposite. My most intense scenes in the movie are with him, and because he gave 100%, I could give 100%.
Jeremiah Kipp from the movie talked a lot about you when I spoke to him recently. What did you learn from him while making the film?
Jeremiah Kipp is a very special person and I am very fortunate to have worked with him. I respect him so much. He LOVES comedians. He is 100% a director of an actor. He NEVER treated me like a child, but like an equal. If I had any idea how to perform the scene, he would let me try it out. For example, in this very last scene from “Slapface”, we were pressed for time and we really needed to take that last shot. But I asked Jeremy if I could try to break the 4th wall for the end of the movie. I think he almost said no because of the weather, but he paused and then said “Ok Auggie, let’s try it” and he ended up liking it. And we got this shot in the 1st take. Honestly, I don’t think a lot of directors would have let me do this. He trusted me as an actor. I will never forget this. And now that photo has become the poster. None of this would have happened if Jeremiah hadn’t been as wonderful as he was and trusted me like he did. I really hope I can work with him again soon.
What do you think was the biggest challenge when it came to playing Lucas?
I would definitely say the biggest challenge was all the physique and the stunts. We were very lucky to have an amazing stunt coordinator named Mack Kuhr. He was Keanu Reeves’ stuntman and worked on the “John Wick” movies. The reason the slaps, punches, falls, gunshots and the use of a knife in ‘Slapface’ all felt so real was because of him. I had never done these things in a movie before, so he must have taught me. He was awesome.
Lucas is involved in some pretty intense scenes, especially with the witch. How did you manage to switch off after filming and not take what happened on set with you?
The witch was played by an amazing actor named Lukas Hassel. Much like Mike Manning, I spent a lot of time dating Lukas and having fun. My character of Lucas and the witch really loved each other in the movie, so it was important that we really have a connection. We spent a lot of time laughing and joking when we weren’t filming, while he was in full costume, so that was awesome. While we were filming ‘Slapface’ I stayed in a house on the property, as did the crew. I think it really added to my performance because I was living in this Lucas world in the woods. I never really turned off after the shoot, I just walked over to my booth and fell asleep!
When did you know that acting was something you wanted to make a career of?
I was very young when I knew I wanted to entertain people. When I was about 3 or 4 years old, I was in a church play, which was kind of a talent show. I was on stage to name all the state capitals. When I was done and had to leave the stage, I sat next to my mom in the audience and was very upset. She asked me why and I said “I don’t wanna be here, I wanna be back up there on stage!” So she found me an agent and I started working right away. I booked ‘Girl Meets World’ a year later when I was 5. I think I love everything artistic, whether it’s acting, music, or art. During all my free time, I draw. And it’s still horror-themed. I love horror!
What projects do you have to come?
I was very lucky to be part of an amazing short called BOYS that we shot in my forties. It is just starting to be screened in the festival circuit. It was directed by Luke Benward and produced by Ariel Winter of ‘Modern Family’ and Oscar winner Andrew Carlberg. It stars myself and Cameron Crovetti from ‘Big Little Lies’. I’m very proud of it and it just won the award for best short film at the Hill County Film Festival. I also did a few roles on television. Other than that, I have a few other things coming up that I can’t share yet. Stay tuned!
‘Slapface’ will be screened at Grimmfest October 10 at 7:10 p.m. and will be available for online screening from 1:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on October 14, 2021.