Monte Bezell grew up in Brooklyn, New York always knowing he wanted to be in the entertainment industry. Well, those dreams have certainly come true!
Monte over the course of his career thus far has appeared on NBC’s The Black List, Showtime’s Homeland, CBS’s Madam Secretary and Person of Interest, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. Besides appearing on television programs, Monte has also been featured in feature films including Ghost Town, Boy Wonder and Elliot Loves. Away from appearing on-screen, Monte has also found a passion in producing, with his most recent productions being Sangre Negra, The Ridge, and the film, The Devil’s Breath.
The Levity Ball sat down with Monte here in his hometown of New York to find out more about his blossoming career in Hollywood North…
1. When did you first know you wanted to work in the entertainment industry? What was your first “gig”?
I walked by a film or TV set in City Hall in Brooklyn and I said wow that looks so cool, I knew then I wanted to work in the industry. My first gig was on a TV show on NBC’s Third Watch. I was very new to it all, but I figured it out quickly.
2. With “Hollywood” being mostly identified as a place in California where the studio magic happens, do you feel it is harder being an actor and producer living here in New York? Or it doesn’t really matter where you live?
I think in this day and age where social media and technology have overtaken our lives that it really doesn’t matter. As an actor Los Angeles is always the golden grail because of auditions, but as a producer New York is where all the action is. But at the end of the day it’s only a 5 and a half hour flight in either direction.
3. People may remember you from your many appearances on shows such as NBC’s The Black List, Showtimes’ Homeland, CBS’s Madam Secretary and Marvel /’ Netflix’s Jessica Jones… How was it working on such great shows? Any fun stories from any of the sets?
Those shows were great. I love working on independent sets, but a major television show has it’s perks. There is a certain feel to it that’s hard to explain. I think one of the best things that came off of a set was getting to work with someone like Jonathan Nolan on Person of Interest. He is one of the greats along with his brother Chris, and it was cool to be able to interact with someone on that level.
4. You appear next as one of the leads in the feature films EL Gallo and Saint Nicholas. What are you most excited about in regards to these two upcoming projects?
Those two projects were near and dear to me, as they are set in some of the places I knew growing up, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. I really can’t wait for people to see what we have in store for them. There are very few things in the industry that compare to the sights and sounds of NYC.
5. You are also a producer… Do you have any upcoming shows you are working on behind the scenes that you can tell us about?
I have a few things in the works, including a full feature drama and comedy pilot. I always try to keep busy with something here or there. When I can say more about these projects I will let you know first!
6. Which do you find harder to do: acting or producing?
I think acting is harder since the preparation comes from inside. You have to really get honest with yourself. Putting on my producer hat is easy because of my background in finance and real estate has the roles of manager and owner, which fit the same bill.
7. Who was your role model growing up and what is the best advice you have ever received career wise from someone else?
Growing up I would have to say there was no one better than Al Pacino. There were very few actors that came close to his acting and skills. I can’t think of one Pacino film I haven’t seen. I remember one time someone told me to never give up on this dream, since most people never actually live it. That stayed with me then and still does today.
8. Social media is obviously a big factor these days. What are your feelings towards the entertainment industry and the usage of various social channels to either cast people, promote projects or connect with fans?
I’m sort of old school. I like in person interactions and activities. I feel we’re all addicted to our phones but at the end of the day it’s a great way to connect and network. Things are changing for the better allowing us to really connect and promote our content. So in reality it’s hard to knock it.
9. Who is one person (still alive) that you’d love to work with one day?
There is nothing that would make me happier than getting to work with Scorsese one day. He is hands down the greatest filmmaker of our time. Every movie is a classic and the people he works with are amazing.
10. Being a New Yorker, where is your favorite place to eat and hangout when you have down time?
Coffee Shop in Union Square is my go to. It’s always a great crowd and you’ll always see a familiar face.
11. And final question: What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference in such a tough industry. For people to actually find my roles and I memorable is worth all of the work.