[et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery image_ids=”7805″ _builder_version=”4.17.2″ _module_preset=”f83e73e8-7009-4dce-a966-9ef9fab81ccb” hover_enabled=”0″ global_colors_info=”{}” admin_label=”Masonry Image Gallery” sticky_enabled=”0″ columns=”1″] [/et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery]
[et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery image_ids=”7806,7807″ _builder_version=”4.17.2″ _module_preset=”f83e73e8-7009-4dce-a966-9ef9fab81ccb” hover_enabled=”0″ global_colors_info=”{}” admin_label=”Masonry Image Gallery” sticky_enabled=”0″ columns=”2″] [/et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery]
[et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery image_ids=”7811,7810″ _builder_version=”4.17.2″ _module_preset=”f83e73e8-7009-4dce-a966-9ef9fab81ccb” hover_enabled=”0″ global_colors_info=”{}” admin_label=”Masonry Image Gallery” sticky_enabled=”0″ columns=”2″] [/et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery]
[et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery image_ids=”7809,7808″ _builder_version=”4.17.2″ _module_preset=”f83e73e8-7009-4dce-a966-9ef9fab81ccb” hover_enabled=”0″ global_colors_info=”{}” admin_label=”Masonry Image Gallery” sticky_enabled=”0″ columns=”2″] [/et_pb_wpt_masonry_image_gallery]
By Mercedes Banwart 

After being invited for festivities at a friendly woman’s house, a group of teenage friends find themselves having the time of their lives. However, as time goes on, strange events begin to happen that cause the friends to suspect the woman of not being as genuine as she initially seemed. This is the premise of the new horror film, Ma, that will be released May 30 in theaters. Gianni Paolo, Brayden in Starz’s Power, plays Chaz, one of the teenagers that is subject to Ma’s antics. We got the chance to speak with Paolo about all things Ma, along with some other parts of Paolo’s life.

You are fairly new to acting. How did you get started in the industry?”

Basicall, when I was playing Junior Hockey my first year out of High School, I had a lot of free time. A lot of the kids on my team would party and drink and go to bars but I decided to take improv and acting classes. It was all a little new to me because I always wanted to do it but was never able to. About a year later, I moved to Los Angeles and the rest is history!

With Ma coming out at the end of this month I am curious: have you always been a fan of the horror/thriller genre?

YES! I’m more of a slasher type movie kind of guy. I CANNOT do supernatural and ghosts at all. If someone is coming at you with a knife, I can square up and have a chance.  When we are talking ghosts, there is NOTHING you can do! My favorite horror movie is definitely Scream. I love the mix between horror and comedy because one second you’re on the edge of your seat and the next you’re laughing like crazy. I also think in movies like that, the laughs can be bigger because it’s such a relief.

What was special about this set and this cast?

It was basically like a summer camp for 5 weeks. I got to know the cast and crew SO well and I found one of my best friends (Corey Fogelmanis) while working on this project. A lot of the chemistry you see on screen was 100% real. When we weren’t on set filming, we were all hanging out regardless. Octavia taught us so much every single day and it really shows.

Was there anything you found challenging while working on the film?

My character was very high energy and the life of the party, so when Octavia, or Diana would have a serious moment and my character makes some sort of joke in the film, it was hard to kind of keep up that energy while next to me they were preparing for something intense. A couple times, I would have to walk away from set and just listen to stand up comedy and keep myself in that mentality. We also filmed in the basement for about two weeks which, by the end of week two, I was like, “get me out of here.” Luckily enough, that was the point where we ACTUALLY needed to get out.

How was working on a film set similar to/different from television?

I think with film it’s a little more spontaneous, especially a lower budget Blumhouse project. Every day we figured out what we needed to do to do the writing justice and we would just kind of pick what worked the best. In TV, it’s a lot more organized, there are pre-built sets, and if you’ve been playing a character for a long period of time then you’re so familiar with him or her, there is little that will surprise you. There are pros and cons to both.

What drew you to Chaz’s character?

I loved Chaz because he just said whatever he wanted. I think that is noble in some sort of way because he doesn’t have any judgement on himself. I think Scotty Landes, the writer, did such an amazing job with not only Chaz but the whole script and I just loved waking up and being able to have fun every single day playing this role.

How are you and Chaz alike?

Chaz and I are definitely alike in a lot of ways. The humor was so spot on to what I am attracted to. When I first read the script I just remember thinking I haven’t laughed, cried, and been weirded out this much while reading a script ever. Chaz also says the wrong jokes at the worst times which I can definitely relate to.

Who inspires you in the industry?

Donald Glover is someone who I really look up to. Not only was he a writer/actor on Community, he also has a stand-up special, performed improv and sketch on house teams at UCB, and created one of my favorite shows on right now, Atlanta. I started watching Donalds Youtube group, Derrick Comedy, before he started doing any of that when I was about 11 years old, and it’s amazing to see what he’s become. Another guy I love is Will Forte. I would listen him talk about his process with Last Man On Earth on podcasts and it just inspired me so much.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

I still play hockey every week, and box almost every day, and I truly think it keeps me sane. I also help produce a podcast called, This Past Weekend with Theo Von. We’ve had on some amazing guests I’ve gotten to meet that I really admire such as Chris D’elia, Bobby Lee, Jocko Willink, Andrew Santino and Joey Diaz.

What are you looking forward to the rest of this year?

I’m super excited for everyone to see Season 6 of Power! Being on that show is an absolute dream. If you told me I’d be making a TV show with 50 Cent when I was 12 years old, I wouldn’t have believed you. It is truly one of the best experiences I have had thus far!

Order your print copy HERE.

Photographer : Aria Emory  @ariaemoryphotography 

Groomer : Michael Duenas @michaelduenas 

Stylist : Alex Clough @alexclough.style

Assistant Stylist: Alison Kowal @avictk

Creative Direction: Stephane Marquet @alekandsteph

PRODUCTION @BELLOmediaGroup x @MaisonPriveePR_LA