You say you saw actor Vin Diesel, known for his role in the Fast and the Furious franchise down in the Detroit area? Where was this? You say it was at the Wahlburger’s in Royal Oak? Or a bar in the Greater Metro area. Or an event.
Well, who you saw may have been Detroit actor Brian Heintz. Brian looks so much like Vin Diesel that he appeared in Fast 8 The Fate of the Furious as Vin Diesel’s body double (although he was not credited for the role).
Tell me they don’t look enough alike to be brothers. Can you tell which is which?
Born February 24, 1975, in Detroit, Michigan, Brian has been an actor in independent Michigan films for at least the last five years. In that span he has accumulated an impressive 30 film credits as an actor. To that list you can also add credits for being a producer and a stunt man.
Although originally trained in cinematography, he has found his heart in acting. And because of his acting chops, and good-nature personality he has become much in demand.
Brian allowed us this interview. And in it he talks of his experiences both in front of and behind the camera. He talks about his aspiration as an actor.
Meet Brian Heintz.
How did you get involved in Michigan’s film community?
I got involved in the film industry by attending Specs Howard School of Media Arts in 2013. I wanted to be a cinematographer-I’ve loved films since I was a l’il’ boy and have always been fascinated with how they were made.
So, you started with an interest in filmmaking? How did you become an actor?
While attending Specs, a teacher of mine was partaking in a 48 Hour Film Project. I practically begged to work on it with him as whatever (I’d just pick things up and put them down if need be (lol). While working at my bar job, he called and asked if I could play one of the main characters in this project. Of course I responded with a “Yes!”, but I had never “acted” before and it sounded like fun. Out of the 47 films submitted, we ended up winning a few awards….which included “Best Acting”. This lead to my first commercial gig.
I graduated Specs Howard’s Digital Media Program in 2014 with a 3.7, but loved the acting part so much I pursued it through contacts from the school.
Tell us about some of the earliest projects in which you were part.
At the beginning I did a lot of free independent projects and short films. In August of 2015, I reached out to a talent agency by the name of Jon Tomus Talent (funny I called my now manager Jon for awhile thinking that was his name but his real name is Bennie and Jon was just part of the company name). In January of 2016, I signed with my current manager Bennie Taylor, creator and founder of Jon Tomus Talent.
But, you haven’t limited yourself to simply appearing as an actor in front of the camera. As you were trained as a cinematographer, you have had other positions both in front of and behind the camera.
I have done quite a bit in the film industry from behind the camera to in front of the camera. I’ve worked as a camera operator, P.A., sound guy, location scout (one of my favs), scene and setup coordinator, and casting agent (local independent films) for various productions locally. And once in Chicago I operated camera and sound for live comedy shows.
My heart and soul loves acting and that is what I mainly do now and have been for 5 years now.
What other talents do you bring to filmmaking?
My talents include acting, voice-over, bar-tending, weightlifting, baseball, and Kung Fu.
Here is a curious note. You appeared as Vin Diesel’s body-double in one of the Fast and Furious films. Tell us about this.
My first major production I was blessed to be a part of was Fast 8 The Fate of the Furious in 2016 in which I played Vin Diesel’s body double. It was just for one scene and unfortunately no credit for doubling.
You have also performed as a stunt man.
My first stunt credit was with Harley Wallen on his first major film “Deceitful.” I have cameos in five of Mr. Wallens films with credit-one film in which I had the pleasure of working with Billy Wirth (The Lost Boys) in a scene.
What other directors have you worked with?
Directors I have worked with include Lance Kawas, Bryan Gildner, Michael B. Chait, Harley Wallen, Nicole Bowers Wallace, Don Overton, Gary Gray, John Solomon, Johnny Flynn, Josh Taube, Matthew Winne, Mike Madigan, Matthew Peach, and Joel Paul Reisig.
As an actor, in the five years that you have been involved, you have achieved a certain distinction that other actors achieve in time.
Yes, I am currently SAG eligible.
Which Hollywood actors have you worked with?
Hollywood actors I’ve had the pleasure to work with: James Maslow, Trevor Donovan, Billy Wirth, John Turk, Michael Foster, Cisco Reyes, Melvin Jackson Jr., Nathan Jones.
Is there one genre in which you have worked that you prefer more than others?
I love all genres but I’m a huge fan of horror. I love action with drama in it as well.
Have you done any stage work?
I was in one play titled “So You Wanna Date My Teenage Daughter” back in March of 2017. (not a fan LOL) No retakes…It’s all live!!!
Do you have any family members also involved in filmmaking, or acting in particular?
No family members that I know of in the industry. I’m going to start it!
Do you have a personal philosophy that apply in your work?
Personal philosophy…I fell into this entertainment world by accident, well the acting part that is and I love it…I will not quite until I am a full time actor. Not looking to be a millionaire or big time famous just want to make a living entertaining people…and myself lol.
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