Hard Kill’s Arch Villain – An Interview with Sergio Rizzuto

Sergio Rizzuto - Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

It’s hard to believe that Villanova School of Business would produce a misguided scoundrel with big plans to make Bruce Willis’ life miserable – but it is what it is. When Sergio Rizzuto was called upon to be a really evil antagonist in HARD KILL, he rose to the task. An actor, PGA producer, social media advisor, entrepreneur, owner of Potato Eater Productions, and philanthropist, Sergio is no stranger to wearing multiple hats – with one of his current hats as the supervillain in the new Bruce Willis film. An action thriller movie with an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Jesse Metcalfe, and Natalie Eva Marie, HARD KILL tells the tale of a madman who wants to save the world – even if it means destroying it first. Cast as “The Pardoner,” Sergio Rizzuto adds new meaning to the role of bad guy. On 8/14/20, Sergio took time from his busy schedule to interview.

Sergio Rizzuto in HARD KILL – Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

I SEE THAT YOU’RE QUITE THE RENAISSANCE MAN WHO WEARS MULTIPLE HATS. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOURSELF.

SERGIO RIZZUTO:  I grew up in New Jersey and went to college to study business. For years, that was my first interest; and I had my own marketing company. But then I got bored. I wanted something new, something out of my comfort zone. The most uncomfortable thing I could think of was acting, so I decided I would try that. In 2017, I enrolled in acting classes at The Actors Playground. There’s very little acting around the area I was in, so I found what I could; it turned out to be a nice little place.

Eventually, I did a handful of short films and maybe ten feature films. I’m happy with the way things are going. I also do writing and producing. The producing part came out of my business background, and I’ve invested in a film or two. I have a company called Potato Eater. The name came from a few things. I always loved Van Gogh; he’s my favorite artist. And my grandfather on my dad’s side loved potatoes. I didn’t want to forget the common man, and I figured that Potato Eater hit all the bases.

WHAT TYPES OF ROLE HAVE YOU PLAYED?

SR:  I’ve played a lot of bad guys, but it’s not a role I necessarily like. I was a bank robber twice, and I also played a cop, a soldier, an obscure body guard, and Oscar Isaac’s henchman in an Andy Garcia film. That was a comic role in an absurd sort of way about the world the script built.

HARD KILL poster – Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

DO YOU ENJOY BEING A VILLAIN?

SR:  In the Bruce Willis film, I’m the main antagonist. I’m the head of a terrorist organization. I enjoyed this one, although I don’t agree with his tactics of killing innocents. Actually, I re-wrote a lot of his dialog. I tailored the character to a degree on how I wanted him to be. Technically, he’s bad. But at the same time, his goal is to rid society of greed and corruption. He believes that the end justifies the means. He wants to make the world a better place, but he’s a sociopath too – so he could do bad deeds. When I was creating him, I was thinking about Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. I always found him fascinating. He had a high IQ and was extremely smart. His whole thing was technology, and he attacked the leading sectors of technology. He was so smart, and so stupid. He was the youngest professor at Berkeley, but he still thought that a bomb could solve problems.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH BRUCE WILLIS?

SR:  I like Bruce. I got to work with him in another film, and I’ve been in a few movies with Brace already. In person, he’s a normal guy. When I first saw him, he pulled up to the hotel in an Escalade wearing a hat and sunglasses. He was so cool. At the same time, he’s a really nice guy; and we’ve had lots of fun together.

Sergio Rizzuto and Bruce Willis in HARD KILL – Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FUTURE PLANS?

SR:  Right now, I’m developing a script. I’m calling it “The Ultramarathon Man.” It’s about Dean Karnazes, who’s co-writing the script. He’s an ultra-athlete who runs large distances. He ran 350 miles in eight hours and 44 minutes. It’s a true story, and it’s motivational. I plan to produce it and maybe act in it. I’m also working on optioning three other books, one of which was written by Ayn Rand; I’ll keep the other under wraps – but I can say that it’s extremely popular. The third would be a remake of an Oscar-nominated film from the 1940’s. I’m working with Urijah Faber, who’s a good friend. I’d like to make a film with him and Gerard Roxburgh about a fighter in the circus in the 1920’s. It’s a really good script.

I’m also involved in some films which may come out next year. I’m producing and in a Gerard Butler film titled “Hair of the Dog” filming later this year. “Drowning” is another film I produced and acted in; it’s coming out this year. It stars Melora Walters, Gil Bellows, and Mira Sorvino. I’m set to play a UFC fighter who passed away – based on a true story – which is in development as well. I’m an executive producer in a Brad Pitt film called “He Wanted the Moon” based on one of Brad’s favorite novels; Tony Kushner is writing the script. Then there’s “Over Tumbled Graves.” Scott Cooper is writing and directing, and I’m an executive producer. And I’m talking with a few people about some other ideas. I’ll be keeping busy working on new projects.

HARD KILL will be available On Demand and Digital from Vertical Entertainment on August 25, 2020.

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