Written by Kevin Godbee

Thursday, 22 January 2009

User Rating: / 2

celebrities and smokingprofiles

Nick Tarabay heats up the small screen as hot-blooded police lieutenant Axel Finet, starring opposite Dennis Hopper in the just completed TV series Crash on the Starz network. When this rugged Lebanese epitome of machismo isn't figuratively smokin' (for the ladies), he likes to literally smoke a cigar.

If you haven't seen the Crash TV series (based on the movie of the same name), you will probably recognize Nick as the bad-ass drug dealer Matush on HBO's mega-hit, The Sopranos.

Nick and I sat down for cigars and espresso at V Cut in Los Angeles recently. Come and join us ... light up a cigar, grab your favorite beverage and join us right here on with actor and cigar enthusiast, Nick Tarabay.

Nick TarabayPuff: So Nick, you're a TV star, Hollywood celebrity. You've been in Sex in the City, the Sopranos, and now Crash, but I heard that recently, you were homeless. What happened? Were you researching a new role?

Nick: (Laughter). No, no I wasn't. I should say, yes, maybe I was. (More laughter) Last year I was working and then we had the writer's strike and things got a little slow. I was still doing my theatre stuff, but there was very little work in Hollywood. So, I decided to go to New York and stay with my brother and go back to my old theatre company.

I sublet my place. I got it all set, and then; what is it, not even like five days into it, my manager calls me and he's like, you know you have an audition. So, I went there and they did the audition and then the next day, he calls me and says, "Hi, you want to get to New Mexico?" I go, "for what?" He says, "For Crash." I'm like, oh my God, I'm so excited, but then I'm like, wait a minute, I don't have a house. I didn't have a place, so I stayed with friends, sometimes in a hotel, but it was so worth it though.

Puff: So, in Crash, I heard that you were originally slated to be killed off within the first three episodes.

Nick: Right.

Puff: How did you manage to survive the whole series?

Nick: When I read the script, the character was so riveting. It was such a good character. But, the writers already had the whole plan ... I'm supposed to die.

I went to the set and we started working, the crew, the cast, everybody was amazing, and then by the first episode, Glen Mazzara, our executive creator called me into his office, and he was like, "Nick, we may not have to kill you." "We made this whole thing about you being dead, but you're doing such a great job, I'm conflicted." So, we talked for a while, and he says, "We'll see."

I'm still thinking I'm just doing two episodes and that was it. Later I was in the library actually doing research on the character. I got a call from my manager in Los Angeles and was told I would be a regular!

Puff: Wow!

Nick: Yeah, but I was in the library, I was so excited, but I couldn't say anything. My manager quizzically asked, "Why are you being quiet?" (In a whisper) "I'm in the library, but this is great." It was a lot of fun, and it turned out really well. It turned out really, really well.

Puff: Congratulations.

Nick: Thank you so much.

Puff: So, what can you tell us about working on Crash, that maybe nobody knows?


Nick: Well, what they probably don't know is, if you watch Crash, there's a lot of conflicts between characters and especially my character, Axel, and some of the people that he works with, Kenny, played by Ross McCall, or Eddie, which is played by Brian Tee. And we will really go at it in the show, but what they don't know is that we're great friends and we all hang out and we laugh afterward between takes, we're cracking jokes and then when the camera's on, we will bring our game and we will just go at each other.

In episode two, there was a scene between me and Eddie and his father, and I'm kind of torturing them. So, it was very interesting to do because we had to be very serious to get into this mindset. So, I have them grabbing, and when I have the gun on him and we are doing all this stuff ... while we are doing that, I mean, we were getting like, into it. And then somebody fell, and we just couldn't get it right after that. We were just cracking up the whole time, and we were dancing in-between, and we were doing all kind of funny stuff ... (all in between filming this serious violent scene). So, what the people probably don't know is how close the cast and the crew are on Crash. We're very, very close to each other.


Puff: I guess that makes for a great work environment.

Nick: Absolutely. And we have fun and all, but everybody that I work with is very serious about their job and we go to work, and we are serious and there is a great synergy between the cast and the crew and everybody. It's just a lot of fun. It makes your job that much easier.


+1 # Wow - AWESOME interviewJon Caputo 2009-01-22 05:09
I mean this guy sounds like a cool guy to have a smoke with. But he was pretty forthcoming with the answers to your hard hitting questions. Seriously - GREAT interview.

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0 # Platypus 2009-01-30 04:36
I'm not a cigar smoker but I do like a good interview....nicely done!!!

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