Tell me about Sven
Garrett. There is very little about you, that I
could find on the Internet.
I’m from a small town in Germany, close to Hanover
and have no brothers or sisters. I have a college
degree in Culinary Studies and Hotel Management
and was a chef and pastry chef in Germany and the
United States for on and of 10 years, before I
moved to Miami to go to acting school. I had
become a huge fan of action films when I was about
10 and saw Sylvester Stallone in “Rambo”
and “Rocky”. I knew by then that’s what I
wanted. I think Sonny Crockett in “Miami Vice”
inspired me to move to Florida. 15 years later I
was there and lived in Miami for 5 years.
So, anyway, while I was attending Acting School I
made my money modeling. But I knew that wasn’t for
me. I felt trapped, not being able to express
myself by just standing there and taking pictures.
I got into student films to build my resume. I
think I made about 10. One of which won an award
at a Film Festival.
Things picked up and I got the lead roles in two
feature films that were in the Miami Film Festival
in 2003 – “The Escape” and “Zombie Unit
713”, my first horror movie in which I played
a zombie hunter so I suppose I was a good guy.
Then I played the part of Bobby in “Miami Tale”
which came out in 2003 and pretty much myself in
the “Miami Chronicles”.
I had made great connections over the years
attending all these film festivals and decided to
move to LA. At this time I was working in a film
production company in Miami as well as a South
Beach Club, but I quit my jobs, bought a new car
and drove cross-country to Los Angeles in March
‘03. Took me three days to get there. I got into
soaps such as “Days of our Lives“ and “The
Young and the Restless“, but didn’t like it
(“it’s boring as hell and very fake”). I made a
few short films and eventually met Nick Palumbo at
the audition for M-S-P. I think that was in
August ’03. I wasn’t even gonna send him my head
shot, because at the time the film was called “Nutbag
2” and I didn’t like the name. But I kept
seeing the audition info on casting websites and
finally sent him my stuff. Nick called me for the
casting; I auditioned and got picked out of close
to 1000 other guys. On October 14, 2003, we
You must tell us the
story of what happened when you decided on your
stage name. That is VERY interesting!
I used to put only my first, real name “ SVEN “ on
my comp cards and head shots when an agent in
Miami suggested to pick a stage name. People were
having enough trouble with “Sven” as it was so I
tried to come up with something “ easier “ for the
last name. So I ran through a bunch of names,
tried them out, thought about how they sounded and
then someone, back in 2002, when I was first going
to LA, suggested “Garrett” and I liked it. I was
able to keep my real initials and then the coolest
thing happened. The first thing I saw when I was
leaving LAX coming into LA was this airplane
hanger with the name “Garrett” written on it big
red letters. So I knew I had made the right
decision. I have tended to follow my instincts
throughout my life and I tell other people they
should do the same thing. Your instincts usually
won’t lead you wrong.
Tell us about the
experience of filming “Murder-Set-Pieces”.
It was tough in that most days lasted 14 hours
and, of course, we had all the interruptions from
the police, problems with the Barracuda, problems
with some of the other actors such as them not
being able to remember their lines, freaking out
when they realized what the film was about and
quitting or not even showing up in the first
place, thinking we were not “ for real “, props
being destroyed by the police because they weren’t
sure if they were “real” or not, etc. Not to
mention all the post production problems with the
film labs. But at the same time, it was a lot of
fun working with Nick and the rest of the crew.
Nick would listen to suggestions from the actors,
I could talk to him as a friend – we hung out
together a lot, having breakfast at 3 am and
discussing things we could do with the film and my
character. Even the child actors were great. Jade
Risser and I were supposed to have a lot of
physical contact and fights at the end of the film
and I wanted her to be comfortable working with me
covered in blood. We would have pillow fights in
the house between takes (“…yes, I let her win
sometimes...”). She is a great young actress with
a big future ahead of her. It was very inspiring
to watch her delivering her lines and to play her
character the way she did. Amber Richards, who
played the little girl in the playground bathroom
(and was SUCH a trouper!), she and her sister
Katie, who played Megan, Jade’s friend, they were
all really into doing the movie and being the best
actor they could be. And their parents were on the
set – Jade’s mom played one of the salon customers
and Katie and Amber’s dad played the father
swinging Katie. Even the upsetting scene with the
baby in the crib who I pick up – she was the
daughter of Brendan Flynt, Nick’s DP, and her real
mother was the German woman The Photographer had
just been fighting with and had killed. Both
parents were present during the baby scene.
For such an intense,
horrifying movie, were there any funny moments you
let me think. There was this one time when the
police came into the house without us knowing and
they walked down to the basement. We were in
between takes and were setting up for the next
shot. I was covered in stage blood, wearing my
butcher’s apron and trying to fix the chainsaw,
which wouldn’t start up. I yanked on this thing
and yelled something like “this fucking thing
won’t start, I think I’m out of gas…” or so, when
I looked up and saw the two cops looking at me
with their jaws dropped. It was quite a moment.
Another one I can think of was when they were
shooting me bench-pressing and Nick wanted it
“really intense”. But it was 4 in the morning and
all I had eaten was a slice of pizza and an apple,
but Nick wanted all the weights they could put on
the dumbbells to make it look “cool” and I asked
him just how tight this shot was going to be,
because if it was going to be an extremely tight
shot, I could just ACT like I was pressing a lot
of weight. He said “don’t worry about it, we’ll
have different angles”. I remember that I was
pushing the weights so many times that I almost
fainted. What you see in the film is pretty much
just my face. It was a good workout though!!
Working with Tony Todd was great. He is very
professional and a cool guy. We shot this scene
over night for about 14 hours, starting at 2 am.
By the time we got to our dialogue we were both so
tired that it was very easy to “act” annoyed and
aggressive. I remember that we were under a huge
time pressure, because we used the store when it
was closed. We didn’t have time to eat during the
entire night, so one of the crew guys sneaked to
get a burger or so, just for him. We all smelled
the onions and behaved like animals, almost killed
The car we had used, the ‘Cuda, wouldn’t run half
the time. Some kind of electrical problem and the
battery was always dead. Pretty embarrassing since
we were shooting on the Vegas strip a lot and
there were many people surrounding us to watch us
shooting and to check out the car, but many times
we had to jump start the car with our crew van.
The oil pan was busted at one point but we kept
driving it without oil and it needed a new engine.
The engine was a 440 6-pack. It was so loud that
in order to hear my dialogue we had to tow it. But
then the power steering and power brakes wouldn’t
work as the engine was off and many times I was
close to run right into the back of the tow car.
If it worked I had a radio to follow driving
instruction, but because of the noise I never
heard anything and just saw the crew waving and
yelling at me from the camera truck with no clue
what to do.
I have to ask about
one brief scene, actually the only scene that
really made me flinch, and that was the blood in
the blender scene. What was that you were really
I think it was a mixture of Karo syrup, food
coloring and bananas for texture. I must have
gained 6 pounds that day, with having to drink all
that sugar more than a few times! The DP had focus
problems and I had to keep drinking that stuff and
almost threw up.
And the scene with The
Photographer munching on the torso – how “tasty”
tasty at all. Toe Tag made that out of latex and
foam and they had hidden a blood bladder in there
that I was supposed to bite. But I thought that as
the “body” looked like it had been frozen plus it
was missing its arms and legs, the blood would
have drained out a long time ago so I made a point
to avoid hitting that blood as that would have
been unrealistic. And the shot worked.
Have you had any
negative feedback as a result of being in
None at all. The fans have been great – the people
who have actually seen the film in its limited
release and recognize me on the street always come
up and talk about how much they enjoyed the movie.
It’s the critics who have been so negative. Nick
has had to take the brunt of it all because he
wrote, produced and directed the film. But it’s
just a FILM!! I am not at all like The
Photographer and Nick is not some sick,
Speaking of all the
bad press Nick Palumbo has been getting, as
someone who knows him and has worked with him,
what positive things can you tell us that might
make people think differently of him.
As a friend and co-worker of Nick Palumbo’s, I can
sincerely say that he treated everyone on that
film with the utmost respect. He made sure the
actors were comfortable with some of the more
intense scenes. He talked to the child actors and
calmed them down if they got scared or upset. He
is a very honest person, I consider him probably
one of five people in the world that I truly
trust. He loves his family and will go out of his
way to help friends out. All this bullshit in the
media about him is just that. Bullshit. He is very
professional and knows his craft to the max. He
told ME stuff about German horror films I didn’t
even know, which quite impressed me.
Speaking of horror
movies, then, do you have any favorites?
I’m not just a horror fan, I enjoy action pictures
more and pretty much everything else as well. But
if I had to name a few that have affected me, I
would definitely say “The Exorcist”, but only the
original one, not the latest “high-tech one (“hell
no”). “The Shining” was great and I enjoy the old
Dracula flicks with Christopher Lee and Bela
Lugosi – they really scared me as a kid. I also
like the old Boris Karloff and Vincent Price
films. I am pretty old school and not the big fan
of now-a-days big budget films.
What did you think of
Las Vegas, given you were there nearly four months
Honestly, with working 14+ hour days, I didn’t get
to actually tour the city and take in any sites.
When I had a day off, I slept. It’s a cool city
until you get off the Strip and then it’s very
seedy and dangerous. I had people knocking on my
hotel room door trying to sell me crack. One of
the crew guys was gonna get batteries for the
videotape and went to a gas station. He came right
back, saying he couldn’t get inside, because
someone just got stabbed and the ambulance was
blocking the entrance. Those things happened
many times and every day was a new adventure. We
were just waiting for things to happen because you
knew they were gonna. It’s just a freaky town.
The effect guys got stopped by the police and
almost got arrested, because they had all of the
fake weapons in a bag. It all looked real and the
police destroyed it all, which threw us back for
days, trying to re-place all the effects.
Do you have a
girlfriend and, if so, has she seen
“Murder-Set-Pieces” yet? And what about your
family and their reaction?
I am not seeing anyone at the moment. I have a lot
going on and don’t really have the time for a
girlfriend, but I’m open for phone calls (laughs).
My family has not seen the film. My mom couldn’t
handle it. She said she would rather wait for a
more “normal” film. But they’re all proud and
happy for my success.
Was it difficult
handling the nudity the film required?
Not at all. Everything was very professional and
we all knew each other after weeks of working
As far as for the actresses – well, most of them
were adult film stars or strippers anyway and they
seemed to have no problem with the nudity. There
were always robes handy between takes though. Nick
many times asked for my opinion, especially with
nude scenes and it was all done “tasteful”, We
discussed just how graphic my shots were going to
be and how I felt about it. And I did keep a towel
on between takes – I’m not one to walk around
stark naked in front of a bunch of guys
(“strippers and adult film stars are O.K. though,
haha”). And there is one little trick I’m happy
you caught as I came up with it. It’s after one of
the rapes and when the sound guys were working on
the film, I was in there with them, eating a
watermelon, and the sound I made eating that
watermelon was very similar to the sound that,
well, if you listen closely for it, you hear
immediately after the rape on the bed is over.
People will know what I’m talking about – that’s
cool you caught that. Nick was surprised and
pleased by that little contribution of mine…and
the watermelon (laughs).
What do you do when
you’re not filming a movie?
staying very busy writing. I’m currently writing
on two screenplays.
Nick and I are heavily promoting “M-S-P”
and we’re already working on other projects
together. The “M-S-P” fans will not be
disappointed; there will be much more good stuff
coming up in the near future.
I am also putting together my own production
company and personal web-site and blog site.
As far as your
production company – how is that going and do you
have any projects lined up yet?
I haven’t copyrighted the name yet so I don’t want
to give that away but I will say that the name of
the company will incorporate my initials. As for
projects, I am working on or have already
completed three screenplays. One is a
spiritual/sci-fi film I worked on with a friend
from Miami, another is a thriller and the third is
similar to “Training Day”. It’s based on
the true story of someone I know back in Florida
and who’s going to jail. Very powerful. I have at
least ten or more script ideas in my head all the
You went to the
Fangoria Convention recently with Nick Palumbo.
What was that like?
It was great! I was “attacked” by fans who had
seen the film and recognized me even though my
hair is shorter now and I wore glasses. We got to
meet a lot of great people like Rob Zombie and
Tobe Hooper, who actually gave us some time to
talk to him as we walked him to his car. We
networked and talked to many people about
merchandising and future projects. We want to
build a team with good people for future films.
Nick and I were supposed to have a booth there but
something got screwed up and it didn’t happen. But
it was still a lot of fun!
What would you like to
say to the readers who may have doubts about
“Murder-Set-Pieces” due to all the negative
publicity that’s been floating around?
Don’t judge the film by just what you see and what
shocks you the first time – take time to think
about the message it has. This film is about
reality. We didn’t set out to just make a movie
showing people getting killed. The Photographer is
out there. Think about that little girl and her
brother in Idaho recently – that guy who took them
and killed their family is just a version of The
The scene of the girl getting stabbed in the
public bathroom – we could have shot hundreds of
those scenes, because it happens every day all
over the world. Parents leave their kids alone.
The guy you’ve been sitting next to in the subway
for 5 years might be “The Photographer” at night.
People can’t or just don’t want to face reality.
Everyone enjoys a happy-ending film with romance
and laughter. Most of it is just illusion and they
forget about it the second they walk out of the
But they can’t or don’t want to handle the every
day world. “Murder-Set-Pieces” is the real
stuff. Pretty sad though…
But that is the world we live in now.