Canadian-born actor Zane Holtz has a blossoming path to screen stardom. Best known for his role in the Netflix remake hit “From Dusk Till Dawn”, Holtz has several roles under his belt, his newest one alongside Gerard Butler in the action-thriller “Hunter Killer.” His just-released project “Beyond the Night” opposite Tammy Blanchard, premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival in October, launching his acting career one step closer to a happy Hollywood ending.
Editor-in-chief Indira Cesarine caught up with the Canadian star for an exclusive photo shoot and interview where they discussed his acting beginnings, training for character roles, and his newfound love for Bulgarian food.
Tell us about your character in your newest movie “Hunter Killer.”
I play Paul Martinelli. He is the youngest and newest member of the four-man special forces team led by Toby Stephens’ character Bill Beaman. He is eager to earn his place on the team and goes to great lengths in the film to do so. We seem him struggle at first but he ultimately proves his worth.
Have you ever performed in an action-thriller like this before?
This is my first time performing in a true action-thriller. I was excited to be a part of it because it felt like a bit of a throwback in that sense. I had an amazing experience making Hunter Killer and would love to do more films in that genre.
You play a Navy Seal and usually, they go through a lot of physical training in boot camp etc. How did you prepare physically for the role?
The director Donovan Marsh set the expectations very high for our physical fitness. He was adamant that we show up athlete fit and not just “screen fit.” What I mean is, he wanted us to be able to truly handle the physical aspects of the performance, not just show up and fake it. He also had us read the book “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell. The book has a few chapters that specifically focus on the initial training, called B.U.D.S, that Navy Seals go through. Reading what these guys go through just to make the teams is incredible. Obviously what we did for the film is nowhere close, but reading about their experiences was inspiring nonetheless. It definitely made me work harder in the gym! I also got heavy back into swimming because I felt like it made sense for the role.
You shot the “Hunter Killer” scenes in Bulgaria. How was that experience? Did you learn anything from that culture?
Bulgaria really grew on me. I didn’t know what to expect at first but had an incredible time. We spent a lot of time riding bikes through the town Sofia on our time off. There’s a lot of interesting history and culture there, and I am always looking to soak up as much as I can when in a foreign country. Their food has a bit of a Mediterranean influence; I got addicted to Shopska salad. The locals found that funny because to them it’s just a basic side salad–it’s a mix of simple ingredients: cucumbers, olives, red onions, and feta. I’ve tried to recreate it here at home but it’s not quite the same.
Can you tell us about the premiere of the movie in NYC?
We had the premiere at The Intrepid Space Museum in New York. It was incredible! It’s a retired aircraft carrier with a ton of fighter planes and other military vehicles so it was perfect for our film. We screened the movie in a theater right on the ship. It was great to hang with Gerry, Ryan Mcpartlin and Michael Trucco. Premieres are fun because you get to get together and see everyone’s hard work come to fruition.
Tell us about your role in “Beyond the Night” opposite Tammy Blanchard which premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival.
I’m very happy with that film. I play a character named Ray Marrow. Ray is a father trying to connect with his son and deal with what seems to be clairvoyant abilities. Tammy plays my sister and a deputy in our small town. Together we try and figure out how best to help my son. The film premiered at Woodstock and we also recently screened at Austin Film Festival. I really enjoy making smaller films and this one, in particular, was a very talented group. Tammy is a fantastic actress and I also had the pleasure of going head to head with Chance Kelly. The director Jason Noto wrote a beautiful script and did an amazing job bringing it all to the screen.
You’re best known for your role in “Dusk Till Dawn.” How did that role shape your acting career?
Being a part of From Dusk Till Dawn has been one of my proudest moments for sure. I was lucky enough to play an amazing character in Richie Gecko and work with a very talented filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. I had been a fan of Robert’s for many years and getting to work with him was a blessing. We had an amazing time making that show and the cast was and continues to be very close Wilmer, D.J. and Jesse are some of my closest friends and we get together regularly. Hopefully, we can find something to work together on again soon.
What was your very first acting role? What do you remember most about it?
I did some commercials when I was younger but my first memorable acting job was the movie Holes. I played a juvenile delinquent named Barfbag. I die by rattlesnake bite in the opening scene. The thing I remember most about that job was the rattlesnake thrashing its head around for the wrangler and throwing venom all over the place. I got to take off my shoe and walk toward the snake after that. Fun times.
You’ve worked along various great actors and actresses such as Gerard Butler, Emma Watson, and Shia Lebouf. Is there anyone you would love to work with or that inspires your career?
There are too many to count. I try to just focus on the material and character and hope that I continue to get to do good work. I try not to emulate other actors and I hope I get to carve my own path.
What projects are on your radar for 2019?
Nothing set in stone yet. I would like to sign on for another great series and keep popping up in some features. I love the work and feel excited about the future!
Photography by Indira Cesarine
Styling by Ty-ron Mayes
Assistant stylist Sasha Leon