David Faustino: I'm No Virgin To The Web


In February 2012, Netflix premiered its first original series: the dramedy Lilyhammer. It took an entire year before their second was launched, but now that House of Cards has become one of the year's most popular programs, you can expect the Net to take less and less time between premieres.

In fact, six new shows are slated for release this year, including "season four" of Arrested Development, Ricky Gervais' Derek, Eli Roth's thriller Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan and Bad Samaritans, starring David Faustino.

In Samaritans, Faustino stars as Wendell, the downtrodden leader of a community service group and, as ETonline learned upon chatting with the actor, this was the first role in a long time that he felt an immense need to play.

ETonline: What attracted you to Bad Samaritans?

David Faustino: I simply read the script and loved it. I thought the premise was funny and thought I could shine as the character. That was my main reasoning. I'm a fan of Netflix -- I love the idea of watching what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. And although they had plenty of clout before, House of Cards and Arrested Development just builds up the platform even more. Five years ago, you'd mumble that you were doing a webseries, but now, depending on the outlet, it's not so bad. I created one, almost five years ago, for Sony's Crackle called Star-ving. And that was just at the inception of Crackle, so we were before our time even there. If we did it today, it would have been much more widely seen. I'm no virgin to the web.

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ETonline: In that series, you played an overblown version of yourself. What inspired that?

Faustino: It was a combination of frustration, having been in this business for so long, and then having the tough years after the success of Married with Children. So I decided to poke some fun at it and turn the volume up to 11. I don't know if that's a recipe for success for actors who were known for something big -- apparently it wasn't for us. We only made one season [laughs].

ETonline: Do you think the popularity of working on the web could eliminate the tough years you faced for other actors coming off hot shows today?

Faustino: It all depends on how good their product is, but these days you don't have to sit around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for the phone to ring. If you have the will, the drive and the talent, you can get out there and, for not very much money, make something. It’s a new era for people who were on shows and are frustrated with what the industry is offering them.

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ETonline: Back to Samaritans, tell me about your character, Wendell.

Faustino: I know it's cliche, but I really loved this character when I read it. I mean, talk about being frustrated, this is a guy who does this now even though he's always wanted to be a cop. It's like how all actors dream of winning an Oscar, but just can't make it, so he's sort of forced into this position of being a community service project leader for a bunch of deadbeats and misfits. He's an angry guy, and feels some authority in the room, so he takes that all out on these poor souls. He's the kind of guy you love to hate. I just love this role, it fits like a glove.

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ETonline: How common is that feeling for you?

Faustino: Unfortunately, it's pretty rare. It's great when you read it and know a role belongs to you. I mean, it sucks when you feel that way and don't get it; you're disappointed in the universe because you thought the role was yours [laughs]. I wish it was more often, but it happens.

ETonline: In addition to Samaritans, you are also the CEO of Old Scratch Records (which houses Patience Price). What's next for you?

Faustino: Of course it would be great to be on a hit TV series again, but as the years go by, those lines are getting more and more blurred as everyone has their computer hooked up to their TV. My whole thing is, obviously, great product is first and foremost.

Bad Samaritans
premieres March 31 on Netflix