I spoke with Zach Sale about his new film, Tyler Perry’s The Marriage Counselor, which is coming to theaters in March of 2013. The film starring Zach, Kim Kardashian (playing a marriage counselor), Vanessa Williams, Jerry Stiller, Candice Coke, and Andrea Moore was set to come out in July but the release date has been changed to March of 2013. Zach plays Brad. It was a pleasure to speak with Zach about his recent film roles as well as his guest-starring role on Burn Notice. He has fantastic taste in films, television, and pretty much everything else. He is a family man and I have first-hand knowledge that his wife is also an incredible and brilliant person. Zach Sale has a bright future ahead of him. He is one of those people that you instantly connect with and you feel like you’ve known them for years. I can’t say enough good things about him. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Zach’s work in the future. Don’t miss The Marriage Counselor when it comes to a theater near you.
Lena: I saw your episode of Burn Notice on USA Network.
Zach Sale: That was probably the most fun that I have ever had on a set thus far. You know that Ferrari? I am actually driving that Ferrari, Lena. I’m not lying. They came to me the first day of the shoot and said “You are going to be driving this today.” My stunt guy was so awesome and a total gearhead that could work on anything and any car that you could imagine. He was the stunt driver for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. The big tumble in the beginning, he didn’t even mean to do that when they busted through the house but they kept it in. Sam (the stunt guy) took me to downtown Miami and away from production so there were no cops holding the streets or anything, it was just us driving along and we were at a light and it wasn’t really red, just flashing, and he was telling me that I had to drive around people and it didn’t matter if I scratched the car because they were blowing up at least two that very day.
Lena: That sounds exciting.
Zach Sale: Jonathan Frakes was the director of the episode of Burn Notice that I did. He played Riker in Star Trek. He was Jean-Luc Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) number one; he was that guy. This was the first audition where I recognized the director. I had just gotten off the plane from Atlanta, maybe an hour before, and I had a 100-degree fever and I had that audition to go to and one for Charlie’s Angles. When I went into the audition my heart started pumping like crazy because it was Riker. I booked both roles on the same day. I don’t know how I did it but I guess I was just having a really good day. Burn Notice wanted me for eight whole days. They needed to change one of the lines in Burn Notice and I actually came up with the line about the price thing; that was an on-the-spot line change that we did which was pretty cool. It was so cool that Jonathan Frakes directed the episode of that I was in.
Lena: I love that Burn Notice is actually filmed in Florida.
Zach Sale: So do I. I’m from Florida originally; I was born and raised there. It was cool to go back home.
Zach Sale: I have a cool story for you. I was on the set of Burn Notice and Coby Bell, who plays Jesse, well two weeks later I was on the set of The Game because I have a recurring role The Game, and I was fixing up a salad and I went to reach for a hard boiled egg and this other guy was reaching for the same dish of hard boiled eggs and at first I looked up and it was Coby. I said, “Hey man what’s going on. Did they wrap up shooting in Miami?” Coby responded, “Oh my god, what are you doing here?” I told him that I’m playing Chuck and I was shooting a scene with him. Since then we have been friends. It was just cool because I was out in Miami shooting one thing and then shooting a completely opposite style of a TV show in Atlanta with one of the same guys.
Lena: The Burn Notice cast members seem like nice people. Bruce Campbell is awesome.
Zach Sale: Yes, Bruce Campbell is a legend. The whole Evil Dead series is amazing. We were sitting at casting, in the little room where they keep the actors, and they were setting up the next shot and it was just the two of us and he was very quiet, he was really into what he was doing. He was making jokes but when he was sitting around he was really quiet and really into his iPad. This was my first time meeting Bruce so every time I moved my chair was making this horrible noise and it was so quiet in there. Finally, I turned around and asked Bruce for a picture. He was cool and I got a picture with one of the guys that I grew up watching. We were later sitting at lunch together and he was cracking a ton of jokes. He was talking about a company that has given him something and they kept on sending him products so he finally packed them up and put a note on the box saying that he doesn’t want anything else free from them, so please quit sending the products. People want him to endorse everything.
Lena: I can’t believe that they are remaking Evil Dead. All they do is remake movies nowadays. They should leave some things alone.
Zach Sale: I know. They had better get someone with the facial acting of Bruce Campbell. Total Recall is coming out in August and if they are going to take out all of the Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liner type scriptwriting and turn it into a real in-depth story with really cool CGI graphics I think now would be an awesome time to have it.
Lena: That (trailer) does look good. (Speaking of remakes involving Colin Farrell) Did you see Fright Night (laughing)?
Zach Sale: Yeah, I did and I didn’t like it.
Lena: Yeah, it was awful. Everyone looked uncomfortable. Colin would go in and deliver his lines but it looked like he was thinking, “Really you want me to say this well okay then if you insist…” the entire time.
Zach Sale: I know, and I’m sure he was thinking, “How did you guys get me to sign this contract (laughing)?” What is your favorite type of movie or do you have a favorite movie?
Lena: I like a little bit of everything, and I can’t say that I have a favorite movie. How about you?
Zach Sale: I like the psychological thriller action type. If you can combine them all together that would be awesome but it all depends on my mood. I just got Total Recall on Blu-ray. It’s so action-packed and easy to follow that you can literally go and get a bowl of cereal and when you come back you still didn’t miss anything. There will be an explosion and some dead bodies but that’s it. I also like the movies that get you thinking.
Lena: Please don’t tell me you watched Cowboys & Aliens? (Zach had a photo of the Cowboys & Aliens DVD on Twitter.)
Zach Sale: I did, I waited until it came out on Redbox. Once again, it was one of those movies that you could leave and get a bowl of cereal and still not miss anything. There is this other one that is similar to Cowboys & Aliens called Alien Armageddon; directed by Neil Johnson. I got to work with Neil on Alien Dawn and he was really cool.
Lena: You play a lot of soldiers. Do you have a military background, or any type of military training, or is it something that just comes naturally to you?
Zach Sale: I guess it just comes naturally from all those years of pretending I was an Army man as a kid (laughing). The first movie I got to play a soldier was in The Tortured. It was a short film that was put together by this group of guys off of YouTube. Keith Hodder did Van Gore, a fake trailer that won the national competition and was put on the Hobo with a Shotgun DVD. We shot this thing in the middle of the Atlanta ice storm that happened last year. You know that movie Trapped in Paradise with Nicolas Cage and Dana Carvey? Well we got stuck and literally couldn’t leave. My cell phone didn’t work and I had to buy a prepaid Verizon phone because that was the only carrier that worked out there. We couldn’t leave for six days. When you watch the movie it opens with a really sunny day, then it looks like fall and it turns into a rain day that ultimately turns into snow. It looks like we shot it over a three-month period when, in actuality, it was just really freaky weather. I liked it a lot though. It was nice to really get involved and that is why I got to do Killzone Extraction, because I had done that. Brett Driver, one of the filmmakers, knew the guy that was doing Killzone Extraction and I guess he thought I looked the part. Killzone Extraction was a lot of fun. There was this scene where I was sitting there and you see me leaning up against this trench wall and an explosion goes off by my head and it throws me backwards and I fall on my face. The director has me practice this thing like seven times and he looks and says there is mud, glass, rocks, so I kept on falling on my elbow and my elbow has turned into grated cheese. I finally said to him, “Please just say action and I’ll get the shot right. I can’t do this anymore.” It worked out great. I had to push myself off and a lot of people thought I got pulled by a rope but it was actually just me pushing myself backwards. It all comes from being a little boy and pretending to die a thousand times.
Lena: And you bled real blood (laughing).
Zach Sale: Yeah, and I bled real blood (laughing). If you look at the behind the scenes I am showing it.
Lena: You are going to be in The Marriage Counselor.
Zach Sale: Yeah, I’m excited. I think the thing that grabbed me the most about it was that is was Tyler Perry’s. I started acting in Atlanta and everything was getting shot in L.A. I play Brad, he’s the husband that is having difficulties with his marriage and he’s one of the leads. The whole story is kind of based on this one couple having problems in their relationship and they go to the marriage counselor and it’s through their own problems that kind of spark something in the marriage counselor. It rekindles something in her past and it goes on from there. She tells this story and it was one of the first opportunities that I had to do something that wasn’t action and didn’t have a whole bunch of eye candy for the screen. People were not expecting an explosion or a fast car to drive or anything like that. It was kind of just me trying to pull a solution out of myself. It was very interesting and I learned a lot from it.
Lena: How was it working with Tyler Perry?
Zach Sale: I didn’t get to meet Tyler until literally five minutes before we shot. He put his giant hand on my shoulder and said, “Hi, it’s good to see you.” That guy is big; he has big arms and he towers over people. He was really nice. I’ve heard some horror stories about Tyler Perry and I’ve heard some good stories about Tyler Perry, but my experience with Tyler Perry was very cool. He was very professional. I think because he’s an actor and how he built his empire the way that he built it, that he can really relate to the actor when we are doing a shot. When you are just sitting there with the other actors in a scene and you have a guy laying in front of you with his legs spread open and a boom mic in your face and 500 extras around you and you have to cry on the spot or you have to do something, he made it really easy. He makes it really easy for the actors on a set, at least in my scenes. I can personally say that.
Lena: I’m sure the film will be a success because he has such a loyal fan base.
Zach Sale: He really does. This film isn’t going to be super funny but it’s going to touch some people in different ways.
Lena: Do you have any scenes with Kim Kardashian? I know people find it hilarious that she is in a film about marriage.
Zach Sale: I do not have any scenes with Kim Kardashian. Yeah, I know she just did a talk show and they made a crack about that. She plays a marriage counselor, which makes it that much funnier. I think it’s great that she’s in it because it will bring a wider variety of fan base to the theaters. I think that was a very smart move on Tyler Perry’s part. The whole film was shot in, I believe, eighteen days. He doesn’t fool around when it comes to shooting. Kim Kardashian and Jerry Stiller were there filming for maybe a day. He gets them in and gets them out. When we shot one of the scenes he had three cameras set up so he could get all of the angles that he wanted right off the bat. As long as everything went right we could call it a wrap.
Lena: Did you have a good time working with the cast?
Zach Sale: Yes, I had a great time working with the cast. Candice Coke, plays the marriage counselor, is an absolutely fantastic actress. Her scenes where she is crying, I’m not even kidding, there were these huge grip guys that had tears in their eyes behind the camera when she was crying. They felt so bad for her because she was so into her character. She was cool talking to us when we were in the green room. Andrea Moore plays my wife, Lisa, and she was fabulous and also from Atlanta. The woman who works with Tyler, I don’t know if she works with Tyler every time but I call her the soothsayer because when we did the scene, and it was a truly emotional scene, Tyler came over and said, “Guys that was awesome but I want to see it a little bit deeper though,” and he says her name (the soothsayer). She takes us over and she goes, “Tell me your worst moment ever in your life when you felt that your entire world was crashing.” She asked me if I had it in my head and when I said yes she wanted me to tell her and everyone in the room the story. The point is that she was really trying to make you cry. She really knows how to bring those emotions out of you. It was pretty intense and the girl next to me was balling. I didn’t even think of that sad of a story. She was really cool. She said, “Hang on to that moment and go.” That was a different experience.
Lena: What is your favorite Tyler Perry film?
Zach Sale: If I had to pick one I would pick Madea Goes to Jail, but not the film, the play. That was the first time that I ever saw Tyler Perry. I laughed my ass off watching that.
Lena: Since the movie focuses on marriage, and you are happily married in real-life, what are a few of the key elements that you feel contribute to having a successful marriage?
Zach Sale: Happy wife, happy life. Everyday, and I think it’s a struggle for everybody, just remember that you are sharing your life with someone and you have to remember that this person is going through their own shit, not just yours, so I think my advice to all guys is just to remember the little things. If she mentions that she needs to get a new brush for her face scrubber, come home with a brush for her face scrubber. Remember the little things, and that will always make her happy and in turn makes you happy.
Lena: That’s some good advice. Don’t forget that your wife is always right when you fight, right (laughing)?
Zach Sale: Oh yes, that’s the other one too…always remember when to shut up. I’m still working on that one, and I realize that after I say something stupid.
Lena: It’s just a girl thing.
Zach Sale: It’s a girl thing because they are usually always right anyway.
Lena: You are trying to get brownie points (laughing).
Zach Sale: (Laughing) We are never right, Lena. My wife is definitely my rock. She’s been with me since before I was anything, before I even had an acting credit to my name. She’s still my biggest fan. I always tell her that if the world could see me through her eyes, I would be a superstar.
Lena: That is so sweet. I love hearing about happy marriages. It’s nice when people get along.
Zach Sale: She’s definitely my soul mate.
Lena: One of your fans wanted me to ask you what you miss the most about Chattanooga?
Zach Sale: I think what I miss the most is that you can literally get around it in five minutes because you can’t do that out here in L.A. I miss my friends out there. When I lived out there if you ever needed anything people were always ready to help each other out.
Lena: You just started acting not too long ago.
Zach Sale: Technically yes, but I can remember being in seventh grade and reading stories out of a literature book and I would always give a voice to the narrator, or I would give an accent to one of the characters so I’ve always been acting, but I started seriously acting in May of 2010. I got a call to be featured in a football opener and after that I started to pursue it full-time. I started shopping for agents and filled in my resume with things that people could see me acting in. In February of last year I got my first agent. I booked roles in Drop Dead Diva, Burn Notice, and The Marriage Counselor.