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Anthrax Bassist Frank Bello Discusses His Role in the Film ‘Greetings From Tim Buckley’

Frank Bello of Anthrax
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Anthrax fans know Frank Bello as a talented and charismatic bassist onstage, but what they may not know is that he recently delved into one of his other passions, acting. Bello made an appearance at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival to support and promote the movie ‘Greetings From Tim Buckley,’ in which he portrays punk icon Richard Hell.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Bello following the film’s premiere at the festival, and he expressed his enthusiasm about the film, stepping into the shoes of Richard Hell, his experience in Toronto and his acting aspirations. Check out our Q&A with Frank Bello below:

Talk about your experience at Toronto International Film Festival?

The time I had at the Toronto film festival, I’m still buzzing by it, it was so incredible, just amazing. It was funny and kind of whirldwind-ish from when I got there and checked in all that stuff. The producers of the ‘Buckley’ film, they’re all really great people. They really took me under their wing and so I hung out with them and it really opened a lot of doors for me and introduced me to a lot of great, big time people. For me, I’m the rock guy who studied theater and all that stuff,  just coming into this world. That night I was at the biggest party, the CAA party, I’m not a guy for parties but I met a lot of crazy, big people there.

While on this huge red carpet, did you happen to run into any celebrities who happen to be Anthrax fans?

No, but I’m starting to get a lot of people who are closeted Anthrax fans that were coming up to me at the party. Even at the CAA party there were all these closeted Anthrax fans and it was just crazy, you have celebrity actors and it’s always nice to hear a compliment that they respect what I did and that they like the fact that I’m expanding myself to this field. Let’s face it the fame game is all bulls—, I’ve been a little bit famous in my life and I find that it’s just there. I rather dig into the character I think that’s more fun instead of chasing the fame. To me that’s hilarious – chasing the fame, come on.

What did playing punk icon Richard Hell mean to you?

For me it was a lot of fun. I treat songwriting and characters kind of the same way. I equate putting a song, a verse, a part, a bridge, you pull and take things into a character – without sounding too actorish – it’s the process that I love, you become somebody else. You write a song, it starts off from nothing and it becomes this thing you live so that’s the one thing I’ve loved about the art of acting, it’s just fun to live that and be somebody else. Richard Hell, the background on him from asking people and looking him up immediately when I got that role, it’s that attitude and he did what wanted to do and I identify with that in a big way. He was himself.

Did you do anything in particular to prepare yourself for this role?

Yeah, I kind of just put myself there. I completely put on the attitude thing and I kind of just lived as the person for a couple of days. I’d go shopping, I’d go to a bar, I wouldn’t tell anybody, I’d just do what I did in that character. I always find that fun to see how they would act as opposed to how I would act.

How did this opportunity of being part of ‘Greetings from Tim Buckley’ come about?

Easy enough. I have a friend Penny Luedtke who I’ve known forever email me about this role, I was off a couple of weeks from Anthrax and she said, “This role is right for you.” So I went in there and gave it a hundred percent as much as I can. It worked out thankfully.

I understand this isn’t your first acting role. You were on an episode of ‘Law & Order.’

Yeah, I was, that was great. I did that whole initial scene, it was pretty funny – I found the murder victim and stuff. I’ve done some theater in New York, I’m a New York guy. I’ve studied at the William Esper studios in New York and it’s just something I like doing. It’s just another part of me.

What was the biggest difference for you between of filming a television show versus film.

The television thing was more immediate especially the ‘Law & Order’ thing, there was more down time being on a film. We had early calls and they would shoot 14 and 16 hour days but I enjoy the process – just to be in somebody else’s world and live in that character and just to be somebody else for a while, it’s a different life that I love.

Can we expect any future film roles we can expect from you?

My whole thing with this Toronto Film Festival was to go there, get some press, I’d like to get some sort of real representation and just read for more. Anthrax will probably be writing the next record next year so there will be some down time where I would love to dig in and I would love to do more.

Greetings From Tim Buckley‘ tells the story of late singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley dealing with the legacy of his father, folk singer Tim Buckley. Frank Bello plays Richard Hell of the bands Television and Richard Hell & The Voidoids. The movie premiered on Sept. 9 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Frank Bello, focusing on Anthrax, Metal Masters and more.

Next: Watch Our Video Interview With Frank Bello + More at Metal Masters

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