Next up on our Actor Highlight series is Joseph Morales. The character in the Gretchen’s Lock film who guides the other campers through the woods to the lock is Dominic. Dominic appreciates the history of where he grew up and wants to show his friends a place he used to visit with his grandfather. Joe sent in a video audition trying out for the role of Dominic and he had the calm, in control demeanor that I wanted for this role. While filming, Joe delivered his lines perfectly and the emotions he portrayed elevated his performance in each scene he was in.
Joe started acting at the age of 11 performing in school musicals and plays up through the end of high school. He graduated in 2014 with Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Communication at The University of Akron. During that time, he worked as one of the music program directors at WZIP, the campus radio station. After graduating from Akron, he was involved in a student feature film and since then has been pursuing a career in acting. Over the last year he has done background work for a variety of movies and has completed a film acting course. Although Joe is relatively new to the film scene, he plans on improving his acting skill set and pursuing future film endeavors.
MPF: What was your favorite part of filming for Gretchen’s Lock?
Joe: My favorite parts of filming Gretchen’s Lock were getting to experience the lock itself (especially at night) and getting to work with such incredibly talented and overall fantastic people (and I am not just saying that to be a kiss up, I genuinely mean it haha).
MPF: Did you know anything about the local legends of Gretchen’s Lock before auditioning?
Joe: I had absolutely no idea Gretchen’s Lock existed until the audition came up. I looked a little bit into it beforehand for research, but getting to experience a little bit of the legends through the film made learning about it much more interesting. It’s a great ghost story and I am all about ghost stories.
MPF: Do you believe in ghosts?
Joe: Absolutely a thousand percent yes. Unfortunately, I myself did not experience one while shooting and I don’t think anyone else did either. I have been hoping to go back to maybe experience something out of the ordinary. My aunt, uncle and cousins have had experiences themselves with the paranormal and it is always interesting to hear what they’ve witnessed. It actually makes me jealous because I want those experiences myself haha, but I still believe even though I haven’t personally experienced it…or I have and just didn’t realize it.
MPF: What’s your favorite role you’ve ever played? (Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be your role in Gretchen’s Lock). 🙂
Joe: Though getting to play Dominic was fun, I have one role that always stood out most. I played Luke from Anything Goes during my freshman year of high school. He was a Chinese addicted gambler who eventually bets away the clothes on his back, which I had to expose my scrawny chest to the audience, which was awkward and uncomfortable at the time. Looking back, it was quite hilarious. Getting to attempt a Chinese accent was also a lot of fun. Any role I received in school plays and musicals where I got to have a mustache or use an accent were always my favorites. I liked to be the comedic relief any chance I got and embarrass myself. I still enjoy it and get to do it every month during a podcast I am apart of that’s recorded in Columbus called It’s All Been Done Radio Hour, with a variety of characters. Funny voices and comedic relief all throughout it!
MPF: Which actor(s) inspire you?
Joe: I could list a lot of actors that have inspired me, but to save some space since I ramble, I would have to go with Johnny Depp. Depp’s characters for the most part are very eccentric and I have always admired his take on such dynamic characters like Edward Scissorhands and Captain Jack Sparrow. Even the more subtle roles like Glen from A Nightmare on Elm Street stood out to me since it was his first film role.
MPF: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Joe: My favorite movie of all time is John Carpenter’s Halloween. I first saw it by accident when I was 6 and it really scared me, but I love being scared so I always enjoyed watching it. The score is so beautifully done throughout every scene that it helps make it that much more terrifying. The effects may be out of date, but it is the score ultimately, and the visuals at that time, that (in my opinion) helped define the slasher genre of horror films. Plus, you can’t go wrong with stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence and John Carpenter directing.
MPF: What are a couple of your hobbies?
Joe: I really enjoy going to the movies with friends, watching television, listening to music and taking my dogs for a walk. If possible, I also like to go swimming. There are a lot of things I say I want to do, like start running, get into photography, get back into singing, and work out, but I haven’t made time for them yet. The running and working out would definitely be a struggle because I can be active, but I’m not that active. Essentially, I kind of like to be lazy, haha.
MPF: What made you interested in acting?
Joe: When I was little, my mom would tape my brother, sister, cousins, friends and myself doing skits of The Maury Show and Jerry Springer. We even did spoofs of Rush Hour, Tomb Raider, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. It essentially became our childhood and from there, I realized I enjoyed entertaining people with different characters in stories I wanted to be told. I then got into plays and musicals throughout middle and high school and after college, I started getting into film.
MPF: Favorite color?
Joe: It would be a tie between Blue and Green.
MPF: Who is your favorite character in the Gretchen’s Lock film?
Joe: I couldn’t just pick one, so my two favorite characters are Jenn and Jason. Jenn is a bit of a smart aleck and will correct you any chance she gets so it’s very easy to get annoyed with her, which was what was intended. Emily Kelly plays Jenn so well and she is the complete opposite of that character, very nice and warm hearted. Jason, who is also a smart aleck and a bit reckless, is the opposite of Nick, who is kind, quiet and is quite the talented musician and photographer. I will point out though that Deanna, Pakob, Sarah, Emily Geary, and Tyler all did great in their roles. I think I did okay.
MPF: Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
Joe: My best advice is “If you dream of doing it, make it come true.” Though the options are best in the big cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta, being here in northeast Ohio has a lot of options from other aspiring actors and filmmakers that make it happen, like the Mennings did for this film here. Sometimes, it just takes some passionate dreamers to make something happen.
Thank you, Joe, for your excellent performance in the film! We’re so glad that you were a part of the production and you did a terrific job!
For more information about the Gretchen’s Lock film & for tickets to the ONLY local showings in Columbiana, go HERE. We’re thrilled to bring you a locally made independent film production featuring local legends and made in Beaver Creek State Park! Thank you for your support in our endeavors & we hope to see you at the Grand Premiere of Gretchen’s Lock on April 23. It’ll be an eerily good time!