October 14, 2012

TV, movie cameras no stranger to Peru Central alum


---- — LOS ANGELES — David Hazel never thought he would be able to act for a living.

Growing up in Peru, he thought about what it would be like to be an actor from time to time but never mentioned it to anyone.

Now, at 38, he has a long resume of TV show appearances including “House” and “Bones,” as well as parts in two movies.

Currently, he is filming a pilot for a show called “Herb and Norb,” in which he would have the co-lead role.


Hazel’s first TV show was a small part in “CSI Miami,” in early 2010.

”I had a scene with David Caruso, and it was just the two of us and one other actor. It was nerve-racking to say the least,” he said.

”It was a bit embarrassing because I had told some friends about having a scene with David Caruso in the Miami hotel room set, but when the episode aired, the scene was actually quick, and a lot of my on-screen time found its way onto the editing-room floor.”

Hazel graduated from Peru High School 20 years ago and then from Plattsburgh State in 2003 with a degree in mass communication.

Before acting, he was involved in the music business, playing the drums and then guitar for the LA-based band Sklatch and for Ross Mafia in Plattsburgh.


Hazel made the transition from music to acting when a friend told him that the director of the horror film “The Devil Inside” was looking for actors.

He got lucky and landed a part as a member of a team who responded to a triple murder in the movie.

”Once I got that part, I wanted to pursue it more,” he said.

The interesting locations where filming takes place makes for a lot of fun, Hazel said. As many would imagine, being on the set of a horror movie is a bit unsettling, though, he said.

”When you’re shooting the scenes, it’s kind of creepy.”

The scene in which Hazel appears in “The Devil Inside” was filmed in a large house belonging to a resident of Hollywood Hills that was rented out for the film.

Actors who are lying on the ground covered in fake blood get up and walk away for breaks between takes, and that caught Hazel off guard, at first. 

A role on HBO’s “Entourage” had a very different set. The scene Hazel was in was filmed on a sound stage in a Hollywood studio fashioned by set designers to look like a Miami hotel room.

It took them 12 hours to complete the highly realistic set, Hazel said.

”When it (filming) is done, they’ll just tear the whole thing down.”


Despite the glitzy image of film and TV work, the job isn’t always as glamorous as the public is led to believe.

Hazel said he has worked for 34 hours, only to appear in a production for five seconds. When he acted in the show “Entourage,” he worked two 17-hour days.

Everything from hair and makeup to wardrobe choices must be approved by a superior before an actor goes in front of the camera, he said.

But the business does have its perks. Hazel has had the opportunity to brush shoulders with several A-list stars.

He was invited to a party where he sat at a table with Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston and Marilyn Manson.

Hazel has also met Jon Heder, the star of “Napoleon Dynamite,” and Robert Pattinson, star of the “Twilight” movies.


Hazel has a larger part in a horror movie called “Room 311,” directed by Ben Daka.

Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. recently screened the movie, and the people who worked on it are hoping that will lead to a distribution deal so the film can be released next year.

Filmed in 2011, the movie documents strange goings-on in an old hotel in Hollywood. Anyone who rents room 311 seems to disappear.

Hazel plays Robbie, the manager of the hotel, who continues to rent out the room despite the unexplained disappearances.

”My role is more comedic,” he said.

His character was filmed mostly in restaurants and on the streets of Hollywood, when someone investigating the sudden disappearance of a friend who stayed in room 311 goes looking for the hotel manager to get some answers.


Eli Roth, who directed one of the “Hostel” movies and played Sgt. Donnie Donowitz in Quentin Taratino’s “Inglorious Bastards,” acted as a mentor to Hazel.

”I got to learn a lot about the business through him,” Hazel said.

He has also appeared on the sitcoms “Cougartown” and “Up All Night.”

Aspiring actors sometimes have an inaccurate view of show businesses, he said.

”I would never discourage anyone from trying to do it,” he said, but it’s very hard to break into, and “you have to start small.

”It’s all about networking. You have to get your foot in the door.”