Like other darkly comic adventures, "Pete Smalls Is Dead" features a funeral that turns into a quest. "Game of Thrones" star and Emmy winner Peter Dinklage plays K.C. Monk, a man who left the Hollywood scene behind but now needs to return to Los Angeles to pay off a loan shark or risk the life of his beloved dog.
Along the way K.C. meets some strange, almost stereotypical Hollywood characters, including seedy producer Bernie Lake, who is played by actor Steve Buscemi. When reached by phone, Buscemi said he has met a lot of strange producer types and financier types over the years.
"The guy that I am playing, he's a little over the top. I didn't base him on anyone, although he is a real colorful character," Buscemi said. "I didn't need to base him on anyone because it is a really descriptive screenplay."
While in character as Lake, Buscemi wore a very obvious curly-headed wig.
"When I got to set, Alex [director Alexandre Rockwell], really wanted me to try that wig on. That hadn't been part of the character description," he said. "It was something we tried in rehearsal and Alex seemed really keen on it, so I said 'Why Not?' It really tells you who this guy is. I'm still not sure who he is, but he is certainly out there."
Buscemi spoke highly of "Pete Smalls" star Peter Dinklage, mentioning their frequent collaborations, especially the 2010 film "St. John of Las Vegas": "We're buddies and I always love working with him. He's really focused, he's really funny and inventive, just one of our great actors."
Buscemi also likes working with independent film directors, in particular "Pete Smalls" director Alexandre Rockwell. "In the Soup" is one of his favorite collaborations with Rockwell.
"'In the Soup' won the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance," Buscemi said. "That film is really dear to me. When 'Reservoir Dogs,' another favorite of mine, opened in New York, 'In the Soup' opened at the same time."
Among the many jobs Buscemi has held is a fireman, and he said he loved doing that. He also wanted to be an actor since he was a kid. Buscemi's name currently is attached to "Monsters University," the scheduled 2013 prequel to "Monsters, Inc."
"I haven't seen a script yet, but I am really excited and curious to see what they have in store for Randall," Buscemi said, referencing his scheming chameleon character from the original.
"Pete Smalls" begins a limited engagement in Los Angeles on November 11, 2011.
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