Im warning you right now, its not fun and games. Its a very heavy movie but I think it does what its supposed to do. It doesnt slap you in the face. What it does is it puts up a mirror in front of you. It's dark but not too much to drain all of your spirits. You know what I mean? Its a very, very good film."
Arlen Escarpeta on His "American Gun" Character: "My character specifically is a high school student. Hes a great kid, smart, intelligent, but because of where he lives and what he thinks his mindset he believes that he has to have a gun with him. My character actually never brings his gun into school. He hides it and goes to school, gets good grades, and then as he leaves school, takes the gun with him as a security blanket, kind of.
We deal with every aspect of guns that you can think of, from a gun owners perspective to young kid who thinks he needs a gun to a mother whose older son was involved in a Columbine-like shooting and actually killed people and now a younger son and a mother who have that aftermath to deal with."
On Researching the Subject Matter: "Me being a sociology major in college I had a lot of information at hand already that was I was able to look at. I watched a couple of news clips but I didnt really want to watch too much though, because I really didnt want to come into the film with something already sitting on my shoulder."
On the Script: "The writing was there. The writing was great. It was written by Steve Bagatourian and Aric Avelino and Aric also directed the film. So you know the words were there, the moments were there, so I really didnt have to bring too much to it. And Aric was a great director so we had a really good time."
Working with a Big Ensemble Cast: "When you hear Forest Whitaker, Donald Sutherland, Marcia Gay Harden, you just want to be a part of it first off. But reading the script, all of the characters are very, very relevant to the story. Everyone has their moment in there. Its not a story that focuses on one person, which when you see the film, youll see that. Theres no one person thats the star. Theres no one person thats the lead. Its just everyones story and what ties them all in is that they all deal with guns."
Arlen Escarpeta on Indies vs. Studio Films: "I like [indies] because its always interesting. It seems like its always fresh. I love feature films the big ones. I cant knock it, you know what I mean, because they get so much publicity and open up so many doors for you. But as far as the indie thing, you really get to show your stripes as an actor. You really get to learn a lot. I can sit with a crew and talk and theres really more time to take it all in."
Coming Up Next... Escarpeta says he's appearing in an episode of "Cold Case." "I get to play a 1945 Negro League baseball player who was killed and they solve my murder. So youll see me swing and hit a I actually hit a real home run. We filmed up in Toronto and I think it was 330. I dont know. I dont play baseball that well, dont tell everyone else that (laughing). But I had a great time filming. Actually I teamed up with Paris Barclay, a director that I worked with on 'American Dreams' as well, so I had a really good time."