Barry Primus (Irishman, Boxcar Bertha) interview

ACTOR/DIRECTOR/ACTING COACH BARRY PRIMUS ( The Irishman, Boxcar Bertha, Jackson, Mistress, Cagney & Lacey, Righteous Kill, American Hustle etc) talks with Mike Messier about Barry’s own career with insights on Acting and a life in entertainment. 


BARRY PRIMUS BIO (from Rotten Tomatoes website)  BARRY PRIMUS bio from Rotten Tomatoes

Veteran character actor turned director who has worked extensively on stage, TV, and in over 25 feature films. Among Primus’ many film acting credits are Martin Ritt’s “The Brotherhood” (1968), Jerry Schatzberg’s “Puzzle of a Downfall Child” (1970), Sydney Pollack’s “Absence of Malice” (1981) and Martin Scorsese’s “Boxcar Bertha” (1979) and “New York, New York” (1977). He also acted opposite Bette Midler in three films: “The Rose” (1979), “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (1986), and “Big Business” (1988). On TV, Primus appeared in “Washington Behind Closed Doors,” “Paper Dolls,” “The Equalizer,” “Murder, She Wrote,” and in a recurring role on “Cagney and Lacey.”

ARCHIVED POST from 2013:

Barry Primus is the Godfather of C.O.R.E. A.C.T.I.N.G. workshops, that I lead in Providence, RHode Island and other various parts of new england This is a letter to Barry.

Barry Primus
Barry Primus

Barry Primus,

Thanks for all your guidance and support over the years. Since my experience in your Acting Techniques for Director’s classes in Maine, I have done well with C.O.R.E. A.C.T.I.N.G. at five venues with many students and so many great nights. I now have two weekly classes on Mondays and Tuesdays. Many reports from students of help to get over “shyness” and “blocked creativity”.

Many C.O.R.E. A.C.TO.R.S. have seriously applied their talents and training to A.C.T.I.N.G. One of my students, a guy in his early twenties, Dustin Tueber, went from an untapped potential force to a real solid, enthusiastic and inspired A.C.T.O.R. Dustin would actually drive from New Hampshire to Rhode Island to take classes. In a years time of taking our group class and also several one-on-one coaching, Dustin realized a heluva lot of potential. He was accepted and is now studying at Stella Adler Conservatory Class of 2016. Tom Paolino is a friend who enrolled me for one-on-one coaching in his pursuit of a role in a major motion picture titled Bleed for This – The Vinny Paz story. Tom’s own journey is a long one, suffice to say it is an inspiring and wild adventure.

My student David Graziano stopped Acting after 100 auditions in New York sometime ago. Shortly before meeting David, he started acting again in a local film. David applied himself to C.O.R.E. A.C.T.I.N.G. and is now securing many roles in independent films, including the lead in a gritty film noir piece titled A Life Not To Follow. He and I are also collaborating on a piece titled The Actor, which chronicles David’s unique story with Acting and his love story with his girlfriend and muse Christine. David is a strong collaborater in class, and you’d enjoy his film history knowledge.

Jami Tenille took a few classes C.O.R.E. classes before being cast as Blood in my film Blood! Sugar! Sid! Ace! Jami took on a very hard and unsympathecially written role with gusto and a performance worthy of Kathryn Hepburn in Long Day’s Journey into Night in her director’s opinion.

Mike Messier and Barry Primus
Mike Messier and Barry Primus

Students like Lily Spencer and Debra Gagnon have been with me since the first classes at WestSide Arts in 2009. They have both added so much collaboration and support to their classmates and are both doing well in the local arts and Acting scene, and I always welcome their creativity and powerful scene collaborations. LaNecia Edmonds is a student who I hope will continue to make her mark as she is so powerful in her performances. These ladies all understand the core of C.O.R.E.

C.O.R.E. veteran and war veteran Lawrence O’Leary was literally my first student to show up at C.O.R.E. 2009. Since then, Larry has become like a brother and a powerful force in C.O.R.E., as an assitant who provides his own teaching experience and often scripts for the class behind the scenes. Larry has continued his education, taking several more Acting classes, going on auditions and getting roles in both film and stage. Larry worked with me as Sid! in Blood! Sugar! Sid! Ace! and applied himself beyond professionally to the role of Sid.

The owner of our homebase venue The Brooklyn Coffee & Tea House is named Tony Demings. Tony is a real anchor of C.O.R.E. providing a safe and home-like environment to all our students, whether they are long tem or short term students. Tony recently produced and was the lead A.C.T.O.R. in his own life story, Children of the Aslyum, recieving great reviews and the Audience Choice Award at Rhode Island International Film Festival. This is Tony’s story of being a youngster in an orphanage, at a time when adoption was not to be spoken of.

I’d like to think that all of my students, both “the hardcores” and “self improvement All-Stars”, the C.O.R.E. veterans, and just those that pass through, get something out of the weekly class. I know I do. Barry, you have been a huge influence on the success of these students, myself and New England’s C.O.R.E. A.C.T.I.N.G.

You are the Godfather of C.O.R.E. A.C.T.I.N.G.,


Mike Messier and Barry Primus




Directing/Acting student Talia Sawyer and Barry Primus

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