Back in February, I had the chance to sit down with Dominic Pace. If you don’t know that name, that is quite alright. He is a newcomer to Star Wars and plays Gekko the bounty hunter in season one of The Mandalorian. Below is my interview with him!
Will Custer: What are some fun facts people should know about you?
Dominic Pace: Well, I think the people should just know that I’m a fan like everyone else. I’m a massive movie and pop-culture fan like everyone else in the Star Wars fandom. I really love diving into pop culture and older movies, and that’s probably where my true passion is. In my free time as an adult I’ve spent a lot of time being privileged enough to visit old movie sets and pop culture landmarks, and I think that’s the number one thing people should know about me.
WC: So, your story is known as Star Wars fan turned cast member, when did your fandom and your love for Star Wars begin?
DP: I was raised by a single mom in Ossining, New York and we honestly didn’t have much. We were working class and lower middle-class people. So, in 1980, when I was five years old, I got the original Kenner Creature Cantina playset from my mom. It came with all the figures from that scene. I have always had a huge interest in the side character, especially with ones like Greedo.
WC: Outside of Bounty Hunters and Boba Fett, who would you say your favorite character is?
DP: I’d have to say it would be Han Solo or even Greedo. Like I said I love those side characters, and both of them are just so cool.
WC: How did you get your start as an actor? Being right outside New York City, was theater where you started? Was acting something that was always on your radar?
DP: So yeah, acting was always something that I had been interested in and enjoyed from a very young age. I love performing and I got to star as Danny Zucco in our high school’s production of Grease. From there I went to one year at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York as a communications major. After a year I figured college was too expensive for me and decided to pursue a full-time career as an actor.
When I left school, I auditioned for any role that I could, whether it was a student film or independent film, anything. It was all in the New York City area and eventually I started landing some bigger roles as a guest star on national television. Every week and every audition and part are a new challenge, and I look at it as something that is one step at a time where you just constantly improve and work on your craft.
WC: So, what was the journey like to getting a part onThe Mandalorian?
DP: So, I don’t turn down any work of any kind. As an actor you have to be willing to be flexible schedule wise. You have to work any job offered to you, especially if you’re a lesser known actor like myself. So, I was called in by Legacy Effects, which is one of the most well-known makeup companies in the industry. They wanted to have me test prosthetics and make up for an upcoming project for the day. A gentleman by the name of Brian Sipe met me in the main lobby of this big warehouse. What I didn’t know was Brian was one of the leading makeup artists at legacy and had quite the resume. His most notable work is on the Marvel movies, especially on Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. They had me in the makeup chair for seven hours that day. At the end of it all I gave him my business card and told him I’d love to be considered for whatever project he was working on. Two weeks later I received a phone call asking me to report the following Monday to Manhattan Beach Studios. I still didn’t know what the job was, but it was a dream come true.
WC: What was the most memorable day on set?
DP: On day one of my filming, I’m walking onto set to film and who is there but the creator himself, George Lucas. Jon Favreau was there with Dave Filoni, as was Kathleen Kennedy. You could hear a pin drop. It was priceless to see Lucas surrounded by his element, and to be a part of it in full makeup as the heads of production talked about the scene and the universe.
WC: You notably helped start the Dominic Pace – William Tagliaferri scholarship. What inspired you to start that, and why is charity so important to you?
DP: In Ossining, NY, I had a tremendous impact on my desire to want to become an actor. I was very fortunate to have so many faculty members, family, and friends support me in my endeavors. Three years ago, I wanted to give back and give another student the same encouragement I received. It was my way of showing my gratitude to such an incredibly supportive community.
As mentioned, before I came from a background that didn’t have a lot of resources, or money. If I can help people out with my time here on earth, I will do that. If I can help an aspiring actor or young person reach their dreams, I want to do that. I am so grateful for the life I have had so far, and I want to pay it forward for the next generation of people, whether that is through Star Wars or some other facet.
WC: Do you have any advice for aspiring actors, and creators?
DP: I would say for anyone trying to get into this field of work, it would be taking every job you can. You need to establish a work ethic that will always be there. You need to essentially work every day, if not every week on your craft. If you aren’t doing this – it’ll be incredibly hard to make it as a career in that field.
WC: Can you tell me anything about Season 2 of The Mandalorian? Do you make an appearance?
DP: Oh no my lips are sealed on that for both accounts. I can tell you that my character will soon have a canon name of “Gekko”. There is a potential for him to make it into some comics, and probably an action figure as well.
WC: I figured that’d be your answer. What were your thoughts on Baby Yoda?
DP: Baby Yoda was awesome. It is fascinating how intricate that puppet is, and it’s crazy that it was about five million dollars to create!
WC: Lastly, what’s next for you? Any exciting projects coming up? Please plug anything you want!
DP: So, I’ll be in a movie called Anonymous Killers which will be a psychological thriller and is something that I think everyone should see. No matter who you are or your opinions on the world, it will change you after seeing this. I am also going on a tour of sorts where people can come and meet Gekko and have pictures taken and get autographs. Every interaction with Star Wars fans has been incredible, so I hope folks come out. Also, all sales on my website go to benefiting charities and people in need. You can check all that out on my website!
I want to thank Dominic Pace for his time and answers. I am ecstatic that he sat down with us and I could not be more thrilled for him. He is legitimately one of the kindest people I’ve talked to and he deserves all the success. He’s got a heart of gold and remains humble with all the recent success. Thanks again, Dominic!