LORETTE MAGAZINE

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EXCLUSIVE: Zach Villa talks Hypochondriac film, solo album and the importance of mental health.

Zach Villa (AHS: 1984) recently sat down with LORETTE via a phone call, and we discussed his newest film, Hypochondriac.

 

The flick is based on director/writer Addison Heimann’s real-life mental breakdown and marks his feature film debut in the process. Everything from Villa’s mannerisms to his voice is spot on in terms of mimicking Heimann and you can see that the pain in his emotions is very much real.

And as a fellow actor and New York kid, I think I’ve found a new friend as well!

I always enjoy doing these interviews because you start to make these familiar connections and realize just how small of a circle Hollywood really is.

 

SMALL SPOILER ALERT BELOW ABOUT A POSSIBLE CHARACTER DEATH.

 

KATIE HARDEN: Hi, Zach?

ZACH VILLA: Zach. That’s me.

KH: That’s you!

 

Did you submit for this project? Or did he (Heimann) specifically have you in mind for it?

 

ZV: I did submit. I mean, for a wave–my wonderful organization did and it came my way the traditional way. That’s pretty typical for an actor’s life!

ZV: Not many people know that. (Jokingly but serious about the process) That’s kind of just how the business works. It’s not like I got to sit around!

ZV: I was like, oh, man, what?! As soon as I read the sides I knew ‘this is me’. I felt that there was something very special happening right from the very beginning of reading the text.

ZV: It’s so hard because when you submit, you think it’s just another audition

ZV: But as I read it, I thought no one else can play this, you know? And I immediately got the director’s meeting. I was thinking, yup, here we go!

Zach Villa
Will (Zach Villa) in Hypochondriac.

ZV: I’ve never felt really that way about a project before. You are always surprised when you book something, you know, but this one, I was like, nope, mine!

 

I think we can all relate to mental breakdowns in show business. Was there anything personal you used to dig into Will?

ZV: Yeah. Well, funny story. You know, Addison is a wonderful human being, and so gregarious and so vivid in life.

ZV: A lot of the script is derived somewhat autobiographically from his own experiences. And when Addison and I started talking about the project, we found that a lot of our experiences ran parallel! We’ve had similar experiences in mental health.

ZV: We know this world. We’ve had experiences with similar subject materials, so it wasn’t really a stretch. But I’m not playing me when I portray Will.

KH: Right. Of course.

ZV: Will is the every-man, but is also incredibly specific. And that’s why it works. That’s why we can relate!

ZV: Whether you’re gay, straight, or anything, you see parts of yourself in that person. I think any good performance can accomplish that degree.

 

SPOILER ALERT FOR POSSIBLE CHARACTER DEATH

 

Do you think his husband actually died? Or was it more in his head? That was a twister of an ending!

Zach Villa
Zach Villa (Will) & Devon Graye (Luke) in Hypochondriac

ZV: I do think it’s open to interpretation.

ZV: I don’t know, either. I think from how I prepared for the role, mentally, Will knows, that even though this person doesn’t totally understand him, and the relationship is flawed–he will be there for him in the capacity that no one else can.

ZV: And I have that person in my life! I have a couple. I’m blessed that I have all of my friends that I trust in my life. I have a lot of colleagues, and people that I love working with.

ZV: But the friends that literally show up and have your back on any kind of day, in any circumstance no matter how messed up or not you are? Those are hard to find.

ZV: I’m blessed to have a couple in my life, but there’s one person in particular that I know that I can call anytime. And though our relationship is flawed and it’s not perfect, it’s knowing and accepting everything about each other like Will and Luke do.

ZV: I think he’s (Luke) there for him (Will). And it’s kind of nice.

ZV: The film confuses the viewer a bit. I think it’s a very juicy interpretation, and whether or not it’s all in his head, at some point–it’s real.

ZV: Even if Luke is a memory or a manifestation, will that be Will’s jumping point to get healthy again?

ZV: That is what is important. If he ever gets past all of it, I think that’s a more usual interpretation versus the more woke interpretations that we had. It’s like he’s actually made peace with it.

ZV: If Will was always going to be plagued with it, then hypochondriac two, three, and four would come out next year! (Jokingly) Which will be great for my pocketbook, because I got to pay rent!

Let’s talk about your band Sorry Kyle and the connection it has to this movie. If you could give Will a specific playlist of some songs, what would they be?

ZV: Oh, my God. Wow. Wow. (Surprised by such a unique and rare question.) Well, The Cloud, is probably one.

ZV: We’ll use it to study aesthetics per se. But the subject matter is pretty much like into the world vibe. And I think he had his darker times when he’s, you know, drinking wine by himself by the pool.

ZV: I think he gets into a darker headspace of a bucket and has that kind of nihilistic under underbelly. And, you know, I think I think he really loves that.

Zach drops an exclusive with Lorette about how he is going solo in his music career!

ZV: I’m actually going solo. Sorry. Kyle has a whole record that we’ve had completed for two years. And I actually just started because I did that movie with my pop punk heroes. I found that I need to go solo in this genre. So there’s actually a couple. There’s one–

ZV: Oh, man, I don’t even know if I want to drop this right now, but I’m going to! Okay. Hey, It’s called.

ZV: And that’s all over the phone that I’m going to be dropping solo probably. I’m working on like a huge record. That’s just that’s just me. But in the same genre as Sorry Kyle. so I know you guys don’t have context, but that would be it!

Zach Villa
Zach Villa and his band, Sorry Kyle.

Theaters: July 29 / On Demand/Digital: Aug. 4 (First premiered at SXSW)

 

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 width=About the author: Katie Harden is a professionally repped New York-based/bi-coastal musical theater, entertainment journalist, and indie film actress. She is proudly part of the Actor’s Equity Association and frequently interviews colleagues, friends, and celebrities, along with reviewing television and movies. Find her at the bottom of a can of Arizona sweet tea or in the ocean!