You may recognize the man on the left as Stephen Lang of Avatar fame and the new horror sequel Don't Breathe 2, but it's the man on the right that took an unlikely journey to film. His name is Ron Rogell of Stamford, CT.
Ron appears briefly in the new movie Don't Breathe 2 and says his relationships have led him there, particularly his friendship with Stephen Lang. How did the two meet? Ron told me the whole story this week.
It's not as if Ron happened upon Lang and never had an arts background, he started small and built up his resume. Rogell starred in an Indy film in Stamford called The Ethereal Plane and worked at the Westchester Broadway Theatre which is where the pair would meet.
Rogell explained that the relationship almost never got off the ground saying:
"Back in 2013 I was working at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, which was a year-round Equity dinner theatre, as the Assistant Stage Manager. I had been working there for about 11 years.
I would work these in some capacity too make extra money. The guy who would book these shows called me one day and said Ron, I have an amazing gig for you. Stephen Lang from Avatar is going to tour his 1-man show called BEYOND GLORY and we need a Stage Manager.
I said.......No thanks. There was silence for about a minute and he goes What? Why not? I said "Cause that guy's an a------.
He laughed and said he's really nice in person. Truth was, I didn't think I could handle Stage Managing a show by myself. I've always been the ASM.
After he and the producer of the theatre I was working at convinced me I would be great and its an amazing opportunity, I gave in and said yes."
Next would come a series of phone calls and meetings where Lang and Rogell hit it off. After years of Stage Managing Lang's one man show, the two built a comfort and familiarity. Rogell even joined Lang for a show for the troops in Afghanistan in 2014.
By 2019, Rogell says he and Lang were like family so he was delighted to get a phone call from Stephen who said, "I think I want you to come with me when I do movie shoots."
Ron said being an actor, he jumped at the opportunity and they got right to work. The first film was called Death in Texas starring Lang, Lara Flynn Boyle, Bruce Dern and John Ashton. Ron told me that Lang asked the director to put Ron in somewhere and they did, giving him featured extra role in the production.
Soon, the COVID-19 pandemic would begin and it shutdown film sets worldwide. The same happened for Rogell and Lang, but they got back on track in July of 2020 when Don't Breathe 2 got the green light to start filming. They filmed the movie in Belgrade for 3 months and again Stephen Lang asked Ron Rogell if he wanted to be in the movie. And he is.
Rogell admits that if you blink, you could miss him, explaining:
"When we got the private screening and my scene is coming up, I'm getting really excited. Here it is!!!!!!!!.......and there it goes. They cut the scene back to what was in the original script. So you DO see me for a few seconds...if you don't blink.
That's the business, though. I kind of expected it. It was an amazing experience and maybe it will be on the blu-ray as a deleted scene."
Don't Breathe 2 is in theaters now and looks downright terrifying.
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