Gregory Zarian Talks The Importance Message Behind His New Film '86 Melrose Avenue' and More! (EXCLUSIVE) Read More Here --->>
Gregory Zarian is an incredibly talented performer who has appeared in shows like Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, Westworld, and the Emmy-winning web series, Venice the Series! Now, he is starring as a lead in the independent film, 86 Melrose Avenue. Check out our interview with Zarian as he talks about the important message behind the film, out tomorrow, and much more.
86 Melrose Avenue follows the story of an ex-Marine, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as he storms an art gallery and takes several guests hostage. “It’s about mental illness and how your life would change in that split moment. What would you do differently? It deals a lot with being in the moment,” Gregory shared. “And if you have regrets, how do you clean them up? How do you navigate your life after you are in a do-or-die situation?”
Gregory’s connection with the film goes back a couple of years having previously worked with writer/director Lili Matta on another project. “I really love working with strong women. Lili is a strong woman who tells strong stories. And when she reached out to me with this script and asked me to read it a couple of years ago, I said ‘absolutely.’ I loved the script and told her when she started the process of casting that I would love to play the part of Avi. It was just a privilege to be part of such a poignant and timely story.”
At a time in the world when 1 in 5 adults live with mental illness and a staggering 11-20% of veterans deal with PTSD, the film tackles just how we are affected as humans by mental disorders. Gregory expressed that he hopes viewers take away a message of courage. “We’ve all gone through a global car crash with COVID-19. So, my hope for anybody that sees this movie is for them to ask more questions. To have empathy. And to do your homework. We used to be so ashamed of talking about mental health and mental illness. Hopefully, this past year of being in lockdown takes the lid off of that and opens up the conversation because you don’t know what somebody else is going through. I’m a big supporter of recovery groups and programs because they deal in just communicating. They deal with diving into your deepest, darkest years. And once you get out, there’s a possibility to heal. That’s what I hope people take away from this film.”
As an independent film, it is amazing to see the recognition 86 Melrose Avenue is receiving. The film has been nominated for and won many awards with Gregory even winning Best Supporting Actor at the Overcome Film Festival. “Last year I was nominated for a Daytime Emmy and this year I’m nominated for a handful of awards. And winning an award from my peers... it’s a celebration but it’s more than that. It’s just gratitude. You know, what I do is hard. Everybody has an opinion. Everybody criticizes everything and anything. However, I feel that if we are true to the storytelling we can’t go wrong no matter what.”
Gregory also recently appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show to promote the film thanks to his twin brother, Lawrence. “Come on,” he laughed. “First of all, I have been a Kelly Clarkson fan ever since American Idol. What I love about Kelly, is that it seems there was no ceiling in regards to what she wants. She’s relatable. She’s an amazing singer. And to have my twin reach out through the powers that be and to have this independent film that is so raw it’s uncomfortable on The Kelly Clarkson Show? My job is done. And the best part of all is that Pilot Pens did a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. If we could all do things like that. Just random acts of kindness that make the world such a better place.”
Coming up next for Zarian is a horror film, which he will star in and help produce. He is also starring as Shaggy’s father, Samuel Rogers, in Mystery Incorporated. “Dade Elza, who plays Travis in 86 Melrose Avenue is a phenomenal actor. He and I bonded so well. He created this series, Mystery Incorporated, based on Scooby-Doo. And he called me up last year and said ‘Hey, would you like to play Shaggy’s dad?’ I actually have my very own Mystery Machine because Scooby-Doo was my jam. I’m super excited about that. And I get to work with somebody that I respect.”
In parting, Gregory wanted to bring awareness to a very special nonprofit that he serves as an ambassador. Free2Luv stands up to bullying, supports mental health, and celebrates individuality. “I believe that if we just have a conversation we can open up our hearts a lot more. It’s important for me to let people know their differences are celebrated and nobody should apologize for being who they are.”
Thank you, Gregory!