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Jessica is a contributing writer for The Hudsucker. You can usually find her dissecting the latest season of 'Game of Thrones', or singing along to Taylor Swift's '1989' in the car at stop lights. Feel free to say hi. Personal motto: Live every day like you're Glen Coco.

‘Dirk Gently’ Actor Amitai Marmorstein Talks BBC America Hit and Taran Killam Project

Mystery, suspense, and a whole lot of the unexpected. That’s exactly what you get with BBC America and Netflix’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. We were lucky enough to sit down with one of the stars of season two, Amitai Marmorstein, and learned all about his role as Blackwing Lt. Assistant, working with Samuel Barnett, and that time he kissed Bobby Moynihan.

Actor Amitai Marmorstein. Source: Kristine Cofsky

Amitai Marmorstein has been acting on screen for quite some time. With various roles in shows such as FringeSmallville, and Wayward Pines, he has worked his way to big roles and bigger projects. Two on the docket are Taran Killam’s Killing Gunther and the hit BBC America/Netflix show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

And while Marmorstein’s role on the latter might be “ordinary,” the Samual Barnett and Elijah Wood-lead show is anything but. Marmorstein portrays Blackwing Lieutenant Assistant to Friedkin (Dustin Milligan), a smart and intuitive sidekick that makes a pretty big impact.

“What I love so much about the character is the tension that he goes through, trying to help Blackwing run effectively, while also trying not to just outright tell his boss how dumb he is,” he says.  “Dustin is also just so great with his character that the dynamic comes very naturally. But basically, Lieutenant Assistant is just a fairly ordinary guy caught in the extraordinary whirlwind that is the Dirk Gently universe.”

Not only did Marmorstein truly enjoy filming the show, he also loves watching it. Which made his decision to take the part an easy one at best.

“I jumped at the chance to work on Dirk Gently. It’s rare to get to be a part of a show that I would recommend to friends, even if I wasn’t on it. It’s so funny and smart, and surprisingly heartfelt—I feel like that part sneaks up on you. Getting to witness Max [Landis]’s creative insanity up close is a pretty special and exhilarating experience.”

While Elijah Wood is a co-star for the series, Marmorstein didn’t have the chance to work with the seasoned actor. He did, however, film multiple scenes with Samuel Barnett, and could not speak more highly of the series-lead.

“I ran into [Elijah] in the makeup trailer once and he was very cool, but that was the extent of our meeting. I did, however, get to shoot a few scenes with Sam and I can’t say enough about the guy,” Marmorstein revealed. “On my first day he went out of his way to make me feel at home. He’s a genuinely kind, generous, interested and interesting person.I could go on about his work as Dirk, but that’s all up on the screen and it clearly speaks for itself. He’s just so good.”

Fans of the show know all too well Dirk Gently can be an adventure filled with twists and turns every which way. But according to Marmorstein, season 2 kicks it up a notch, with his character right in the chaos.

Source: Kristine Cofsky

“For the first half of the season I’m mostly just Friedkin’s very un-glorified sidekick. But later on Assistant does get swept up in the ‘tornado of interconnectedness.’ It gets pretty crazy and we get to see the limits of his patience and enthusiasm.”

Marmorstein also has another big project on his plate with the Taran Killam-directed film Killing Gunther. Marmorstein plays Nate, an aspiring documentarian who, against his own will, is forced into filming one hitman (Taran Killam) as he attempts to kill Gunther (Arnold Scwarzenegger), “the greatest hitman to ever live.”

“Nate is a rookie filmmaker hired by the hitman Blake (Taran Killam’s character) to document his attempt to kill Gunther, the greatest hitman who ever lived,” he shares. “Nate starts out skeptical of the hitmen and women, but he loses his skepticism. Eventually, Nate is more or less required to film the documentary at gunpoint, and ends up way more involved then he would like, as both an aspiring impartial documentarian, and as a human who is trying not to die.”

The project packs a punch with star after star filling in the roles, thanks to Killam’s doing, a fact Marmorstein certainly appreciated.

“Taran is the best. A really good person. Creatively, he was always so receptive and encouraging. The script was so funny, and a main reason he managed to get the stars he got to come on board. He also set everyone loose. I mean, you’ve got some of the best improvisers in the world working with great material. He just had to say action and see what happens. For me, I was just trying to stay in the scene and not get too star struck.”

With so many big names attached to the film, such as Hannah Simone, Bobby Moynihan, Cobie Smulders (to name a few), Marmorstein had nothing but wonderful things to say about his fellow cast.

Source: ShimonPhoto

“It’s surreal working with people who you watched and laughed at every week on Saturday Night Live and New Girl (Hannah Simone). Bobby Moynihan might be one of the funniest and best actors I’ve ever worked with. Ryan Gaul and Allison Tolman, who play the Bellacova twins, are also very talented. They came up with such funny things on set and were both great at improvising with each other,” the actor gushes. “Last but definitely not least, Arnold was just so fun. I had forgotten that he starred in a bunch of comedies back in the 90’s. He’s got great timing and comic sensibility. He’s also enthusiastically willing to make fun of himself, which is one of coolest aspects of the movie. Arnie sings very sincere country music at one point in the movie. It’s amazing.”

The actors tied to the movie are not only great at what they do, they’re also hilarious. This allowed Marmorstein to experience quite a few on-set pranks and laughs, and even scored him a kiss with one of the film’s stars.

“Bobby Moynihan kissed me on the mouth, which made the final edit, and Taran singing karaoke both in the movie and at the wrap party were definite highlights. But my favorite moment would have to be the time I got to tell Arnold about my dad’s favorite joke. My dad is a huge fan, and one of his favorite jokes, ever since I was a child, has been about Arnold Schwarzenegger,” he tells us.

“When ever Arnold would come up in a conversation he would stop, kinda lean in, and winkingly say ‘You know, people mistake me for him all the time.’ Which is clearly a joke when you consider my dad is 5’5”, has a bit of a belly, long hair and big rabbi beard. Anyways, after shooting a scene with Arnold, I had the chance to tell him the joke, which made him laugh. But then he started asking me about my dad, and if, you know, as a rabbi, does he approve of me being an actor. I started telling him about how supportive my family is, and next thing I knew we were in a genuine, intimate conversation about our families. He was so honest, forthcoming and down to earth.”

You can catch Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency now on Netflix and BBC America. Look out for Killing Gunther on DVD and streaming services, like Amazon Video. Be sure to follow Amitai Marmorstein on Twitter, IMDb, and Instagram to keep up with his upcoming work.

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