Immortal is a horror anthology film with four chapters featuring an all-star cast, including Tony Todd (Candyman), Dylan Baker (Hunters), Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds), Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City), and Aaron Della Villa as a wise-cracking teenager.
The chapters of Immortal connect through the very title of the film. Life, death, and immortality are themes explored in each of the movies. Aaron plays Kyle in the opening chapter called “Chelsea” about a high school track star confessing to sexual misconduct with her coach. But Chelsea’s (Lindsay Mushett) admission may be too late.
PopAxiom spoke with Aaron Della Villa about going from dancing to acting, boy bands, and learning from those around you.
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Born in Suffolk, Virginia, Aaron was a “dancer before an actor.” He studied music and dance training at the prestigious Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia, in classical ballet and classical modern dance. “I looked up to Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vaslav Nijinsky, and Roberto Bolle. I wanted to be the best dancer.”
However, an injury derailed those plans. “I had a severe case of shin splints. But that didn’t lead to acting. It was a stupid sprained ankle when I hopped a turnstile in Chicago.”
“I had a contract on the table to dance with a contemporary company in Chicago, which is no longer in existence,” Aaron explains. “I got that opportunity after I sprained my ankle.”
He recalls, “I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ So, I hopped on Craig’s List. I joined this dinner theater show that lead to me getting an agent, which lead to my first commercial, which lead to a manager from New York and me moving out to NYC.”
Was Aaron determined to stay in a profession centered around performance and entertainment? “100%! I thought, ‘I can’t just sit here waiting to recover; I got to make something happen. So, I said, F it, I’ll act!'”
“When one door closes,” Aaron makes clear his sense of determination, “I’m going to find a different door. And if that door closes, I’m going to break the door down.”
About the jump from dancing to acting, Aaron says, “Dancing is acting. At its highest form, it’s storytelling through movement. The ability to tell a story without any dialogue.”
Getting a showbiz gig comes about in a variety of ways. But Aaron says the way Immortal came about is the most common in his experience. “It was a personal connection. I auditioned for director Rob Margolies’ other feature film, Yes, and they ended up going with a bigger name for the role. But Rob said, ‘We loved your audition, and we want to offer you this other part of Kyle in Immortal.'”
The next step was reading the script, which Aaron did, and he “thought it was so much fun. I get to work with Rob and Dylan Baker, so I said ‘Absolutely!'”
Kyle is one of those short but sweet roles. It’s not a huge amount of screen time, but it leaves a lasting impression. “Rob told me that Kyle’s a class clown, a lot of energy, and a hilarious guy. So, it wasn’t that hard,” Aaron let out one of those kinds of laughs that you can’t help but laugh too. “I know how to be that guy. And I didn’t have to lose 30 pounds and live in the woods for three months to do it.”
Aaron says of his experience on Immortal, “I showed up on set and cracked jokes.”
Aaron dives deep into roles. “I played a series lead for a show called Duels. It’s one of my favorite roles. It’s a guy who’s a marksman by the age of 19, killed his dad at 16, and is so full of rage. Dueling becomes famous because of Stand Your Ground in Florida and takes the world by storm. He becomes famous because he’s a marksman and he’s able to win in these duels. So, he’s this guy who was never given much in life and always joked on, picked on, and bullied. Now he’s famous and gets everything he’s always wanted.”
To become different characters, Aaron says he has “a ritual. There’s a specific song list I listen to. There are specific things that I eat. I am militant with this so that I make sure that I’m back in that headspace.”
“When I did Pledge,” Aaron shares, “I went full method. But I use music as a way to get into character.”
What’s on some of these playlists? “For Duels,” he says, “it was the soundtrack for Requiem for a Dream and Smokin’ Aces.”
Aaron adds about his process for Duels, “I did a whole meditation thing. A 45-minute meditation every morning in the hotel.”
“For Pledge,” he says, “I’d listen to stuff like Disturbed or Metallica to get that inner rage going.”
In Pledge, Aaron plays a character on edge. “If you look at Max, you can see it in his eyes, he’s got so much rage, but he hides it behind a thin veil of smiles and charm. He’s cracking underneath, and as the movie moves along, he’s cracking even more.”
Aaron thinks his ritualistic behavior is definitely from the dancing world. “Dancers are even more concerned with their rituals. We’re in front of the mirror eight hours a day. We’ve all got eating disorders and body issues and crazy rituals.”
Aaron never took acting lessons as a dancer, but the lessons came after his turn toward acting. At the same time, he was already landing roles and learning hands-on from some legendary castmates. “I’ve learned a ton from the people I’ve worked with; Dylan Baker (Hunters), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Tom Atkins (Night Of The Creeps), James Faulkner (Game Of Thrones). I’ve worked with Tea Loni (Deep Impact).”
“I’ve worked with some amazing freakin’ people. I’m blessed. It’s a dream.”
“I got close with James Faulkner,” Aaron says, “because I had a lot of scenes with his character in the movie All The Small Things.” Aaron’s proximity allowed for great study. “Seeing the way he works, seeing how much specificity, and how much he does with his eyes.”
There’s much more working and learning to do. “Actors I would love to work with are people like Viola Davis, Daniel Day-Lewis, DiCaprio, DeNiro, Edward Norton.”
What’s a dream remake that Aaron would love to star in? “Back to the Future. I know, it’s perfect, don’t touch it, please God! But, I gotta say, one of the movies I have coming up is Alpha Rift, and the director cast me because I reminded him of Marty McFly. Ferris Beuller’s Day Off or Footloose are two others.” Having spoken with Aaron, he gave Michael J. Fox energy vibes, and I’m all for #AaronToTheFuture!
“If they make a live-action Legend of Zelda too,” he adds to his list of dream projects, “I’d like to play a Skull Kid with Majora’s Mask, but Link would be cool too.”
Immortal is available on a digital service near you, including for rent on YouTube. So, what’s next from Aaron? “Alpha Rift is a fan-boy turned action hero. It’s this guy who worships a comic book called Nobleman that turns out to be true. He’s part of this bloodline, and he has to accept his destiny and fight off a demon.”
“All Those Small Things,” with James Faulkner, “where I play a Kanye West-Justin Bieber type, not so narcissistic and more endearing. He’s a mixer for jazz and hip hop music,” Aaron says of the character, which allowed him to flex his musical muscles, “and I got to write lyrics for two songs in the movie.”
Aaron’s got no shortage of projects on the horizon. “I have an untitled Aaron Della Villa documentary project from the director of Pledge. It’s an in-depth, gritty look at a New York City actor trying to make it. You see the struggle, the day in and day out grind, also the experience I had while being in a boy band called We R Nation. It was also called The Current and Fast Four. We had a couple of names.”
Fans of watching YouTube content will see Aaron pop up on their recommended viewing. “I’m in a web series as a character that I created called Tucci Badaducci. I met up with an actor friend of mine and Black Wolf Productions. We shot season one based around this character, eight episodes, about a struggling rapper who teams up with his low-key neighbor to fight back against another rapper’s diss track. It’s silly, funny, and ridiculous. We think people are going to enjoy it.”
Is Immortal on your watch list?
Thanks to Aaron Dalla Villa and Studio Matrix
for making this interview possible.
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