From the Beach to the Big Screen
Greg Siff is both a native of Rockaway and an up and coming actor. Siff appears in "From Justin to Kelly" a movie currently showing in theaters around the nation.
The Fox Studios movie features Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson of Fox’s American Idol, along with Siff as Justin’s best friend, Brandon. In the movie, the stars head to Miami for a few days of sun and sand, "spring break" style.
Siff grew up in Rockaway, and is a recent graduate of New York University. He has years of experience acting on television, on stage and more recently in movies. As host of the Disney Channel’s "Z Games," he has had opportunity to exhibit his enthusiasm and love for sports, but his role in "From Justin to Kelly" brought him back to the beach.
The Wave had an exclusive interview with Siff on the Rockaway boardwalk.
Wave: Would you call your role as Brandon in "From Justin to Kelly" your big break?
Greg Siff (GS): I would say that. I’ve been doing this for thirteen years, but this is my first leading role in a feature film showing in theaters.
Wave: Do you have any plans to leave Rockaway and move to California?
GS: I live in Rockaway. Why would I want to leave? It’s beautiful. The beaches in California are fun, but there’s no place like home. Rockaway is my home base.
Wave: Who are some actors you would like to work with in the future?
GS: Al Pacino, Angelina Jolie, and Edward Norton. I would love to bring them all here to Rockaway and make a movie here, and do it right.
Wave: You have worked on Television and now in movies, which do you prefer?
GS: After working on this movie, I would say I like movies more than television. There is more scenery change, less routine. Every film is different and there are more roles to play.
Wave: Are you ever recognized on the street, or on the beach here in Rockaway?
GS: Once a girl came up to me and said "Hey, you’re that guy from Nickelodeon." I said, "No, it’s the Disney Channel." With the movie out, I’m being recognized more and more. Everyone knows who I am on my block.
Wave: Does you mom still make you take out the garbage?
GS: Yeah, I took it out twice this morning, we have a lot of garbage.
Wave: How do the bikini clad girls in the movie compare to those on Rockaway Beach?
GS: Rockaway girls are definitely better. New York girls are the best.
Wave: The film is a musical, what role does music play in your life?
GS: Actually, one of my buddies from Rockaway, Jason Taruskin, and I have a band called "Grandma’s Room," but we are on hiatus right now.
Wave: You freestyle rap in the movie, do you freestyle regularly?
GS: I freestyle; I’m a poet. It’s funny, as an actor, you try to do things to keep yourself sharp. I went to hip hop open mics in NYC. In the movie my character has a song. It wasn’t written yet, so I wrote the song I do in the movie. I get songwriter credits at the end, which is a first for me.
Wave: How did you and the cast relax after a long day of filming?
After shooting, we would go out to karaoke bars in South Beach and sing. The places were dead but as soon as Justin and Kelly got on stage, someone would make a phone call and the place would be packed in ten minutes.
I would go up and sing Eminem. Justin would sing Marvin Gaye. It was funny, sometimes Kelly would use a fake name and would not get recognized; but Justin’s hair made him stand out.
Wave: How has your younger fan base affected your career?
GS: I’m very thankful for the projects I’ve worked on, and I’m looking forward, as I mature, to more challenging roles in which I will develop my craft. There’s no better place to do that than staring out at the ocean, reading a script on my favorite beach.
For more information about Greg Siff, visit his website atwww.GregSiff. com or the "From Justin to Kelly" web siteatwww.FromJustintoKelly.com.