Forest Quaglia never knew he would become a professional actor. But at 28, his self-penned short, “The Investigators,” was nominated for “Best Massachusetts Short” at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival April 13-16.
According to Quaglia, a Leicester native who also stars in ‘The Investigators’ as Detective Norfolk, “I like to get really crazy, emotionally demanding, I like to do something that challenges me. I think it’s really fun because you can’t always do that in real life, so anything that I can’t do in real life is my favorite role to play Action and adventure, for me as a acting, are what gives me the passion to pursue that. It’s being able to experience moments in life that you can’t always pursue every day.”
“The Investigators” is a viscous crime comedy, unpacking the many misadventures caused by intense Detective Norfolk and his eccentric partner, Detective Chance, played by Will O’Connor.
Quaglia and O’Connor met in 2020 while filming “The Bootlegger,” a documentary-style drama created by Newport-based Black Duck Productions LLC. Quaglia portrays lead character Charles Travers, captain of rum runner The Black Duck, alongside O’Connor, who plays supporting role, John Goulart.
“We clicked on and off screen. During filming, we had a lot of time to talk about wanting to be more than what we are right now, and if we have to create our own stuff, then so be it,” said O’Connor.
A year after the producers of Black Duck called it finalized on the Rhode Island set, Quaglia has finished writing the screenplay for “The Investigators.” When it came time to choose her co-star, Qualigua reached out to O’Connor, who, after reading the script, accepted the role without hesitation.
O’Connor, a theater student at the Strasberg Theater & Film Institute, says Quaglia’s “work first, play later” attitude was the most memorable aspect of working together.
“He is one of the most driven people in the industry that I have met. (Quaglia) said “if we’re going to do this, we’re really going to do this”. I don’t see him succeeding in what he wants to do. He’s obsessed with it all the time, he watches film after film almost like a professional athlete and observes how people react to certain things. He definitely behaves differently when playing characters. As soon as our AD (assistant director) says ‘roll,’ he totally changes his facial expressions and everything,” O’Connor said.
Growing up, Quaglia says he never identified as an academic or took a class well.
“Even in high school, I was never cut out for a conventional lifestyle. I didn’t do well in school, I didn’t like the structure or being told what to do. dropped out of high school and got my GED shortly after I went to college for criminal justice thinking I wanted to get into law enforcement but it didn’t last long I knew I didn’t like the 9-to-5 stuff, so I would probably change jobs every year,” Quaglia said.
After retiring from Wachusett Community College, Quaglia spent his twenties bouncing between industries like construction, auto mechanics, armed security, gunsmithing, retail, sales, and e-commerce before finding his current position in solar energy as Sales Manager at Sunrun.
In 2020, Quaglia honed his business background to begin developing his Worcester-based production company, Forest Quaglia Studios, which has three studio shorts to date. “The Investigators” was Quaglia’s first studio film to complete production in late 2020, followed in December 2021 by dark comedy short “Body of Ashes” and action short “Agent Stone” in December 2021. February 2022.
Since expanding his cinematic experience beyond acting, Quaglia says filming is still his favorite step in his creative process, but has learned to prioritize writing and producing above all else. something else. “Everything I put into production is so I can act more. I basically became a producer to make movies for myself,” Quaglia said.
Quaglia credits his athletic background in mixed martial arts, basketball, football and baseball with his ability to fill the high-energy, stunt-filled action roles like Captain Charlie Travers and Detective Norfolk that he want so much.
According to Quaglia, playing 1920s Prohibition-era Coast Guard captain turned bootlegger Charlie Travers has been his favorite role to play so far — mostly because of the stunts.
“Filming ‘The Bootlegger’ was awesome,” Quaglia said. “I learned to drive a vintage Model T truck, pilot a small speedboat, ride a horse, and was shot by a Coast Guard machine gun.”
Still in the developmental stages of his film career, the self-taught actor and producer has been cast in six lead roles and two supporting roles. Besides his own shorts, Quaglia stars as Zach in “Damon’s Revenge” alongside “Saving Private Ryan” actor Tom Sizemore, and plays supporting role Brayden in “Secrets by the Shore,” which was premiered on Lifetime Movie Network on March 18.
Quaglia also voices Jackpot in “Junkyard Dogs”, a supporting role as Ryan in “A Criminal Affair” and a lead role Pick in “Body of Ashes”. Release dates for these films have yet to be announced.
Quaglia credits his acting career with making him a “go-getter” as an adult. “I realized that we humans have a lot of power to create. We really create the lives we want, and I just decided if I want this life, I really have to work on it. With the amount of competition out there, if I’m not ready to grind like the 1%, then I can’t have what they have,” Quaglia said.
“Investigators” screens at the 8 p.m. block located at the Hilton Garden Inn April 13-16. Follow Forest Quaglia on social media @forestQuagla and @fqstudios or visit their website www.forestquagliastudios.com.