BHFF 2017 Interview – “The Girl Who Invented Kissing” Actor Dash Mihok Talks Character, Honesty And Daring To Differentiate

For someone still early in their career, actor Dash Mihok has certainly wasted no time stacking up an impressive cache of credits.  And while most fans know Mihok from his prolific work as the flawed young brother Bunchy to Liev Schreiber’s Ray Donovan on the hit Showtime series, cinefiles like myself have also relished his various big screen endeavors.  Working with the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Terrence Malik and Wolfgang Peterson and playing memorable roles in notable flicks like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Day After Tomorrow and Silver Linings Playbook, Mihok is the epitome of the hard working actor who shows no signs of stopping.  But it’s his latest performance playing an over-protective brother who has become mentally challenged due to an accident in the new film from writer/director Tom Sierchio called The Girl Who Invented Kissing that could launch Mihok into a new category – award winning actor.  (He already deservedly nabbed the Best Actor Award at the recent Beverly Hills Film Festival 2017 for his performance – a sign of things to come for sure!)  His carefully constructed character is so utterly effective and at the same time so completely relatable that he almost steals the already amazing film.  

So being completely impressed and altogether moved by his textured and layered work, knowing more about it was definitely a must and thus I sought out to interview Mihok to get his take on a captivating character that I truly fell in love with.  From his own personal prep in creating the complex Victor to interactions with the films other quirky characters (leading lady Suki Waterhouse is equally as show stopping!) I dig deep to get the details about a tasty turn that’s already in full contention for my Top Five Male Performances of 2017.  (Of course we also delved into some past work stuff too – he’s got a hilarious Perfect Storm Wolfgang Peterson story that’s a must read!)  Proudly highlighting five-star performances that remind us of the magic of the movies, welcome the terrifically talented…



The character of Victor is incredibly complex – what was your reaction to the character and what kind of preparation did you do to create him?

Dash Mihok: The first thing I had to dig into and wrap my head around was what sort of things this kid would have via this accident.  I did have to literally make up his functions and ailments that he had mentally, so in that sense it was playing both with what would be true to somebody who had an accident like that and also having a little bit of leeway with coming up with my own mannerisms and what not.  And I did a lot of research about people that have had a lack of oxygen to the brain and then at the end of the day I think I chose a few things that I leaned on and tried to make them as honest as possible.

Of all Victor’s attributes – his speech, posture, physicality, ect. – what helped you most in terms of getting into character?

DM: I definitely started with his walk.  He had kind of this clunky walk and I had these awful shoes that helped me a bit.  (Laughs)  But it started with my walk and a little more of the hunch and just a general droop via a hard life and not having anything to be hopeful for all helped the sag and flow of my body.  And the speech – the hardest part was keeping the speech young, but yet he’s a grown man.  And then also trying to lean away from other parts – the Lennie’s (Of Mice And Men) – that we’ve seen before and trying to create something different we haven’t seen yet.  That was my biggest challenge – trying to differentiate.

Victor’s relationships to others in the film are so different and distinctive – let’s go through a few….

DM: Sure.

Vincent Piazza’s younger brother Jimmy?

DM: Victor’s the older brother, yet he’s always going to be treated like the younger brother in that Jimmy looks after him.  But really at the heart of it Victor’s actually taking care of Jimmy and they’ve stifled each other’s growth I’m sure by having to do so in this town that’s blanketing them.  But ultimately they have always taken care of each other and adore each other and gotten through the days in that way.  I’d love to see what would happen to them after this movie – what kind of breakthroughs they would have.

Suki Waterhouse’s mystery girl?

DM: Again, here’s this guy who is kind of the town lug and there’s someone who is gorgeous and takes in interest in him.  She to Victor represents life and spring and not a way out of town, but a way to put different glasses on with which to see the world like she does.  And the drifter in her and her fancy-free ways fascinates him.  She’s an angelic character to him and I think he’s also so desperate for any type of female interaction because in town it’s just the guys.  So here’s this beautiful woman taking a liking to him and who thought of him differently and saw him as the kind and natured person he is and he’s enamored.

Luke Wilson’s record shop owner Leo – he was so good!

DM: Wasn’t he great?  I was excited like, ‘Oh, man you’re coming to do us a favor – that’s great!’  And it was just such a subtle little thing and he was so perfect.  You can just imagine what those guys talk about on a daily basis.  I just thought he was so wonderfully subtle and he didn’t need to do much of anything and he was so perfect.

Victor’s fascination with musician Hank Snow is incredibly endearing – were you aware of Hank as an artist before the film?

DM: I had heard the name and I’m sure I’ve heard the songs before, but that was Tom’s vision.  Obviously I started to listen to a lot of Hank Snow and I’m an old country fan, so I very much enjoyed researching that and digging into the “singing ranger!”  It’s such a quirky, funny plot line and little things like that were why we all loved the script so much.

Past work – you’ve worked with some amazing directors but there’s a few I’m curious about so if you could say a few words on each as a director…

DM: You got it.

Terence Malick ala The Thin Red Line?

DM: I was so young that I had almost a paternal relationship with him.  He’s enigmatic, supremely smart and incredibly visual and during that movie took very good care of me – which was tough to do.

David O. Russell via Silver Linings Playbook?

DM: A fantastic director that you get to quickly surrender to his process and if you don’t it screws up his flow and your ability to bring something really amazing to life.  Give up your inhibitions and follow his lead and he will deliver a wonderful performance for you.

Shane Black for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang?

DM: A guy who lets you do your thing.  Terrific writer, knows what’s on the page, knows who he is casting and what they’re gonna bring.  He will always give you that subtle comedic quirky turn even in violent scenes – a sweetheart of a man.

And finally Wolfgang Peterson for The Perfect Storm?

DM: Wolfgang was great – I’ll tell you a funny story.  This is the kind of director he was…he wanted to get his shots and we were in this massive tank in Warner Bros. I’d rather be out in the ocean because these tanks by the time they got the wave pool and the dump tanks and the jets all firing at you it’s fifteen minutes of trying to keep yourself afloat, you know?  And Wolfgang would be on this microphone like God telling you to do things in the water and at one point I have broken ribs and so I’m trying to act like I’m floating in the water, but I’m kicking to keep my head above water with my flippers underneath.  And they’re literally spraying water with these jet fans at you and it’s like glass needles in your eye!  And Wolfgang would be there in the middle going, ‘Okay Dash, now you see the boat and you know you’re going to be saved.  Now you look at the boat – NOW!”  (Laughs)  And I can’t friggin’ see because the needles are in my eyes and he’s going, ‘Open your eyes – you see the boat! Open them now! Look NOW!’  And I can’t see!  He’s just encapsulates the big Hollywood director with such beautiful German qualities and we had a lot of fun on that film.

Finally you did motion capture to play the infected monster foil to Will Smith’s lonely doctor in I Am Legend – what was that like?

DM: Oh gosh – the most humbling experience of my life!  (Laughs)  So I took that movie because originally there were not going to do motion capture – they wanted monsters.  They had a whole dance core monster crew that had been working on being these monsters for like four months with make-up and they finally threw it all away and they were like, ‘Alright, we’re do mo-cap and we really want an actor to play this role.’  I don’t know if you’ve seen the alternate version, but in the alternate version instead of blowing everything up Will Smith gives the alpha male his girlfriend back and it’s this beautiful touching scene.  And I thought this is going to be a pretty beautiful thing to be this creature who gets his love back…and of course they just ended up blowing everybody up! But I’ll tell you when I got to set and I first put on this grey body stocking (laughs) and I’m standing around and Will Smith is on this crazy diet, in the best shape of his entire life, all these people behind me have been training as monster dancers and everybody is ripped and I’m wearing this body condom with a little pot belly and these pink dots all over my face and Will Smith was probably thinking ‘what the hell did I just get myself into?’  (Laughs)  Just imagine all of the dancers were like, ‘Who is this guy? He’s gonna be the alpha male – look at him!’  But at the end of the day it was very freeing because the first scene I had to go in and scream and make all these crazy faces and be in my body and just go for broke and it was freeing.  But the very first moment I thought holy cow – I must be getting paid for this well because I’m freaking out! (Laughs)

So what’s next for you – I’m watching every flick you do now!

DM: Thanks man.  I did this movie called Quest that’s based on a real life high school teacher and a relationship he has with an abused kid.  And I’m on my fifth season of Ray Donavan now and that’s been a really great run.


Also check out the other winners of the Beverly Hills Film Festival 2017 below – congrats everyone!


2017 Beverly Hills Film Festival Awards

2017 BHFF award recipients were awarded with custom-made crystal and marble trophies. Out of 87 competition films, a complete list of the 2017 winners follows:


The Golden Palm Award (best film in all categories) went to “Tupamaro” from director Martin Markovits

Best Director went to Sam Upton for “Gun”

Best Actor went to Dash Mihok for “The Girl Who Invented Kissing”

Best Actress went to Gabrielle Stone for “It Happened Again Last Night”

Best Producer went to Morten Hansen for “Zen Dog”

Best Cinematography went to “The Shadow Hours”

Best Editing went to “Before the Fall”

Best Foreign Film went to “Tupamaro”

Best Animation went to “The Trees of Eden”

Best Student Film went to “The Artist’s Awakening”



Best Jury Feature Film went to “Delinquent”

Best Jury Documentary went to “John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs “

Best Jury Short Film went to “It Happened Again Last Night“



Best Audience Choice Feature Film went to “Gun”

Best Audience Choice Documentary went to “Rod Taylor: Pulling no Punches”

Best Audience Choice Short Film went to “Happyland”



The Golden Palm Screenplay Competition Award went to Levi Taylor for “Midnight Son.” The first runner-up award went to Marc Messenger for “This Close.” The second runner-up award went to Nick DeRuve for “The Race to the Top of the World.” Best Student Screenplay went to Nicholas Rodriguez for “Sunset.


(B&W photo of Dash Mihok courtesy of Ben Miller)


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

1 Response to “BHFF 2017 Interview – “The Girl Who Invented Kissing” Actor Dash Mihok Talks Character, Honesty And Daring To Differentiate”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Cool interview! I always like seeing Mihok pop up in things!