Mark Pellegrino Dishes The Dirt On New Showtime Series “American Rust”

Mark PellegrinoPhoto Credit: Diana Ragland
Photographer: Diana Ragland
Wardrobe Stylist: Cassy Meier
Groomer: Jeni Chua

You might recognize Mark Pellegrino from projects as such as the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, ABC’s Lost, Showtime’s Dexter and as Lucifer on the CW Network’s hit series Supernatural. Now, he’s returned to Showtime to star alongside Jeff Daniels in American Rust, a compelling family drama and a timeless story told through the eyes of complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Daniels) of a Pennsylvania Rust Belt town full of good people making bad choices. We sat down with the 56-year-old actor and acting teacher (he teaches seminars at Acting Studio LA about his intense new project.
Mark PellegrinoPhoto Credit: Diana Ragland

You currently star in Jeff Daniels’ new Showtime series “American Rust.” What should viewers expect from the show?

They should expect a multi genre story that combines elements of a family drama with a murder mystery. The basic story will follow the members of two families who live in a fictional Rust Belt town called Buell. A local murder knocks them all off their paths and tests their resolve and loyalty.

This is your return to Showtime since playing ‘Paul Bennett,’ the abusive ex-husband of ‘Rita’s’ during the first season of “Dexter.” How does it feel to be back on the network and does your “American Rust” character have any similarities to Paul? Is he a good guy? Bad guy? Or just misunderstood?

It’s great to be working with Showtime again.Other than the obvious dead beat dad similarities, Paul and Virgil are completely different. Paul was a bully and that unsavory part of his character stuck to him like garlic breath no matter what good thing he was trying to do. Paul was just no fun.Virgil, on the other hand, is actually not a bad man, just an immature one. He has virtues (even though you have to use a cattle prod to get them out) and he can be fun in a clutch. I can’t imagine Paul making his ex-wife laugh. But being a clown is Virgil’s bread and butter.

You filmed the show in Pittsburgh. What did you enjoy most about the city during your time there? Were you shooting there during the heart of the pandemic?

Pittsburgh is like a book you never really got around to reading because something about the title or the cover put you off; Then, on a lark you decide to take a peek at what’s inside and it blows you away. I’m glad I got to discover that my ideas about the city were an invented story (or at least an anachronistic one) and that the city was really alive with culture, great walking tours, rich history (replete with ghosts), cool architecture, and the most staircases in North America (yes I climbed a few). We did film in the midst of the pandemic, so I didn’t get to see a fraction of what I wanted to, but I’m hoping for a second viewing.
Mark PellegrinoPhoto Credit: Diana Ragland

Are you still an acting teacher? What is your advice for young and aspiring actors?

I am. My wife and I teach internationally now. She has started a school in Paris (Playhouse Paris) and I will join her soon to help her build it into something special; Our own little Parisian temple to acting.

I have two pieces of advice for young actors: 1) if you’re doing it for money or fame, you’re in the wrong business. and 2) treat your acting like a craft, with the same dedication any craftsman would have to the perfection of his chosen field. That means spend at least six hours a day on your craft. Everyday. especially when not working and that will give you the continuity you need should there be long intervals between work.

What is a role you’re dying to try?


Mark PellegrinoPhoto Credit: Diana Ragland

What role are you most disappointed to have lost out on?

JD in Thelma and Louise. Look what it did for Brad.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Being able to have the freedom and the time to read good books.

Mark PellegrinoPhoto Credit: Diana Ragland