Based on the New York Times bestselling novel written by Robert Pascuzzi, Facinelli plays a happy family man, Danny, who one night murders his wife and younger son in cold blood before taking his own life by driving into a ravine.
The small town is rocked by the tragedy as Danny’s best friend, Mitch (Eric Dane), and his wife, Carolyn (Teri Polo), try to piece together why Danny committed such a heinous crime.
Facinelli spoke to Fox News about playing such a dark role and how the film taught him something new about having faith and practicing forgiveness.
Fox News: Do you feel a deeper responsibility when playing someone real who committed an unspeakable crime?
Facinelli: This film is based on true events and true people so getting to know the writer and his wife who went through that — they were the real couple whose best friend committed this heinous act — and being able to talk with them was important. It’s a very sensitive subject.
I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t portray this person in a monstrous light because, you know, it was a monstrous act, but he wasn’t a monstrous person. I wanted to be very careful with his memory because there are people that he knew that are still living… that are still connected to him and I wanted to do them justice as well.
There’s a fine line between good and bad. This [movie is about] the gray. There are all different colors of who Danny was. He ends up killing his family and snapping but that’s not the person that Eric Dane’s character knew. It’s not the person that the writer of the book knew.
Fox News: Is it hard to shake off playing a darker, more complicated character?
Facinelli: I find it’s hard when I come home from shooting any character. It takes me three, four, or five days to kind of shed that character, It’s almost like going through a mourning period because you’re calling upon all of these emotions and character traits of this person that you’ve built into your mind and you’re acting as and you’re walking around with that persona while you’re filming, and then you have to go back to your own life.
Fox News: The film’s larger theme is about finding forgiveness and believing in something bigger than yourself. Did it make you rethink your own faith?
Facinelli: I personally believe that energy is constant. So I have a hard time believing that when you die, you’re just gone. That energy has to go somewhere. So I do believe that there’s a higher power. I believe in a higher source. I believe that your energy, your soul travels somewhere. And I do feel like people are in tune with that, whether it’s through prayer or meditation. And so [this movie] did definitely open my channel towards that spirituality and that connection to that higher source or a higher power.
I felt it all through the movie, like I said, that energy of that real-life person was kind of with me… I could almost feel him. And I wanted to make sure that I was doing him justice, you know, making sure that this heinous crime that was committed that one night wasn’t just the label of who he was.
Fox News: The audience meets characters in a moment in time, how much do you personally think about a character’s backstory or future?
Facinelli: I’m big on creating a back story only because the more information that I feel like I have, the more I can bring to the table when I’m in scenes. When you’re playing a character, you’re looking at a snippet of that person’s life and it might be one day in that person’s life or several months or several years but it’s not their whole entire life. So in order for me to play a character, I really need to understand the events that led up to this moment that I’m about to play.
When I was doing “Twilight,” I played the character Carlisle Cullen and I created a notebook of like 200 years of his life because he was 350 years old. So I had to go back in time and go, “OK, so when was he bitten?” It sounds silly because it’s a vampire movie, but I wanted to know where he traveled for those 250-300 years. Then I would research wars that he went through and I would research time periods he went through. It informs the decisions the character makes.
“The Ravine” is currently available on-demand.