WEST HOLLYWOOD—This week Charles Casillo sat down with Canyon News and gave a no holds barred interview about his distinguished career in Hollywood and the literary world. The handsome actor, writer, producer and filmmaker is one of this industry’s finest finds.

Q-Charles, when did you publish your first book?

A-“That would be ”˜The Marilyn Diaries,’ in 1999. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, it seemed like it was stamp on her. Since Marilyn is such a fantasy figure to so many people, I decided to recreate her in a way that she exists specifically to me. Rather than stamp opinions on her biography, I recreated her the way I imagined her to be. Not the exquisite, untouchable dream girl of her movies, but as a living breathing feeling woman. Bewitching and beautiful, yes, but also flawed and struggling with self-doubts, striving to be better, and always part of my destiny. I had a fascination with Marilyn Monroe since I was 11 years old. I always knew that I wanted to write about her but it took me a while to figure out a way to do it in a way that would put an emphasis on striving to be better. And I decided to write it in a diary format. It’s so personal, and has a naughty kind of built in vibe. And I do think creating a story as if part of a diary has had an influence over all my writing since.”

Q-What made you such a historian on Marilyn Monroe?

A-“Well it certainly wasn’t something that happened overnight, but it was a totally natural progression. It started when I first saw a photo of Marilyn as a kid. I couldn’t stop looking at it, even though it wasn’t a particularly flattering photo. There was just this unique ”˜something-ness’ about her I had never experienced before or since. The pull and hold she had on me seemed totally unique at the time. Through the years I’ve discovered similar stories from a variety of people from all walks of life who have fallen under her indefinable spell. After I saw the photo I knew I had to learn more about this woman. I started watching the movies and reading the books and studying the photographs. One thing lead to another. One fact lead to another fact. One theory made me seek out another. I began talking to some of the people who had known her in life. And before I knew it, I could rattle off facts of her life better than some of my own.”

Q-You, like most of us, learned to do many things in this industry. Are you an actor or writer first?

A-“I started out as an actor. I went all the traditional routes in New York that were available in the day, but that illusive break kept eluding me. Actually, coming from the inner city, with no one to make a phone call on my behalf, I couldn’t even get my pinky toe through the door. I started writing as a result of not being able to get decent auditions. I began writing scenes and skits and plays for myself and my actor friends. And I started to become successful as a writer very quickly —in spite of having no background in it.

But I want to add something to what you said about most of us learning how to do many things in the industry. Today it really seems like you have to do as many things as possible while trying to have a breakthrough in the business. I feel very fortunate that writing took off and I guess I was good at it because people related to it. But I think it’s really important to recognize limitations. There are certain things I would never attempt because, well frankly I just don’t think I have any talent for it. For example, I have absolutely no sense about the business side of show business. So another part of talent is having a talent to find the people you need to fill in the things that you are lacking, in order to move up the ladder.”

Q-I hear you have a film production company? Tell us about it! Looking for a hot new but not young actor?

A-“It’s a very interesting time for film makers. More and more people are able to step away from the studio system and make their own movies. I desperately wanted to be a part of this trend. To be able to write and act and produce and develop my own projects. I luckily met my business partner, Kelvin Dale, who seemed to have a lot of the qualities I was lacking. But we had a shared vision. So together we made an awesome team and started our own company called LMDQ Productions which is named for our first movie ”˜Let Me Die Quietly,’ the first movie we made together. And to answer the second part of your question for me one of the most exciting things has always been to see a new talent. And to work with someone inspiring and creative at any age.”

Q-You costar with a longtime friend of mine, Joan Collins in ”˜Fetish.’ She’s such a pro, tell me about your experiences working with her?

A-“It was a little bit of everything, as you would expect working with someone with her career and history. Intimidating, inspiring, stimulating and ultimately very rewarding. The one thing that most people might not know about her is that she’s really a hard working actress. ”˜Trooper,’ is the right word! She worked very long hours and was always willing to take suggestions, try new things. She’s a fearless actress which ultimately was extraordinarily exciting to work with. And her performance is really a knockout. Her presence is a value to any production.”

Q-Tell us about your next project? Will it be in front of or behind the camera, behind your typewriter or even on stage?

A-“What is definitely scheduled right now is a new movie shooting in February. I wrote it but I also have a role. It’s a wicked satire on Hollywood. The predatory agents, the sleazy agents, the nincompoop starlets, sprinkled with paparazzi and stalkers and crazed fans. It’s a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to making it with my ”˜Fetish,’ team. But I’m also working on getting another project off the ground. Well, I’m always working on getting something off the ground. Even if it’s just one of my two feet, at times.”