Dash Mihok: The Science of Creativity
Dash Mihok, known for his role as Bunchy on HBO’s Ray Donovan is an actor, musician, and prolific creator who not only wears many hats, but thrives within the process of each one. Intrigued by the multifaceted world of entertainment, Mihok has integrated his passion for music, production, acting, and writing in his exploration of creative outlets, and he dives into them with full force. Mihok harnesses the endless possibilities that appear when love and hard work are combined.
Jamie Agoglia: Did growing up around the arts in New York influence your path to becoming an actor?
Dash Mihok: Absolutely. I actually grew up in a government subsidized housing for artist. My parents were both theater actors, and you have to be an artist of some kind to apply [to live there]. [My parents] got the housing right when it opened, so I definitely grew up around a lot of different artsy people. New York had a big influence on [acting] even though when I was young I wanted to be a scientist. I wanted to be a biochemist, I was convinced of it, but I’m far from that now [laughs].
JA: What sparked your desire to become an actor?
DM: It was a couple of things - life takes twists and turns. I was going to a specialized science school, The Bronx High School of Science, I fell ill for a year and couldn’t attend class. The school didn’t allow me to do school by correspondence, so I had to leave and went to a school where you could, called Professional Children’s School. That had something to do with it. Also just being in the environment of my building as a child, living with other actors opened some doors. Someone in the building introduced me to an agent and I ended up booking a job through them. That turned it for me.
JA: HBO’s legendary drama series Ray Donovan has become such an influential show in entertainment. What has it been like to play the role of Bunchy over the last 6 years?
DM: It’s been such a blessing. I’ve never done more than 1 year on an episodic television series, but I blinked and here were are! It’s been wonderful ride. I don’t know if it’s the universe or whoever, but fortune knocked on my door. I had my first child right when we started the show. It just worked out really well.
JA: The show itself is has so many twists and turns. What is that like to be apart a show with that caliber of intensity?
DW: The intensity of it is why it’s good - even when there’s tension. Every single person on the set, from PA to production design, everyone wants to make this show thrive and continue. It’s our love of wanting to make this the best we can and the most entertaining show that keeps it going.
JA: What has your experience of playing the role of Bunchy been like?
DW: It’s been a dark road sometimes for me, but what a joy. What a joy to continue to peel layers off and dig deeper into [the role]. I feel that everyone on the cast has really evolved in that way. That’s what keeps people into it. It’s fun, if there are fans of the show on the street they tell me , ‘wow, you’ve really taken Bunchy from one place to another - it’s such a rollercoaster’, so for that I’d thank the writers and the fans who bring us back every year.
JA: Tell me about your experience working alongside Liev Schreiber.
DW: It’s great, truly. He can be intense or he can be a teddy bear; he can be a lot of things. What makes the show so good is that he cares deeply about making it the best he can. And that can be tough sometimes. Sometimes actors come, read some lines and just want to go home to their families. But Liev wants to elevate it at all times. It’s a great thing.
JA: What is it like working with Jon Voight?
DW: Jon’s a hoot, you know. He’s a gentleman and he’s a legend. He always wants to play and try sometime new, as we all do, but he digs into his character so deeply and passionately and wants to get the most he can out of every scene. He has a plethora of stories. He’s a kind individual that would take the time for anybody, on the street or in the crew - he’s there to be available and not for any other reason but that he loves people.
JA: Do you think you have grown as an actor through the process of playing Bunchy and working alongside this team of creative minds?
DW: 100%. Someone asked me the other day what this journey has been like, and I actually feel like I’ve grown way more as an actor by getting to stay as the same character for this long. Its makes me comfortable in my skin. There’s something about getting to keep finding new ways. Also part of the process is in the unknown. You finish for the season and you wait to see if you’ll do it again, and in that there’s a growth period as well. You get time to marinate in [your work] for a while and if you come back for the next season, you’re a year older and wiser and you’ve have matured with the character.
JA: What are your hopes for the unknown?
DW: I really love directing. I’ve done a few scenes this year and I’ll get my first episode next year. I’m so into in all the processes of production and how it all fits together. Maybe that’s the scientist in me. I look forward to utilizing all my experiences from being a part of Ray Donovan and creating something of my own some day. I also have a record coming out soon with my band Diz and the Fam. It’s been a long process and a lot of juggling but it’s exciting. Our upcoming album is called Love and Lost, so I’m excited for that to be coming out soon as well since Diz is sort of my alter ego.
JA: How do you find a balance within all this hard work?
DW: Passion. The key thing and the hardest thing about filming in New York was that whenever I’d have a day off, I’d fly home to see my wife and kids. And as exhausting as that sounds, my family always re-energize me. Sleep is sleep but love is love, so that’s how I balance it.