The Art Of More’s Patrick Sabongui On Film vs TV And Being Canadian

You may know Patrick Sabongui from The CW’s The Flash as character Captain David Singh or his film work on Godzilla and 300. Coming up Sabongui can be seen as series regular Hassan Al Afshar on Sony/Crackle’s first original drama, The Art of More, which will be released on Crackle on November 20th. Patrick stars alongside Dennis Quaid, Kate Bosworth, Cary Elwes and Christian Cooke in this thrilling drama that explores the underbelly of premium auction houses, filled with hustlers, smugglers, power mongers and collectors of the beautiful and the bizarre.

Tell us about your work on The Art of More – what’s the premise? Who do you play?

The Art of More revolves around the high-end art auction world in NYC. The main character, Graham Conner (Christian Cooke) plays an ex-US soldier who’s become a fancy account exec at one of the city’s biggest auction houses. I play an old friend of his, supporting lead character Hassan Al Afshar, who Graham used to run a smuggling operation with back in Iraq. Hassan shows up in NY and pulls Graham back into the lucrative and dangerous world of smuggling and selling antiquities. Hassan is a very resourceful, passionate guy. He’s doing what he can to survive and to get his family safely out of Iraq where ISIS and war have ravaged the country.

Any other future projects that you’re currently working on?

I’m still working on CW’s The Flash, so there’s more Captain David Singh coming your way this season. I just finished up a movie with director Stephen Reynolds for Lionsgate and WWE Studios called Interrogation. I star in it alongside WWE superstar Adam “Edge” Copeland. It’s such an incredibly fun action film with all the fast-paced fights and action you’d expect from a WWE feature film. I play VASTI, a man who’s basically taken an entire city hostage while he plans a massive heist. It’s full of twists, though, so nothing is what it seems.

As we speak, I’m on the set of Love on the Sidelines, a very sweet TV movie for Hallmark that features football legend Joe Theisman. A bit of a departure from Art of More and Interrogation, but I really dig dabbling in as many genres as possible. I get to play a super-fan whose devotion to his wife is only rivalled by his love of football… kinda like my real life.

You’ve worked in both television and film – do you prefer one over the other?

That really depends on the material, the role and the director’s process. TV is exciting because it tends to move really fast, which isn’t a bad thing when you’re well prepared and things are going well. It can get stressful if you need time to get the scene right, because usually that time just isn’t available to you. Film is rewarding because you often have time to dig deeper into the material and to go further, but that might mean you have to repeat the scene more times than you want to. Sometimes you just want to move on.

Theatre is where it’s at. You get all this wonderful exploration time to dig as deep as possible in rehearsal. Then when the show opens, it all happens in real-time. You get the depth of exploration in rehearsal and the exhilaration of performance at show-time – all in one process. And the quality of the material tends to be higher in theatre (if you pick the right plays).

Who is someone in the business that you look up to?

There are a lot of people who really inspire me. Jesse L. Martin (Joe West on Flash) has become a close friend and mentor. I look up to his integrity and courage as an actor – he always puts the story first and then executes his choices with such ease and confidence, and is always truthful and emotionally connected. That’s what it’s about. Then there are actors like Tom Hardy or Julianne Moore – people who are notorious for their uncompromising artistic integrity and work ethic. As far as filmmakers go, I still look up to Zack Snyder for what he accomplished with 300. I watched him work during that process and I learned that everything that film became is because of his personal attachment and investment in the film – creatively, logistically, cinematically… Even the training, choreography, dieting, etc, that all stemmed from him as a leader. I’m also really inspired by Kathryn Bigelow – I admire what she’s been able to accomplish while colouring outside the lines in Hollywood.

Any American stereotypes about Canadians that you find particularly annoying/funny after working both here and south of the border?

Well, that depends on what you consider a stereotype vs. a characteristic. On the one hand, it’s annoying how friendly and apologetic Americans think Canadians are. On the other hand, I understand their point of view, and I’m sorry if our manners are a little annoying.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I’ve never seen the Star Wars movies. Old or new (please don’t hate me).

Photo: Elizabeth Delage