NAUGATUCK — Even as a young child, Naugatuck native Chris Pardal knew the 9 to 5 routine wasn’t for him.
“I remember going to Central Avenue Elementary School and just feeling the 9 to 5 rut. Well, back then it was more like 8 to 2. But I remember feeling trapped,” Pardal said.
The idea of working in a factory, like his grandfather, Jose Pardal, who worked at Uniroyal for 40 years, didn’t appeal to him either. So, Pardal set off on a different path, one that ended in Los Angeles and with an acting career.
In his most recent role, Pardal helps battle the undead in “Corbin Nash,” which was released in April. The movie, which stars notable actors Corey Feldman and Rutger Hauer, follows the character of Corbin Nash, played by Dean Jagger, a detective that battles vampires.
Pardal, 45, plays Frank Sullivan, a tough police detective who assists Nash in his fight.
“The thing that was great about ‘Corbin Nash’ was everybody there was passionate about making the movie,” Pardal said. “There were a lot of people there that enjoyed being there.”
Pardal’s path to acting wasn’t exactly a straight one. His family moved out of Naugatuck when he was 7. Growing up, he developed an interest in dancing, specifically breakdancing, which was rising in popularity in New York City at the time.
It wasn’t until he was 15 and living in Florida that a teacher set him on the path toward an acting career.
Pardal recalled reading the play “Cyrano de Bergerac” out loud in class. When it came his time to read, Pardal decided to act out the part as well.
“I was doing it to make people laugh,” Pardal said.
His teacher pulled him aside and told him he needed to sign up for the acting class as an outlet, or he would find himself in trouble, Pardal said. A notion that has stuck with him ever since.
However, after graduating high school Pardal pursued a career as a professional dancer, and got swept up by the rave dance craze in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It wasn’t until 2009 that he decided to put all his efforts into acting and moved out to Los Angeles.
“There is this goal I had for years where I moved to L.A. Then I get here and it is, ‘OK, what do I do,’” Pardal said.
Pardal started taking acting classes and making contacts. One of those contacts, a casting director, would ultimately lead to Pardal landing the role of Frank Sullivan.
Pardal said he worked with casting director Carmen Aiello on the show “Operation Repo” in 2013. In 2016, when “Corbin Nash” was casting, Aiello reached out to Pardal.
“He remembered me and he thought there was a part I’d be great for,” Pardal said.
Pardal originally read for a smaller role but was offered the part of Frank Sullivan, which is one of the leading characters.
“It is rare you get to play somebody you would like to hang out with. You can think a character is super cool, like Walter White or Tony Soprano, but in real life you wouldn’t want those guys in your inner circle,” Pardal said.
Having worked as an actor, Pardal has come to a new understanding of what the career means.
“In the beginning I think it is for attention or fame. The lure of being a star,” Pardal said. “Ultimately, hopefully, you become an artist that wants to give back and find your place. You realize that acting is important and you are giving something back. You are offering an experience in humanity to people.”
With Corbin Nash behind him, Pardal is trying to move forward on a film he wrote and hopes to direct. The film, called “Rave,” chronicles his time during the rave scene in Florida in the late 1990s.
Pardal said this project is a very personal for him and he wants to make sure it is made the way he envisions. He hopes to begin shooting in November and have the movie available by 2019, but he knows not everything in the movie business moves as smoothly as it should.
“By hook or by crook I am going to get this thing made,” Pardal said.