June 18, 2020

By Lapacazo Sandoval

Contributing Writer


He’s here and by “he” I mean actor/writer Chris Swain and by “here” I mean his new series DEEP which is currently building an impressive fan base on IGTV. 

Swain and his explosive series “Deep” is backed by film and television producer Michael Bregman (“Carlito’s Way,”“ Carlito’s Way Rise to Power,” “The Bone Collector”)—the son of the prolific film producer Martin Bregman (“Scarface,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Serpico”) and actor Luis Guz-mán. 

“I’ve never met a more real creative in my life,” confessed producer Michael Bregman. “He’s raw, uncompromising and driven.”


Swain’s a child of the streets. Not the Hollywood streets with false backdrops, fake blood, and prop guns. No. What most people read about he’s witnessed first hand and he’s still standing. He’s found a way to channel that fire stepping into the roles as an actor, director, and writer. Did Swain wait for Hollywood? Hell-to-the-no and IGTV is thankful for his bold decision to let the series live there. 

Before “Deep” he was busy learning his craft. Featured in series television and national commer-cials for clients like Optimum, Macy’s, and Tippie Toppy. In the theater world, some suggest that Swain is walking into the foot steps of creative powerhouse and entrepreneur, Tyler Perry with his play, which he wrote and directed — “The First Lady” which has toured around the U.S. to sold-out audiences. 

In directing the short film “Deep” [the short film] Swain won the Best Picture and Best Director in the Mount Vernon International Film Festival and for the television pilot of “Deep,” he won Best Pilot in the LA Film Awards and was nominated for Best Pilot in the Orlando Film Festival.

Here is what writer/director Chris Swain had to say about his new series “Deep” which is on IGTV. 

L.A. Watts Times: How did you meet producer Michael Bregman?

CHRIS SWANN: I was looking for a producer to help me get my project “Deep” off the ground. I had just done a successful festival run and I was stuck. I was literally stuck. I just started ran-domly networking trying to see where I could end up, and I ran into this guy named Ruben Riveria. Ruben is a very well connected guy in the industry and he watched my sizzle reel of the show [Deep] which is the first five minutes of the show and he responded immediately. He said, “what is this?” — “where can I get more of this?” and when can I sit in front of you? We con-nected and I showed him my pitch book and everyone in the industry that has seen this pitch book has been amazed. He took the pitch book home with him and it was there that Michael [Bregman ] saw the book and wanted to meet me. Ruben made that meeting happen.

LAWT: Michael Bregman is not a joke. His eye for talent is impressive much like his father, pro-ducer Martin Bregman whose credits include the iconic classic “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” and the big one — “Scarface.” 

CS: No doubt. No doubt. You are right about Michael Bregman. I mean I’ve heard it as well and I experienced it as well.

LAWT: So how did you get this Gemini to pay attention?

CS: He looked at my pitch book for “Deep” and then we met. We chopped it up.

LAWT: And the rest is history in the making. Yo. Chris Swain. Please describe “Deep.”

CS: “Deep” is about an epidemic that is happening silently. Fentanyl. A powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.  This is killing people. Fentanyl is destroying and it’s doing it in an almost unexplainable way. A small, small piece of this will kill you. 

LAWT: Fentanyl. Wow. I understand that Fentanyl is so potent you can’t have it on your glove and inhaling it is as dangerous as holding a poisonous snake.

CS: That’s Fentanyl. Exactly and these people are injecting this into their veins.

LAWT: On purpose? Do these addicts know they are injecting Fentanyl?

CS: The large percentage [of addicts] don’t know what they are injecting because they think it’s heroin. That’s what [“Deep”] this project is based on. The drug dealer side and the addict side.

LAWT: The drug dealer side and the addict side. Do you have experience looking at both sides?

CS: (laughing) You can say that.  Also the series has a cop. You always have to have your cop in there —and the cop is a drug dealer. I didn’t want to tell the story of cops and robbers. I didn’t want to tell the story of the robber and the victim. I think that’s dark and I think that’s what we need right now.

LAWT: So nothing moves illegally in this country without the “Po-Po” — Police?

CS: You. Are. Funny.

LAWT: I. Know. Check this. Money often costs too much, that’s what Ralph Waldo Emerson said. I mean “money” isn’t even real. It’s paper.

CS: That’s the funny thing. You can’t do anything with money. You can survive but how long does the dollar live? The dollar doesn’t live for too long. That’s what DEEP is about. 

LAWT: “Deep” takes place in Harlem, New York, and Mt. Vernon, New York. So, write what you know?

CS: Exactly. I’m from the hood. Do you know when people come together in the hood?

LAWT: I do not. I do. Go on. You tell me. I might be surprised.

CS: People come together at funerals and that’s about it. Even people that don’t like each other come together at funerals. People who don’t like the person on the casket go to the funerals.

LAWT: Death just like birth is something we all experience. Rich, poor, or in-between we can’t get away from those two suckers.

CS: You. Are. Funny.

LAWT: I. Know. So “Deep” isn’t afraid to show brutality? To show brutality inside the unfolding story, is that right, or am I way off?

CS: No fear here, so no, not afraid to show brutality. If you want to talk about something that is killing people and you preach at them, they will walk away. But if you tell them a story people might listen.

LAWT: So what’s up with Puerto Rican actor Luis Guzmán who, along with Michael Bregman, serves as an Executive Producer? How did this connection come together?

CS: Michael [Bregman] brought him in and me and Louie, [and I] connected. He got it.

LAWT: So what’s next for “Deep”? The people have spoken. They love the series. Details, please.

CS: We are planning a full seven seasons.

LAWT: Really. More. Seven seasons more? So I have to keep my eyes glued to your site to find out more?

CS: No doubt.

LAWT: Anything you want to say to the Hollywood suits as they hobble back from this pandemic and the impact of injustice and systemic racism?

CS: Catch up.

This interview has been updated and edited for clarity and length.


Category: Arts & Culture