ST. LOUIS — Plymouth grad Bill Finkbiner’s road from PHS to feature film has been a long and eventful one — and one he almost didn’t take.
“For me it all started in (teacher) Kathy Richter’s speech class,” said Bill from his home in St. Louis. “We had done a couple of speeches for class and she told me I should join the speech team. I had never really considered that and I told her to give me three reasons why I should. She said, ‘you’re good, you’ll win and... you’ll win.’”
Richter obviously knew her student because the words were the perfect encouragement for the athletic-minded Finkbiner.
“She knew exactly how to approach it, appealing to that competitive side of me. I really enjoyed it and started taking Dan Tyree’s theatre class too.”
That theatre training has been instrumental in Bill’s career leading him to a main supporting role in the new action film, Broken Faith. The film stars Michael Joiner as a suicidal ex-special operative who must defeat his inner demons to save his daughter’s (Vanessa Ore) life from a corrupt ATF agent out to kill her played by Rodney Wiseman.
“I was called in to read for Anson (the agent) which I expected because I fit the physical look of the character they wanted pretty well,” said Bill. “I also ended up reading for the part of Dan, which is the lead. That surprised me since I’m quite a bit younger than what the part called for. I got called back for both.”
It looked as if Bill would be the lead in the soon-to-be released feature, but when Joiner came on board, Finkbiner was cast as Colton, the right-hand man of the corrupt agent.
“It’s really exciting for me because most of the other film work I’ve done has been on really small, extremely independent films,” he said. “Micheal (Joiner) is an excellent actor and a great guy. I really think this is going to be a good film, and I’m ecstatic to have been a part of it.”
A 1991 graduate of Plymouth High School, Bill’s speech team success earned him a scholarship to Bradley University to study theatre and speech, and he spent his summers working performing with The People’s Theatre as part of their Youth Intervention Theatre.
In 2000, Finkbiner moved to St. Louis and began working with several improvisational comedy companies, including Bill Chott’s, who is a veteran of Chicago’s Second City and Improv Olympic and featured actor in the movies The Ringer, and currently in Johnny Depp’s new feature The Rum Diary, as well as a recurring character in Disney’s The Wizards of Waverly Place.
Finkbiner is a regular on the St. Louis improv stage hosting shows for Bill Chott’s Improv Trick. He is a cast member in the city’s long running sketch comedy show, Bye Bye Liver; The St. Louis Drinking Play and is a part of the Uppity Theatre Company’s Big Fat LGBT Show.
“For live theatre, I really love performing improv or straight sketch comedy,” he said. “It’s more immediate, more interaction with the audience and that adrenaline rush of the unexpected. You get to get into a rhythm with the people you’re acting with.”
“The one thing I might tell anybody that is getting started today would be to be sure you learn all you can about the business side of this profession. That really tripped me up for years. In theatre departments they teach you all about the craft, and that’s great because you need that, but once you are out of school you are really a small business person and you need to know how to run that business.”
The website for Broken Faith is available at http://www.brokenfaithfilm.com/index.html . More information on Bill’s career is available at www.IMDB.me/billfinkbiner  and you can follow him on Twitter @Bill_Finkbiner.