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Local Actor Zane Holtz Talks Fatherhood, Living in Austin, and His Latest Role in Movie Hunter Killer

Austin-based actor Zane Holtz takes on many roles, but his most valued role is off-screen, as a husband and father to four.

Zane Holtz

One day prior to meeting Austin-based actor Zane Holtz, I watched him dive out of a plane into a storm cloud, deterring his mission to save the Russian president and prevent World War III.

His portrayal of Navy Seal, Paul Martinelli in Hunter Killer was a far cry from the Holtz who was lounging on the black leather couch of Hotel Saint Cecilia, dressed shirt to shoes in By George, the most violent sound coming from the cocktail shakers behind us.

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For Hunter Killer, Holtz took on the role of Navy Seal, Paul Martinelli.

Born in Vancouver Holtz grew up in Los Angeles where he began acting. His role on Robert Rodriguez’s television series, From Dusk Till Dawn, brought him to Austin in 2013. He ended up loving the city and stayed.

With his wife and four children, aged 13, 11, three and one, Holtz was attracted to the family-centric city. “It’s vibrant. It’s got a lot of heart and a lot of culture,” Holtz said. “It has the stuff that you would see in an LA or a New York, but it still has that small town, family vibe.”

While filming Hunter Killer, Holtz spent one week in London learning about the submarine that inspired the set, but the bulk of his time was spent in Bulgaria. Since the submarine crew filmed separately from the Seal crew, actor Gerard Butler (Captain Joe Glass), wrapped his acting portion and traveled to Bulgaria as a producer.

“It was cool to work for him rather than work across from him,” Holtz said of Butler’s producing.

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Holtz worked alongside actor Gerard Butler, who also produced the movie.

Holtz not only admired Butler as a coworker, but also as a friend. “Gerry became a close buddy,” he said. The two spent their off time in Sofia getting dinner or riding bikes with actors Ryan McPartlin, Michael Trucco and Toby Stephens, who played the movie’s other Seals.

Though he enjoyed his time in Bulgaria, when asked if it was hard being far from family, Holtz responded “always.”

“That’s just the nature of the work. When I’m gone, I’m gone,” Holtz said, “but when I’m home, I’m really home. I’m not working nine-to-five. I’m around and I’m available.”

Thankfully for Holtz, today’s technology has made it easier to work remotely from Austin. Tapes can be sent digitally and directors can be met through Skype, leaving more time for Holtz to spend with his wife, practice his fifteen-year hobby of Jiu Jitsu or encourage his kids who play trumpet and love photography.

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Despite traveling across the world for his career, Holtz continues to call Austin home.

When dwelling in the state’s capital, Holtz enjoys walking around Town Lake a couple times a week or visiting his favorite coffee shops and restaurants. His current go-to is the new Home Slice Pizza in Hyde Park.

“You can hang out and maybe have a beer, but there’s stuff for kids to do too,” Holtz said. “Austin is one of the most effective cities to have that blend.”

After almost moving to Cape Town, South Africa for a television series last year, the actor recognized that location is at the mercy of his career. His goal, however, is to remain in Austin and expand his acting portfolio.

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While relishing in recent success, Holtz still considers his greatest role as being a husband and father. Photograph by Nina Duncan.

Hunter Killer allowed Holtz to become a Navy rookie turned war hero, but he is interested exploring genres outside of action, evidenced through his role in Beyond the Night. The small-town murder mystery debuted at the Austin Film Festival on Oct. 25, and showcased Holtz as the father to a clairvoyant son.

“I don’t want to put myself in a box,” Holtz said “Drama, comedy, horror, I’d like to play anything.”

But supportive father will always be Holtz’s leading role. Unsure if his children will follow in his footsteps, Holtz said there is no pressure for them to act, and he supports whatever they enjoy.