KEVIN INTERDONATO TALKS ‘BAD FRANK’ AND UPCOMING PROJECTS 129

Perhaps best known for playing Dogsy in The Sopranos, Kevin Interdonato has been winning over fans and critics alike thanks to his latest role in the film Bad Frank. Influenced by the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Daniel Day Lewis, Kevin chatted to ThisIsTheLatest about first auditions, his former career in the military and his thoughts on social media.

TITL: As a former soldier, at what point in your life did you start seriously considering as a career path?

Kevin Interdonato: I began studying when I was 20. I bounced around college classes after high school and was a little lost at that time in my life. I joined the Army National Guard when I was a senior in high school, and I enjoyed those years serving. It gave me the freedom to pursue my passion in this business, play with tanks and shoot weapons at the same time. I made many lifelong friends in the military.

TITL: Can you remember your first audition? What advice would you give those about to have theirs?

KI: Yes I actually do. It was for a student film at Montclair University and I think my mom still has that laying around somewhere – I should go blow the dust off it and have a good laugh at myself! My advice is to be yourself, and make the role yours. It’s so intimidating, the audition process – still is. But if you direct 100% of your focus on the reader and audience and NOT worry about yourself, then you’ll always be safe.

TITL: In terms of influences, which actors do you most look up to?

KI: There are too many to list. I respect an actor’s talent, and I also admire the career of others – the choices and how they handle their business. Mark Wahlberg and Sylvester Stallone are machines. Those guys are always working, creating projects and jobs for people, and it’s inspiring. From Sean Penn, Daniel Day Lewis, John Cazale, to Vera Farmiga, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi…my list of influences goes on and on.

TITL: How if at all do your National Guard days impact the roles you take on?

KI: Not much really. I know how to handle myself for a military role more than most, but I find myself not sticking to that aspect of my life because it binds me. I’m not free for anything that comes my way if I think of my time as a soldier. It’s robotic, systematic…and those are aspects of my being that I disregard for my work…unless a role calls for it.

TITL: You’re perhaps best known for playing Dogsy in Season 4 of The Sopranos. What impact did having a role on such a hugely popular show have on your career in terms of auditions/work offers?

KI: Believe it or not, not much. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so I wasn’t being handled as maybe I should have been. It was a great thing that happened, and the novelty of it was wonderful. Who didn’t want to get on that show at the time, you know? I really enjoyed it too. But the career thereafter came from hard work and persistence.

TITL: Who or what ultimately drew you to Bad Frank and what would you say the films’ unique selling point is?

KI: I was approached by the director and producer early on, before the script was finished. When they were telling me about the character and story which wasn’t fully fleshed out yet, I just had a gut feeling about Frank. Something clicked – I felt like I could tap into him, and I was in.

I think the sell of the film is how the film captured the reality of the man, and the extreme lengths he goes to. People like seeing people ‘snap’. But I tried to play Frank as honestly as possible to justify all his behaviors, and let people believe that this could be a reality.

TITL: The film has some pretty big names attached to it including Tom Sizemore and Ray Mancini. What was it like working alongside them and what would you say each brought to the film?

KI: Sizemore is a great guy. He was there long days, rolling around in the mud and rain at 2am, and was all about it! It was inspiring for everyone to watch him perform, and come in like a pro.

Boom – Mancini – is a wonderful man; everybody loves him. He played my father in the film with such conviction and sensitivity, plus we look alike. We were really lucky to have him.

TITL: Bad Frank has won several best film and best actor accolades at events and festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Does praise like that mean much to you or are you more the kind of actor who is more concerned about taking pride in their work and the roles they choose, despite what critics might say about it?

KI: It’s funny. I’ve heard some great theories about Bad Frank from critics, and gotten the same – sometimes better – insight on the film from regular movie-goers. So I take it all in my stride, the good and bad, and leave it at that. Everyone’s got their right to an opinion, and so be it. Fortunately most of the press and reviews for Bad Frank have been pretty damn good so I’m happy that people are responding well to it.

And yeah, you hit it on the head. It’s all about the movie and the role for me, and I tend to stay focused in that world. The accolades are wonderful and humbling, but my focus stays with moving forward and doing the best I can. It’s always about the movie.

TITL: Can you recall the nicest and worst things a fan or critic has said about your work?

KI: Not really. I lucked out by not getting my ass handed to me, from the ones I’ve seen anyway. It’s nice to hear that reviewers were receptive to my work. But I am open to all, I always want to improve, and welcome feedback.

TITL: The film is one of a growing number of successful indie films in recent years. What do you think it is about independent movies that has suddenly caught everyone’s attention?

KI: Bad Frank blowing up is a combination of a good movie, and smart guerrilla marketing. There was really NO money for either, in comparison to other films. I think those 2 qualities are crucial, if you don’t have the benefit of having stars in your film. People want to see GOOD movies, period, and because of the VOD platforms, little films like Bad Frank can stand up there right next to the big studio films.

TITL: How do you feel about social media, both personally and professionally? Do you think it’s been a positive tool for the industry or have you seen down-sides to it as well?

KI: Well I miss the days of handling boredom by reading a book or throwing on some good tunes. The ability to keep in touch with old friends and family is very important to me, as well as giving fans a direct gateway to say hello – and vice-versa. Keeping up with news, getting good laughs at funny videos – it’s not that big of a deal anymore and I’ve accepted it, but I do find myself weaning off and remembering ‘life’ lately.

For the industry, it’s made its way into entertainment as the tangible source for relativity and popularity per movie or person, and it’s not going anywhere for those reasons alone. I used to view it as a necessary evil… now it’s just necessary.

TITL: What’s next for you? Are there any upcoming projects you can tell me about?

KI: Thanks for asking, yes. Dirty Dead Con Men will be out in this winter. It’s a cool film I also produced and wrote. I think fans are really going to enjoy it. Peter Dobson’s Asbury Park will be filming this October, very lucky to have been cast in this epic alongside Joe Pesci and other greats. This one’s a game-changer for many; I can’t wait for it myself.

TITL: Finally then, what’s your ultimate goal in life, both as an actor and an individual? What would you like to have achieved 5-10 years from now and what would you like your legacy to be?

KI: As an actor; to be the best, and be able to say I always gave my all. To be in movies that stick with people for a long time. Personally…I guess I just want to make my old man proud.

For more information and to keep up-to-date with Kevin Interdonato, follow him on Twitter.

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RJ WORD TALKS “WHAT YOU NEED”, SOCIAL MEDIA & HIS DREAM SHOW LINE-UP 35

Having just released the video to his new single “What You Need”, RJ Word is certainly well on his way to making his mark on the music industry. Currently working on a number of singles, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with RJ to chat all things inspiration, ultimate compliments and what he’d most like to be remembered for.

TITL: Has music always been your ambition, or, growing up, did you consider exploring other avenues? Ultimately, who or what made you realise that music was the right path for you?

RJ Word: Growing up I studied music and acting. I still consider myself an actor, it’s just not my primary focus at the moment. Music gives me more freedom to create. A song can be anywhere from 90 seconds to 10 minutes and can be made considerably faster than a film. Also, you just can’t beat that feeling music gives you. There’s nothing like it.

TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced and inspired by and is there one in particular you might say you sound similar to?

RJ: Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake have all influenced me a lot, but hopefully I don’t sound too much like any of them.

TITL: Is there a story behind your new track “What You Need”?

RJ: I wanted to make a disco inspired record with some more modern rhythmic elements. We came up with this.

TITL: Are there any EP/album plans in the works, and if so, what can you tell me about how they’re coming along?

RJ: Just working on more singles at the moment, but that’s going really well. I have a couple songs I’m really excited about.

TITL: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Do you find it often depends on the subject matter and other such issues?

RJ: Some days it can be a little tough to get started. But once you’re in the zone it’s just fun, unless you’re writing something about a heartbreak that just happened.

TITL: In your mind, what makes a song truly great and which song would you say is the greatest ever written?

RJ: It’s half lyrics/melody and half production, so both have to be spot on to make an excellent record. The songs that stand out in my memory are the ones that do something different and unconventional. That’s where the magic happens. It’d be impossible for me to name a favorite.

TITL: Do you have any upcoming performance/tour plans?

RJ: Not right now. I’m mostly focusing on writing and recording for the next couple of months.

TITL: If you could perform with three bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be?

RJ: That’s a tough one. Most of my idols are legendary performers and to be up next to them would be really intimidating. But my dream set would be to do a show with MJ and have Quincy Jones conducting a full orchestra live along with us. Depending on if you count the musicians in the orchestra, that’d be way more or one less than 3 acts.

TITL: What has been the nicest thing someone’s written/posted about you and your music and what would the ultimate compliment be?

RJ: When people say online that one of my songs is the best they’re ever heard it’s always nice. But I’m so critical of my work that it’s hard for me to seriously take that to heart. The ultimate compliment would be for someone I really respect in the industry to just say they liked it.

TITL: Both personally and professionally, how do you feel about social media? What impact is it having on your career and your ability to reach an audience, and do you believe it’s possible for upcoming bands and artists today to achieve success without it?

RJ: It’s been amazing tool for me professionally but something I have never used personally. I like my privacy too much. Being able to share my music with the world and grow a fan base, the way I have, can be directly accredited to it. So yeah, it’s very important to me. I think it’s still possible for an upcoming act to blow up without using it directly. But if their fan base is growing they’ll be using socials to talk about them. So at least indirectly it’ll be used. It’s a big part of how the world today communicates.

TITL: Finally then, five-ten years from now, what do you hope to have achieved from your music career? What bucket list items do you want to have ticked off and if you could be remembered for one thing when it comes to your music, what would it be?

RJ: I’d love to have toured the world, have some records I’m really proud of and have worked with some of my idols. I have no clue what I’ll be remembered for yet. At the moment my goal is to make what’s on the radio musical again. Getting away from all the loop based tracks and repetitive samples. I’d be okay with being remembered for that.

Check out the video for “What You Need” below and to keep up to date with RJ Word, visit his website, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY WITH SOME EYE-OPENING, THOUGHT PROVOKING VIEWING 38

The world we live in is vast and beautiful, filled with places and sights that can quite literally take our breath away. In celebration of Earth Day, which takes place this Sunday, April 22nd, Fandor have put together a collection of some environmentally and globally focused programmes and documentaries for people to watch if they want to see and learn more about this wondrous planet we all share. For those readers in the US, all the programmes below can be streamed via Fandor, which until April 30th, is half price and costs just $5 a month or a fantastic $45/year for new subscribers.

Great Wide Open

This five-part documentary series, directed by Fandor’s Chief Creative Officer Jared Leto, sees the Oscar-winning actor and musician focus his attention on some of America’s most beautiful National Parks, which he explores with some of the best known and inspirational adventurers who have explored them. Episode 1, titled ‘The Conquistador’, sees the star and American climber Tommy Caldwell belay together at Taft Point in Yosemite, episode 2, ‘The Dirtbag’, features landscape artist, expedition climber and award winning film-maker Renan Ozturk who joins Leto to explore Yosemite Park, and episode 3, ‘The Rockstar’, stars Alex Honnold and includes a hike across Matthes Crest and a night climb up Cathedral Peak. Episode 4, titled ‘The Wolfman’, features Yellowstone Park and Douglas Smith and Episode 5, ‘Independence Day’, sees Leto celebrate the 4th of July with Sasha DiGiulian at Devil’s Tower.

Queen Of The Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us?

Over recent years, bee numbers around the world have continued to fall, and this Taggart Seigel directed, 2010 film takes viewers on a journey through an exploration of the impact the disappearance of bees has and continues to have on our world. It also looks at the mysteries and complexities of bee-hives, and tells the story of how scientists, bee keepers and philosophers, all of whom have struggled with the declining bee numbers, are working to make things better again.

No Impact Man

Conducting research for his next book, author Colin Beavan began the No Impact Project in November 2006. This documentary, directed by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, sees the newly self-proclaimed environmentalist, no longer able to avoid pointing the finger at himself, leave behind his liberal complacency for a vow to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year. No more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food, no more material consumption, no problem. That is, until his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two year-old daughter are dragged into the fray. An eye-opening look into the impact just one individual can – and does – make on the Earth in a year, NMI, an official selection of the Sundance, Silverdocs and LA Film Festivals in 2009, also highlights the highs and lows that can come with making such a drastic lifestyle change.

The Pearl Button

The ocean contains the history of all humanity; the good and the bad. The sea holds the voices of the Earth and those that come from outer space. Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures, ourselves included. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of a mysterious button that was discovered in its seabed. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline, the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian indigenous people, of the first English sailors and also those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. While water may not speak like we do, this 2015 film, directed by Patricio Guzman, shows that it does have a voice.

The Bear

The story of a young cub and an adult grizzly as they join forces to survive the perils inherent in their mountain habitat, this 1988 feature from Jean-Jacques Annaud, sees the two bears further develop a bond that can only make them stronger, with their friendship being put to the test as they must work together to overcome a deadly enemy.

Homo Sapiens

Ever wondered what might or will happen to the Earth when you or I are no longer here? Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s 2016 film asks this question and many others, as it, and he, explore the finiteness and fragility of human existence and the end of the industrial age. Many of us might think about the future, but this work showcases those thoughts from an entirely different, life-changing potential future viewpoint.

Portrait Of A Garden

Captured over one year, POAG, directed by Rose Stapel, tells the story of two friends, an 85-year old pruning master and the gardener and addresses their own concerns about the ever changing landscape and world around them, and how it will affect the beautiful space before them. A documentary that can and will likely make anyone who loves the outdoors, even just being in their own garden, think about how it may look a few months or years from now, it’s a beautifully shot and beautiful to watch piece of work.

If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front

Directed by Sam Cullman and Marshall Curry and focusing on and addressing the events of December 7th 2005, when federal agents conducted a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front, an organization the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.”, If A Tree Falls tells the remarkable  but true story of the group’s rise and fall, as told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. Mixing a coming-of-age-tale with cops-and-robbers style thriller, the Sundance 2011 award-winning and 2012 Oscar-nominated film interweaves a chronicle of McGowan facing life in prison with a dramatic investigation of the events that led to his involvement with the ELF. Using never-before-seen archival footage and intimate interviews with cell members and individuals involved in prosecuting them and the group, it’s a hard-hitting, eye-opening piece of work that asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism and the way we define terrorism.

Fandor are also marking Earth Day this Sunday with an Earth Day Everyday movie list, which you can check out here. Whatever you get up to this Earth Day, enjoy it and be sure to take a moment to appreciate the great, wide and beautiful world we live in. Header photo image taken from opelikaobserver.com.