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Rob the Mob
By John Horn [From the Los Angeles Times]
Even in the annals of dumb crooks, Tommy and Rosemarie Uva weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. In the early 1990s, the young Queens couple decided to stick up Mafia social clubs. In the abstract, the choice of location made sense. The clubs were filled with guys with fat wallets and even chunkier jewelry, and they didn’t carry guns for fear of government raids and were not likely to call the police for help. But their plan had one obvious and ultimately fatal flaw: The Uvas were, after all, stealing from the Gambino and Colombo crime families. Fatal being the key word here. When screenwriter Jonathan Fernandez heard of the Uva’s imprudent Bonnie-and-Clyde scheme, he did something almost as rash. Rather than come at their tale as a storyteller, the former journalist approached it as a reporter. When a reputed crime boss was charged in 2007 with the couple’s killings, Fernandez traveled from Hollywood and spent two weeks inside the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, not far from where he grew up in New Jersey. And from Fernandez’s perch in the gallery as Dominick “Skinny Dom” Pizzonia was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, the script for “Rob the Mob” started to come together. The film opens Friday in Los Angeles.
Starring Michael Pitt (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Tony-Award winning actress Nina Arianda (“Venus in Fur”) as Tommy and Rosemarie, the independently financed movie was directed by “City Island” filmmaker Raymond De Felitta. The cast includes “City Island” star Andy Garcia as a mob boss more interested in cooking than crime, Ray Romano as a newspaper columnist smitten with the Uva’s cheeky crime spree and Griffin Dunne as the munificent operator of a collection agency willing to hire the ex-con Tommy and his girlfriend. The movie is playing in limited release after debuting in New York last week to strong reviews and promising box office. Like many movies made outside the studio system, it’s a minor miracle that “Rob the Mob” made it this far, nearly seven years after Pizzonia was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the couple’s 1992 murders. To Fernandez, it’s just the way of things in Hollywood: “Things take forever. It’s the nature of the business.” As soon as he poked into several Mafia hangouts while covering the Pizzonia trial, the screenwriter, who worked briefly as an Argentina correspondent for the Associated Press and is married to a former Los Angeles Times reporter, knew the film wasn’t going to be anything like the mobster movies he admired growing up. “It was just a bunch of old guys sitting around, playing cards, in a really drab place,” Fernandez said. “It looked nothing like ‘The Godfather.’ I thought: ‘This was fresh.'” As they developed the screenplay, it was clear that Fernandez, De Felitta and producer William Teitler were trying to tell an anti-“GoodFellas” tale. “I was not interested in making a Mafia movie,” De Felitta said. “You can’t beat the good ones. I thought it was a great true crime story and it wasn’t even that well-known. But it was incredibly poignant.” Instead, they aimed to tell a comedic romance, a look at a young couple whose life ended in love, not blood. “I felt that you needed to love them,” De Felitta said. “But you also needed to show what obvious limitations they had. They were crazy, but they weren’t bad.” (For all the couple’s ineptness, their robberies also netted them a secret list of organized crime hierarchies; it was so valuable that FBI agents, who were wiretapping the clubs and knew of the thieving, stole it from the Uvas and used it to take down several crime bosses). But as the filmmakers tried to land financing, they were repeatedly told that people weren’t interested in mob movies anymore — “They’re dead,” was one line — even from prominent producers who said they loved the screenplay. Some even suggested they change the ending, and have the couple live, an unacceptable idea to the team.
When De Felitta couldn’t land a big-name actress to star opposite Pitt, it looked as if “Rob the Mob” was dead in the water. “The project kind of languished,” De Felitta said. Rather than abandon it, the filmmakers scaled back their ambitions and reduced their budget to about $5 million and cast Arianda and Garcia, beefing up his part to help land him. With Avi Lerner’s Millennium Entertainment coming in to share the production costs (Millennium is also the distributor) with some private investors, “Rob the Mob” was finally back on track. “In a world in which studios are making the big Lego movies, writers today have to be more proactive and take more control,” said Fernandez, who early in his career worked for the legendary producers Roger Corman and Dino De Laurentiis. “We ended up with a movie I’m really proud of. I couldn’t be happier.”
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Booker's Place
by Raymond De Felitta [Featured in the Huffington Post] Recently I was asked if I thought the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s killing would cause more people to take an interest in my new documentary, Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story. The film is about the deeply racist conditions that existed in the southern United States in the mid-1960s and the bravery of an African-American waiter named Booker Wright, who spoke out on national television about what it was like to be a servant to the white upper-classes at that time. Wright was murdered several years after his speech appeared on NBC in circumstances that remain murky at best. The question of whether or not Trayvon Martin’s fate would provoke interest in the story of Booker seemed to me, upon first hearing it, to have put things in the wrong order. Assuming that the answer is yes, I would still much rather have Trayvon Martin alive and fewer viewers of my film than the reverse. But upon further reflection, the question is a provocative one as it speaks to the long-standing, deeply embedded racism that still exists — albeit not as openly or vehemently — in the south. For the fact is that Trayvon Martin was killed as a result of a mentality which believes that to provoke suspicion is to be guilty of enough to provoke action. Life in a world where such a belief reigns is not life in a free world. It is life in a terrorist state. And that’s the link that I see between Trayvon Martin’s killing and the story of Booker Wright, a man who was murdered twenty years before Trayvon Martin was born. Booker Wright lived in a Mississippi that was a terrorist state. The town he lived in, Greenwood, was ruled by a police force that suspected that black residents were guilty of something, no matter the lack of evidence. As one of our black interview subjects told us about living in the town back then, “If they wanted you, they just come and got you” — ‘they’ being the police. He also described a Saturday night ritual in which the police would arrive in the black part of town and randomly pick out a handful of black revelers to beat, arrest and haul into jail. So typical was this sort of thing that it became part of the evening’s activities for the rest of the crowd. “We’d just stand around seeing who was gonna get it that night,” he told me. In other words, when justice is perverted to such an extent, the ability to fight back disappears and acceptance sets in. Humans have amazing coping mechanisms. Everything, on some level, can be appreciated as entertainment. It’s what prevents us from breaking down completely. A terrorist state doesn’t ask questions of those who are suspect and Trayvon Martin died as a result of that mindset. I spent a good deal of time last year in the South and didn’t feel for a minute that the past and its attitudes were still alive. Southerners truly are unfailingly gracious and deeply interested (and somewhat puzzled) by their troubled legacy. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation with a Southerner that doesn’t circle back to race as its core issue. Perhaps this is more the case when a Southerner is talking to a Yankee such as myself. The Southerners I met were eager to explain their culture, to take stock of their history and to openly and freely discuss the need to atone for the darkness of the past. But I’m talking about a specific sort of Southerner. The white, educated, thoughtful Southerner. My interactions with black Southerners were very different. If they were middle-aged or slightly older, they tended to be angrier and more suspicious of the sentiments of the other side. And if they were much older — and I met and spoke with people who grew up on plantations, subservient to the authority of the white planter class — they behaved in a way that I found haunting: they spoke reticently, somewhat reluctantly revealing their feelings. Clearly the fear of speaking out of turn and offending the white man was still inside of them. And they almost never discussed the past in strictly emotional terms. Instead they’d quietly — sometime impassively — recollect things they’d witnessed, events that were still burned upon their minds. One man told me the story of his having said hello to a white woman and being hauled into jail and beaten with leather straps for a full day. “I still have dreams about that,” he said, of an event that happened some sixty years prior. A woman in her eighties remembered her cousin, who was retarded and employed as a cleaner at a local restaurant, being shot to death for touching a white woman’s shoe with his mop. That moment, which is in my film, is for me all the more chilling for the lack of emotion with which she recollects the incident. She lets the everyday-ness of such an occurance stand in stark contrast to the vileness of the act itself. And since I didn’t meet the less evolved white Southerner, the people who are still capable of killing a black man because he arouses suspicion, I was as shocked as anyone at the news of Trayvon Martin’s shooting in the south. Has nothing changed? Is the mindset of a terrorist state still prevalent there? Or is this a freak occurrence having nothing to do with the location it took place in? Plenty of other race-based crimes happen in other areas of the country, after all. But it’s that moment on the tape where Zimmerman says that Trayvon Martin is “just walking around looking about” that links him to the south of the past for me. No crime was necessary as any behavior was suspicious enough to provoke action. The terrorist states of the south no longer exist. But the terrorist mindset does.
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Café Society
[From Variety.com] NEW YORK — Earlier this year, writer-director Raymond De Felitta was walking around lower Manhattan when he stumbled upon the Screening Room, the hip cinema-restaurant. What a great place for a premiere, thought De Felitta. The film he had in mind was his own. Tonight De Felitta will hold a soiree at the Screening Room to open his feature debut “Cafe Society,” which was selected for the Directors Fortnight in Cannes two years ago. According to De Felitta, his producers, Cineville, Skyline and Daylight, received “reasonable” offers for the film, but they rejected them in the belief that higher bids were coming. “All I can say is that when you make a movie for $1 million and you get into Cannes, everyone’s worst character traits come out,” says he says. Although it did not find a domestic distributor, “Cafe Society,” which stars Peter Gallagher, Frank Whaley and Lara Flynn Boyle, was released internationally by Kushner Locke and aired on Showtime. Some filmmakers would have been satisfied with this arrangement, but not De Felitta. He would not rest until his film about the 1952 scandal involving margarine heir Mickey Jelke and call girl Patricia Ward was shown on the bigscreen. After doing a rewrite of “Reasonable Doubt,” De Felitta decided to use some of his fee to open “Cafe Society” in New York on an exclusive basis. He named his releasing company “Kinkajou,” after a nocturnal animal found in Brazil that feeds on the flesh of other animals. “I think that about sums up my experience with this film,” he quips. De Felitta says he is spending $32,000 to release “Cafe Society,” of which $8,000 will be used for a modest advertising campaign. “People think it’s lunatic to spend this kind of money,” De Felitta says. “But I spent five years of my life on this film. I could buy a new car, but I don’t need one.” The hope is that buzz from “Cafe Society’s” exclusive run will attract a real distributor.
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'Tis Autumn
by Raymond De Felitta [Featured in The Guardian] Attempting to uncover information about the life and work of a long forgotten jazz singer in the pre-internet era was about as rewarding as attempting to locate a name in a book before the invention of the index. I first heard Jackie Paris on a Los Angeles jazz radio station in the early 1990s. He had a voice so original and mellifluous that I couldn’t believe that I – a lifelong jazzhead and musician myself – had never even heard of him. I set about finding anything I could about this mysterious singer, asking other jazz fans who he was and what else he had done. Mostly, my questions were met with blank stares. Finally one guy, a drummer of all things, chimed in with a helpful titbit. “He sang with Mingus. And Charlie Parker. I think he’s dead.” I knew about Charles Mingus – the recording I had heard was the wonderful Paris in Blue, written by Mingus for Jackie Paris. Parker was another story. Had they ever recorded? And I wasn’t surprised to hear he was dead. Most jazz players are dead. But the real surprise came a dozen years later. By then I’d collected the handful of CDs and vinyl that comprised the meagre but glorious output of Paris’s “career”. The internet era had arrived meanwhile, making recordings marginally easier to track down, though most of Paris’s output was not on CD. I learned from a biographical dictionary of jazz musicians that Paris had died in 1977 in his early 50s. But information about his life was still impossible to come by. Paris truly was an enigma – an artist few knew, but who was profoundly admired by those who did. And then, in March 2004 I noticed in the New Yorker magazine listings an advertisement for a singer named Jackie Paris at a club called The Jazz Standard. Jackie Paris? The one who died in 1977? How was he singing? Via a Ouija board? But Paris was alive – not exactly well, but still handsome and charismatic. And he was in fine form, singing a set that included three of my favourites that he’d started doing in his brief 50s heyday: Indiana, I Can’t Get Started and his signature tune, Skylark. I asked him to sign a CD of his 1955 album Songs by Jackie Paris. I apologised for not having a copy of the actual album, explaining that on eBay his records fetch $300 or more. “Yeah? What good does that do me?” he said. It was my first indication that not all was peaceful in Parisland. The next night, when he saw that I’d returned to the jazz club, Paris was able to believe that I was sincere in my love and appreciation of his art. Like most “cult” figures, he was less happy with that designation than you might think. We spoke again after his first set, talking about his work with Parker (they never recorded) and some of the albums of his that I cherished. And then he confessed something to me, as if needing to unburden himself of a secret that was crushing him: he was terminally ill, he said, and he expected this to be his last engagement. Moments later, during the second set, I grasped what a unique opportunity it was. As a film-maker, I felt duty bound to record Paris’s last concerts, and to bring to the world’s attention this singer whose work I’d found so compellingly beautiful. It would fall to me to record Paris’s last concerts and to capture on film his mysterious story and his elusive destiny. Working with borrowed video equipment, I had only seven weeks of Jackie’s time before he passed away. In addition to his reminiscences, he opened his phone book to give me access to half a dozen other jazz legends who agreed to be interviewed for what was now shaping up to be a sort of tribute film. Jackie was not terribly revealing about his personal life. Mostly, he spoke of other musicians, a subject he could be a tad opinionated on. He openly disliked most of his contemporaries, damning with faint praise Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin – a “punk”. Oddly, the one singer of his generation he liked was Perry Como. I couldn’t figure this out until I realised that Como and Paris had nothing in common, so Como was not competition. When Jackie died, late that spring, I thought the story had come to its natural end. Only I’d opened a door that didn’t seem capable of being shut. The questions kept going round in my mind: why had such a fine singer gone unrecognised? What had he been doing during the years of his oblivion? How could a singer who numbered among his fans Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn (who dubbed him “the kissy singer”) and even Frank Sinatra have lived and worked seemingly under a cloak of invisibility? And so my film became an exploration of the nature of the artist’s life and the twists and turns of any such journey. In Jackie’s case, luck was more often absent from his journey. But the more I talked to people in his family, the greater the dimension his own personality played in the story of his unfulfilled life and career. I learned of his complex, loving and abusive family, as well as his own violent temper. Jackie, it seemed, was his own worst enemy. He turned down Duke Ellington’s offer to tour with the band over money, earning the everlasting enmity of that distinguished man and his powerful organisation. And he openly admitted to punching a club owner he had a disagreement with, an action that became common knowledge within the tight-knit community of nightclub entrepenuers. Indications of a Mafia deal gone awry surfaced. And then there was persistent confusion, fostered by Jackie, about his personal life and the number of times he was married. Though he admitted to no children, I was eventually to learn of the secret he took to his grave. It was, I believe, the secret that gave his voice its tears. Ultimately, the film, which I named ‘Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris, raises as many questions as answers. The balancing act was complex: how to simultaneously celebrate an artist who has given me so much joy as well as explore the darkness that owned that artist’s soul? Orson Welles once said that it was a good thing we knew so little about the lives of Shakespeare or Cervantes, it leaves us freer to enjoy the work itself, unburdened by biography. Perhaps. But for me, searching for Paris not only gave me the opportunity to make a film about a subject far more common than success – the true story of most artists is, after all, primarily one of frustration and heartbreak – it also gave me the opportunity to make a film that will bring his art to the attention of people who will, I trust, hear the unique genius of this singer. And whatever his demons were, knowing about them has lent even more depth and poignancy to the small but gorgeous legacy of his recorded voice.
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Rob the Mob
It may be hard to find a city as celebrated in film as New York; its rich pastiche of cultures, gritty underbelly, and ability to mold to fit whatever genre a director needs makes it one of the perfect cinematic backdrops. In particular, New York often serves as the canvas on which true crime stories and mob movies play out in spectacular fashion, leaving a trail of bodies and less-than-salubrious activity in their wake. The latest in the grand canon of New York crime films is Raymond De Felitta’s Rob the Mob, based on a true story, which tells the story of Queens’ very own Bonnie and Clyde, a pair of working class Robin Hoods that stole from the rich (the Mafia) and gave to the poor (themselves). With a dynamite cast including Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris), Andy Garcia (The Untouchables), Griffin Dunne (After Hours), Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond), and many more, Rob the Mob covers many familiar mob movie tropes, but manages to put its own unique spin on the well-worn genre, thanks to a pervasive sense of heart that underlies the morally gray proceedings. To take you deeper into the world of Rob the Mob, I caught up with director Raymond De Felitta to talk about how to innovate in a been-there, done-that genre, the challenges of adapting true life stories, where to get the best Italian food in New York City, and much more. Nerdist: So the first thing I want to talk about is, these New York mob stories are sort of a classic genre at this point, so I was wondering what in particular about this trope speaks to you, and what do you think that Rob the Mob adds to it that sets it apart? RDF: Honestly, it never had been of any interest to me to do a mob story, as much as I love the really great ones. You’ve already done it. The Godfather has done it, Goodfellas has done it, The Sopranos has done it. You’re not going to top those guys. And personally, as an Italian-American, I always sort of feel like – you know, my other work, my films City Island and Two-Family House, they were about Italian-Americans who aren’t in the mob, and I never think that those guys really get any coverage. So I was not a person who was lining up to make a mob movie. But when I read it, what I loved about it – several different things converged. First of all, I loved the story of Tommy and Rosie, and the fact that he had this vengeance, that he had to get rid of his father’s story, and he couldn’t do it without acting out this insane plan. I also loved that I hadn’t seen this mob movie, and I thought it’s so hard to find a new wrinkle. It’s like finding a new wrinkle on a TV cop show. How do you do it? It’s been done. But every so often someone does, and you go “Wow! All right, now I’m interested again.” This time I read it and I thought the mob are not the goofy mob, which I always find silly and boring, and they’re not really that scary or flashy. This is just the worn-out guys – that period, with [John] Gotti on trial for what’s clearly going to be the last time, you know, it’s New York in that era that’s kind of beat and broke and depressed. And they were in a sense the victims, which I thought was so peculiar. It’s like they’re the guys who are getting robbed, and they don’t know how to deal with this humiliation. So I just thought that was a great ‘in.’ And then, in a sense, not a clichéd look at your usual group of goombas. Because, enough of that – we’ve already done that. These are just guys that sit in the club and play cards and don’t really know what to do with their life anymore. N: Exactly! That was something that really stood out, because like you said, you’re so used to seeing these mobsters in different positions of power, and they’re used to getting what they want and being able to rough their way through things. Seeing the table turned on them was really interesting. At this point, they’re just a bunch of dads and uncles trying to hold on to the crumbling remains of their empire, and just keep their heads. RDF: Exactly. Yeah, exactly, which I just thought was really original and probably closer to the truth than what we usually get in most popular culture representations. N: What in particular attracted you to Rosie and Tommy’s story, and what’s the challenge when you have to adapt a story like this for the big screen? RDF: Well, one of the movies that has always inspired me as a movie maker and storyteller is Sidney Lumet’s movie Dog Day Afternoon with Al Pacino, and one of the things that I always loved about that movie is that it was a true crime, and it had all of these big, emotional journeys and themes to it. It was committed for reasons that were financial and romantic and it had elements that didn’t work. It was a fiasco. But it also really wasn’t on the radar of anyone for very long. That crime came and went on the news in a couple of days. And in a sense, I always felt like that was part of the beauty of that story. It’s not telling a story you’ve ever heard; it just happened, there it is, this lonely event out there. So when I read the screenplay that I was first sent for Rob the Mob, I thought they really found that. Rosie and Tommy were not famous. Yes, they made the papers, but on, like, page eight, on kind of a small – and then the story went away, and then a few months later they were murdered. It was a blip on the radar of true crime, but it had all of the major emotional reasons that people commit crimes, and all of the things that we look for in really strong drama, and especially reality-based drama. So I just thought that was a huge, huge lure to me. And then, in terms of what the challenges are, I think always the challenge when you’re dealing with real events – you want to honor them, you don’t want to twist them up, and you certainly don’t want to get them wrong, but you’re also not making a documentary, so you also have to be – you have to have one foot in the camp of the artist, the storyteller. I can’t get absolutely all of this right, and I’m not supposed to get it all right. I’m supposed to get the essence of it right, and sometimes I’m going to have to step back and say cut these scenes, I don’t need to explain this event, I may not even want to go into some of these other complexities going on around them, because that’s just going to confuse things. So that’s always a bit of a hot topic with people when you do reality-based stories. Are you cheating if you don’t tell exactly what happened, or if you add in a character who didn’t exist? I just don’t think you can go there. I think you’re ultimately taking care of the story, not every true event around it, and along as the essence of the story is preserved and hopefully enhanced by dramatizing it, that’s what you’re there to do. rob1 N: You were talking about how they were just kind of a blip on the radar, and you kind of get that sense, even in the film. It’s so heartbreaking when Rosie is talking to Ray Romano’s character, because you can tell they just really want to be known for something, and knowing what happens to them, it was a real gut-punch.  RDF: Yeah. Well, they’re so good in that scene too. Nina’s so terrific, and what I think that she really got about Rosie was the combination of – it’s not really stupidity at work at all, it’s pride. She finally sees Tommy, who she’s always had all the belief in the world in, he’s actually pulled this thing off. She wants to share it. She wants people to finally know that she was right – Tommy’s a genius! And yet, of course, she buys into the idea that they’re never going to get bothered by anyone. N: You pulled together a really terrific cast for this film. When I saw Ray Romano and Griffin Dunne and Michael Pitt and Nina [Arianda] – it was just very impressive. What attracted you to this group of performers, and who surprised you the most during the filming process? RDF: Well, a lot of what I was trying to do in the casting process was create both excellent actors who were going to bring reality and truth to it, but also I liked the idea of using actors who you might associate with other New York crime movies, just so it felt like – I always think a sort of meta-film is going on. Like, oh, OK, for a second, I’m in Once Upon a Time in America, because Burt Young is here. Now I’m in Raging Bull for a minute – there’s Cathy [Moriarty]. So I like that idea of filling it out with really iconic crime movie faces. But I’ll tell you who – I wouldn’t say surprised me the most, but who really impressed me the most – I wanted Burt Young. I’ve always admired him. I’ve always thought he was a fascinating actor, and a very curious individual, and he’s hard to get to, and he doesn’t really want to do much. You’ve got to kind of – he’s got to get to know you. And I went there, I went the distance, I went and met him, Michael Pitt and I went and met him. And he said, “There’s not a lot for me to do here. It’s really one scene.” And I said, “Yeah, but it’s really important, because you’re the guy – you end up, your whole life goes away with this one robbery, and you give up the list. And the guy realizes that after years of carrying the paper around, you’ve fucked up and it’s all,” you know. And he bought that, and he came and we shot the scene, and when we got to the end of the scene, he said, “Let me just do a little something for you.” And so much pain, and so much confusion and sadness came over his face, and it suddenly kicked everything up such a big notch. It made that story point, and it was just an act of pantomime on Burt’s part. It was just watching his face emote. And that, to me, was just an amazing kind of moment – lesson, I guess you would say, in what an actor can do. He took what I needed – he understood what that guy did, and just by experiencing it and being open with it and wandering a way out, and just devoting a little, it went from a point that you understood on the page, to a much more impressive emotional and understandable thing that he had. N: Yeah, that was definitely one of the most affecting scenes in the film. And it’s so unexpected, because you’ve got this young guy with a sub-machine gun, and three old fogeys just sitting around playing cards in the club! RDF: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, it was a fun scene to shoot, too. All three of them were great. N: I have to say this film gave me a powerful hunger for Italian food.  RDF: Yeah, I know – me too, unfortunately! It’s one of the few films that I didn’t lose weight on. N: [laughs] Well, hopefully it was a tasty process. What is your favorite Italian restaurant, and/or dish? RDF: In Manhattan? N: Yeah, let’s say in Manhattan, given the film’s locale. RDF: You know, it’s funny – the ones that I really prize are – they’re not the ‘foodie’ Italian places. They’re the neighborhood. In the West Village, where I lived for many years, there’s two that I’ve always loved: Gene’s [Restaurant] on West 11th, and Volare on West 4th. And each time I go I think I’m going to try something else, but in each place I always end up getting – I love veal stuffed with prosciutto and ham. That’s just it – that, and a little pasta on the side, and four or five bottles of wine, and I’m happy! N: I understand you have a background as a jazz pianist, which I think is awesome. I’m curious if that musical or lyrical sensibility influences how you approach film making? RDF: Yeah, I guess it does. I’ve played literally since I was a kid. Music’s been a part of my life forever. I can’t edit a film without immediately trying to score it. Since I don’t score my own films – before Rob the Mob, I would always temp-score something while we’re editing, because I just don’t know how film and music are separate. They have to be married. I guess the thing with jazz, if I were to make any kind of comparison – and this might feel a little wobbly, but I play jazz, I don’t play classical music, so I don’t rehearse – I’m never trying to get it right, I’m trying to get feeling out of what I do as a musician. The longer I work with actors, the more, for me, that’s the key for working with actors. I don’t want them to get something right, I don’t want them to feel like they have to get something right. I want them to get in the moment and behave. And so I love improvising. I love letting the actors have that space, and I guess it’s really in that sense, really-and I feel comfortable with it. I don’t feel like anything unruly is happening, because I think as a musician, as a jazz musician, that’s what we do. We give each other some space, and we try to make something emotional happen. N: Yeah, exactly. I think that’s a smart way to approach it. Obviously, you want to have a strong foundation with the script, but you also want to give yourselves a chance to explore. RDF: That’s why good jazz usually picks a great song, and then you can play through the chords and you can let it go. ROB THE MOB_11.jpg
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