#INTERVIEW: GIOVANNI RIBISI ON “GANGSTER SQUAD” | PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY
First making his debut in 1981 on TV Series Simon & Simon, Giovanni Ribisi has become a Household Name with an Acting Career which has seen both diversity and longevity. At just 38-years-old, the Los Angeles Native has built a Body of Work which has defined multiple generations. My Two Dads, The Wonder Years, Friends, Saving Private Ryan, Lost in Translation, Avatar, Ted. These are just a handful of his most memorable moments and the Father of Lucia/Husband of Supermodel Agyness Deyn finds himself returning to Toronto once again to promote eagerly-awaited Gangster Squad.
The Action/Drama has Ribisi starring as Officer Conway Keller, a technically-savvy Cop whose expertise enables the LAPD to successfully bug the Phone Calls of top Mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), who controlled much of Los Angeles in the late ’40s through early ’50s. The Team responsible for the fire-with-fire Takedown – The Gangster Squad – are played by Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña, Robert Patrick and Ribisi.
The road to release hasn’t been an easy one at all for Warner Bros. Tragedy struck on July 20, 2012 as the Aurora, Colorado Mass Shootings had taken place during a screening of their Marquee release, The Dark Knight Rises. Furthermore, the Trailer for Gangster Squad was slated to run prior to that Film, depicting a gratuitously violent Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Shootout. Understandably, the Scene had been deleted out of respect to the current Social Climate and all those affected by the Tragedy. Re-shoots were completed and now the Film is ready for its big debut, but one glaring question still remains.
One Journalist asks the Question on all of our minds – whether or not it is appropriate to release the gratuitously gun-violent Gangster Squad, considering that another Mass Shooting has since taken place in Newton, Connecticut? Ribisi tells a tightly-gathered group of Journalists at his Toronto Hotel, “There are some heinous crimes which have taken place”. He pauses and says, “I don’t think it’s fair to hold Hollywood accountable for this.”. On whether or not he feels the Final Product was affected adversely by Reshoots and the deletion of the mentioned Scene, he says with unwavering certainty, “It is an even better Film”.
I asked Ribisi about preparing for the role of Officer Conway Keller, and although he was diligent about placing himself in the mindset of the day including Chats with a 90-year-old Expert on Bugging, he insists most of his focus was poured into getting the Dynamic right with his fellow Gangster Squad mates. He tells me, “It all began in a conversation with Director Ruben Fleischer in the beginning about Conway being the role of the Conscience and also talking about the broader picture of Values in Society, especially in contrast to today’s day and age.”. “Of course you get into the History, you read Books about the context of Los Angeles around World War II and The Great Depression, which is so interesting”, he recalls. “The most important part though, was that Dynamic in Conway‘s Relationship with the rest of the Guys and what they ultimately wanted to do.”.
Despite working together with an interesting mix of Personalities on Gangster Squad, including Brolin who is known for being a Prankster on-set, the Actor remembers, “We were in an Environment where we really wanted to do our best” – meaning little time for play. As an interesting tidbit, this in fact is his fourth time he stars in a Film alongside Brolin. “He is a good Person and has a great Sense of Humour though”, Ribisi praises. Also we learned, he also spent a fair amount of time obsessing about whether or not scenes really were working, revealing “I mean you have the Actors, so the Talent definitely was there… we had Sexy Beast Ryan Gosling!”, he adds jokingly. “Wait, did I really just say that? What is he going to think?”.
On his favourite part about making Gangster Squad, he admits that it was all about the Cars and Clothing. “People used to get dressed. They really presented themselves to the World. I guess it was A Streetcar Named Desire where they saw Marlon Brando in a T-Shirt and then T-Shirts became prominent, but before that People wore ties and hats”, he reflects. “And then there were the Cars. The 1947 Chrysler Studebaker I drove, and of course the Night Club Slapsy Maxie‘s. You walked in and saw everyone dressed to the nines… it was just amazing!”.
We’ve all seen Ribisi grow-up throughout the years, transitioning from Child Actor, now to playing Father-type Roles. Need I remind you of his unforgettable work as a Teddy Bear-obsessed Father dancing to Tiffany in 2012 Box Office Smash Ted? I ask him about his key to success in surviving the Industry. He replies, “I’ve never really thought about myself in those terms to be honest. I mean, that also poses the question, “What defines success?”. He adds, “But if you ask me, I haven’t accomplished my best yet.”.
Following our Chat, Ribisi posed for a few Photos, before heading back to his Suite to freshen-up for the second-half of his busy Press Day. Although he had pondered a popular Hotspot at his Hotel, it was his loyalties to a certain Restaurant he loved last time he visited in the trendy west-end of the City determining his Dinner Plans.
Warner Bros. releases Gangster Squad on Friday, November 11, 2013.
To enter to win a Gangster Squad Prize Pack, which includes a size Large T-Shirt and two Shot Glasses, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will Wong on Facebook. You should also be following on Twitter! Canadian Readers are welcome to enter. Your deadline is February 1, 2013.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)