#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)
DANIEL RADCLIFFE IN TORONTO FOR “THE WOMAN IN BLACK” PREMIERE
A major star has descended upon Toronto and both Media and Fans alike had reason to rejoice. It isn’t every day Forbes Magazine’s Highest-Grossing Actor of 2011 graces the City. 22-year-old Daniel Radcliffe first rose to international recognition in 2001 after landing the coveted role of Harry Potter in what would amount to eight film adaptations of J.K. Rowling‘s adored Fantasy novels. Since then, there has been no turning back for London’s Radcliffe. Critics and audiences alike have responded to the Harry Potter franchise, grossing a staggering $7.7 billion worldwide.
Now that his days as Harry Potter have concluded, Radcliffe finds himself stretching his wings in plum assignments. In addition to having starred on Broadway‘s How to Succeed in Business Without Trying, he now tries his hand at Horror in his first starring role outside the series. The pressure is on and all eyes also are on him. The Woman in Black, directed by James Watkins has Radcliffe starring as a young, widowed Lawyer named Arthur Kipps, struggling to make ends meet for his sickly Son Joseph. Sent to a remote village to settle the affairs of a deceased Woman named Alice Drablow, he finds himself wrapped-up in the mystery surrounding the death of her and her Son Nathaniel, while Families continue to be tormented by her Ghost. As Arthur delves deeper and unravels the details of this eery tale, we fear that he too will fall victim to The Woman in Black.
On what drew him to the role of Arthur Kipps, Radcliffe reveals, “I was really keen on telling the story. I never expected that I’d do Horror. It’s never something I thought I’d do.”. He adds, “This story is about what happens when we don’t move-on from loss. Arthur has become emotionally-paralyzed, unable to feel and unable to become involved in his Son’s life”. “The Woman in Black has become consumed by her desire for revenge”, and this is what drives the Plot of this Adaptation of Susan Hill‘s 1983 novel of the same name.
Making his way over to me, an impeccably-dressed Radcliffe shakes my hand in true gentleman-like form. Although others had jumped-in, his kind Publicist ensured I secured a quick minute with the Megastar. I ask him about his own threshold for fear compared to that of his character Arthur, who brazenly moves forward at all costs to solve this mystery. He tells me, “That’s interesting. I don’t think Arthur is so much brave as he doesn’t care if he lives or dies.”. Pondering it further, he admits “I like to think that I’m fairly brave. I wouldn’t make the same mistake of going into that locked room. Like, what was he thinking?”. Funny. As an aside, Radcliffe personally rates The Woman in Black an 8.5 out of 10 on a scale of scariness.