Coverage by Nobuhiro Hosoki
Interview with Director Raymond De Felitta and Actor Andy Garcia
Q: Can you tell us where the original idea came from? And also the idea for the set up on City Island?
(Raymond De FeLitta) I always had this idea in my head that it would be fascinating if the guy brought a son from another relationship nobody knew about into the family. This is because the family dynamic is flawed to begin with. To introduce an idea like that, it's just automatically a drama. So I had this idea for a long time. Then I had this other idea which I thought that was interesting. Showbiz starts for a lot of people by accident.
It seems like two separate ideas, then eventually they fuse. One weekend the New York Times did this article on City Island, which I'd never heard of. It is very peculiar, but also not peculiar, because a lots of New Yorkers don't know City Island is there! So I went to see this place that I just thought was very idyllic and strange at the same time. There's this place attached to the Bronx, just like a New England fishing village. So all this things fused for me at once.
Q: Did you just fall in love with this screenplay?
(Andy Garcia) Yeah, It's a great read and amazing characters. I did connect to them right away. So it was an easy decision.
Q: How was the acting with your daughter, Dominik Garcia -Lorido?
(Andy Garcia) Great! It was the third times we acted together. She's a pro, and she's a great actress. We didn't rehearse at home or on the set. We just sat around the dining table, then director said "Action!" and we did the scenes. Because it was very well written, we had the freedom to improvise. It was all inherent in the material, it's all there. Then we had good actors; they came ready to go.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about how many people can relate to the idea of being a family and just being connected?
(Andy Garcia) We have five different personalities in the family including Steven's character. You know these people, even though they are your children and your lives; they all have a specific point of views, interests, attitudes, and ups and downs in their own personal lives. So when they sit around the dining table, sometimes it's not quite..., sometimes good and, sometimes you go "What's wrong?" and they go "Nothing, I didn't wanna talk about it." That's because people are going through this in a life. Then all of a sudden, the dining table at that night takes a different tonality. People relate to it, because it's the universal struggle.
Q: Throughout your career, you chose between the films that were more family oriented and crime and darker films. Which one did you enjoy doing?
(Andy Garcia) I enjoy doing anything that I respond to, I don't have a preference. It's all about the material and who's involved, because sometimes the script needs some work, but the people involved--the director, you go "I wanna have that creative experience with that person." The people go to the movie, they don't read the script. They see only a finished product, and the script is like a guideline. it's not the ultimate film. So the script is important, but people who are actually making a movie, who are gonna take the script to the next level, that's also very important.
Q: What attracts you in a character when you read a script?
(Andy Garcia) I don't have any rules. I read something, I'm open to be affected by it. It affects me and moves me. I do the film; I don't look for anything specific.
Q: What was the fascination of working with director Raymond that sort of differentiates any of the directors you've worked with before?
(Andy Garcia) If I am forced to qualify Raymond, I would qualify him in Hal Ashby mode, since I worked with Hal. Even though he was a writer of the piece, he had the freedom to give the actors freedom to experiment with the materials. He sits back, watches what happens, then comes in and goes "How about this and that?" just enough for you to go, "That's all you need from the director," knowing that he's there watching, enjoying, participating in the process to keep the energy on a positive level.
Q: What Andy just said, is that something you are aware of?
(Raymond De FeLitta) You know what, it's funny. I think any directors will tell you that everyone does it differently. It's really hard to fit it in any mode. when I started directing, I used to be more hard on myself; I heard about like David Fincher or someone, his detail is so heavy, so precise. I said to myself "Why aren't I like that." I eventually realized that's not who I am. You kind of have to accept who you are as a director. To me, I much prefer a loose atmosphere very much, so the actors can feel free to go places and you just find your personality.
Q: What would you do if you had the same dysfunctional family like in this film?
(Andy Garcia) I think it's important for me as a father, to be honest and straight-forward to my family. I really don't have any secrets for my family; they knew everything about me. All I can do is to set a great example to them, to be a open book to them, so hopefully they have a communication with me. If they have an issue, they can come to me with it.