Last week I caught up Andy Garcia while he was in London promoting his latest film City Island – a charming dysfunctional family flick that will melt even the coldest heart – I promise you, you’ll leave the cinema with a big fat smile on your face! Andy Garcia is an incredibly talented actor that I love seeing in anything, especially in great roles like this one.
What attracted you to City Island? And how did you get involved?
Andy Garcia: The script was sent to me by the director, who was also the writer – Raymond De Felitta, with the offer of playing the part and to produce the film with him if I liked to. I was very charmed by the script, it was easy to fall in love with. First of all it was a part that doesn’t necessarily come my way that often, it wasn’t the type of character I recognise immediately, the humanity in it, the humour, the emotion in it. Also the surprises in the story telling, there were always turns I wasn’t expecting, it was very clever. But then I had to decide if I also wanted to co produce it because I know what that challenge is having done about half a dozen films independently, I know it’s not a vanity title. I guess it can be if the film comes to you already financed. I knew with the climate that we have in today’s international distribution system, that people would most likely recognise the beauty in the script and we’ll be able to cast the movie well with great actors because actors want to play great parts.
It’s a challenge as a producer to get money, you challenge yourself by thinking, you’ve got no money, no one’s interested in your movie, do you abandon it or do you put it on your shoulders and say come on we’ve got to find a way and that’s what we did. It took us two and a half years, so I’m kind of very careful where I say I want to be a producer, I could have just said I love the part, I’d love to play it, you can use my name for whatever and let me know when we start. That would have been easier (laughs).
There’s such a great ensemble feel to the film, with that struggling against the odd’s feeling do you think that added to that feel?
Andy Garcia: Yeah, like I said I knew the film would attract great actors, both Julianna and Emily were friends of mine and people I had worked with before, they were the first people that came to my mind for these parts. In a way the stars had to line up because with Emily when we first called her she wasn’t available, but then when we got the money for the film, the actress that we had had another commitment she had to honour, so the part became available again. Everyone was great, Julianna jumped in with no prep, there was no rehearsal, the movie was shot in 27 days, we had a table read on Sunday, we started shooting on Monday. On Monday we sat around the dining room table and started eating pasta and arguing.