Robert Davi Video Interview On 'The Dukes,' James Bond
Robert Davi talks about directing his first film The Dukes.
There were quite a few moments that I think are memorable. Two moments in particular actually and it was around Chaz and it was terrific: convincing Chaz to put on a tomato costume and black tights. That was a memorable moment because I used all my powers of persuasion to get him to wear a tomato costume so you can imagine the effect of having us both in tomato costumes. That was a memorable moment. And finally seeing him in a tomato costume and the combination of the two of us and the whole thing. The other one was the first time we got on stage and we sang. That was a very memorably moment when the audience was there and it was very moving and also just spontaneous and fun.
Let's put it this way: there's an old saying that you can't judge a book by it's cover. Hollywood is basically about typecasting and I have a rough exterior although I've trained classically in opera and theater. So acting and directing and writing let me open the book and show more of who I am and express more of that side of my personality which is an archetype of a bad guy although I've played some good guys. So this is very satisfying to play a vulnerable side of myself in 'The Dukes.'
This was the first time I've directed a picture and it's not the first time i've thought about directing, i've been doing that since I was a young guy. The first cinema that I saw was Italian neorealism. My grandparents from Italy took me to the Italian cinema in New York. When I watched those films as a young boy I was intrigued, not only by the acting or performance inside the film, but the overall statement that was being said inside the film. That was the first impulse I had at wanting to direct. So over the years my training and acting and doing plays and different films and television series I've watched directors work and cinematographers work and like an old boxer or heavyweight fighter you assume and assimilate the sense and skill of directing.
The inspiration came to me during the late 70s when I was studying in New York with Stella Adler. I'd read in the newspaper about steelworkers in American plants that had their jobs for 20+ years getting laid off. As a young guy that echoed within me because that sense of security you have when we're young people, what do you do when you're faced with something your whole life and you can no longer do it anymore. What happens? A year later my own father got laid off from his job and I was reading a book by Alvin Toffler called 'The Third Wave' where he talked about the industrial age and the technological one and how the economy and the country would fall, would change in the world. How it would change as we come from an industrial age to a technological one. Those ideas intrigue me. I wanted to tell it in a light and pretentious manor so I did it with a doo-op group where irrelevancy echoed what was going on in our country in the economy and the job force. Cut to 2008, it has this absolute topical thing and it offers some moral choices for some people who have this desperation. There's a heist involved that's very funny and things aren't really what they seem in the picture in some instances and it doesn't turn out to be the answer to our lives, nor the answer to what we're all facing today. The film provides hope and spirit.