Adventures In Romania

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I came in search of freedom, culture, inspiration. And I have found all three of these things. Like I said in my previous editorial, which I hope is not soooo long ago that you forgot it all, I have lived all kinds of movies...

Please excuse my absence. I was preparing the show for my Acting In English program, which was a resounding success. What is Acting In English, you ask? Well, continue reading my columns and you will learn much more about it! Anyhoo, lucky for us, the Internet stores things until long after we’re dead, so you can refresh your memory here! 

As I said in my previous editorial, I have lived all kinds of movies. Now it was time for the international thriller, with a fresh new twist, exotic locales, intrigue and more! And so, like many film makers before me, I decided to set my next adventure here in Romania.

Why did I come here? Well, if it’s good enough for Francis Ford Coppola, it’s good enough for me! What did I expect? I don’t know. I came with an open mind. Right when I got here, exciting things were happening. The Ghost Rider sequel was shooting here. There was talk of Christopher Nolan scouting here for The Dark Knight Rises, which ultimately did not shoot here. And Ghost Rider turned out to be a horrible movie. Like, really bad.

One thing I had hoped for was a level of accessibility that is just no longer possible in Los Angeles and New York, because of all the nutballs who come to Hollywood just to get famous. To actually be able to speak with and pitch myself to the decision makers here. The first project I worked on here demonstrated that this was possible.

The film was Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood. This is a film about the police brutality at the Genoa G8 summit in 2001. It is an international film with actors from all different countries that shot here in Romania, with Bobby Paunescu’s Mandragora Movies, because of the political pressure surrounding the project in Italy. The story of how I won the part is truly epic and was exactly what I hoped for. More on that story in future columns. Keep reading!

Next came the unexpected twist! I began introducing myself to all the casting directors, and auditioned for a role in a straight to DVD Universal reboot Werewolf. The film is another take on the werewolf legend set in 19th century Romania, so they were using a lot of Romanian actors for authenticity.

I did not win that role, but I was asked to be dialogue coach for the Romanian actors. This meant I would help these actors with the rhythm and correct pronunciation of their text. This was part of the inspiration for my Acting In English program. Bianca being the other part.

Finally, the coup d’etat! I acted on Romanian television, in Romanian, with the great Florin Calinescu!  This was also thanks to Bianca. Bianca is the creative producer of his ProTV sitcom, Tanti Florica. This means she oversees the scripts, and makes sure the story flows and the jokes make sense. The equivalent of a show runner on an American sitcom.

She introduced me to Mr. Calinescu, and he believed in me enough to choose me for the part of an American missionary. So, there I was, improvising, what little I could, with Florin Calinescu! You can watch that episode, number 6, over at Oh, the lies they made up about me in the media. Pretty funny stuff…Remind me to tell you about that.

My most recent role was playing Brian in a new Romanian movie called Limani, starring Monica Birladeanu. I was very lucky because I worked with her on Diaz and she recommended me for this film. The funny thing is, these are famous people in Romania, but I had no idea who they were when I started working here. If it had been the American equivalent of these personalities, I might have been intimidated by them.

But since I didn’t know them, when I worked on, for example, The Wolfman, I would sit in the trailer with the actor and work on his dialogue, and say to myself something like "That Florin seems like a pretty cool guy". Then I would get home and show Bianca the call sheet and she would say "You’re working with Florin Piersic, Jr? I had such a crush on him in High School!" And I reply "Well, I’m not introducing you to him then". Lucky for me, she did not feel the same way about introducing me to Florin Calinescu.

So here I have found freedom. The freedom to smoke wherever I want! Culture, everywhere, an appreciation for the arts and culture, culture that must be preserved. And I have found inspiration in my Acting In English program, and my students, who inspire me every day, with their theatrical background and interest in the new techniques, and willingness to let me mold them.

But I suspect this is only Act 1. I am excited to share with you my past and future adventures as I embark on a journey to make internationally successful films here in Romania. Again, I invite you to be interactive, and if there is anything you would like to hear more about, post it in the comments section. Until next time, which I promise will be sooner than the last.

Have Fun!

Articol scris de James Longshore, actor si regizor american, stabilit in Bucuresti

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us

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