Russ Russo – An Act of War
By: Jamie Steinbeg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I wrapped in March on The Devil and The Deep Blue Seawith Jessica Biel, Jason Sudeikis, Maisie Williams, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser and Justin Timberlake composing for director Bill Purple. I really enjoyed that experience and now I’m about to go film a movie called Bad Frank with Tom Sizemore, Amanda Clayton and Kevin Interdonato.
Q) We recently saw you in the film An Act of War. How was your character Jacob Nicks originally described to you?
A) I was given the script by producer, Atit Shah, whom I’d known for years, but hadn’t worked on anything together at that time. I think he had seen me in a dramatic play, but we met by chance at Cannes and realized we were both New Yorkers. So, Atit just said, “Read this,” and I did. Jacob hadn’t really been described to me before reading the script.
Q) What made you want to be a part of the film?
A) When I read the script, I knew I was in. As I turned each page, I just began to well up because I knew this was something I had been looking to do in cinema for quite some time and now I had the material to say something with.
Q) Was there anything you added to your role that wasn’t originally scripted for you?
A) If anything, there was a discussion between Ryan [Kennedy] and I about saying more without having to speak.
Q) You have noted the role was personal for you. In what ways?
A) My biological father came home from Vietnam, receiving a Silver Star for bravery over the Perfume River. He came back suffering with PTSD and as a young child I watched him go through a lot of what you see Jacob suffer with in this film. It got so bad my mother left him so I hadn’t seen him since I was a kid. We had just reunited after twenty years or so and then he got cancer and very quickly passed away as we began filming this movie.
Q) How were you able to decompress after such an intense role?
A) I was so isolated for that role. I chose to live in that windowless apartment in Brooklyn a month before filming to prepare. So when it was over, I did the opposite by surrounding myself with friends, family and a lot of laughter.
Q) What was it like working with director Ryan M. Kennedy?
A) Ryan has an old soul for such a young director. He was only twenty-one years old when we filmed this movie. Ryan and I had to be right there for each other because in order for this to be alive, we needed to be almost of one mind. We really had each other’s back throughout this process. It was tough and grueling at times, but we somehow still stayed connected throughout.
Q) What were some of your most memorable moments from filming An Act of War?
A) There was a scene, which for understandable reasons, didn’t make the final film. In the scene Jacob has this breakdown at the end of the film and just lets it all out, cries, sobs uncontrollably. We must have done the scene for twenty minutes, three or four takes of it – just long takes. It was so cathartic. We were so close to the end of the filming process, I felt myself letting go of Jacob and my biological father, both, in the room that day.
Q) What do you hope viewers take away from watching the film?
A) I hope if someone watches this they become more aware of PTSD and they have a longing for a deeper human connection. As Jacob says, “There’s still some good left in the world.”
Q) You are a part of social media. Have you enjoyed the feedback you have received on the film and why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?A) The feedback on the film has been life affirming. People seem to be connecting with the character more than I could have imagined. Even with his flaws, the isolation, it has somehow struck a nerve with people who then get in touch with me through social media. It’s important for me to connect with other human beings. I’m shy sometimes and film gives me my expression. Social media allows me to keep in touch even when I want to withdraw from personal interaction. It makes me realize that, through all of our differences, we’re a lot of the same inside. We all just want to express ourselves, be seen, heard or felt in some way.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) If someone cares about the work, they’ve got my friendship for life.
Russ Russo’s IMDb is located at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0973729/
Russ Russo’s bio: http://www.russrusso.com/bio/
Russo Russo’s social media: (Twitter) http://www.twitter.com/russrusso & (Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/russrussofanpage
Russ Russo’s official site: http://www.russrusso.com