Back to One

A podcast about acting -- just the work. by Peter Rinaldi

  • Back to One, Episode 159: William Zabka

    It makes sense that Cobra Kai star William Zabka often uses phrases common to musicians, like “find the rhythm” and “in the pocket,” to help describe his acting process. Not only is he a musician himself, but music plays a fascinating part in his process. The phenomenal surprise success of Cobra Kai is due in no small part to the depth and intensity Zabka brings to the role of Johnny, which obviously has deep roots in his career. On this episode he talks about those roots, breaking down the text until it “falls into his belly,” the “rivers” that run…  Read more

    On Jun 22, 2021
    By on Jun 22, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 158: Ben Rosenfield

    Ben Rosenfield has only been at it for 10 years, but he already has an interesting body of work behind him—Boardwalk Empire, 6 Years, Greetings From Tim Buckley (in which he played Buckley), the third season of Twin Peaks, and last year’s Mrs. America, to name just a few. Not to mention the New York stage productions where he performed opposite Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. Maybe this is why the 28 year old speaks with the wisdom of an acting elder. He talks about the “turning of the soil” that has to happen with the text before he builds…  Read more

    On Jun 15, 2021
    By on Jun 15, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 157: Susan Kelechi Watson

    We’re catching the super talented Susan Kelechi Watson at an interesting moment. She plays Beth Pearson on the network television phenomenon This Is Us, which just finished its fifth season and announced that the sixth will be its last. On this episode, she talks about what makes a performance “leave the screen,” learning the power of minimalism from watching Sade, how sometimes being a little lost “in the wilderness” is an important part of her process, why she started building her post-This Is Us career many seasons ago, and much much more! Back To One can be found wherever you…  Read more

    On Jun 8, 2021
    By on Jun 8, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 156: Jean Smart

    Jean Smart is the very definition of versatile. The three-time Emmy winner’s first act highlights include Designing Women, Frasier, 24, and now a new act in her career, filled even juicier roles, starting with Fargo, Legion, and Watchmen, has led to current HBO favorites Mare of Easttown, with Kate Winslet, and a starring role in Hacks. In this half-hour she talks about the importance of hearing the character’s voice, why not being an ingenue may have helped her career, frustrating ways the industry has changed for actors, her love for her current co-stars, why studio audiences throw her off her…  Read more

    On Jun 1, 2021
    By on Jun 1, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 155: Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly from The Nevers

    On a very special double episode, Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly sit down for in-depth conversations on their craft and the magic they make together on the new HBO series The Nevers. Donnelly talks about an artistic breakthrough that happened in rehearsal for a play that changed her perception of herself as an artist. Skelly talks about coming to the realization, early on, that she was getting “too technical” and what she did to bring back her “sense of discomfort again.” And they both describe the fascinating ways their approach to the work complement each other, and how their mutual…  Read more

    On May 25, 2021
    By on May 25, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 154: Dot-Marie Jones

    Fifteen-time arm wrestling champion and three-time Emmy nominee Dot-Marie Jones inspired viewers with her moving portrayal of Coach Beiste on Glee, which was her third time in a Ryan Murphy universe, after Nip/Tuck and Pretty/Handsome. Last year she played “Little Helen” in Greener Grass, and now she’s “Big Sexy” in the hilarious and charming arm wresting comedy Golden Arm. On this episode she tells the story of how, as an athlete who knew nothing about acting, an opportunity propelled her into the business after hearing the words “cold read” and imagining some kind of weather endurance test. She talks about…  Read more

    On May 18, 2021
    By on May 18, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 153: Andrew Garfield

    With remarkable performances in films like Hacksaw Ridge, The Social Network, Under The Silver Lake and Silence, Andrew Garfield has established himself as one of the great actors of his generation. And now a virtuoso performance in Gia Coppola’s new film Mainstream solidifies that. On this episode, he talks about two transformative experiences in the theater (Death of A Salesman and Angels In America) that changed him in deep ways, and what he did on the nights when he felt so emotionally drained that he literally couldn’t go on the stage. He talks about why he needs to feel “called”…  Read more

    On May 11, 2021
    By on May 11, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 152: Shannon Devido

    I first came in contact with the juggernaut that is Shannon DeVido in her hilarious portrayal of Andrea Mumford on Difficult People. Another recurring role on the Netflix series Insatiable followed, and now the actor/singer/comedian gets to combine it all in the smile-inducing new movie musical Best Summer Ever. On this episode, she talks about the passionate, super-positive, love-filled environment that fueled that ambitious production and the ways she adjusted to a starring role after years of guest spots. She gives us a peek at what it’s like to navigate the acting world as a disabled person, and why the…  Read more

    On May 4, 2021
    By on May 4, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 151: Julian Kostov

    Julian Kostov is a multilingual Bulgarian actor, producer, and advocate for slavic representation. He plays Fedyor on the new hit Netflix fantasy series Shadow and Bone. On this episode, he takes us from his depressed student years, when it was folly to even dream of working as an actor, through the difficult period of the growth of his craft, recovering from big auditions, strengthened by personal breakthroughs that fuel the work, all the way through the harnessing of his ability to bring his unique spin to wonderful roles and help others with the founding of his company JupiterLights Media, which…  Read more

    On Apr 27, 2021
    By on Apr 27, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 150: Clancy Brown

    Clancy Brown is a living legend of actor’s actors. With nearly 300 credits, from Highlander and The Shawshank Redemption to SpongeBob SquarePants and Promising Young Woman, he’s morphed and adapted in this business and made it work for him. On this episode, I ask him how his approach to preparation has changed over the years. He talks about the importance of knowing the narrative purpose of your character, why “faster, funnier, louder” are directorial notes that work for him, and how he looked at auditioning as exercising his Spencer-Tracy-don’t-bump-into-the-furniture muscles. You can tell he had fun playing Montgomery Dark, a…  Read more

    On Apr 14, 2021
    By on Apr 14, 2021Columns
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