Back to One

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

  • Back to One, Episode 47: Shea Whigham

    Shea Whigham could easily be in the running for the hardest working actor in show business. In just this past year, he was in First Man, Beirut, Vice, and brilliantly played Thomas Carrasco, the Department of Defense bureaucrat tasked to investigate Julia Roberts’ character, in the series Homecoming. He’s worked with Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, David O. Russell, Terrence Malick, and is probably best known for playing corrupt mob brother Eli Thompson on Boardwalk Empire. In this half hour he talks extensively about his preparation process, what he’s learned from the greats, and much more. The constant room noise you…  Read more

    On Feb 26, 2019
    By on Feb 26, 2019Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 46: Ariel Kavoussi

    I first took note of Ariel Kavoussi’s singular comedic talent in Onur Tukel’s Applesauce and then Catfight, where she hilariously played Ann Heche’s assistant and stole every scene she was in. She performed a similar theft this past year on the Netflix series Maniac, opposite Emma Stone. She also writes and directs her own work. Her new short film The Poet and The Professor was called a “truly absurdist, provocative, and contemporary feminist film” by Indiewire. We talk about the origins of her approach to comedy, how she works the audition rooms she suddenly finds herself in, and her relationship…  Read more

    On Feb 19, 2019
    By on Feb 19, 2019Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 45: Josh Hamilton

    If I ever need to cry on cue, I can just picture the expression on Josh Hamilton’s face, in Eighth Grade, when Elsie Fisher hugs him. It’s a beautiful, wordless culmination of his incredible performance, which landed him a Spirit Award nomination this year. We discuss that scene, and he shares some of what he’s learned from jumping from the New York stage to the big and small screens and back again over the past 25 years. He talks about the importance of syncing with the director’s vision, being off-book before rehearsals, and why he’s a self described “take whore.”…  Read more

    On Feb 12, 2019
    By on Feb 12, 2019Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 44: Arctic and Polar Star Mads Mikkelsen

    Mads Mikkelsen is perhaps best known for playing villains in Casino Royale, Doctor Strange, and the television series Hannibal, but he’s also been called the “face of the resurgent Danish cinema,” culminating with his Best Actor win at Cannes for his work in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. In this half hour, he talks about performing some physically and emotionally wrenching scenes in two new movies he currently stars in, the pure survival film Arctic, and the live action adaptation of the popular graphic novel Polar. Warning: Spoilers abound. Arctic is in select theaters now. Polar is on Netflix. Back To…  Read more

    On Feb 5, 2019
    By on Feb 5, 2019Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 43: Noomi Rapace

    Noomi Rapace became an international sensation playing Lisbeth Salander in the original, Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and its sequels. Hollywood beckoned, and leading roles in such films as Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and Brian DePalma’s Passion followed. Now she stars in Vicky Jewson’s Netflix nail-biter Close, in a role based on real-life female bodyguard Jacquie Davis. In this half hour, Rapace talks about the intense training she went through to prepare for the part, and how that awareness expands to all aspects of her life. Plus she explains how “kicking ass” is more a mental exercise…  Read more

    On Jan 29, 2019
    By on Jan 29, 2019Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 42: Imogen Poots

    If you didn’t know Imogen Poots was British, it is understandable. Few young actors transform so chameleon-like, role-to-role, applying accents so skillfully. I was first wowed by her in Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way and then I actually didn’t even know it was her in Green Room until I saw the credits. She floored me again in Frank and Lola opposite Michael Shannon, in an entirely different kind of role. Now she plays a drifter with questionable parenting skills, who steers into escalating trouble in Mobile Homes, and by the end of the movie her performance wrecked me. In…  Read more

    On Jan 22, 2019
    By on Jan 22, 2019Actors
  • Back to One, Episode 41: First Reformed‘s Ethan Hawke

    Ethan Hawke’s “staying power” is grounded in hard work. He survived being the poster child of Generation X (Reality Bites), and thrived as Richard Linklater’s go-to actor (The Before Trilogy, Boyhood) and always returns to the true home of the actor–the theater (he’s currently starring in True West on Broadway). Now he has delivered one of the most critically acclaimed performances of the year in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. He generously shares the wisdom and knowledge he’s acquired over the years as an actor, and is extremely eloquent when doing so. In this episode, he talks about the importance of…  Read more

    On Jan 15, 2019
    By on Jan 15, 2019Actors
  • Back to One, Episode 40: Aidan Gillen

    He’s perhaps best known for his portrayal of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish on Game of Thrones but I first took note of the uniquely talented Aidan Gillen as Mayor Carcetti on The Wire. The Dublin native’s most recent role was the manager of Queen in Bohemian Rhapsody. Now he stars in the period UFO drama Project Blue Book, which premieres January 8th on History. In this half hour he talks about his intuition-based approach to preparation, how Jez Butterworth introduced him to the work of John Cassavetes, and I toss a name at him to spark some memories from The Wire.…  Read more

    On Jan 8, 2019
    By on Jan 8, 2019Actors
  • Back to One, Episode 39: Cold War‘s Joanna Kulig

    Joanna Kulig’s performance in Cold War is so astonishingly captivating and commanding and downright brilliant, that it feels like a classic performance delivered by an immortal screen goddess from the golden age of film. The film’s penetrating black-and-white cinematography and Pawel Pawlikowski’s impeccable direction helps, but this Polish masterpiece, short-listed for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, is impossible to imagine without Kulig. In this half hour she talks about how her music training came in handy while shooting the intricate moving camera shots in the film, and she ponders what it means when someone says she’s “so natural.” Plus…  Read more

    On Dec 25, 2018
    By on Dec 25, 2018Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 38: The Party’s Just Beginning‘s Director and Star Karen Gillan

    Starting with her big break on Dr. Who, and continuing with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers series, Karen Gillan has grown accustomed to fervent fandom surrounding her acting work. With The Party’s Just Beginning, (which she wrote, directed, and stars in) she stepped away from that hubbub to make a small, dark, intricately structured film in her hometown in Scotland. The movie folds out from her character through hallucinations, flashbacks and alcoholic hazes to tell the tale of her grief over her best friend’s suicide. I ask her what it was like directing a feature for the first…  Read more

    On Dec 18, 2018
    By on Dec 18, 2018Columns
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