Back to One

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

  • 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, 2019 Columns
  • 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, 2019 Columns
  • 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, 2019 Actors
  • 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, 2019 Actors
  • 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, 2019 Actors
  • 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, 2018 Columns
  • 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, 2018 Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 37: Disobedience Actor Alessandro Nivola

    We’re catching Alessandro Nivola at a very interesting moment in his career. A day before our talk, he was awarded Best Supporting Actor at the British Independent Film Awards for his incredible performance in Disobedience, and a few days before that it was announced that he will star in David Chase’s Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. He talks about the benefits of having time to prepare for the role of Rabbi Dovid Kuperman and facing the challenge of delivering that important climatic speech. And how, for him, inhabiting a character often starts with the voice. Plus he confesses…  Read more

    On Dec 11, 2018
    By on Dec 11, 2018 Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 36: The Long Dumb Road‘s Jason Mantzoukas

    Jason Manzoukos has made a living “bringing the funny” in tv shows like The League, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, and movies such as The House, and The Dictator. Now he stars in Hannah Fidell’s The Long Dumb Road with Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel). In this half hour, I send him down a rabbit hole on the evolution of comedy, he tells a great story about getting the hard truth from a casting director early in his career, and talks about when to “pitch an alt.” Plus I forbid all comedic podcast banter and he…  Read more

    On Dec 6, 2018
    By on Dec 6, 2018 Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 35: James Ransone

    James Ransone doesn’t like to talk about himself. He also doesn’t like to talk about acting. This might have been a disastrous interview except that his expressed frustration at having to speak about these things actually spawned an interesting and raw conversation about acting. I first noticed Ransone in the role of Ziggy in Season 2 of The Wire. He went on to star in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill, and in movies like Sinister, Tangerine and Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake. This year he played an astronaut in Hulu’s The First and he’s now shooting IT Chapter 2. His direct,…  Read more

    On Dec 4, 2018
    By on Dec 4, 2018 Columns
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