Back to One

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

  • 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
  • Back to One, Episode 149: Danny Deferrari

    In this epic episode, we really get to know the talented actor Danny Deferrari, who plays Max in Emma Seligman’s brilliant and hilarious new film Shiva Baby, and I’m eternally grateful for it. He talks about appreciating the “emotional language” that Seligman speaks and the heavy life situation that was weighing on him during that movie. He takes us through his early training as an actor, his formative and important seasons at the Williamstown Theater Festival, and the trials and tribulations that brought him to his “Holy Trinity of Artistic Safety.” I break down how a small performance of his…  Read more

    On Apr 6, 2021
    By on Apr 6, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 148: Billy Magnussen

    Billy Magnussen is a Tony nominated actor who you know from Game Night, Into The Woods, Ingrid Goes West and Maniac. On this episode, he talks about the foundational benefits of his early stint on a soap opera, the importance of showing up for your career, his fondness for Cristin Milioti, his co-star on the wonderful new HBO Max series Made for Love (with stories of pestering her mercilessly when they both performed on Broadway in theaters next door to each other), and he makes an impassioned plea for the celebration of NEW works in the theater. Plus much more!…  Read more

    On Mar 30, 2021
    By on Mar 30, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 147: Lily Rabe

    Lily Rabe is probably best know for inhabiting a half-dozen characters over many seasons on Ryan Murphy’s hugely popular American Horror Story series, and recently her supporting performance in The Undoing had a lot of people talking, but in New York City, she’s theater royalty. I pinpoint my first encounter with her greatness. It was as Portia in The Merchant of Venice for Shakespeare in the Park. The court scene. She details the lengths director Daniel Sullivan went to avoid rehearsing that scene, and the miraculous occurrence when they finally did. She talks about being an “over-packer” when it comes…  Read more

    On Mar 23, 2021
    By on Mar 23, 2021Columns
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