Back to One

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

  • Back to One, Episode 143: Alison Wright

    She’s probably best known for her Emmy-Nominated performance as FBI secretary Martha Hanson on FX’s critically acclaimed series The Americans, and now Alison Wright has breathed life into another complex character in yet another hit series—Ruth Wardle on TNT’s Snowpiercer. In this hour, she gives us a peek under the hood of her craft and we get closer to understanding how she’s able to bring such naturalism and depth to all her performances. She talks about her early fascination with “The Method” that led her to the Lee Strasberg Institute, her “thought-linked” approach to the text which she developed over…  Read more

    On Feb 23, 2021
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  • Back to One, Episode 142: Olivia Cooke

    Olivia Cooke had no formal training and claims to have no real process. Is she just a natural? A freak of nature? How else to explain the incredible range and astounding talent of this rising star? I first took note of her work in the black comedy Thoroughbreds, and then Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One and the British mini-series Vanity Fair. She is on fire now with three new films, Little Fish, Pixie, and last year’s Sound of Metal. I ask her to break down one amazing scene in the latter, and she talks about the advantages of its immersive…  Read more

    On Feb 16, 2021
    By on Feb 16, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 141: Delroy Lindo

    There are several moments in Delroy Lindo’s performance as Paul in Da 5 Bloods where I believe the voiceless (Black solders who never came back from Vietnam?) speak through him. Sure that might be hooey, but the very idea that I believe it says something about his incredible work in Spike Lee’s celebrated Netflix film. On this episode, I ask Lindo to break down the filming of the gripping monologue that is the centerpiece of that performance, and about his initial apprehension and ultimate acceptance of the MAGA aspect of Paul’s character. He takes us back to his first formative…  Read more

    On Feb 9, 2021
    By on Feb 9, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 140: Christina Anthony

    Christina Anthony plays Denise on the ABC series Mixed-ish. She generously gives us a fascinating inside look at working on a sitcom from the point of view of an actor who is totally new to the process. She tells the story of sitting at a table read 90 minutes after being cast on the show following years of struggling through more than 100 fruitless pilot auditions, talks about how her Chicago theater roots still pay dividends in her work, getting used to the idea of rotating directors, knowing when to speak up about issues with the script, and how she’s…  Read more

    On Feb 2, 2021
    By on Feb 2, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 139: Tom Noonan

    As the annual Sundance Film Festival begins again this week, legendary actor/director Tom Noonan takes us back 27 years to a very different Sundance, where his film What Happened Was… won the Grand Jury Prize. It’s the ultimate “actor’s film,” just two people, Noonan and the incredible Karen Sillas, in one room, real time, on a first date like no other. He talks about the circumstances that led him to Sillas, the extensive rehearsal process they had, the production, and the ups and downs of its ultimately triumphant reception. Plus Noonan tells the story of the first big lesson that…  Read more

    On Jan 27, 2021
    By on Jan 27, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 138: Nicole Beharie

    Some actors go through a transformation to the point where the word “performance” feels inadequate. “Embodiment” is more apt. Nicole Beharie transforms into Turquoise Jones in Channing Godfrey People’s film Miss Juneteenth. It’s a wonder to behold. On this episode, she talks about the immersive preparation work that went into her Gotham Award-winning performance, how the opportunity to take her time and “own the space” affected her work in a deep way, and the substitutions necessary to create the motherly bond so central to the film. Plus we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of unanswered questions in a performance, and…  Read more

    On Jan 19, 2021
    By on Jan 19, 2021Columns
  • Back to One, Episode 137: Nat Wolff

    The only thing that makes this a “Special Holiday Episode” of Back To One is a brief mention of Hanukkah, but the talented Nat Wolff brings plenty of joy to make up for it. He talks about playing Lloyd Henreid in the new version of The Stand on CBS All Access, and one scene in particular that worried him until an 11th hour “cloak of inspiration” fell upon him in the form of a song. I ask about his directorial debut, a short called Youngest that just might be the film that has affected me the most of all the…  Read more

    On Dec 22, 2020
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  • Back to One, Episode 136: Justine Lupe

    Willa on Succession, Astrid on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jade on Younger, Holly on Mr. Mercedes, all characters brought to life by the great actor Justine Lupe, with all their quirks and nuances rooted in a reality that makes them seem to go on living outside the frame. On this episode, she takes us back to her time at Juilliard where she enjoyed the bootcamp-like training that suited her all-in approach to the work. She talks about growing to appreciate all kinds of directors, the importance of bonding with the camera operator, and shares her incomprehensible, hieroglyphic-like script marking technique…  Read more

    On Dec 15, 2020
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  • Back to One, Episode 135: Tuppence Middleton

    English actor Tuppence Middleton is on a steady, slow rise and that seems to suit her just fine. On this side of the pond she’s perhaps best known for playing Riley Blue on the Netflix sci-fi series Sense8 and Lucy Smith in the Downton Abbey movie, but you’d be foolish not to seek out her work in Trap For Cinderella and War and Peace. Now she’s part of the impressive ensemble in David Fincher’s latest film Mank. She plays “Poor Sara” Mankiewicz, wife of the alcoholic co-writer of Citizen Kane, played by Gary Oldman. I ask her about working with…  Read more

    On Dec 8, 2020
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  • Back to One, Episode 134: Aubrey Plaza

    From Parks And Recreation to Legion, from indie film queen to The Happiest Season, Aubrey Plaza is not done surprising us. Everybody’s favorite late-night talk-show guest and hilarious awards-show host rarely gets to show off the serious roots of her acting chops. Enter Black Bear. The Sundance hit from Lawrence Michael Levine stars Plaza as a former actress on a writing retreat opposite Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon. Further description is not only pointless, it can be detrimental to your enjoyment of the film. Let’s just say it’s worth your time, in large part because of the emotional territory Plaza…  Read more

    On Dec 1, 2020
    By on Dec 1, 2020Columns
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