Back to One

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

  • Back To One Episode 226, Special Episode: Writing As Acting (A Scriptnotes Segment)

    On a special episode of Back To One, I’m sharing a segment from a recent episode of the popular screenwriting podcast Scriptnotes called “Writing As Acting.” In it, screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin “analyze what lessons writers can learn from acting techniques (such as staying present) and working with actors (like staying open).” When I first heard this segment, I desperately wanted to share it with Back To One listeners because I thought it was very enlightening, and maybe even healing, to hear creatives on the other side of the camera talk thoughtfully, and with sensitivity, about the process…  Read more

    On Oct 25, 2022
    By on Oct 25, 2022 Columns
  • “This Is as Grassroots as It Gets”: Pretty Problems Star Britt Rentschler, Back To One Episode 225

    Britt Rentschler is the star of Pretty Problems, a smart and hilarious new indie adult comedy which she also produced and helped write with screenwriter and co-star Michael Tennant. In this episode, she talks about their lengthy commitment to making the story work, building their characters with depth, and the risky but triumphant decision to cast their talented friends in supporting roles rather than famous actors who might have secured more money. She describes how her apprehension toward playing the lead role of Lindsay actually benefited her performance, the ways director Kestrin Pantera brought the best out of everyone, plus…  Read more

    On Oct 18, 2022
    By on Oct 18, 2022 Actors
  • Triangle of Sadness Star Dolly de Leon on Finally Letting “Whatever I Have in My Body or in My Heart” Out

    Dolly de Leon is a Filipina veteran actor of film and TV who is now, due to her outstanding performance in Triangle of Sadness, being spoken about with words like “newcomer” and “breakthrough.” That might have something to do with the “I’m the captain now” nature of the role she plays in the Palme d’Or winning film. It’s like the character and the actor are both saying “I have arrived.” In this episode, she describes the dark place she was in right before auditioning for the part, how director Ruben Ostlund’s collaborative approach sparked her dynamic creativity, why watching the…  Read more

    On Oct 11, 2022
    By on Oct 11, 2022 Actors
  • “It’s Like Clouds Passing in the Sky”: Isabelle Huppert on her Elusive Acting Process (Back to One, Episode 223)

    If Isabelle Huppert is not your favorite actor, she’s the favorite actor of someone you know. Guaranteed. There’s something about her that is unlike any other actor that has ever been on film. But it’s really hard to talk about what that “something” is. In each performance, in every film she’s made, she has such a command of the character, the text, the frame, that we place her in equal authorship with the directors she’s worked with, who happen to be some of most interesting and important in the last half-century—Jean Luc-Godard, Michael Haneke, Claude Chabrol, Michael Cimino, Claire Denis,…  Read more

    On Oct 4, 2022
    By on Oct 4, 2022 Columns
  • Cobra Kai Star Xolo Maridueña on His Year of Acting Revelations (Back to One, Episode 222)

    Xolo Maridueña has been playing Miguel Diaz on the hit series Cobra Kai for five seasons, starting when he was 16 years old. On this episode, he talks about how preparing for his dream role as Blue Beetle (in the eponymous D.C. superhero movie coming out next year) sent him down a road that expanded his acting capabilities in new and exciting ways. Plus he talks about William Zabka’s positive influence on him, and the ways that played into how he took on his leadership duties when he got to be number one on the call sheet. Back To One…  Read more

    On Sep 27, 2022
    By on Sep 27, 2022 Columns
  • The Woman King Star Lashana Lynch on the Soil, the Sisterhood and Making History

    Last year, Lashana Lynch made history as 007 in No Time To Die, this year she uses history to energize her powerful performance in The Woman King. In this episode she talks about how filming that movie “barefoot, on that soil,” surrounded by a truly supportive sisterhood, was so significant to her performance. She explains why she doesn’t have (or even want) a go-to preparation process, what choosing the hard road of avoiding stereotypical roles has done for her career, why she cherishes outstanding assistant directors, and much more. Plus she gives us a peek at her role as Miss…  Read more

    On Sep 20, 2022
    By on Sep 20, 2022 Actors
  • Essie Davis on When She Stopped “Trying” and Started “Being”: Back To One Episode 220

    Australian actor Essie Davis is best known for The Babadook, Game of Thrones, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. This year, she stunned me with two incredible performances in two powerful films. In Nitram, directed by her husband Justin Kurzel, she plays the important and heartbreaking supporting role of Helen, opposite Caleb Landry Jones. In The Justice of Bunny King she broke my heart again, this time playing the house-less titular character who is desperately trying to get her kids out of foster care. It was made pre-pandemic and had a staggered release last year overseas. Look for it in select…  Read more

    On Sep 13, 2022
    By on Sep 13, 2022 Columns
  • A middle-aged white man with dark wavy hair “The Fear Was Real”: John Christopher Jones on Returning to Set with Advanced Parkinson’s (Back to One, Episode 219)

    Esteemed veteran actor John Christopher Jones returns to the podcast (his first time was episode 13) to talk about conquering the “real fear” he had of going back to work, in a guest starring role on the television series New Amsterdam, while dealing with the unpredictable and often debilitating effects of worsening Parkinson’s. Then he takes us on a brief tour of the various directors that worked well for him over the years, and others that, sometimes hilariously, fell a little short, like José Quintero and his maddening direction in the 1985 production of The Iceman Cometh with Jason Robards.…  Read more

    On Sep 6, 2022
    By on Sep 6, 2022 Columns
  • “The Only Important Thing is the Work”: Austin Pendleton on a Life on Stage (Back to One, Episode 218)

    Austin Pendleton might be best known for My Cousin Vinny, or What’s Up Doc? but the 82-year-old actor, director, playwright and teacher is a one-man theater institution. It almost seems like there isn’t a great play that he hasn’t performed or directed, somewhere, in his more than 60 years in the business, and he’s not slowing down in the slightest. In this epic, 90-minute episode, what Meryl Streep said of Pendleton will ring tru: “There’s no line between the man and his work.” He talks about his latest performance, in the celebrated new Tracy Letts play The Minutes, then takes…  Read more

    On Aug 30, 2022
    By on Aug 30, 2022 Columns
  • “Listening Became My Prime Directive” Back to One, Episode 217: Adrian Pasdar

    Adrian Pasdar has experienced a lot in his nearly 40 years as a working actor and in this episode he generously shares the wisdom he’s gleaned. Some of the highlights in his credits include Top Gun, Near Dark, Carlitos Way, Heroes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and perhaps the most talked about single-season series of the ’90s, Profit. Not to mention he’s the voice of Iron Man. He talks about how listening became his prime directive as an actor, his search for truth in performance (and the search for a better word than “truth”), “the method” as protective element, and why he…  Read more

    On Aug 23, 2022
    By on Aug 23, 2022 Actors
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