News Column

Paul Giamatti stars in everything

October 6, 2013


Oct. 06--The best actors seamlessly transition through totally unrelated projects, seeming equally at home in, say, present-day Brooklyn, the antebellum South and Renaissance Verona.

Paul Giamatti is, by any measure, one of our finest performers, a character actor of seemingly limitless skill.

So it's no coincidence that this month alone you can catch him playing very different characters in "All is Bright," "12 Years a Slave" and "Romeo and Juliet," three movies set in those very different settings, not to mention Abraham Zapruder in "Parkland," about the aftermath of JFK's assassination.

amNewYork spoke with Giamatti about "All is Bright," which is also the fourth film his production company has produced, and more. "All is Bright" and "Parkland" are now in theaters; "Romeo and Juliet" opens Friday and "12 Years a Slave" follows next week.

Why'd you sign on to "All is Bright" as an executive producer?

I tend to be interested in trying to help people out who won't normally get their movie made. That's what I saw here, an opportunity. A woman [Melissa James Gibson] I think is a really good writer, an interesting person and if I can help her get her movie made I'm enjoying doing that.

Why is helping fledgling filmmakers important to you?

I can do it. We're moving into TV ... because frankly it's a little bit easier than the independent movie thing. So how do you get an independent film made?

It helps to have Paul Rudd in the movie. He was fortunately really interested in it. It helps to have me in it. It helps to have Rudd in it more than me. And it helps to have somebody like Phil [Morrison] direct it. One or all of those things will help. You have to have more "name-y" people in them now unfortunately. It didn't used to be the case.

What about a movie like "Sideways"?

It's funny, I think now a movie like "Sideways" wouldn't get made. Nobody knew who the hell I was or who the hell Tom [Haden Church] was when we made that movie.

So what's your standard for a successful experience on a movie?

I suppose from my personal point of view it's just having satisfactory days at work acting. I have no idea what it's going to end up like. It's out of your hands, largely. So to actually just have the satisfaction of doing what I like to do ? it sounds like a really basic thing but it's harder than you would think to actually happen, especially on film. ... Whether it makes a lot of money or not, I don't know.


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