Actors reveal how CITY ISLAND got started

There have been a few movies that gave moviegoers a glimpse into the lives of dysfunctional families. Academy Award nominated actor Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Thirteen) leads an all-star cast that includes Emmy-winner Julianne Marguiles (The Good Wife) and Oscar-winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) in City Island. The film is about the Rizzo family, a dysfunctional family that has each family member hiding secrets from each other including a New York corrections officer (Garcia) with a secret desire to become an actor and his daughter (Dominik Garcia-Loredo) who has become a stripper after being suspended from college.
The Beacon had a chance to sit down and talk to Andy Garcia, Dominik Garcia-Loredo and director Raymond De Felitta before City Island made its Florida debut at the 2010 Miami International Film Festival in the Gusman Theater for the Performing Arts.
De Felitta said he wrote the screenplay for City Island a few years ago and he tried for a long time to get the movie made.
“After a long time trying to do it, my agent sent the script to Andy because we are represented by the same agency and he liked it,” De Fellitta says.
De Felitta asked Garcia if he can help him get the movie made and Garcia agreed to help De Felitta produce the movie.
“It is very romantic when you say you are going to produce a movie, but it is an actual commitment in your life because you are taking responsibility by not only acting in the movie, but raise the money for the film,” Garcia says.
For Garcia, the most difficult scene for him to shoot during the production of the movie was a monologue that was in the script that ends the movie where his character tells his acting class his secret as part of an assignment in the class.
“It was actually an entire monologue that we ended up reducing because we felt it reiterated the movie that everybody saw, but it was a very emotional monologue for me,” Garcia says.
De Felitta and Garcia-Lordeo both said that they share a common scene that was difficult to shoot for both of them where the Rizzos each reveal their secrets to one another outside of their house at night. De Felitta said the scene had to work on many levels with that scene being told truthfully and emotionally. He also said the scene also has to be funny, but it could not be played for comedy because it has to be the truth.
“The scene was eleven pages of material and it was scheduled to shoot for only one night,” De Felitta says. “This is one of the scenes where once the actors get going, it is like a rush to the finish line and we had to capture the energy of it”.
“It was a difficult evening as we had two cameras rolling at the same time and the sun came up as we barely finished shooting the scene,” De Felitta says.
Garcia-Loredo said she felt pressure when shooting that same scene because she knew it going to be complicated to shoot and take a long time to finish it.
“I felt I needed to do (my character) Vivian justice in that scene and I need to show that she is a likable character, not just the bitch of the family,” Garcia-Loredo says. “I had to humanize her and show that she really cares what her family thinks of her”.
Andy Garcia was a former FIU student where he participated in many of the schools’ productions of plays like Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard before he left the school in 1978 to start his film career in Hollywood. However, Garcia started acting at Miami Beach Senior High School where he took his first acting classes in his senior year. Garcia said that after graduating from high school, he went to Miami Dade College (MDC) South Campus, where he only took drama classes there before he went to Florida International University.
“It was the beginning of my training and I depended on that experience at FIU,” Garcia says.
“It was a natural place to go after MDC, but what I found is that I loved the people I was collaborating with, it was a very fond memory,” Garcia says. “There were a group of artists there and they were talented people that we did some very nice work while we were there”.
City Island opens on March 26th only at the Regal South Beach Cinema 18.

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