RISING STAR GIOVANNI RIBISIíS CAREER STOCK RISES WITH THE NEW YOUNG GUNS ON WALL STREET DRAMA BOILER ROOM...
By SCOTT COLLURA
At first glance, Giovanni Ribisi strikes one as a moody artist-type,
with his decidedly anti-Hollywood looks and pensive stare. He enters the
room wearing a wool cap,which he never removes during the length of the
interview, and a serious demeanor, but it only takes a moment before his
true colors show. When asked what he thinks happens to his character after
the credits roll in his film, BOILER ROOM, the actor chortles loudly, "Hooters!"
Still, while the young actor is refreshingly ready to have fun, it is
his more thoughtful side that seems to be attracting him to films lately.
Ribisi stars alongside a host of his fellow young actors, including Vin Diesel,
Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, Tom Everett Scott, and Ben Affleck. With that in mind, one wonders
what the straight-face factor on the set must have been like, since the group
are obviously pretty friendly with one another.
"Well there are times when you're just walking around and it's like,gotta giggle!" laughs Ribisi. "But really, it was a professional experience
in that we've all worked together before and all had friendships. I think
we all wanted to make a movie and we used that to our advantage. There's
a certain trust I guess that you have to establish as an actor with your
other cast members, which we had."
While BOILER ROOM features an ensemble cast, it is clearly Ribisi's
character who is the focus of the film, and therefore the actor's burden
to carry the picture. As such, the Seth character follows an arc throughout
the story that takes him from a timid young man to one of the most intense
characters in the movie.
"Obviously, the film wasn't shot in sequence, and that's part of the challenge
in making movies specifically and I think why theater is so helpful for
actors because they can do the tracking and the logic," says Ribisi. "But
that was a conscious effort, to kind of make this person change into somebody
who he doesn't recognize. I don't know if, in my view, he was necessarily
timid; I would say that he starts off a lot more timid than what he becomes.
But I think that I just wanted to get into a situation where I didn't recognize
myself because it was about greed and it was a secular thing. I guess it was
more or less a comment on greed. They let me have this room where I got to
practice my pitching and take a P.A. and run the lines for sometimes 12 hours
a day, because I did want exactly that arc of becoming this person, with
Ben Younger is the 27-year-old writer/director of BOILER ROOM, which is in
fact his first film. While some actors might find working with a first timer
difficult or even daunting, Ribisi had no such problems with Younger.
"It's not an easy road [to directing] to get there in the first place,"
Ribisi points out. "But Ben is a straight talker, he doesn't beat around
the bush. And I'm saying that as a compliment. He tells it like it is which
I think is very important, if you have the confidence to do that. I think a
lot of it is part and parcel to his confidence, and also, he worked on this
thing for four years, thinking of himself directing it and storyboarding it,
having certain concepts,the way it might be shot or whatever. And the script,
I think, is what initially attracts actors to something, and this one was great."
Obviously, one of the driving forces behind Ribisi's character in the film is
the need to make money,the hunger for wealth. And while the film itself seems to
be saying that this "get rich quick" ideology is bad, one can't help but
wonder if making your first million inside of three years is truly wrong, as long
as no one is getting hurt.
"I think personally that it depends on the disposition of the person and it's
hard to make a generality," muses Ribisi. "I think if you can wrap your mind
around it, and actually put that within your purview or understand a million
dollars', then that's O.K. Because you see some people and it overwhelms them
and it's like a huge tidal wave. And then they revert to drugs or whatever,
and the people around you begin treating you in a different manner which is
a little jarring and shocking. But if you can handle it, great, then good.
All the more."
Ribisi is quick to agree when it is suggested that perhaps nowadays young
actors are more serious about the business itself and the craft, rather
than using it as a vehicle to get rich as performers from other times might
"Yeah, I've noticed that," says Ribisi. "And I think it's a good thing that's
happening within movies with the young actors, especially the thing I'm
working on now [Sam Raimi's THE GIFT] where like Cate Blanchett and Hilary Swank
and all these guys are throwing themselves at the movie and I think it's
Inevitably, BOILER ROOM is going to be compared to films like GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
and WALL STREET. Corruption, greed, despair, these are all common themes in the films,
and Ribisi is the first to admit that the movies have similar messages. But he
also insists that BOILER ROOM is its own picture.
"Really, I think it's different [from those films]," insists Ribisi.
"I think it's true, it's honest. So no matter what, if you're emulating something,
if there's something that comes out that's somewhat reminiscent or even if it is
flat out imitation, then I don't think it matters as much as if its truthful or not.
Originally, there were a lot of variations on the film, on the ending. There was a
definite ending, but then there were other things, like where my character went off
to jail or what not. The fact is you just kind of want people to see it and come up
with their own conclusions."
Ribisi also offers some insight into the mind of living legend Steven Spielberg,
who directed him in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. In that film, the actor played the memorable
role of the doomed young medic Wade, and Ribisi concurs that, despite the famous
filmmaker's stature, Spielberg is a down to earth person to work with.
"I think that he definitely helps you with character and certain things in that
he really lets you do your job," says the actor. "What I noticed about
him is he still had the energy and the passion,like the interest of a young
child who was making his first film. Not nervous to do it, but just excited
about certain things. He's very fast and everybody kind of has to catch up
to him, to where he's at. I remember, literally, we were like two weeks
ahead of schedule in the battle sequences at the opening of the film.
Which to say you're two weeks ahead on that is unbelievable, just by virtue
of the special effects alone. And he also is not afraid to delegate responsibility.
He let's people do their job. He let's the cinematographer do his job. He
let's the actors do their job, and let's everybody contribute. He's not
an egomaniac or anything like that. So that's what I took away from that,
about who the man and the myth is! Steven Spielberg, ladies and gentlemen!"
Source: If Magazine