Gavin Schmitt Interviews Bob Glaudini
Bob Glaudini is an actor who has appeared in a variety of genres over the past three decades. He has done the B-movie horror with Charles Band, appearing in Parasite (affiliate link) and The Alchemist. (affiliate link) He’s done the gangster film with Bugsy. He had a few episodes of “NYPD Blue”. He even appeared in the family flick The Princess Diaries.
In recent years, Glaudini has transitioned to the stage as a playwright. One of his plays is Jack Goes Boating, which featured Oscar award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. When the play was adapted to the screen, Glaudini and Hoffman went along for the ride. When we chatted on the phone in early January 2011, we talked about “Jack” (affiliate link) and what it is like working with Hoffman.
GS: Very early on, you appeared in “Parasite” (1981) and “The Alchemist” (1984), both directed by Charlie Band. Band, as you know, has a questionable reputation — any stories of working with him?
BG: Yeah, I heard that rumor, but as far as his relationship with me as an actor, it was fine. I thought he was an amusing character and I was happy to have the job. Other than whatever I heard, I didn’t experience anything negative about him at all. There was a producer on “Alchemist”, (affiliate link) a guy named (Lawrence) Appelbaum, and he and Charlie were at each other’s throats over some business shenanigans. But that didn’t concern me — I just get a kick out of watching the producer-types go at each other. Other than that, it was fine, but I have heard that rumor.
GS: You also did “Cutting Class” (1989) with Brad Pitt and Jill Schoelen. Let’s hear about Jill.
BG: Yeah, I didn’t get to know her very well, or at all, as a matter of fact. I have nothing really to say about her other than she showed up and did her job. She seemed like a charming girl. What were you hoping for? I know nothing of her since then or whatever… she wasn’t a diva, she just attended to her business.
GS: I’m sure everyone asks this, but I’d be doing readers a disservice if I didn’t: what is working with Philip Seymour Hoffman like?
BG: He’s mean! (laughs) No, I’m kidding. I’m a member of a theater company that he’s a member of, too. We’ve done lots of work together, so this wasn’t our first time. He’s a friend, so a lot of stuff was very natural. We talk and there’s not a lot of distance between us. Of course, you can probably imagine, he’s in the film and he directed the film, so that’s difficult. Usually when he’s in a film, he’s very private. He would do a scene and then go to his trailer, not coming out until he was ready to do the next one. But here, he would say “cut” and he would go to the monitor and set up the next scene. In terms of my relationship with him, that never caused him to be bad-tempered. But he managed to adjust pretty quickly, and only when he had a tough scene and he thought he wasn’t getting it did he wish he wasn’t directing. Mostly he loved directing and it was a joy for him to do, and a joy for me to develop the script with him. He decided he would be the director early on, after Peter Saraf (producer, who also produced “Little Miss Sunshine”) (affiliate link) wanted to get the film made. They agreed early on that he wasn’t going to act in it, but after a while he took the part. The people he wanted had time problems, or were anxious to move from stage to screen, and he ended up taking it because he was running out of time. He had to strike while the iron was hot, and he had done it on stage, so he had the preparation. In terms of working with him, it was mostly developing the script. We would meet in the morning, talk about how he wanted the script, and I would write it to adapt to the vision he had. For me, the director is the author of the movie, so I try to serve them as the writer. There were no fights.
GS: What is with that god-awful hair?
BG: (laughs) That question was asked at the Academy Awards, too. It was some other obsession he had before the movie starts. That’s his way of covering up who he is, hiding himself, until he meets Amy Ryan. He was into reggae, just another phase of him trying to find himself.
GS: Obviously, when converting from stage to screen, you have more sets and more funds. What was added to the screen version, besides water?
BG: The scene at the Waldorf, the cooking lessons, traveling to and from work, being at work, the actual workplace. You get more concrete with your locations in the film. Mostly it was populating it with more characters, the characters that were mentioned in the film. In the play, the Cannoli never appeared.
GS: I’ve never been to New York; how does someone get beat up on a crowded subway?
BG: It happens a lot. Maybe not that much, but in terms of men abusing women on subways, I’ve seen two examples of men feeling up women on subways. One example had the outcome of a woman screaming at him, and he hit her. That was my personal experience. There’s a lot of inappropriate fondling that goes on on subways. I saw a woman standing up to a man because he was reaching around, trying to fondle an 11-year old girl. You don’t get on a subway every day and see a scene like that, but it does happen. Only if someone gets killed does it get reported.
GS: Some have called the film a “romantic comedy”. Do you accept that label?
BG: I don’t have a problem with that, people saying what it is or isn’t.
GS: To me, “romantic comedy” has kind of a negative connotation…
BG: I agree with that. It may not fit the narrow genre pigeonholes, like “bank heist”… it may be hard to call it any genre.
GS: You have a new play, “Vengeance is the Lord’s”, that recently debuted… tell us about that one.
BG: It played in Boston for about six weeks. It’s a family play, a family with working class roots that started with a neighborhood bar. The matriarch and the patriarch start cutting corners, and by the time we meet them they pretty much have a criminal enterprise going. And their daughter is murdered, so the play is an Old Testament versus New Testament conflict: is it vengeance or forgiveness that is next? So, the driving theme is judgment, and it takes place over traditional American holidays. It was directed by the same man who directed “Jack” (affiliate link) when it was a play. It was quite an undertaking, believe me.
GS: Thanks for your time, Bob.
BG: No problem, man. Thank you.