Read Shockya.com's exclusive interview with Ron Eldard, who plays the title character in the new drama ‘Roadie.’ While in New York City promoting the film, which was directed by Michael Cuesta, who co-wrote the script with his brother, Gerald, the actor discussed with us why he decided to play the main character, Jimmy Testagross. The movie follows Jimmy as he returns to his mother’s home in Forest Hills, New York, after he was fired as the roadie for the rock band Blue Oyster Cult. Embarrassed to admit to anyone that he was only the roadie and was let go from his job, he tells everyone he’s really the band’s manager, and even wrote several songs for the group.
While home, Jimmy see his old high school nemesis, Randy, portrayed by Bobby Cannavale, who he hasn’t seen in the 25 years since they graduated. Randy is married to Nikki, played by Jill Hennessey, who dated Jimmy when they were teenagers. Eldard also discussed what it was like working with Cannavale and Hennessey, and how the process of working on an independent film is different than shooting a major studio movie.
Written by: Karen Benardello
ShockYa (SY): You play main character Jimmy Testagross in ‘Roadie.’ What was it about the script that you found appealing, and convinced you to take on the role?
Ron Eldard (RE): This movie was without question. Fifteen or 20 pages into the script, I called my agent and said “I’m in, I want to do it.” This is just a really well written script. There are so many movies that are about this working class, the New York working class. I’ve done some. Some of them are really good, but many of them, many movies about working class people, in general, I find offensive. I find that they talk down to them, they treat them like cartoon character, they lack dignity. They’re filled with lots of cliches.
Even though I thought the script was great, and I thought oh now I get it, now it’s this movie, now it’s back to a romance movie. It would change. Michael and Gerald don’t write that way. This I thought was just one of the very best scripts, it was a no-brainer.
Mostly when I read scripts, and I don’t think I’m alone, you think two or three more re-writes, and they’d have a really great script. You go, I can’t believe they’re making it at this point, they’re so close to having a great script. Why not just finish it, do the rest. Most things to me feel like a million other things, very derivative, or they feel like auditions for a big film. Many independent films feel like they’re an audition for a big commercial film.
This is just very personal. I loved all the characters. I related to all of them. It’s funny and sad and difficult. It was a no-brainer.
SY: With ‘Roadie’ being an independent film, how did you find the shoot to be different than bigger budget films, like ‘Super 8?’
RE: Well, I’ve done lots of films that are smaller films. This is definitely a small film. There was no dressing room, there was no fanciness here. These are all professional actors, they’re not people who haven’t worked, trying to get into the business. These are all working people who all understand about work. When this kind of thing works, I think it’s the best.
Movies usually take too long to make, I think. Lots of wasted money, lots of wasted time. There’s something nice when you have movies that have great catering, but you spend lots of time sitting around. Here, I think we shot this in 17 or 18 days, somewhere in there. You’re just getting to work. It’s work, and you move and get momentum.
Like I said, most of our dressing rooms were churches. Sometimes we didn’t even have that. You have the house that you’re in, and you lay on the lawn or in the basement. Everyone, even on the crew, was in for the right reason. It was a joy, it really was great. (laughs) It was fun, it moved fast.
SY: Michael and Gerald have said they’re fans of finding actual locations, and not doing much set production. Do you agree with that?
RE: I could not believe my house. If you’ve spoken to them, you know there’s barely anything done to my house. There’s a bowl of candies on the table that were in the house.
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