The actor, writer, producer talks about the getting his labor of love made
In 1999 I went to the No Dance Film Festival to debut a documentary I made on a Hare Krishna punk band. Titled Curse of Instinct: 108's Final Tour, the movie won a Golden Orb Spirit Award and was eventually self distributed on VHS a short time later. However, that wasn't the biggest thing to happen on my visit to Park City, Utah. While I was on the street passing out flyers and basically hounding people to see my film, I met an actor named Louis Lombardi. Having recently seen Louie in the low budget film Amongst Friends, for some reason, based on the character Eddie in the film, I felt like I could talk with him. After three days of hanging out intermittently he told me he was looking for someone to write with.
After writing one script together we discussed the idea of writing a play for Louie and his friend Frank Medrano (he played Vic in Amongst Friends). Originally titled Two Brothers From Brooklyn the script would then be known as The Untitled Lou and Frank Project for about 7 years. After many false starts in which the screenplay was rewritten and rewritten numerous times, the movie eventually was titled Doughboys and was shot in the Bronx in the summer of 2006.
After playing to much kudos on the festival, Doughboys is set to debut on DVD November 18 from MTI Home Entertainment.
Louie and I recently sat down to discuss the amazing journey of getting this movie made.
Okay... first order of business, why was my name left off the press release as the co-writer of this movie?
Louis Lombardi: Oh yeah, that's the last thing on my mind. Your name on a press release... (laughs) Okay, keep going, second question.
When we were first putting this thing together back in your old apartment did you think it would take this long to get made?
Louis Lombardi: You know what? I did. Everything in this business takes a long time to get made. This is a business of patience and that's what you have to be to be successful. You can't think that everything's gonna happen in the next 40 minutes. I never think that things are gonna happen quick. That's just reality.
Did you ever get discouraged?
Louis Lombardi: Never. I never get discouraged about anything. If I got discouraged I wouldn't keep giving out the script then the movie wouldn't be made. The biggest thing about this business is to never get discouraged because once you get discouraged you lose interest. You'll stop being successful in something you love doing. If you get discouraged in things and not even want to finish or do them, then why even bother starting?
Louis Lombardi: There's always negatives no matter what you're in in life. However if you keep being persistent the negative usually becomes a positive.
What was it like, after all those years, to go back to the Bronx with your movie?
Louis Lombardi: As a director it was great because I got to hire all my friends. That's like a dream come true. To be able to hire friends, to shoot a movie in the neighborhood where you grew up. To have it released. It's actually a dream. How many people can say that their first film got distributed and out there? What are the odds? My persistence made the odds work for me.
Talk about festival reactions.
Louis Lombardi: The consensus from all the festivals, every single one of them, was the same. Men, women, children... all of them loved it and thought the same thing. That's when you know the movie is putting across a certain message. To get the same reception from an audience in New York to Phoenix that's when you know. The message is solid. All the people at these festivals were saying the same comments. From city to city, state to state.
That's gotta be a big vote of confidence, not only does the film play in the festivals but it also gets distribution.
Louis Lombardi: Oh my god, it's almost like it's bigger than making the movie itself. It is absolutely amazing how hard distribution is. I am the most excited person there is. Not only do I have distribution but I'm able to have people hook it up for me. Netflix, Amazon, Myspace, MovieWeb... I'm online today looking at it going, "Wow!" I feel like one of the luckiest filmmaker actors.
Can you talk a little bit about the role of Phobos that you play in The Spirit? I know you and Frank Miller really hit it off.
Louis Lombardi: Yeah, it was one of the best experiences of my career. Doing a role like I did in that film and coming out on a massive scale, Christmas day, it's just unbelievable. Working with someone like Frank Miller, the role he gave me was one of the most interesting roles I've seen in a movie. I'm real excited. It's one of the best roles I've ever had.
How has it been received? You told me that there's been some screenings...
Louis Lombardi: This is the most opposite of anything I've ever done. Doing the role itself was one of the best experiences ever. Not just working but learning. It was all shot on blue screen, green screen, whatever... It's one of those movies where you're just glad you're a part of because you learn.
Did you consult the comic from which The Spirit is based?
Louis Lombardi: No, I just based it on Frank Miller. Whatever he says because I know this guy, this is his thing. This is what he does. Whatever he sees I'm in for. He's got a great vision and he's a very artistic person. He sees what he sees and that's what he wants. He just knows everything immediately, he's great. He's one of the most efficient directors I've ever worked with; definitely.
I know you're also coming back on Entourage. Can you talk about being in the season finale?
Louis Lombardi: It comes out November 22nd or 23rd... this role is gonna be fun. I don't want to talk too much about the role or what they do because I don't want to give anything away, you know? In the episode with me is like Scorsese, Gus Van Sant. I just think it's gonna be one of the better shows.
What was it like going back into that as you've been on the show before?
Louis Lombardi: That is one of my favorite television characters I've ever played. It's so much more like me than all the other roles I play on TV.
What about the role you're doing on CSI: NY?
Louis Lombardi: It's a pretty fun role. It's just a hustler, you know? It's a guy who gets out of prison and goes back to hustlin'.
That's you Louie!
Louis Lombardi: Thank you. (Laughs) Yeah, it's exactly me.
What do you have lined up for the future?
Louis Lombardi: I wanna talked about Patty Mac, that's the next film I want to do. It's about an Irish pimp on the west side of New York in the 70s; in Hell's Kitchen. I want Eminem to star in it. I'm trying to get him. I wanna get the script to his people.
Are you working on rewriting that press release?
Louis Lombardi: Which one?
Louis Lombardi: I wanna talk about how we wrote the role of Schmul for you in Doughboys and you wouldn't spend $300 coming to New York for 2 weeks.
I had to cover Comic-Con that year for this site!
Louis Lombardi: And I was also offering you a producer credit! How good of a friend am I?
You are a great friend. When they tried to take my name off the Doughboys credit you stood up for me.
Louis Lombardi: Right. That's because you're a good guy and I consider you a friend, to be honest with you.
A best friend!
Louis Lombardi: I don't know about a best friend but I will definitely say that you're a very good friend of mine. I give it to you, you're a hard worker and a very upstanding person.
Doughboys comes to DVD on November 18 from MTI Home Entertainment.