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Ron Gilbert

I am now living in the heart of the film industry and have been involved in the film and theates industry for almost 50 years.I started out in New York City which was where the acting scene at the Actors Studio (I am a lifetime member) included Robert DeNiro,Dustin Hoffman ,Al Pacino,Robert Duval and other name actors like Martin Landau ,Rod Steiger,Shelley Winters,Paul Newman,Ben Gazzara and the list goes on. That was then and the picture has changed. A stage play in New York names a name Hollywood actor to make a profit. The independent film scene has also changed. Steven Soderbergh commented on that recently at the San Francisco International Film Festival and major companies have taken over the studios.

I still work as an actor in commercials,TV and mostly independent films. I ahve worked with the major directors like Francis Ford Coppola,Sydney Lumet, and  Bryan Singer whom I met on his first feature and the relationship is same even now.

Currently I can be seen on reruns,commercials,short films and indie films.

We are currently shooting this web series

I have 2 award winning  films on the festival circuit American Bred and Courier X

In addition as a member of the Actors Studio I have taught at Strasberg Institute and Theatre of Arts and created 2 acting academies in Italy and have done workshops in London and other cities.the I have been a judge on many film festivals and worked with Independent Film Projects West as a producer on the feature film program and the Spirit Awards.


Al Pacino inspires "Wilde Salome"

I finally had the privilege of watching “Wilde Salome,” the film version of “Salome” aka “Salome Maybe?”, directed by Al.. In a similar fashion which he explored in “Looking for Richard”, Al digs into the depths of an Actors Studio member to give audiences the internal life of how he works. Scraping the surface and peeling the layers which make him the actor he is today. Always working from the inside to reveal the inner workings of the play and how to share this. Lucky us.
So he begins rehearsals with the actors holding the scripts because he feels that the words of playwright Oscar Wilde are the most important and will allow the audiences to focus on them. Estelle Parsons is the director of the play while Al is the director of the film version. When he did this on the New York stage he created controversy which is what plays are all about .Conflict and more conflict and where does it take you. He continued this journey in Hollywood by doing another production of the play at the Wadsworth Theatre in Westwood but the only difference was that he wanted it to be filmed at the same time which created many problems. Al likes to push buttons. I will now share some of my info about Al that may not be known. In the 1960’s in New York City there was talk about this actor who was very talented and the word spread around the acting community. This started the saga of Al Pacino. His first off-bway play was “The Indian wants the Bronx” written by Israel Horovitz with co-stars John Casale and Matthew Cowles which I saw . I watched this drama which takes places at a bus stop with 2 New York thugs and an Indian, Was Al an actor or was he a thug ? Why? Because he was real. I grew up with and knew guys like him and he was the picture image of them, So Lee Strasberg the legendary artistic director of the Actors Studio suggested that Al work on the Shakespearean play “Richard the 3rd “. Some 30 years later he directed the documentary “Looking for Richard”. So this kid from the Bronx whose grandmother lived on my block in East Harlem and where Al spent a lot of his youth while attending the High School of Performing Arts while I was a juvenile delinquent... Al and I were never really close but we shared the screen in Godfather 1 and Dog Day Afternoon and I would see him at The Actors Studio and I owned peanut machines in Knobby’s his Uncle Steve’s bar.,
Now back to the present day August 23, 2010 and his film”Wilde Salome “where we are drawn into this very creative actor’s quest to share his theatrical vision of a play/film combo... His life intertwined with Oscar Wilde and King Herod and so here is his journey in the play, the movie of the play and a documentary. He shot this production in 5 days and adds footage about the controversial life of Oscar Wilde We now we have this finished film which has not been released but should be. One of the actors Jack Maxwell sent me an email asking me when will it be released. Hopefully soon. Meanwhile Al is getting rave reviews as Shylock in the theatrical production on Broadway in “The Merchant of Venice”. Thanks Al, I share your vision

Al_Pacino.jpg3.88 KB

Comments (1)

Mr. Pacino and Shakespeare--Merchant of Venice

My first Pacino film was "Looking For Richard." I thought it was fabulous. I spent a year at Oxford University studying British Literature with professors not unlike the ones he interviews for the movie. However, there is a nebulous connection that a really good actor makes with a character and the audience. On stage, he is able to translate a certain unspoken truth, a gravity, to an audience that all the erudite study and critical essays in the world cannot match. (btw, most of Shakespeare's contemporary fans were uneducated--many were not even literate.)

I have studied Richard III in depth. I have seen many productions. I have written more than one essay. As I watched "Looking For Richard", I was hit on the head with Newton's proverbial apple. It all made sense. Pacino understands how to translate that universal force that affects all human characters across time. Shakespeare understood it--his work is timeless. Mr Pacino also understands it.

I saw his performance of Shylock in Merchant of Venice this summer in Shakespeare in the Park. I felt that Pacino succeeded in embracing the broken, blighted, and angry, Shylock. We all know Pacino for his forceful tirades. He did not disappoint in Merchant of Venice, but he was Shylock instead of Al Pacino. In Dick Tracy, Big Boy was costumed to perfection, yet Pacino's voice gave him away every time he opened his mouth.

In Merchant, I was surprised that I heard Shylock's emotional pain--not a scruffy Pacino diatribe. His performance culminated in a painful and barbaric forced Baptism. Shylock is humiliated. His pain is foiled by the innocence of Jessica's new love and her voluntary religious conversion immediately following. This baptism is not in the text, but it illustrates a post-modern point behind the text. Truth isn't always what "proper society" wants you to perceive--civility and barbarism reside in all of us.

Anyway. Merchant of Venice is well worth the trip! Mr. Pacino will star in Merchant of Venice on Broadway for everyone who missed it this summer. I am really excited to see Al star in a film version of King Lear--my personal favorite Shakespeare play. I also want to see his interpretation of Oscar Wilde, Salome. My biggest hope is that I will have access to his more esoteric work--even though I do not live in NYC or LA. I hope that it will be made available to fans across the US and around the world.


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