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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

www.mamaluke-tv.com

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

http://pro.imdb.com/name/nm0003003/

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.


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The Godfather Wedding party Picture 1971

The%20Godfather%20Wedding%20Picture%201971%20best.jpeg

In 1970, I was a young actor living in New York city and everyone was excited about this book, The Godfather by Mario Puzo. The word was out the they were going to make this book  into a film and they were going to cast unknown actors. All of us, who were of Italian descent ,were very excited.A rare opportunity in casting the film in New York City and Paramount pictures was producing it.Louis DiGaimo was the casting director.At that time, I had just closed in  a play, off bway, "Rosebed". A friend Tommy Signorelli, who was a writer/actor, had  come to see the play ,which also starred Norma Donaldson , a black actress who starred in the black version of Guys and Dolls on Bway.She was loved by many and lots of big names  had come to see her in the play. One day I received a phone call that I was to meet the producer of the Godfather film,Al Ruddy. In the meeting he told me that Marlon Brando ,who was already cast ,told him that an unknown actor should be cast as Michael. At that time I was performing in off bway plays,Soap Operas,commercials and TV episodics, but I was really unknown and training under Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio.. Al Ruddy  was very cordial with me and we spent 30 minutes discussing the project. A week later they cast Al Pacino ,which was a big surprise to many, but Al had been working on stage and film and was known by us at the Actors Studio, but most people did know know him.His acting roles were dark characters who were drug addicts like his film character in Panic in Needle Park and the play, Does a Tiger wear a Necktie.  So when he was cast we were all amazed at that choice. So now the casting entered a different stage. Al was 5 feet 6 inches and that was an issue to be reckoned with. So Richard Bright who played in his brother in Panic in Needle Park was cast as Neri ,who was his buddy in the film and his size. Carmine Caridi was supposed to play his brother Sonny ,but he was 6 feet 3 inches, so to his disappointment ,he was replaced and had a nervous breakdown.Jimmy Caan who had worked with Coppola before was cast as Sonny. Much to my suprise ,I was brought back in and was cast as the tallest usher.I was not very happy with that but over the years I have felt blessed to have been a part of that film.I spent three weeks on that film after the wedding scene, which took a week to shoot, and I have many inside stories to share .Ira Zuckerman, a director ,I had worked with in the play, The Time of your Life was writing an article about the filming and he told me a very funny story about Marlon Brando. Marlon did not like to learn lines so they would  be written somewhere off camera so that he could read them. Lenny Montana ,who played Luca Brasi ,was a jokester.So during his scene with Marlon ,he stuck out his tongue and on it were wriiten the words ,Fuck You. He wanted Marlon to be able to read his lines and Brando laughed. There are many other stories to share and one day I will. The film was an award winner in many categories and Al Pacino should have won an Oscar for his performance. I took time off , bought farms in Hankins and Callicoon ,New York and raised cows,chickens,ducks and pigs and had a huge organic garden and apple trees and acres of blackberry bushes.40 years later I still work as an actor and live in Santa Monica and still attend the Actors Studio and love what I do. My memories are priceless and more stories will follow.

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